top of page


April 19, 2024

A plan gone wrong. A rash decision. A thoughtless act.
The past always and forever hovers near.

I never thought I could become my own perpetrator.
I never dreamed I would be my own victim. 
I never expected to turn into a villain.

But every crime carries a punishment.

In this life, my name is Siena Forte Casey, and mine, I cannot bear.   

Book Trailer



1564, Ulster, Ireland

I stroked Ronan’s golden hair, settling with him in the chair before the hearth. “Is it the legend of Midir and Étaín you want, a leanbh?”

His steel-blue eyes lit up, bright and eager. The shapeshifting fables were his favorite, and this one was no exception. Although, I never regarded it so much a story of the king and his second wife as a sad tale of the king’s first wife, Fúamnach.

“Once upon a time, an immortal warrior-king, Midir of Tuatha Dé Danann, was wed to a powerful witch-goddess, Fúamnach,” I began. “They lived in love and contentment until it so happened that Midir traveled far from home and met another woman, Étaín.”

“Was she a witch-goddess, too?” Ronan shifted in my lap, impatient for his favorite part.

“She was a mere mortal, a leanbh,” I scoffed. “But younger than Fúamnach, and lovelier, too, so Midir fell in love with her.” 

Ronan frowned, his question at the ready. “Did she fall in love with him, too?” 

“She did, as you well know.” I bit the inside of my lip, shivering with sudden chill. “What say you I tell you another tale tonight?”

Ronan shook his head, a small groove between his golden brows deepening. “I want this one, mama!”

I pulled him close. “When Midir returned home with Étaín, and Fúamnach saw she’d been replaced, it was as though she received a fatal blow. She sickened with an ill fever, refused all food, and stayed in her chamber for a sennight.”

Despite knowing the ending, Ronan studied my face with anxious eyes. “Did she die of sorrow, mama?”

“She didn’t die, my wee love.” I swallowed. “A spurned woman, she had set her heart on a terrible revenge. She was powerful, mind? So she turned Étaín into rain. But her spell had failed, for she’d likely grown frail from her heartbreak, and Étaín soon returned to her human form. So Fúamnach cast another spell and turned her rival into a pool of water. That spell, too, had failed, for once again, Étaín turned back into a woman, lovelier than before. Enraged, Fúamnach gathered all her powers to turn Étaín into a fly. Instead, she’d only succeeded in making her into the loveliest fiery butterfly anyone had ever laid eyes on.”

Ronan sighed, hoping against hope. “Did Midir come to his senses and return to Fúamnach to live in love and contentment again?”

Something inside me squeezed with such pain, I gasped. “He didn’t, a leanbh, for being a self-indulgent creature, the king no longer loved his first wife, who gave him all her youth, love, and children, withal. And though Fúamnach sent two great storms to blow Étaín away forever, she’d failed in that, too. So Midir kept the butterfly as his most cherished companion and had Fúamnach put to death.”

Ronan pouted and shook his golden head. “So Midir was left with no wife.”

“After Étaín was reborn as a woman in her next life, he found her and carried her off to the otherworld to be with her forever.”


The little boy hopped off my lap, eyes wide. “Da is a warrior-king. Why doesn’t he keep other wives, mama—?”



"Vera Bell’s skillful portrayal of real emotions left me breathless in its honesty. She has a stunning ability to bring history to life in her masterful worldbuilding of 16th-century Ireland. The danger, the intrigue, the romance, the sweeping saga, and more—it’s there in all its historical glory. It was an effortless yet intense read and an achingly beautiful story that lingered in my thoughts long after I’d finished the last page. "

JODI JENSEN, Author of Sophie's Key


"I loved the book.  It was even better than the first, although my nerves could barely take it. It was so intense, I had to step away several times.  I have to confess, I jumped to the end to make sure everything ends well before proceeding LOL."

"I loved the story. I wanted to keep reading as (Book Three) seems to be quite exciting. I look forward to reading it."


"I'm constantly in awe of your writing and how you craft a story. I love how you convey emotions through both dialogue and actions."

bottom of page