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Snow
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Snow
By: Deborah M. Brown
Type: eBook
Genre: Fantasy, Red Hots!!!
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: 08-31-2010
Length: Novella
ISBN: 978-1-60928-168-7
$3.50

 

When her prince comes, her dream could turn into a nightmare.

An Enchanted story.

It’s not that Anais hates her new stepdaughter. She simply has bigger things on her mind, like birthing a son for the aging king. Temptation beckons in the mirror eyes of the king’s huntsman, leading her down a path of dark desires until, by the time she realizes Rui’s true nature, it is too late. Her heart is ensnared, and she will do anything to keep him in her arms. Especially when his roving eyes land on the princess…and Anais’s indifference turns to hate.

Upon her father’s death, the painfully shy Snow White quickly learns she can rely on no one—least of all the stepmother she once hoped would become a friend. Surrounded by undercurrents of treachery she cannot hope to understand, she turns to her seven dwarven guards for guidance. Freed of their magical bindings, these small yet perfectly formed, handsome men vow to open her innocent eyes to the dangers of court politics…and the ways of men.

Yet lust is a cruel master, and Snow White’s girlish longing for purest love could blind her to the destruction that waits to take a bite out of her dreams…


Product Warnings
Contains explicit sex scenes between a queen and her lover, the lover and his male lover, and—yes—proof that size doesn’t matter when it comes to true lust, er, love.
Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Brown
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication  


Snow White didn’t hate her stepmother. When Anais first came to court and Snow White saw how she brought the smile back to her father’s eyes, she would have loved her if Anais had allowed it. The golden queen had seemed to be everything that a thin, pale child of nine could wish for in a mother. But Anais’s indifference and Snow White’s inherent shyness had precluded any bond forming between them. Then, as her father’s first flush of new love dissolved into something colder and more desperate and Anais’s indifference turned to something sharper and less benign, Snow White mantled her feelings in a cloak of ice and presented to both court and her stepmother a persona of glacial disinterest. That persona would suit her well as her father abandoned his ambition of a male heir and turned all his hopes upon Snow White once more.

It was then that the way men looked at her began to change. There was calculation in their gaze as well as lust. Snow White gave nothing away. Her expression could have been carved from snow, so blank and cold was it. In truth, although she well knew her worth as a future queen, she had no understanding of the games that men and women played. The hot looks and sweet words of the lords of her father’s court meant little to her.

Besides, her father had grander plans for his Snow White. A betrothal with a prince from the north. The papers were signed on her sixteenth birthday. They would wed when she was eighteen. There had also been an exchange of portraits. Like all northern men, he was dark, with a wide smiling mouth and laughing black eyes.

“He looks charming,” Anais had said in a bored voice.

Snow White had tucked the miniature away in a chest.

On the night of her birthday, her father had given her a gift. Seven dwarves from the mountains of the east. They had black hair and even blacker eyes. Their skin was the warm gold of sun-ripened barley. The tallest of them was almost of a height with her. He met her eyes and looked away, but not before she had seen the resentment burning there. The top of the youngest one’s head came up to her chin. His eyes were sad and gentle.

“They will protect you from all harm,” her father said. “They are bound to you and you alone.”

Another burning look from the tallest dwarf.

Snow White thanked her father and led her new attendants back to her apartments.

The eldest was called Ander. The tall one with the burning eyes was Gault. Kaffion and Meris were twin brothers, impossible to tell apart. The quiet, scholarly one was Shyla. Hiram liked to joke. The youngest was Kaliko. They became her shadows, her protectors. But try as she might, she could not overcome the fact that they were her possessions. Nor could she make them her friends, much as she longed to. For friends were something she sadly lacked. Something she needed.





Snow White had no doubt that her stepmother had lain with the king’s huntsman. There was hunger in Anais’s eyes whenever she looked at Rui Alvarez that even Snow White could recognise despite her lack of knowledge of the concourse between a man and a woman. She wondered that her father did not recognise it too, but it seemed that his indifference to his wife blinded him to any indiscretions. What made Snow White uncertain and sent her restless to her bed was the knowledge that Rui Alvarez directed that same hungry look at her sometimes when he thought Anais wasn’t watching.

But her stepmother had noticed. And Anais was afraid. Especially after Snow White and Kaliko had come across the queen and the huntsman in the servants’ passageway. Anais’s skirts were hiked about her hips. Rui thrust against her, his breathing ragged. Anais caught sight of her stepdaughter, and all colour fled from her face.

“Stop,” she had cried.

Rui turned his head and stared at them. His eyes were so blue. Snow White could see her image frozen in their lambent depths. Kaliko’s hand had tightened around hers. A slow wicked smile curled Rui’s full lips.

“Let her watch.”

And so, she had. Watched the hard powerful thrust of his body into Anais’s. At the end, just before he threw back his head and gasped out a strangled cry, he looked at her again.

Kaliko tugged on her hand, and she let him lead her away.

From then on she felt her stepmother’s dislike coalesce into something deeper and colder. Something implacable.

Then her father died.

Snow White grieved in private. She would reveal no hint of weakness to the court or to her stepmother. She knew Anais wished her harm. In a short while she would be eighteen. Old enough to wed and thus to rule in her own right. If she could survive until then. She needed to learn. Of power. Of men and women. To use her power as a woman over men.

She needed to learn from someone she could trust. Over the years since her father first gave Snow White her seven dwarves, she had grown close to the youngest one, Kaliko. She looked upon him as her dearest friend and there was ease in her dealings with the brothers Meris and Kaffion. With Shyla and Hiram. Even Ander, the eldest, had become less restrained in her company. Only Gault, with his dark, angry eyes and the resentment he wore like a cloak, a cloak he never discarded in her presence, could not be won over.

She decided to broach the subject at supper that night. As usual, one of the dwarves had tasted every dish set before her. Tonight it was Hiram’s turn. When the dessert of iced plums was placed before him, he took a spoonful and pulled a face. Then he took another spoonful. And another, shaking his head.

“There is something wrong with this dish.”

“Poison?” asked Snow White with a smile. They had played this game before. Hiram loved iced plums.

“Hmmm. I can’t quite put my finger on it.” He took another mouthful.

“If you can’t be certain that it is safe…” She let her voice trail off suggestively.

Hiram nodded. “I should taste a little more, Your Highness. Just to be sure.” By now, half the dish was gone.

“Indeed. I should wish to be entirely sure before I ate any of it.”

“Exactly so,” said Hiram with a grave nod as he scooped up another plum.

“In fact, I believe I have lost my taste for iced plums tonight.”

“Mmmm,” mumbled Hiram around a mouthful. He swallowed, chased the last plum around the plate and popped it into his mouth. He licked his lips.

Snow White laughed, and he grinned back at her.

“If it had been poisoned, you’d be dead now,” said Gault coldly.

Fear scraped its way down Snow White’s spine. Would her enemies resort to poison? Would Anais?

Hiram raised an eyebrow. “I’m more likely to die of shock if I ever see you smile, Gault, than I am from a dish of iced plums. Does he ever smile?” This was directed at Ander.

“Oh yes,” Ander replied softly. A muscle jerked in Gault’s jaw. Snow White had learned that the taciturn Gault and the grave self-restrained Ander were lovers when she accidentally caught them kissing one day. Embarrassed, she had tried to back away without them noticing, but Gault had raised his head and caught sight of her, angry colour flooding his face as he pushed Ander away. Without a word, Gault had strode from the room, leaving Ander to face her, his expression one of uncertainty.

Under Snow White’s gentle questioning, he had revealed that Gault had been his lover of many years, since they were little more than boys.

“We had no wish to anger you, Your Highness. If it displeases you…”

Snow White shook her head. “You love him,” she said, hearing the wistful note in her voice. Ander had closed his eyes, swallowing hard.

“More than my life,” he said fiercely.

Tears prickled at the back of her throat at the intensity of his words. Had anyone ever loved her except her father? Would anyone ever speak of her as Ander spoke of Gault, with the sun and the stars in his voice?
Displaying 1 to 2 (of 2 reviews)  1 |
by Ysa Date Added: Tuesday 05 October, 2010
Wow. This is such a beautiful read with wonderfully describe... View Full Review

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
by Meghan Date Added: Saturday 18 September, 2010


Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 2 (of 2 reviews)  1 |
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