ONCE UPON A PRINCESS TRIO
by Deborah A. Bailey
Formula for Fairy Tale Love:
1 Adventurous Heroine + 1 Tortured-But-Noble Hero = Happily-Ever-After
For all the innate complications involved in finding the secret to blissful fairy-tale love with shapeshifters, three wise and discerning princesses trust their hearts instead of their eyes and fall in love with the unlikeliest of princes.
"Heart of Stone": Leesa trespasses into a haunted palace, where she meets a gargoyle. Breaking the spell that cursed him may carry a price steeper than she's able…or willing…to pay.
"Beauty & the Faun": Kayla flees an arranged marriage and falls for a faun shifter instead. But how can she ignore her duty by refusing to marry a prince?
"Land of Dreams:" Cicely knows she possesses magical ability. Falling in love with the courageous, self-sacrificing Willem may be the key to her awakening…or may unleash forces that will separate them forever.
Paranormal fairy-tale inspired romance
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Beauty & the Faun
He smiled as he covered her with the blanket. "You should know that I normally don't find beautiful young maidens in the forest after midnight either. Especially naked ones," he said. "You are a maiden, aren't you?"
It took a few seconds for her to catch his meaning, and when she did, heat spread across her face. Kayla pulled the blanket up so that it rested just below her chin. "Yes, I am."
A smile spread across his full lips, completely disarming her. "Ah, then. I was right. It will be a very lucky gentleman who tastes you for the first time."
Now the heat was cutting a path downward, waking up a feeling that she'd never experienced before. Was this some enchantment?
Del leaned closer and kissed her cheek. "You have a fire, my lady. Whoever wins your heart and ignites your passion will be at your mercy."
"What…what do you mean, sir?" Why was she trembling all of a sudden?
He laughed. "Nothing is by chance. Perhaps you and I met for just such a purpose."
"Are you saying…you're saying that you will ignite my passion? You think highly of yourself, sir." She gripped the blanket just in case he thought about pulling it off her.
"Stop fighting so hard to be insulted," he said. "Here in the Great Forest, we enjoy life and love. Good night, Kayla."
"Where are you going?" she asked. How dare he say those things then walk away!
"Downstairs. I was on my way to a party before we met. I'll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams."
Heart of Stone
Leesa headed up the stairs and stopped at the 2nd floor landing. Eduardo and Erokan's rooms had been on this floor. Dust was everywhere, but otherwise the furnishings were just as they'd been left. Varmont's bedroom, private study and library were on the 3rd floor. Most likely he would've hidden some of his valuables there. She went upstairs to check. The doors to the Duke's room, study and library were open. But the fourth door was closed. The treasure room, perhaps?
She opened the door and stepped inside. Strangely, this room wasn't as dusty as the others.
The air was heavy with perfume. Across from the door was a folding screen decorated with blue and yellow flowers. Behind it she could make out the base of a claw-foot tub.
To her surprise, the entire room had a feminine feeling, from the huge bed covered with blush pink coverlets and plush furs to the gold-trimmed white furniture. Even the jewel-encrusted skylight above her had its own beauty, reflecting colorful sprinkles of light over the pale stone walls.
A white cabinet with glass doors caught her attention. The shelves held glass bottles of different shapes and sizes. Some had liquids inside, others were empty. What were these? Perfumes? Or maybe potions.
The Duke used magic. Maybe this was where he'd kept his enchantments. Would they be worth anything? Possibly. But just as Leesa reached out to open the cabinet, the door slammed behind her.
Startled, she spun around. She was alone. Who had closed it? Leesa ran to the door and gripped the handle, expecting the door to open as easily as it had when she'd come in. But it didn't. She pulled and banged on it, but it wouldn't budge.
She was locked in.
Land of Dreams
Cicely kneeled down in the grass. "I've met other gargoyle shifters. But I've never seen one shift. Can you show me?"
"What? You want to see it…now?" Maybe if he tried hard enough, he could ignore how the lightweight linen fabric was hugging her body. Leaving nothing to the imagination at all.
"If you don't mind."
"I don't mind. I just haven't done it in front of anyone before." If Cicely was repulsed, what would he do?
"I'm sorry for being so forward, Willem. Don't do it if you'd rather not."
"It's no problem. I don't mind."
He closed his eyes and imagined himself in his gargoyle body, then he let the transformation overtake him. The familiar feeling of skin stretching and his body rearranging itself to accommodate a taller, more muscular frame. When it was done, he felt his leathery wings unfurling and he knew it was complete. Lifting off was easy, even out of the water. Soaring up and avoiding the tree limbs was another thing, but he didn't intend to go too high.
When he landed next to her, he touched down so gently he barely made a sound. "Is that what you wanted to see?" he asked.
She was still kneeling, her mouth open - in fright, or wonderment? He wasn't sure.
"Willem, your wings are so large," she remarked. "And your skin is like marble. How does that feel?"
He shrugged. "Not much different, I suppose. Though gargoyle skin is tougher and thicker."
"You're like a statue come to life." She smiled. "Thank you for showing me."
"You're not afraid?" he asked.
"Why would I be?"
Gargoyles weren't foreign to her, or scary. That was a relief, at least. "Can I change back now?"
She laughed. "Of course. You're so lucky you can do that. Become what you want when you want."
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Deborah A Bailey's Paranormal & Science Fiction Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat. Her books include the Hathor Legacy science fiction romance series and several paranormal romance novellas.
Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers' Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. She's the author of non-fiction books, and articles for various online publications.
Visit her site https://dbaileycoach.com/brightbooks for more information and subscribe to the newsletter here: https://eepurl.com/bokGdX so you'll be the first to find out about giveaways, book launches and sneak peeks.
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Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/deborahannbailey