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Second Night: More Fairytales Retold [MultiFormat]
eBook by Caroline Aubrey

eBook Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Fantasy
eBook Description: We all know the fairy stories from childhood?beautiful heroine meets handsome mysterious hero; they fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after?or do they? Even though times have changed, we still have the deep longing to be desired above all by a demon lover, the bad boy, the vampire, the one whom we are not supposed to find ultimate happiness with. In these retellings of The Goose Girl, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Beauty and the Beast, and a Selkie Legend, Caroline Aubrey re-imagines these stories for a modern world; the same horrors facing women in the old world face them in the new one, but this time there is a twist: to survive the horror of the Bloody Chamber, we must keep our wits about us and rely upon the strength of women to do so. From "A Fox's Tale": As he kissed her, he placed the keys in her hand. They were heavy and cold to the touch. Parting, he smiled. "These will open every door. Explore to your heart's content, dearest, however," his eyes shone with a bright light as he gazed upon her, "the room at the topmost height of the house, at the tip of the stairs, please do not enter. It is the one thing I ask of you. Can you do that for me, my darling girl?" Nodding, Miranda put the keys on the table. "Of course." Pointing to the keys, Kitsen separated them, until the lightest one stood out. "This is the key to my room. You will have no need of it, but it is here." Standing, he placed his hands on her shoulders, and kissed the top of her head. "My dearest love, I shall return in two days," he said. And then, he was gone.

eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2010

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Once upon a time, in a land of dark mountain lakes and deep, damp forests of pure green and mossy brown, there lived a widow with three young daughters. The widow, Isela by name, had lost her husband at a very young age, she had loved her merchant husband very well, and his loss had affected her deeply. So she took their three young daughters and lived in a cottage at the edge of that deep and dark forest. Where she raised them as children of the wood, away from the prying eyes and praying hands of the world that had taken their father from them.

Isela's three daughters, Anne, Lisette, and Miranda, grew tall and strong, gathering and chopping wood, growing everything they needed for their sustenance in their woodland garden just outside of their cottage. The sisters loved each other dearly, and all three had gifts they inherited from both their late father and grieving mother: Anne had a pure, clear singing voice that could melt the hearts of even the most evil demon; Lisette painted tiny, elaborate forest scenes on acorns that seemed to bring luck to those who carried them in their pockets, and Miranda seemed to bring the world to life with her touch. Each of the plants in her garden thrived under her touch, bearing fruit with great duty and devotion. Each of the sisters entertained their very melancholy mother with their particular gifts: Anne's singing could bring a smile to her mother's face; Lisette's acorns always seemed to lighten her heart just a bit with their scenes of faraway lands, and Miranda's roses and foxgloves were so beautiful that Isela ached to touch them, crushing them to her breast in pure joy.

One day, a wealthy traveler, on his way home from visiting a foreign land, came upon the beautiful cottage in the woods. Inquiring politely for directions for the easiest route across the dark forest, Anne invited him in for supper, telling him that it would be dark soon and the woods at night were not a place for a stranger alone.

The man, Mr. Kitsen by name, was a tall, handsome fellow with deep, dark eyes and dark, russet hair which swept across his shoulders and curled at the ends. He wore fashionable clothing, carrying his wealth and station quite well. For the first time in a long time, Isela was charmed by someone other than her daughters. She smiled, then chuckled at Kitsen's tall tales and bade Anne to entertain them with her lovely voice. She clapped with delight at Anne's rendition of even the most plaintive of bard songs, and even danced when Kitsen pulled a fiddle from his saddlebags. That night, Isela asked Kitsen to stay and camp in the barn, which he happily agreed to do.

When the daughters woke in the morning, they found their mother lifeless in her bed, as if she had simply died from happiness in her sleep. Grateful that she was reunited with their father in heaven they buried Isela, with Mr. Kitsen's assistance, under her favorite rosebush in the garden.

Anne, being the eldest of Isela's three daughters, took on the responsibilities of caring for her two younger sisters. Mr. Kitsen would come and visit on his travels, and soon, asked Anne to be his wife. Overjoyed, the sisters began preparations for Anne's wedding, their happiness taking some of the pain of their mother's death out of their hearts.

The village priest married Mr. Kitsen and Anne and much celebration occurred. When the time came for the bride and her sisters to join Kitsen at his great manor home, Miranda went to their mother's grave and knelt, laying a single white rose there. At that moment, a beautiful red bird landed upon the rosebush underneath where the grave stood, and sang the most beautiful, sorrowful song Miranda had ever heard. Immediately, she knew she could never leave her mother alone there, so she agreed to stay behind. Lisette, not wanting her little sister to be lonely, agreed to stay as well.

With great fanfare, and promising a visit very shortly, Kitsen and Anne made their way across the forest to his home. That night, Miranda had a very strange dream: she was alone, in the forest, in a clearing of beautiful trees and a babbling brook. A cottage, very like her mother's, sat at the edge of the clearing. She felt a beckoning into the cottage, and as she moved forward, she noticed that the birds had stopped chirping. The forest was strangely silent, and Miranda kept moving. As she pushed open the heavy wooden door to the cottage, the fire in the hearth roared insistently.

Her sister Anne sat at the hearth, staring at the fire. Miranda watched as Mr. Kitsen entered the cottage, moving past her and to Anne. Smiling at her, his face was illuminated by the fire, catching his handsome features in pale gold, yellow, and orange. His russet hair glowed the same color as fire, and his hands moved up to Anne's waist. Anne sighed under his touch, and deftly Kitsen unlaced the bindings of her corset. Where his fingers traced, his lips followed. Rooted to her spot by the door, Miranda tried to move, but was fascinated by the tableau.

Kitsen soon freed Anne of her clothing, and the beautiful young woman stepped gracefully out of her wedding gown, standing naked by the fire. Flames and light licked her body, and she raised her hand to Kitsen. Taking her hand, he kissed and licked his way up her hand, to her wrist, to her arm, to the hollow of her neck and throat, tracing down to her breasts. In response, Miranda felt her own nipples pebble under her nightgown. Turning Anne in his arms, Kitsen's eyes found Miranda's, flames reflected in the darkened pools. He kissed Anne then, his eyes not on his beautiful bride but upon her youngest sister.

Miranda woke with a start, her heart racing, her blood pounding between her legs. In the forest, outside of her cottage, a lone red bird sang long, plaintive songs. As Miranda turned over in her bed, she wondered why this bird sang only at night.

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