It is out! The Wicked Prince Charming Collection is now at its first ball. The release features my sister authors Blue Saffire, Tiya Rayne, KT Adler, and myself.
I am so excited to see your reactions and a bit concerned, as we are hoping you will be able to function after encountering our wicked, wicked fairy tales. *Wink*
Let me share below the delicious summary and a snippet from my own Wicked Charming Tale, The Cursed.
I don’t want a Happily Ever After. I want a normal life. At the moment, I just want to capture a thief, but the ceiling has caved in. The violet gaze of a stranger and all my hopes of a normal life are blown away.
Ratnik Radu Vadija
As Ratnik, I, Radu Vadija live by a code carved in stone for the survival of my people. The hunt for a traitor has led me to clash with a sharp tongue harpy, whose delectable figure is far more distracting than it should be. Especially when she’s suspected of helping the traitor.
Neither of us are prepared for the attraction that burns between us even as the flames of war are stirred by an unseen hand.
My family’s secret may bring happiness or plunge everything I love into flames.
Will she destroy my life as I know it, or will this Sleeping Beauty be a story retold?
ℂ𝕒𝕡𝕥𝕦𝕣𝕖 𝔸 𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕖𝕗
I turn off the lights on my bike. My jeans feel tight from the long ride. Lifting a hand, I brush my tight curls from my forehead. Nothing beats a good ride on my Ducati motorcycle. Dismounting, I stare at the house a few feet away.
The night is a gray one as clouds drift slowly across the sky. I lick my dry lips. I hadn’t expected it to be so easy to find my target.
Settling my helmet on the seat, I walk around the back of my bike, my boots clicking on the cement. Pulling the latch up, I look inside my goody bag with a happy smile.
“What will be our toy of choice tonight?” I mumble under my breath, as I dig inside. I push aside nunchucks and two short blades. I pause with my hand over a short staff. Clicking my tongue, I grab it, close my bag, and make sure the latch shuts.
A buzzing sound fills the air. I reach into my back pocket and pull my phone out, looking at the name on the display. I release an annoyed sigh and answer. “Hello, big sister.”
“Don’t hello me. Where the fuck are you, Deci?”
“Following a friend.”
She grunts. “Lie. You’re trying to find that ass again, aren’t you?”
I shrug, knowing she can’t see it. “Maybe.”
Silence meets that answer. I should’ve known she’d notice my absence. The La Morta family always gathers on the new moon to honor the ancestors. The cursed ancestors.
“Mom’s not going to be happy with your absence. You’ve already missed three other family get togethers.”
“Well, tell her I’m trying to break the curse, maybe that’ll settle her for like an hour,” I say sarcastically as I make my way up the long driveway. “After all, she swears us finding the prince will bring happiness.”
“You know she means marrying—” A voice in the background pulls her attention for a second. “Lacey wants me to tell you that she’s pissed that you left her here to suffer Aunt Rosa’s raisin potato salad.”
“Tell her to save me some so I can suffer later.”
“She said, will do. Deci, be careful, all right?”
“Don’t worry about me, you know I can take care of myself.”
“Right, but what if there’s a needle? Will you be okay?”
I ignore my immediate reaction to her words, the pit in my stomach growing. “I have everything under control.”
“Right… just don’t get picked up by the police. Mom will have your ass.”
I hang up, not interested in the rest she’s going to say. My sister, Astro, is like my mom in thinking that one day, one of us three sisters will be the first to bring an end to the La Morta curse. According to them, we’re doomed to suffer the same sudden ailment as some character from some fairytale, all because some great-grandfather couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
My sisters and I are jokingly called the Grimm sisters among our cursed relatives because we carry a far more powerful version of the curse. It doesn’t help that our mother is the only one known to have almost broken her curse. Either way, I don’t find it funny; especially given the fact that if a so-called prince charming doesn’t save me, I can go from sleep to death. Since I was young, I’ve gone out of my way to be the complete opposite of the curse. Which is why I’m here doing this on my own.
I climb the steps and I draw my hand back to knock hard on the door. “Hello,” I yell. Nothing but the sound of creaking wood and floorboards. “Yo, Craig, I know you’re inside. Come on out, we need to talk.”
No answer, I shouldn’t be surprised. Taking a step back, I brace myself and lift my foot. I slam it into the door. I do it again. “Craig, come out,” I shout, not caring if the rest of the neighborhood hears me. I’d been looking for the man who’d stolen from me, and I know he’s here.
Lowering my foot with a huff, I look around the front of the house. “Ah, there we go.” I spot an open window to the right and stuff my short staff in my back pocket, crossing the front porch. I wriggle my fingers under the window and slowly push it up, grunting a bit as it sticks.
I mutter a curse when I realize it isn’t going any higher and straighten to give the street a look before leaning back to see if the neighbors have noticed me. Seeing they’re safely inside, I get back to work sneaking in.
I squeeze my not so small body into the crack I made and wriggle inside. Trying to hold back from making noise, I lean forward so my hands land flat on the dust covered floor. I pull myself further inside the room, ignoring the pain of having my stomach flattened against the windowsill.
That damn idiot Craig has me crawling through windows. I should’ve listened to Dennell, my assistant at the fight studio. He told me not to hire the town druggy, but it had been my attempt at showing a good heart. After all, Craig had gone to high school with us and it felt shitty to see him begging.
However, I miscalculated, Craig’s issue wasn’t using drugs but selling them. And he’d eagerly used my studio as a site for selling his garbage until I caught him handing a bag to Markey, a sixteen-year-old my sister Lacey has been working with at the shelter.
He’d begged for forgiveness, only to steal the money I’d been saving up for the kids that come to my studio. I had plans to take them to Florida to a see a real MMA fight. Those plans had been ruined by Craig’s thievery. I’m not going to let the fucker get away with it. After a week, I finally heard from someone just where to find him.
I flip on to my back once I’m fully inside and stare at the ceiling. I kind of wish they’d held off on giving me the information. If they had, I wouldn’t be here lying on this dusty floor.
Dust enters my throat and I start to cough. I roll onto my side and push up, only to find myself looking at the end of a muzzle. Blinking, I realize the one holding the gun is Craig.
Where the heck did he even come from?
“Now… let’s think this through, Craig.”
His gaze is bright with panic as he stares down at me and his hand holding the gun trembles. “You shouldn’t have come, Deci.” He jerks his eyes from me to the ceiling, then the door, before he returns them to me. “I… I was gonna return the money.”
Inwardly freaking out, I slowly shift my upper body higher. “Craig, put the gun down.”
He shakes his head frantically as he motions at me with his gun. “Don’t move. You don’t understand. They’re coming. I don’t have time,” he grits out. His skin is pale like a ghost. With his free hand, he swipes at the sweat that covers his upper lip.
Whoever they are have Craig terrified. As I desperately don’t want to get shot, I try to inquire softly to find out what he needs. There goes my whole badass, tomb raider scenario. “C… Craig, tell me who’s they?”
Right as his lips part to tell me, an ear-splitting crash fills the house, the walls begin to vibrate as whatever caused the initial noise draws closer. For a moment, both Craig and I are frozen like deer. Craig surprisingly recovers faster than I do.
His whole body shakes like he’s been dumped into a bucket of ice. His gaze is wild, and his hands shake with terror. He takes an uncertain step toward me.
“Deci.” His voice comes out weak, breathless even.
Seeing him lower the gun, I get to my feet and put distance between us. I reach for my short staff, only to find it’s not there. I freak out. I must have lost it coming through the window.
My heart races as I search for something, anything to help me not to get shot—aside from the choice to run at him to get the gun away from him. Running a gym with fighters doesn’t suddenly make me Jet Li. That man’s entire routine of Wu Chu martial arts won’t mean anything if Craig fires that gun.
“Look Craig, let me help you. I can—”
The ceiling falls in. Releasing a scream, I throw myself back, covering my head as debris falls all around us. I fall hitting the floor hard. My back stings as I lower my arms slightly to see what happened. My view is completely blocked by… wings?
In mute shock, I draw my eyes along the soft purple-colored dragon-like, leathery wings that pulse as the guy who owns them gives a small shiver. I move my gaze down to a tight behind wrapped in leather pants. Now isn’t the time to appreciate the well-rounded ass in front of me. An aura of power rolls off the being, who seems completely oblivious to my presence.
“Xzith, you’ve been difficult to find.” His voice causes my stomach to flip. If I imagined a dragon to speak, this is the voice I would expect. It’s deep, sounding as if the man is talking from the depth of a tunnel. “Our Lord isn’t pleased.”
Craig releases a whimper like a whipped puppy. “P… please,” he begs, his body is almost completely blocked from my sight by the mammoth that stands between us. I can only see his legs, and they’re shaking. “I… I can explain. I had no choice.”
Mr. Mammoth doesn’t seem to agree with Craig’s way of thinking. If that isn’t made clear by the deep belly growl he releases, he says, “All Drakin have a choice. You choose to help a traitor.” He takes a step forward and I quickly realize he means to attack Craig who’s still shaking like a leaf. “You cared nothing for the young or their mothers and so you will pay.”
The shock falls away. While I think Craig is the scum of the earth, I can’t watch him be beaten by this… this. I don’t know what he is, but he looks like he’s about to beat Craig to death. I, being the stupid person I am, jump to my feet without thought and run toward the man.
I wrap my arms around his waist as best I can, considering his wings are in the way.
“What… release me female.”
A loud noise erupts and he lurches in my arms. The smell of gunpowder burns my nose as the sound of feet running away becomes the death blow of my stupid decision. I widen my eyes as I realize what has happened.
Craig—being the scum he is—fired the gun. With excruciatingly slowness, Mr. Big turns his head. Meeting my own gawking stare, his gaze burns into mine. My heart stops at the anger in his orbs. His bright eyes are an astonishing violet color, almost purple.
I awkwardly unwrap my arms and try to retreat, but he’s faster. He half turns and grabs my wrist; the force of his strength causing me to cry out.
“Ouch. L… let go.” I struggle. I could kick his ankle and use a dozen little tricks, but the idea of hitting a guy who’s just had a bullet put in him because of me rankles. “Stop.”
He ignores my struggle and drags me close as he turns fully to face me. The wound from the gunshot is obvious as blood oozes from the gaping hole. I’d thought he was impressive from behind, but up close he’s a whole other story. His jaw looks as if it has been carved from granite. His looks are dark, like a prince from a dark fairytale.
“Human female,” he grits out from between his teeth. “You lost me my prey.”
I have done some pretty stupid stuff in my youth, but this has to take the cake. The minute I’m a forearm distance away from him, he bares his teeth. Jesus. He has fangs, fangs that he seems to be eager to use to rip my throat out.
My heart sounds like a Harley Davidson engine in my ears. I lick my dry lips. “Look I’m sorry for that. I—” Before I can say another word, the door to the foyer bursts in, slamming onto the floor.
A man sans wings, with similar features—except his eyes are glowing the color of the moon—marches inside at high speed. “Radu,” he calls loudly, only to stop when he sees us.
I want to burst into tears, but I won’t because that would be something a princess like Beauty would do, and I’m not some helpless princess in distress. Instead, I have a mini inner breakdown.
“Who is this?” His eyes scan all around us, as if he’s searching for something, or more so, someone. “Where’s Xzith?”
My captor shakes his head, his eyes boring holes into mine. “Ran way. This human helped him. She must be his partner.”
Now wait a whole minute.
“I’m not that scum’s partner,” I snap, happy that my anger has managed to return to my voice.
He raises a single brow in doubt. “Because you would assist one who isn’t your partner?” The sarcasm is thick there, and yes, I’ll mentally admit he has a point.
“I only assisted him because you looked like you were going to kill him.”
“I was.” My lips part in surprise. I don’t know many killers, but the ones I know of wouldn’t admit it out-fucking-right. He dismisses me but keeps a painful hold on my wrist. “Branem, contact—”
I’ve grown up surrounded by people telling me my destiny and where my life would go. From day one, I made every effort to fight against it, figuratively and literally. So without much thought, I make my move.
Stepping forward, I jerk on his hold and with ease, I use my back to bump him slightly off his feet. Pulling as hard I can, I flip my would-be captor over my back, quickly retreating when his hold on my wrist loosens. A perfect example of my martial arts training for the last ten years.
God, the man is heavy. His friend, Branem, looks at me in shock. Taking the opportunity to run, I turn and race for the window. Not having time to crawl through it, I push myself forward through the glass. Crossing my arms before my face, the glass cuts into the sleeves of my leather as I smash through the window.
Landing on the porch, I push to my knees. Shards of glass fall, I give a quick shake getting the stragglers off my arms. I glance over my shoulder, catching the gawping stare of Branem. “See-ya.”
Running, I go down the steps and head for my bike. I grab my helmet and straddle the Ducati without pause. I turn the key. Lady luck is a hooker tonight, because the damn thing turns on with the first try. Without another thought, I’m off.
I will chock this entire experience up to my bad luck. Craig and dragon people? No, this is better shoved in the pretend it didn’t happen column. Sure, I know a few women who’d jump at being involved in something so otherworldly, but my family’s curse is enough for me.