A Cursed Princes Novella
by Marina Myles
Genre: Historical/Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: May 1, 2014
Word Count: 17,000
Giselle Swenov is a radiant opera star whose beauty is second only to her voice. That is, until a jealous enchantress strips away her talent and looks, transforms her into a mute and haggard old woman, and forces her to leave the man of her dreams at the altar on their wedding day. Now there’s only one person able to reverse the spell: Giselle’s warlock ex-fiancé, Lucian Ivanu.
But three years have passed, and the ever-dashing Lucian seems to have moved on―he’s inherited a vast fortune, forsaken his scandalous powers, and is even set to marry again. Will he recognize his former flame when she shows up at his engagement party and begs for help? Can she recover the powerful magic ring needed to break the curse before it’s too late? Giselle’s plight has a darker twist as she discovers just how far the enchantress’s grasp reaches…Excerpt:
Giselle Swenov adjusted her bridal veil with a smile. At the thought of marrying the most wonderful man in the world, her heart beat melodiously—and as Bucharest’s leading operatic protégé, she nearly belted out a glass-shattering note, too.
Restraining herself, she cracked open the dressing room door and stare into the chapel. She knew her family members wouldn’t be in attendance, but she scoured the pews for them anyway. From day one, her mother and father had disapproved of her groom. What was they’d said? “Are you mad, Giselle? Lucian Ivanu is socially inferior—and his connection to the Dark Arts means he isn’t right for you.”
Giselle’s pulse leapt as she glimpsed Lucian at the altar. Ironically, he looked nothing like a warlock. With flowing white-blond hair, gray eyes that reminded her of storm clouds over the Black Sea, and a knee-buckling grin, he resembled a prince ready to sweep her off her feet.
Although Giselle wanted to stare at him all day, she shut the door before he saw her in her bridal gown. She refused to let bad luck seep into their wedding ceremony.
“You look beautiful, my dear,” Ileana Zǎpǎda, Bucharest National Opera’s premier patron, called out behind her.
“Thank you Doamna Zǎpǎda,” she replied anxiously. At least Ileana was here to help, unlike her mother.
“Come,” the elegant woman urged. “Take a final look at yourself as an unmarried woman.”
Giselle swiveled around to survey her appearance in the mirror. Cascading golden-brown curls framed her carefully made-up face and a sense of optimism lit her eyes. She had become the bride she’d envisioned as a girl and she could hardly contain her excitement.
“You look a stunning.” Ileana Zǎpǎda stepped in beside her and met her gaze in the mirror. “But
you are a little pale.”
“Nerves, I suppose.” Letting out a self-conscious laugh, Giselle studied Doamna Zǎpǎda. Her refinement spoke of the lofty social standing Giselle’s family wished she would reach. She winced.
“Sit with me and have some tea,” the socialite proposed. “Tea studied my nerves before I married my second husband.”
Giselle swept her train off the floor and settled into a chair at a small table. While she laid her bridal bouquet in her lap, Ileana poured two steaming cups.
“Why are you being so nice to me, Doamna Zǎpǎda?” Giselle asked as she accepted the tea cup.
The woman sighed. “It broke my heart to learn that your parents disowned you. Word spreads quickly through the opera house—and because I’m a mother hen to all my celebrated singers, I knew you’d need some moral support on your wedding day.”
“You must be a loving mother to your own children,” Giselle said gently.
Ileana’s expression turned icy. “I never had children of my own. I have a stepdaughter, but we aren’t particularly close.”
“Well, I sincerely appreciate your help.” Giselle smiled. “Clasping the buttons on the back of my dress would have been impossible on my own.”
As she sipped her tea, her entire body warmed instantly and she began to perspire. I must be more nervous than I thought…
Ileana went on. “I greatly admire your vocal talent, Giselle. I also admire your extraordinary beauty. Unfortunately, I’m about to sabotage both of those exceptional attributes.”
Alarm pierced through Giselle. She tried to protest but before she could speak a word, her throat burned as if she’d ingested hot coals. She clawed at it while Ileana studied her the way a snake zeroes in on its prey. Giselle tried to extend her hand, but her limbs prickled with pain. In an instant, her skin shriveled dramatically and her knuckles became hideously gnarled.
“Poor, unknowing girl.” Ileana stood over her. “I’m an enchantress of the Dark Arts and I slipped
an accursed potion into the tea pot when you weren’t looking.”
Giselle opened her mouth to scream, but no sound escaped her lips. With great effort, she crawled to the mirror like an invalid and stared at her reflection. My God! I’m a mute, old woman!
Heart stuttering, she managed to pull herself to her feet. She flung open the door and entered the chapel. All heads jerked in her direction. When she locked eyes with Lucian, he stared at her in astonishment yet without an ounce of recognition.
All hope evaporated from her body as he thundered, “Is that woman wearing my bride’s dress? Somebody find Giselle!”
“The hag must be playing a cruel joke!” a guest accused.
“Escort her outside,” Lucian roared to an usher.
A burly man took Giselle by the arm and dragged her out the front door. Once he disappeared back into the church, another strong arm grabbed her unexpectedly and thrust her inside an awaiting carriage.
Giselle quaked with terror as she stared at the enormous man hovering over her.
“I work for Ileana.” He grunted. “She commands that you become her servant woman—until she grows tired of you and decides to turn you back into your normal self.”
Giselle made another futile attempt to cry out.
The henchman crossed his arms and shook his head. “You won’t be talking, singing, or screaming for a very long time, Miss Swenov. That should make for a quiet ride to Dantel House.”
Let's Learn a Little About Marina Myles!
What is your writing environment? I write on my lap top at my dining room table. I have a desk top upstairs, but I’m closer to everything downstairs…including the refrigerator!
Who is your perfect hero and why? My perfect hero is one who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Don’t get me wrong. I love my dark, brooding, tortured heroes. They’re definitely sexy in their own right, but I really like my hero in A WARLOCK’S DANCE. Lucian Ivanu is charming, self-deprecating, and funny.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why? I LOVE Kate Morton. Her books evoke a type of magic in writing that seems to have fallen away until now. She captures everything so artfully, including settings hauntingly described and characters filled with heart-wrenching emotion.
What type of book have you always wanted to write? I’ve always strived to write the ultimate love story. This goal stems from my fascination with the movie, Somewhere in Time. It feeds off the power of love and how love can transcend time.
Top 3 things on your bucket list? #1 -To go to the Grand Hotel where Somewhere in Time was filmed. #2 – Go to Italy with my husband where he was born. #3 – See my children grow up happy and healthy.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel? It’s inspired by the classic fairy tale ballet Swan Lake – with elements of The Little Mermaid thrown in. From Swan Lake, I used the idea that someone’s true identity may be hidden under a false exterior. From The Little Mermaid, I drew from the angst of a heroine whose beautiful singing voice is stolen.
What is your favorite scene in your new release? My favorite scene is the ending. Without giving away too much, retribution is gained!
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available? My second novella in the Cursed Princes series called CHRISTMAS AT THORNCLIFF TOWERS releases November 2014. It features characters from my first novel in the series, BEAUTY AND THE WOLF. And I’m about to turn in CINDERELLA AND THE GHOST to my editor. It’s a magical time-travel novel which comes out February, 2015!!
What do you like to do when you are not writing? I love to read and spend time with my family.
What would you consider a perfect date? My perfect date (although it probably wouldn’t be my husband’s) is to have a nice dinner then browse a book store with a giant latte in hand.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know? I was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader during my college days.
Thank you so much for having me!!
About the Author:
Although Marina Myles lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she would reside in a historic manor house in foggy England if she had her way. Her love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale, and grew by leaps and bounds when she discovered Nancy Drew/Agatha Christie mysteries and rich, historical romances.
Dreaming of becoming a published author, she wrote her first ‘gothic’ story at age eleven. She went on to study creative writing at Southern Methodist University— where she received degrees in Communications and English Literature. During her time in Dallas, she had the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Now with her loyal Maltese close by, she relishes the hours she gets to escape into worlds filled with tortured heroes, strong heroines, and their fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs. She’s busy being a wife (to her Italian-born husband) and a mother (to her two beautiful daughters), but she is never too busy to hear from her amazing readers.
Represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency
Tour wide giveaway:
20 Free Downloads – ePub Form only from eKensington website US residents onlya Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour May 2-9
May 2 Guest blog
For the Passion of Romance
May 2 review
Booksniffer Book Reviews
May 2 Guest blog
Darkest Cravings - Adult Blog
May 5 Guest blog
Urban Fantasy Investigations
May 5 Interview
May 5 review
Sapphyria's Book Reviews
May 5 Spotlight
May 6 Guest blog
May 6 Guest blog
Fang Freakin' Tastic Reviews
May 6 Interview
May 7 Spotlight and review
Tower of Babel
May 7 Spotlight
All I Want and More
May 7 review
May 8 Character Interview
Bitten by Love Reviews
May 8 review
D'eBook Sharing Book Reviews
May 8 review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
May 9 Interview
May 9 Guest blog and review
May 9 Spotlight