BUY THE BOOK:
Active links coming soon…
Amazon * Paperback * B&N * iTunes * KOBO * ARe *
International Links (Book is in English):
Amazon UK * Amazon Canada * Amazon Australia * Amazon Mexico * Amazon Germany * Amazon Japan * Amazon India * Amazon Italy * Amazon France * Amazon Spain * Amazon Brazil
ABOUT THE BOOK:
For a century, the nations of Jerdun and Lyond have been at each other’s throats. Princess Aliénor is a proud woman of Jerdun, and King Thomas of Lyond should have been her hated enemy. Yet from her first meeting with the foreign king she cannot deny the tender connection between them. After a brutal ambush leaves them stranded in a strange land together, the two decide to face the many perils of the journey united. But as allies only–love is out of the question.
When danger strikes at them on the road, Aliénor immediately regrets hiding her feelings. A sorceress with plans to make herself Queen of Lyond captures their group and lays a hideous curse on Thomas, damning the brave king to an eternal, bitter sleep. If Thomas is not woken in time, the king will fall into madness. Frightened and alone, Aliénor must fight free from her wicked captor, for herself and her sleeping king. Only then does she have a chance of breaking the curse.
Yet even if she does save Thomas, how can love conquer the bitter feud between their nations? How can she betray her homeland, even to be with the man she loves?
When she awoke, much later, her body was stiff. Her muscles burned and protested when she sat up. Even her rump was sore. Still, the sleep had done her good, refilling some well of energy inside her.
The camp seemed mostly empty except for Violette sitting on her bedroll a few feet away, propped against a rock and dozing. Some healer in the king’s camp had set her broken wrist more properly. Of Noémi there was no sign, and none of King Thomas’s men. Yet the horses were all still in camp, tied up together next to a small stand of trees.
A low baritone voice rang out nearby from behind the clump of horses. He was humming under his breath as he worked. She caught the tune, an old song about spring flowers and a maiden’s hair. Aliénor sang a few of the verses low and half under her breath as she rolled her blankets up to be packed.
Unfortunately, her singing had opposite to the desired effect, because the deep baritone humming stopped at the sound of her voice. Still, her singing did produce some good results as King Thomas appeared from behind the horses he’d been tending and approached her. “You slept as if bespelled, my lady.”
“It was a good spell if so.” She stretched and it hurt, of course it did, but it brought warmth and a tingling into her muscles, a healing kind of hurt. “I feel much better.”
“Good. Your other lady is stealing a chance to wash while my men hunt and gather for food. We want to save the packed supplies for any bare stretches.”
“Food.” Her stomach emitted a most unladylike grumble, and she clapped a hand over her gut, hoping to muffle the sound.
The king’s eyes crinkled with amusement, but he made no comment. “Godric caught two rabbits, and Llewellyn coaxed some fish out of the river.”
“Llewellyn’s your magician, isn’t he? Did he use his magic to catch the fish?” She had been trying to sound light, unconcerned, but she was rather afraid her voice came out stiff or stilted. She dropped her gaze from his and nervously pleated the fabric of her filthy skirts.
The king cleared his throat. “You are Jerdic. You were all Jerdic in that damned camp. How was I to risk telling you, even you, I had a Lyondi magician with me?”
She worried at her lip and stared at a cluster of pebbles on the ground before her. “You were right not to tell anyone in that camp. I don’t blame you. If I’d found myself lost in a camp of Lyondi strangers I would have kept every advantage I might have as a secret too.”
Still, there was a sick sort of aching in her gut now. Thomas was not just a man of Lyond–he was the king of Lyond, a nation that had been fighting her own for her entire life and more. Even with her husband gone, she was still the Jerdic princess. Thomas–King Thomas was still her enemy, and the enemy of her whole people.
She allowed herself to sneak one small glance up at him, at the rugged handsomeness of his face, the line of his leonine nose, the softness of his lips, those clear, piercing gray-blue eyes of his. He does not feel like my enemy. He felt like warmth and safety and solace. He felt like home.
You’re just overwrought. Latching onto the nearest strength and comfort. These wild, foolish feelings didn’t mean anything.
Aliénor pinched her eyes closed and shoved herself to her feet. She teetered unsteadily, and King Thomas caught her elbow to keep her from falling down again. They stood close enough that his breath stirred against the skin of her face.
“Your Lady Noémi will be missing you by the river, and there isn’t much time left before we depart. You should go. ‘Tis that way, over the hill. I have a guard posted, but he will not disturb you.”
“Thank you.” She walked away, stopping to rouse Violette enough to tell her handmaiden where she had gone.
Violette looked thoroughly ashamed to have fallen asleep. “I am supposed to be guarding your honor while we travel among these rough Lyondi men. I failed you, Princess. I’m sorry.”
Aliénor only motioned Violette to follow her up the hill. The king had returned to his task with the horses, checking their kit and supplies. She looked back at him once on her way to the river and saw he had not returned to his work yet. He was watching her walk away.
She swallowed and tore her gaze away from his. Oh, what fools we are.
None yet. If you’re interested in a copy for review please email me.
For the longest time I’ve said I wouldn’t write a sequel to The Beauty’s Beast. I had no idea WHAT I would even write about since Kathryn and Gabriel already got their happily ever after in that story. Of course, never say never because the more I worried at the thought of a sequel the more ideas my brain was willing to spit out to me! I went from having no ideas for other books to having about a dozen.
The idea for this one actually came from reading a biography of the English Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Reading about her disastrous trip to the Holy Land inspired me to try my own take on a failed expedition to foreign lands. Also, my own Queen Aliénor and her king are some of people’s favorite characters from my first book. It just made sense to put their love story in the spotlight.
T. Kingfisher’s Fairy Tale Retellings
(Especially The Seventh Bride and The Raven & The Reindeer)
T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) is a Hugo award winning writer with a hilarious sense of humor. One of my favorite things about her stuff is her solidly practical heroines. They don’t faint or whine or languish in the hero’s arms. They get stuff done. She also writes really excellent animal sidekicks/talking animals. There’s a group of talking otters in The Raven & the Reindeer that are the delight of my life.
Spindle’s End and Beauty by Robin McKinley
I didn’t discover Robin McKinley until my late teens, but once I did I went on a tear and read at least half her backlist in one go. I’ve always been a fan of fairy tale retellings (which is part of why I wrote a whole series of them), but these two books made a big impression on me. I loved the wry humor in her characters and their brusque practicality. Another one of my favorite elements was the slow build of the romances in Spindle’s End; there’s a proposal scene in this novel that has to be one of the most romantic things I have ever read. I also loved, loved McKinley’s world-building and all its intricate, well-thought out detail.
The Brother Cadfael Series by Ellis Peters (Starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones)
Growing up I was always asking my mom for stuff to read, and I remember when she handed me my first Brother Cadfael mystery I was totally sucked into the world, and I binge-read the entire 20+ books in the series. Brother Cadfael is a cozy mystery series set in a Benedictine abbey during the English civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maude. I still remember how wonderful I thought Cadfael’s world was, the history, the community. And Cadfael himself, of course. He’s a lovely hero and one of the characters in my series (the wry and worldly court magician Llewellyn) is a sort of homage to Cadfael. This charming series was a huge influence on me and a big part of the reason I wanted to write my own medieval-esque story. (Of course mine has magicians, werewolves, and fairies oh my!)
The Elemental Masters series by Mercedes Lackey
(Especially The Serpent’s Shadow and The Gates of Sleep)
These are kind of my gold standard for fairy tale retellings. This was also my favorite fantasy series for a little while, and the first two books were a big influence on how I wanted to write my own fantasies. I love how Lackey incorporates various magical creatures like sylphs, fairies, and even Puck himself into her stories. But, of course, my favorite aspect is how she twists the basic elements of each fairy tale. She changed things in new and interesting ways so that the bones of the original story were still there, and yet by the end the reader had something totally new and wonderful to enjoy.