Tag Archives: fairy tale

New Release Blitz: Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham

Finding Aurora | Rebecca Langham

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 24, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 20,500

Genre: Fantasy, royalty, magic, action, fantasy, fairy tale

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Synopsis

Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. The victim of a malicious spell, she is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.

Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever.

In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what—and who—they really want in life.

Excerpt

Finding Aurora
Rebecca Langham © 2018
All Rights Reserved

I doubt there was even one person in Grimvein who hadn’t heard the story of the sleeping princess. There were those who claimed she’d died a century ago and the curse was merely a story to maintain hope of her well-being. Amir and I knew better. Somewhere beneath the layers of magic and goddess-knew-how-many demonic guardians in Oldpass, Princess Aurora Rose slept. The problem was getting to her.

“Looks like the map was accurate.” Amir tucked the frayed parchment inside his leather vest and then stepped closer to the colossal boulder in front of us. “This entry is well concealed. Most people would walk right by without realising.”

I had to agree. We were deep within the forest to the east of Oldpass. The path we’d been following for over a week had disappeared hours earlier, replaced by mossy undergrowth and grasses. The sweet scent of drenched wisteria had been overpowering, though not as overpowering as the menacing darkness that seemed to swallow natural sounds one would expect to hear in such a place. No birds twittering. No dripping condensation. Not even so much as a rustling branch. If not for Amir’s orienteering skill and the importance of our quest, I’d have turned back.

“Does it open the old-fashioned way, Highness?” I indicated the door with my chin. Embedded in the rock and camouflaged, the ingress was almost unnoticeable, but we could make out the bevelled edges.

I sensed no magic surrounding the rock formation, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any. I might have been one of the strongest casters in the five kingdoms, but I was still mortal. There’s only so much one person confined by flesh can know. Or see. Or do.

Amir ran his hand through his shoulder-length black hair. His rather wonderful, lustrous, shoulder-length black hair.

“Let’s see.” He pressed both his palms against the smooth surface, bracing his feet against the leaf-covered ground. Something whirred deep inside the boulder and clicked as though a latch had been released. He stepped back as the rectangular slab skulked off to the side, like a sword disappearing into its sheath. “It appears the answer would be yes, it does open the old-fashioned way. Sort of.”

“I must admit, I had my doubts.”

“As did I,” he replied, scratching at the stubble on his chin. In all the years I’d been acquainted with the prince, he’d always been clean-shaven, and the rugged growth on his face, as charming as it looked, seemed to irritate him more and more. “It seems too convenient there could be an underground passage that would take us beneath the outer walls.” His hands held on to the rock as he leaned forward, peering inside. His soft leather boots gripped his defined calves as he did. “It’s quite dark in here. Do you have that magnificent bauble of yours?” He withdrew from the opening and turned to face me.

I gaped at him. “Prince Amir, the moonbeam stone is no mere bauble. And yes, of course I do. I’ll let the honour of first entry be yours.”

He bowed slightly, his hand over his heart. “Why, thank you, caster.” He returned his attention to the opening. “In we go.”

I followed him closely as we left the fresh air and crunching leaves of the forest behind. Inside, the darkness was thick and the air acrid. I slipped my moonbeam stone out of a pouch clipped to my belt. With a thought, I willed it to life. A soft yellow light emanated from the stone.

“Oh no,” I said. As though the enclosed room had heard me, the door behind us slid outward from its cavity, closing fast and hard.

“It seems we’re trapped.” Typical Amir. Always so calm. He walked around the room. “But surely there is a way from here into the tunnel. This must be a kind of annex.” I admired the fact that no matter how hopeless or scared Amir might have felt, he was always able to focus on the task at hand, putting his feelings aside until a more appropriate time presented itself.

“Mmmhmm.” I pinched the bridge of my nose, willing away the tension that had taken up residence there. I grabbed the small flask attached to my belt, just above my left hip. The water soothed my throat and afforded a distraction from the momentary sense of panic.

“Talia, I need your help over here,” Amir said. His voice was steady, but the shade of his cheeks betrayed bubbling anxiety.

“Yes, Highness.” I took one more sip of water from my flask, clipped it onto my leather belt, and wiped my forehead with the back of my hand. By the goddess, that place was hot. I wondered if we might have found the first level of the underworld rather than the subterranean passageway into Oldpass.

“That’s twice in as many minutes,” Amir said, gently elbowing me as I joined him. “I keep telling you to stop calling me that. We’ve been travelling together for over two weeks. The formalities are unnecessary by now, wouldn’t you agree?” He smiled, and I couldn’t help but smile back. As the Leading Caster of Grimvein, I’d been assigned to help Amir on a journey the public needed to believe he’d taken on his own. So far, my magical services had been of little use, aside from starting a few campfires when we were especially impatient to eat our evening meal.

“Yes, Highness.” I bit my lower lip. “Amir. Sorry, it’s a force of habit.”

Meet the Author

Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia) with her partner, three children, and menagerie of pets. A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, she’s a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine.

When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

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Release Blitz: Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

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EVER AFTER

A GAY FAIRYTALE

RILEY HART & CHRISTINA LEE

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 28.02.18

Ever After Cover

 COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

Blurb:

As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before—a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant.

After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have.

Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’ affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way.

As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after?

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EXCERPT

They were quiet as their feet settled into the freshly fallen snow on the way to the barn. When they reached the building, which had already been vacated for the night, Prince Merrick pulled open the heavy barn door, making a sudden shot of worry dart through Cassius. “I’m sorry, Your Highness. I should have gotten the door for you. I’m…” He did not know how to continue, did not know what he felt, and even if he understood the thoughts plaguing him, he could not share those with the prince.

“Please, don’t apologize. It is quite nice to do things for myself from time to time.” The corners of his eyes pinched, and his lips creased in a frown as though he shouldn’t have spoken as he had. The thought made Cassius’s stomach tumble in an unfamiliar way. He couldn’t imagine having servants do such simple tasks for him, but he wasn’t a prince. He couldn’t fathom how the other man would feel the same.

“Shall we go?” the prince added, and Cassius felt his ears heat at the way he’d stood there like an idiot. Luckily, his hat covered them, so it wouldn’t be noticeable. It was strange the way he so often flushed in front of the prince. Cassius had never been one to blush, even in front of a man he found attractive, but he did so frequently with Prince Merrick.

“Yes, sir.” Cassius stepped inside and waited. He noticed the prince move to close the barn door just before their gazes clashed together. As though he sensed Cas’s need to fill the role he was supposed to, the prince stepped aside, and Cas closed the door.

“Do you enjoy horses?” he asked Cas as they walked toward Ursula, the mare Cas knew belonged to the prince.

He felt his forehead wrinkle beneath his knitted hat as he continued his attempt to figure out what was happening. “Yes, Your Highness. I do. They’re…” Cas let his words trail off. The prince couldn’t want that much information from him, and he shouldn’t want to share. Cas found he did, though. Whether it was just to talk to someone or the prince specifically, he could not decide.

“They’re what?” Prince Merrick prompted.

“Nothing, sir. Just that I enjoy them tremendously.”

“Please,” he replied. “Please tell me what you were going to say. You don’t have to. It is not a demand, but…but I’d like it if you did.”

They stopped moving. Ursula neighed in front of them, but Cassius couldn’t make his feet move. The prince was looking at him…curiously. He had no doubt his eyes held the prince’s similarly, but obviously for different reasons.

This time, it was Prince Merrick who flushed, a soft pink tinting his delicate cheekbones. It is because he’s cold. It has to be because he’s chilled. Still, Cas’s heart raced like Ursula’s hooves when she galloped.

He needed to end this fascination, this seeing things that were not there, before he got himself into trouble. Before he lost his position and shamed his family.

The prince added, “I’m sorry. It wasn’t fair of me to make such a request,” and it was those words that fueled Cas further because the truth was, it didn’t matter if it was fair or not. The prince had the right to request anything he desired; the whole family did, without apology. Yet the prince had apologized, a soft, earnest quality to his voice that spoke of his sincerity. He had meant his apology, and that…that meant something to Cassius.

He cleared his throat and looked at the horse, petting her neck. “I was going to say they’re comforting. There is something about horses that soothes whatever ails you…makes you feel free when you’re anything but. Like you can ride anywhere and there are no walls to stop you, no places you cannot go. They do not ask for much, but they give much in return.” His fingers stilled on Ursula’s neck as his words replayed in his head. Christ, had he truly verbally assaulted the prince of Evergreen with such foolishness, such frivolous thoughts? “I apologize. I didn’t… That was…”

“That was beautiful. You have a way with words, Cassius. It was as if…as if you experienced what you said.”

Cas’s eyes snapped to the prince’s, which were firmly pointed to his face with an unfamiliar intensity Cassius didn’t understand. He turned away before the prince saw something in his gaze that he did not want him to see. “I worked on a farm once,” he replied.

Prince Merrick nodded in response. “Can I tell you a secret?” he asked as he pulled a carrot from the bag and handed it to Cassius.

“Yes, Your Highness. You can tell me anything you’d like.” Only Cassius did not understand why he would want to.

“Sometimes I wish for exactly what you spoke of…to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want.” The prince fed one of the carrots to his horse, who gobbled it up. “Even if only to explore town undetected. I know how that must sound, to long for such simple things, but…”

“They are not simple,” Cassius found himself saying. “They are normal things to desire, something I must admit I’ve taken for granted.” He’d never considered what being a prince truly meant. Yes, Merrick would never hunger, would never require necessities Cassius struggled for, but he was bound by different hardships Cassius couldn’t understand and had never taken the time to attempt. “We are both bound, shackled by aspects of our lives that are out of our control.”

Portrait of a happy gay couple outdoors

 

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Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.

She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.

Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.

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Christina Lee Logo

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

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A truly beautiful Cinderella story to match the gorgeous cover

38354762Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fairy tale should be an epic animated classic, one where young boys can dream of finding their handsome Prince and handsome Princes can dream of finding their person – the one who loves them for themselves.

It’s a truly beautiful Cinderella story which perfectly lives up to the stunning Jay Aheer cover which inspired its creation.

The storytelling is compelling, although some youngsters might find there’s “too much kissing” 😉 when grandpa reads it to them when they’re poorly at home.

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But, just like in all true fairy tales, there are hurdles to overcome, challenges to face, although there is no real villain to fight, before Cassius and Merrick get their Ever After.

Everything about this story works and I couldn’t put it down, I loved the setting, the secondary characters, the world building, and I loved how Cas and Merrick found the courage to be a valet and a prince in love.

For me, the steam level worked well within the almost medieval (but with cars and mod cons) feel of the narrative and with the relatively young ages (Cas is 24, Merrick a similar age) of the lovers.

When the steamy bits do arrive, they’re sweet and emotionally driven not just lustful, although they’re definitely not tame. These two authors write brilliantly together and this book is no exception.

#ARC kindly provided by the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Five fat fairy tale stars

Beau and the BeastBeau and the Beast by Kay Simone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know how Kay Simone does it but here, again, is an epic tale of love in unusual circumstances, totally different to each of her other novels but carried out with aplomb.

This is billed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s way more than that. Yes we have the ‘beast’ in Wolfram, yes we have the beauty in Beau, but this isn’t so much a tale of beauty saving the beast as of two souls finding their perfect other selves and of acceptance in a world of different.

The ending, and the novel way it deals with what usually happens in this fairy tale, is truly inspired, I didn’t see it coming and I hope readers of this book are able to discover it themselves without spoilers, believe me it’s worth it.

The world building is superb, the secondary characters are given the same depth of treatment as the two leads and Kay’s use of language is again beautiful.

And the sex scenes, let’s just say if anyone ever needs to know just how erotic lovemaking can be between a slight figure of a man and a seven foot furrred man with arm’s horns and a lion’s tail, this book proves beyond doubt that Non Human People can get it on with the best of them.
The sex is lovingly woven into the story as a part of the ever growing relationship between these two and never feels like it’s there simply for titillation.

The ending is perfect, the epilogue a glimpse into a future in which society embraces the differences instead of fearing them and that’s a world I’d love to live in.

Oh, and Noah and Lincoln were absolutely brilliant, such a riot and a pairing which, on the surface never should have worked, but in practice, absolutely did.

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