Monday, April 4, 2016

Do You Want to be a Princess?

Hailie Ciomperlik via photopin (license)
Being a princess may seem like a cushy life--I mean, great clothes, sparkly tiaras, and a guy crushing on you so hard he'll chop down a forest of brambles for you (my beloved husband complains mowing the lawn). But there are serious drawbacks.

You have to earn your Happily Ever After.

For some princesses, that means cooking and cleaning for not one but seven guys, or eating bad fruit, or needing a good injury lawyer for a poorly manufactured spinning wheel.

For Cinderella, it means a whole decade of suffering abuse, scrubbing her fingers to the bone, name-calling, dressing in rags and being refused entry to the Prince's ball. Fortunately she has help in the form of a fairy godmother, mice, and a pumpkin.

In my modern retelling, this is no less true. Cin has to go through hell to earn her Prince. But she too has help, from her best friend, a mouse, and a pumpkin.

And the Glass Slipper? Well, you'll have to read Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love to find out :)

Be sure to read to the end to find out about my book tour! Great prizes.

What about you? Do you want to be a princess?

From award-winning bestselling author Mary Hughes comes a fairytale romance with a twist.

Cinderella hungers to escape from under Widow Wikkid's grinding thumb. But to snare a plum job at Prince Industries, Cin desperately needs her degree, and she can't wrap her mind around tax accounting.

Then scarred but sexy Rafe Montoya ignites her imagination with his brilliant tutoring—and, as they work together in his cozy apartment, he sets her body on fire. She thinks he's the one for her, until he starts pushing her to attend Gideon Prince's marriage-mart ball.

Rafe is really Gideon Prince, head of Prince Industries. He must name his bride by his April first birthday or suffer the loss of his family fortune.

Rumors say he's still single because women love his money and looks, not him. Is he lonely or just another duplicitous tycoon?

Hopefuls flock to Prince's birthday ball, but only the woman who is kind, wise, and generous will win his heart. Is it Cin, or will her stepmother, as she always does, snatch the prize for her own daughters?

And on the night of the ball, when Cin discovers Rafe’s true identity, can she even accept his final test?

Warning: Rags-to-riches fairytale meets the texting generation. Stepsisters who are a blush-brush shy of a full makeup set, and a ball gown built like a tank. Contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.

For anyone who has ever been persecuted or hidden their light under a bushel.


Enjoy this short excerpt from Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love. More on my giveaway at the end!

Cin stood outside N183 Downer Street and gazed up at the three-story brick building, stars twinkling around it like sparks of delight. Smiling, she checked the bent, worn card in her hand once more. Not that she needed to, not really. She’d memorized Rafe’s address in the week since seeing him last.
 Hell, it’d been seared into her memory the first instant she’d looked at it.

No, the reason she pulled the card out of her jeans this time and all the others was the tiny thrill, the swoop of her stomach, that greeted her seeing the pasteboard was real.

The card was real, Rafe’s apartment was real. It was all real. Her feelings were real and maybe his were real, too.

And she really was here…at Rafe’s apartment.

There were no stepsisters, no stepmothers, no customers, no children playing in the park. Just her and Rafe.

Alone together.

There went that trill of excitement again. She shushed it as she stuck the card in her pocket, reminding herself that he’d invited her here, not so they could kiss again, but to go over mock-hearing procedures.

But a gal could hope.

Rafe buzzed her in with a cheery, “Cin! so glad you could make it.”

His exuberance gave wings to her feet. She skipped double-time up the stairs, her heart tripping almost as fast.

Yes, she was here to study, but they would be alone with each other, could kiss.

Do even more.

Study comes first, she admonished herself. Work hard Cinderella. Be a good girl. Her mother’s teachings resonated down the years, chiding her. With only a month, Cin would need every second of coaching she could get.

But rebellion, for the first time, scratched at her nerves. As she knocked on the door of Rafe’s apartment, she didn’t want to put work first. She wanted to throw away plans and play with him.

The door flew open under her fist, revealing his infectious grin. She grinned back, knowing she must look like an idiot, but not caring.

“I’ve got everything ready.” He extended a hand for her coat as he waved her inside. “Snacks, caffeine, and my tripod’s set up so we can record you—all I have to do is clamp in my smartphone. By the time we’re done, you’re going to knock them dead.”

She handed him her coat. “I’d settle for knocking them impressed.”

As he hung her jacket next to his on a nail doubling as a hook, she stepped inside and looked around the apartment. The studio was what she might be able to afford if her stepmother hadn’t claimed four-fifths of Cin’s paycheck in room and board.

Bowls of chips sat on a low, scarred coffee table along with a cafetière wafting rich mocha scent into the air.

“Rafe, thank you for doing this. The refreshments, but mostly taking the time to coach me. I can’t pay you now, but after I get a real job—”

“Hey.” He put a hand on her shoulder, recalling her attention, and searched her gaze. “I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing it for you.”

Her heart must’ve catapulted into her eyes because his darkened, pupils dilating. His hands dropped to her waist, holding her steady.

Slowly, so she could have stopped him if she’d wanted to, he bent and pressed his mouth to hers. A brief caress, and another, before he sighed with pleasure and kissed her in earnest.

His lips were so beguiling. She’d waited for this so long. Alone, together…ah, homework could wait.
Cin drank in every sensation, the gentle pressure of his lips, the scent of his skin, the warmth of his breath. The soft sweep of his tongue, tasting of mint.

His hand slid into her hair, cradling her head. It made her feel warm and secure, but when he teased open her lips and his tongue began to explore, the deepening kiss sent shock waves from her head to her toes. Safe yet excited. Like a storm-swept sea, the contradictory feelings rose, crashed, and heightened inside her. She shuddered with them.

Maybe feeling her tremble, he murmured, “Sorry,” against her lips. “We should study.” He pulled away.

“Sure. But first…” Sorry, Mom. With a surge of hot reckless feeling liberating her, she wrapped her arms around his neck, lifted herself onto her toes, and planted one on him.

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Join me on my book tour! 5 $10 egift cards, 5 ebooks to be won!

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