Next week, July 24th, my fairytale retell releases. While Beauty Sleeps, is my take on Sleeping Beauty. If Beauty had a different sort of curse, and four princes. It has a reverse harem twist, of course, because I love those.
Now, just for you, here is a teaser of the story. I hope you enjoy it! (Click the cover for buy links;))
“Kumiko.” This prince’s voice was a smooth baritone. He probably cultivated the tone—watched car commercials and repeated phrases, “Best in class…off-road towing.” Perhaps as a child, he’d been enchanted by a good fairy with a voice so perfect it seduced his listener.
Sort of like the way my face had been enchanted to keep people away from me…
“Kumiko,” Prince Hideto said again—he loved to repeat my name, “these past days spent with you have been…” He appeared to search for the word and I rested my chin in my hand, staring at him through the glass. He was so handsome with his dark eyes and broad shoulders. And that voice. In the past week, I’d often closed my eyes just so I could listen to the cadence of his voice.
Hideto couldn’t see me. None of the princes who arrived at my home could see my face until I showed it to them.
Well. Let’s just say, the evil witch who’d cursed me did a fantastic, and thorough, job.
“…amazing.” I’d forgotten Hideto hadn’t finished his sentence, but now I let out a groan of disappointment. Amazing? I’d hoped for more. Not even his voice could mask the tone of falsity. He was lying.
Next to the glass was an intercom and I pressed the button that would allow him to hear me. “Amazing?” I asked. “How so?” I bit my lip, and behind me, my older sister Miori gave a long suffering sigh.
“Why are you encouraging him?” she asked.
“Shh! Let’s see what he comes up with,” I said. Maybe he’d surprised me.
“Just tell him to leave,” Fuyumi droned. Next to me, she stuck out her tongue at the prince. With one word, he’d gone from having potential, to being yet another liar in a long line of liars. “Haven’t you seen him posing when he thinks we aren’t here?”
I hadn’t, but still, I flapped my hand at her. “Shut up!”
“I haven’t seen your face,” Hideto went on, oblivious to our decision. “But each word we speak to each other only shows me how beautiful you are. The curse won’t keep me from you. It won’t keep me from seeing who you truly are.” His dark-eyed gaze traveled over the mirror as if he searched for me.
In that instant, when he spoke about seeing who I was, who I truly was, the fight went out of me.
“Right.” I smoothed down the pretty skirt I’d chosen to wear today and stood. A waste of a nice outfit.
“You’re not going to just foist it on him, are you?” Fuyumi asked, but I was already moving.
With a yank, I opened the door that was hidden cleverly in the wall next to the mirror. Then I stood in it, framed like a spotlight illuminated me, and smiled at the horrified prince. “And what do you see, Hideto?”
The beautiful prince with the beautiful voice paled as his gaze raked me from head to foot. Part of me wished I knew what he saw when he looked at me, but another part was glad I didn’t.