Six years after the attack at her grandmother’s cottage, Blanchette still wilts at the sound of a wolf’s howl. The scent of pine rising from the Black Forest surrounding her home is a constant reminder of the beast’s assault and the injury it left on her finger. After years spent hiding away, Blanchette’s world tilts when she wakes–naked and without memory of the previous night–in the forest, instead of behind the safety of her closed shutters.
Since rescuing Blanchette and her grandmother, huntsman Heinrich has befriended her family by day, and keeps watch as a powerful wolf over his territory by night. Sinister otherworldly creatures constantly threaten his domain and the human village he protects.
When the emperor sends a hunter to investigate the attack and slay any inhuman beings, Heinrich must tread carefully and protect not only himself, but his newly-discovered mate, who prowls the moonlit nights alongside him. He must also determine who is responsible for a string of murdered villagers, proving he can control his lupine nature and offer protection to the village, rather than danger.
CONTENT WARNING: Vengeful fae, dark magic, vicious murder, moral quandaries, explicit sex, and tragic honor.
A Lyrical Press Fantasy Romance | Lyrical Press Once Upon
Series – Embracing Ever After
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Herr Kaismann’s soul-scouring gaze left Blanchette certain the man had memorized her every detail. He showed no regard for Herr Jaeger’s unconcealed aggression, yet an odd compassion in his gaze made her unsure whether or not he would inspire nightmares. Usually in her terrorizing dreams, strangers joined the wolf along the shaded woodland path where the flowers dripped fat drops of blood when she plucked them.
Breaking his stare and shifting his attention to Herr Jaeger, Herr Kaismann said, “I thought the girl was blond.”
“What?” Herr Jaeger asked, incredulous. “What does the color of Blanchette’s hair or your being some–” Herr Jaeger bit off whatever he had originally intended to say and glanced at her as if remembering she still clung to him. “What does any of this have to do with Fraulein Blanchette?”
Herr Kaismann folded his hands neatly before him. “The tales say Little Red Riding Hood was blond, and from everything I have seen, your Blanchette is the true Little Red Riding Hood.”
Herr Jaeger glanced at her, scowled, gray eyes igniting with the comforting protective anger of a man defending his woman. He shifted and turned on Herr Kaismann. “You speak of nothing more than a child’s tale. Do not harass our young women in its name.”
Only, it was true, at least in part. How had the man found her out of all the girls in the Holy Roman Empire? In the world? How had he realized she was the girl to whom the tales referred?
A thin smile turned Herr Kaismann’s lips. He stepped forward so less than a pace remained between the two men. “The emperor and I find the prospect of such simple stories being pure fancy rather…unbelievable. At the heart of every fable or children’s tale lies a grain of truth. In discovering it, we reveal the real danger. We cannot have man-eating wolves running loose, now can we?”
About the Author:
In elementary school, Laura Lee Nutt checked out every fairy tale in the library so often, if she picked something else, it was cause for curiosity. Even into adulthood, she nurtured her imagination with stories of fairies, true love, monsters, especially werewolves, and the fantastic, but she wondered what happened after “happily ever after.”
This curiosity and catching an illness one chill winter day brought her before a blank computer screen, desperately desiring to write something new. Heinrich, Blanchette, and Karl swiftly spun the tale you just read. Laura feverishly typed, barely fast enough to keep up.
Once Red and the Wolf was born, other stories coalesced in Laura’s mind, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, all asking the same questions: What might happen if the end of these tales wasn’t really the end? What were these characters’ lives really like after the harrowing events of the fairy tale? What if achieving true love and happiness required something extra? Thus came the idea for this series, Embracing Ever After, where achieving true love requires something special and happily ever after isn’t really the end.