When I was a child, Little Red Riding Hood was my favorite fairy tale. I liked it so much, my mother sewed a Halloween costume for me, consisting of a red skirt and matching cape, which I wore with a white blouse. Off I'd go on Halloween evening, with my trick or treat basket over my arm.
As an adult romance reader, I'm always drawn to stories that draw from fairy tales, esp. those that involve werewolves. Today I'm featuring an excerpt from a new fairy tale romance by Rebekah Ganiere, a fellow member of Orange County RWA.
by Rebekah R. Gamiere
What if you were the key to an ancient prophecy that would begin to heal your lands, but fulfilling your destiny meant you had to turn your back on everything you'd been taught to believe in? Redlynn of Volkzene, member of the Sisterhood of Red, is heartbroken to discover another girl kidnapped and her best friend slain by werewolves. Defying the head of her order, she sets out to kill the beast she believes responsible. The King of the Weres-- But there are worse things in Wolvenglen Forest than the wolves.
Adrian, reluctant heir to the throne of Wolvenglen, and his band of wolf brothers are bound to protect the humans; especially the Sisterhood. Finding Redlynn unconscious in his woods awakens in him a passion he's never before experienced and a protective instinct that has him ready to turn on his own men. Problem is, a female is the last thing Adrian needs complicating his life.
But all is not as it seems in Wolvenglen Forest and to save the missing girls before time runs out, Redlynn and Adrian must move past their inner demons and learn to trust each other. In the search for vengeance however, sometimes you must give up what you desire most.
Red The Were Hunter won 2nd Place in the Hook, Line and Sinker Contest and is a current finalist in the Great Beginnings Contest.
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks.
Click here to view the video book trailer
Redlynn whipped her head from side to side. Where am I? Pain exploded in her neck; she tried to reach up with her left arm, but it was pinned to her stomach. It'd been strapped in place by a strip of red cloth. Why am I half-naked? Her tunic and cloak were gone. So was her locket. Redlynn looked around frantically for her locket. Pain hit her in waves, confusing her and forcing her to breathe deeply. She refused to cry.
Trying to process her surroundings, the fight with the Were flooded back to her. Shockingly, it seemed she wasn’t dead, she was alive, and in someone's very richly furnished bedroom. She wiped at her face with her right hand, her vision muddled.
Stone walls surrounded the large, mahogany, four-poster bed she lay upon. Dark, heavy curtains were partially drawn at the end of the bed. On either side, two ancient and beautiful nightstands held ornately carved glass oil lamps. A fire crackled, its golden glow peeking in the gaps of the curtains.
Redlynn maneuvered herself to the side of the bed and set her feet on the floor. It was colder than her wooden planks at home. Slowly she scooted off the downy mattress, and tried to steady herself on one of the posts. She weakened, the blood draining from her head, her legs wobbling beneath her.
On the floor lay her cloak. She stooped to pick it up, but lost her balance. At the last minute, she braced herself on the stone wall and avoided its colliding with her face. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself once more and slowly reached down for the cloak, pressing herself into the stone for support. It took her several minutes to get the clasps buckled so that she was covered almost to her waist.
By the time she finished, her body shook like she'd tried to pull a wagon by herself. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to clear her mind and listen for sounds. A faint rhythmical buzzing came from somewhere near the fire. Pushing past the end of the bed, she saw a large man asleep at a table.
His head was tilted to the side and long, wavy black hair fell over his eyes and chiseled features. His large and strong form was set with broad shoulders and a powerfully built frame. He'd fallen asleep in his linen shirt and breeches, with his boots still on. A flutter settled in her stomach, the same surge of adrenaline she got before a fight. He was snoring. What was he doing there?
Confused, Redlynn wasn't sure if it was her fighting instincts kicking in, or something else all together. Part of her wanted to know what his lips would feel like on hers. Another part wanted to run.
What the hell is wrong with you? You'd think you'd never seen a man before. She swallowed hard. She hadn't. Not a man like him.
She searched for an exit and found it to the far left of the room. The sleeping man didn't look like he was guarding her, but why would he be in the same room with her, if he weren't? She scanned the room for her things. Her pack, bow and quiver were nowhere to be found. If she were going to break out, she needed a weapon.
On the table lay a tray with an empty plate, a knife, fork and spoon. Redlynn inched toward the knife. The closer she got to him, the more drawn she was to him. She stopped, a foot from the table.
Keep it together! He's only a man, and obviously your guard. For all you know, he could be a murderer!
She slid her good hand across the polished wooden surface. As she reached for the knife, her collarbone burned with pain. She stumbled, tripping over her cloak and crashing into the plate.
The man was up in an instant. Rising, his chair clattered to the ground. Redlynn grabbed hold of the knife and held it out in front of herself, backing away. It took him a moment to comprehend what was going on. He stared at her, not moving. She shook like a rabbit. He had golden eyes.
“Your . . . your eyes,” she whispered.
“What's wrong with them?”
“They . . . They're gold.”
“No . . . No, they aren't.” She shook her head. “They're golden… just like—”
“Like yours,” he murmured.
Redlynn nodded, her head fuzzy, and her knees wobbly. She blinked several times. His eyes were brown. They had golden flecks in them, but they were definitely brown.
“You've had a bad wound. You should rest.”
“I have to leave. I have something I need to do.”
“Do you remember what happened?”
“Where am I?”
“Who in their right mind would live in Wolvenglen? Don't you know there are Weres out here?”
“Please, put down the knife.” He motioned to the knife Redlynn had forgotten she was pointing at him.
She glanced at it and weighed it in her hand. It was solid. Her hunting knife was larger, but she could make do with it if need be.
“Where are my things? I need to go.”
“Hanna, our healer, will bring them in the morning when she comes to check on you, and bring you a change of clothes.”
Still holding the knife, she reached up and touched her collarbone, underneath her cloak. A bandage covered the wound. It was tender. Peeling it away, she assessed what she could see of the damage.
“I wouldn’t do that,” he warned.
Redlynn gave him a hard stare and went back to inspecting the wound. She stuck her fingers in the salve and rolled it between her thumb and forefinger, smelling it.
“Comfrey and calendula.” Pulling at the green leaves, she winced as they ripped a piece of skin and seeped. Smelling the leaves, she put them in her mouth and chewed them before spitting them out. “Fernblend. Did she do that?”
“No, I did.”
“Don't you know you have to keep it wet?”
“I thought saving your life was more important,” he bit back. “You were in bad shape when I found you.”
“Well when I scrub it off, I am going to wish I were dead. Where did you find me, anyway?”
“Listen.” He took a deep breath. His eyes softened and his voice gentled. “I was trying to help you. It was one of the few things I remember my mother teaching me about herbs.”
“Your mother's a healer?”
“Was. Now, will you please lie down before you pass out? You lost a lot of blood.”
“I've had worse,” Redlynn lied. “I need to get my things and be on my way.”
“You need to rest. You can barely hold that knife, let alone walk through the forest.”
“I'll be fine.”
He stepped out of her way. “Very well. You are free to leave.” He motioned to the door.
Was this a joke? Was he really going to let her go? Gripping the knife, she took several steady steps toward the exit before her knees buckled. He caught her around the waist, sending a shockwave of tingles through her body.
His musky scent mixed in her nostrils and her head lightened again. His body wasn't just warm, it was hot; he was a fire in his own right.
“Let go,” she said softly.
“I was merely keeping you from further injuring yourself.”
His light blue tunic opened in a “v” and his chiseled, hairless chest peaked out beneath. Her eyes locked with his. He hadn't shaved in a day or two; the whiskers looked ruggedly good on him. His face wore an expression she'd never seen aimed at her before. Desire. The butterflies in her stomach danced and spun. His face was so close as he studied her features.
“Please, let go,” she choked.
Rebekah is an award winning author. Her first novel Dead Awakenings debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, will be published May 1, 2014. Her trilogy The Society will be released in early 2015 by Kensington's Lyrical Press.
Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on Savvy Authors.com and in her local SCV Writers group, or hanging out with her husband, four children and dog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, three tortoises and a handful of fish. The escaped snake has yet to be found.
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What's your favorite classic fairy tale? Leave a comment below.