Don’t you just love a good fairytale retelling? Today I have this gorgeous book to share with you, along with an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a print copy of this stunner!
Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon a Princess #1)
Publication Date: January 2016
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Historical Fantasy/ Romance
For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.
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Rose saves a surprised prince from a fairy attack and while she makes a new friend, Theo grows suspicious of him.
Rose grinned at the power of her sword. Titania had said she was worthy of such a sword, and the sword had come through for her.
“I must thank you. You saved my life.”
The guard behind her stood up as she turned around to face him. He pulled off his own visor.
She nearly gasped.
Rose was glad her own visor was still in place; he was undeniably the most handsome man she had ever seen. His intensely hazel eyes peered out at her through thick lashes, while the wind caressed his copper hair. A beard, a shade darker, was sprouting slowly but stubbornly on his cheeks and chin. She took in the rest of him in a quick second; he was tall, but only a few inches taller than her; his shoulders were wide and capable, obviously built for battle and, in later years, consulting on weighty matters. Rose judged him to be between five and ten years older than herself; at least a couple older than Theo, she decided.
Realizing he could tell she was openly staring, she quickly put her sword away. “No thanks needed,” she assured him.
“I disagree.” The man looked around as only a few of the others began to stir, while the others would never wake again. “All of my guards were overcome, and you were the only person standing between me and certain death.”
“Your guards?” Rose asked.
“Oh. Yes.” The man reached out an empty hand. “Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am Prince Philippos, from the kingdom of Einish.”
Rose shook his hand. “Nice to meet you.” She reached up and pulled off her helmet. “Princess Aurora of Rhone.”
Shock crossed his face, but Rose would never find out what he was most surprised by–her beauty, skill, name, or how he suddenly had a life-debt to an heir of another nation–as two other figures came barreling through the bushes.
“My Lady!” Sophia panted, shining in her own, recently refurbished armor. Her weapon of choice, a large battle axe, parried with the low-hanging branches of the surrounding trees as she came to a halt.
Rose turned to face the other fighter, not even needing to see him to know it was Theo. “You were a bit late,” she greeted him.
He took a moment to look from her to the prince and back again. And then he pushed up his own visor. “You know me, Rosary. I had to say my prayers.”
“A priest and his prayers.” Rose rolled her eyes before turning back to Sophia. “Sophie, run and get the healer’s potions; see if Mary will come to help with the carriage.” As Sophia ran off, Rose turned back to the prince.
“I’d heard tales of the exiled princess of Rhone,” he said carefully, “but I never expected them to be true.”
Rose smirked. “We’ll see what’s true and what’s not. I suppose you headed to the palace as well?”
“Prince Philippos … one of the suitors my father has been calling for, no doubt,” Rose surmised.
“Yes. Please call me Philip.” His eyes glittered with mirth. “My company and I have been traveling for several days. We had hopes of arriving in time for the princess’ seventeenth birthday–your birthday, My Lady.”
“Don’t worry about the formalities, either, Philip. I saved your life. Call me Rose,” she offered.
“Rose–” Theo interrupted her and then stopped.
“What is it, Theo?” she asked, surprised to see he was wearing a steely expression. Is he sick?
“Uh, please excuse me. I wish to help the others.”
Rose was uncertain about his mood, but knew there was nothing to be done about it. She would have to confront him about it later, she decided. “You’re excused,” she said.
“Thank you,” Theo said brusquely, before he turned and headed over to check the men.
“You might not want to be so informal,” Philip told her as Theo walked away. “Some people would be too shocked by it.”
“I’d wager that’s their own problem, then.”
“I didn’t think princesses were supposed to place bets on anything,” he replied jovially.
She laughed and asked, “Just what do you know about princesses? Weren’t you the one who just told me that you didn’t think the tales about me were true?”
Philip could not resist a grin of his own. “Well, you have me there, My La–Rose.”
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For your chance to win a paperback copy of Beauty’s Curse, click on the link below!
About the Author
C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me
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