**Visit Tynga’s Reviews today for her Red Riding Hood Fantastic Fable from Shannon Delany & a chance to win BARGAINS & BETRAYALS and a special giveaway of One Grave at a Time from Jeaniene Frost**
We’re starting another week of Fantastic Fables, and Kate Pearce is here to kick-off our event today with her awesome version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Kate’s upcoming release is MARK OF THE ROSE (available September 6th), which is the third book in her Tudor Vampire Chronicles paranormal romance series. This series is filled with intrigue, romance, druids, suspense and deadly vampires. Not to mention the dreadful Tudors. What’s not to love? Thanks to Kate and the fabulous team over at Penguin/NAL, two of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book! See details below
Verity and the Three’s Lair
@copyright Kate Pearce
Verity Llewellyn cautiously opened the rickety door to the small cottage, and peered inside. She’d become lost in the woods after falling from her horse and on the way down she’d hit her head on a tree branch. In truth, she wasn’t feeling very well at all, and needed somewhere to rest her aching head.
The thatched cottage with its climbing roses around the door and vegetable garden to one side had appeared in the mist out of nowhere, and seemed to be her only chance of finding someone to ask for help. The door swung open, and Verity stepped inside, but there was no one to greet her, only the scent of fermenting ale and something more visceral cooling by the fire.
She walked across the flattened earth floor and stared down at the huge cast-iron pot that swung gently from a hook positioned over the dying embers of the fire. She had no inclination to lift the lid and study the contents. Two rocking chairs and a much smaller chair circled the fireplace. None of them were occupied, although a piece of darning lay on one seat.
Had the family gone out for a stroll before their dinner? Verity frowned. She had no idea of the time, but she’d thought it was closer to dawn rather than nightfall.
Behind her, on the well-scrubbed table, sat three bowls of differing sizes, and an earthenware pitcher.Verity studied the pitcher and swallowed hard. By all the saints, she was very thirsty. She sniffed the contents, but could detect no hint of anything other than water. If she felt ill, she could always call Rhys or Elias Warner and use their blood link to come and save her. She looked around for a cup, but could see none, so she lifted the heavy pitcher to her mouth and gulped at the cold, clear water.
Much refreshed, she walked around the table and headed for the narrow staircase next to the chimney. There was still no sign of the cottage’s occupants. Was it possible they were still asleep? Verity gingerly touched her head and tried to keep her eyes open. Wherever they were, she feared she might have to lie down anyway. She crept quietly up the stairs and found herself in a single room that ran the length of the cottage.
There were three oak beds in a row, with the smallest closest to her. She eyed the pristine linen. Perhaps, if she just lay down for a moment, she could explain her presence when the cottagers returned.Or, if she was even luckier, she might awaken before they even noticed she had been there.
The bed closest to her was too small to stretch out on,so she sat down on the side. A cracking sound had her struggling to her feet as she realized she had broken the frame. The mattress on the second was so stuffed with feathers that it made her sneeze. The third bed, which was the largest by far, was made of a darker oak carved with skulls and bones. Verity shivered as she studied the unpleasant images and reluctantly contemplated the pristine black and red patchwork quilt. She had to lie down before she swooned. Mayhap there had been something wrong with the water after all…
She climbed up onto the high bed and immediately closed her eyes.Outside, the wind whispered through the trees and she wondered again whether it was dawn or dusk. The pain in her head started to diminish and she sighed. Surely Rhys would miss her soon and come and find her?
She awoke with a start and heard voices below. For a moment she stared up at the beamed ceiling in a frantic effort to remember where she was. She climbed off the bed and made her way to the top of the stairs. Peering down, she saw two figures at the kitchen table, hacking away at something white and fleshy.
The distinct flowery smell of a Vampire reached Verity and she whirled around just in time to avoid being jumped on from behind. The young Vampire opened her fanged mouth and screeched at the top of her reedy voice.
“Brother, sister, come to me, there’s a slayer in the house and she’d broken my bed!!”
Verity didn’t bother to wait for the answering growls and the scrape of boots from downstairs, before heading for the open window and leaping down into the mercifully thick bramble bushes below. Behind her she heard the sounds of pursuit but she picked up her heavy skirts and didn’t stop running until she no longer had any breath left. The sun was rising over the trees and she could only hope the three Vampires she’d glimpsed had more sense than to venture out to their deaths.
She spun around, her dagger raised, to find her beloved Rhys staring at her in some bemusement. He looped the horses’ reins around his hand and came toward her, his expression concerned. “I found your horse roaming wild in the forest. I’ve been searching for you. Did you fall?”
Verity clutched at her still throbbing head. “Yes, I did and I went to a cottage for help and nearly ended up in a Vampire’s pot.”
Rhys looked even more puzzled. “The only cottage I saw on my way here was derelict.” He passed the horses’ reins over to her and drew his sword. “Show me where you went.”
When they reached the cottage, it was silent again, with only a thin wisp of smoke escaping from the chimney. Verity followed Rhys inside, her dagger at the ready and found only a scrubbed clean table, the embers of a fire and no signs of life.
“Are you sure you saw anything my lady?” Rhys asked quietly. “You did, after all, bump your head.
For a second Verity considered his calm words. Had she dreamed everything? She pointed up the stairs and Rhys nodded.
All was still in the bedroom and no bodies living or otherwise lay under the covers. The smallest bed was still broken. As Rhys watched her, Verity carefully sniffed the air and spun around in a slow circle. Her gaze alighted on the elaborate poster bed and she pointed at the thick carved base. Rhys came up close behind her, his breath a mere whisper against her ear.
“In there, you think?” He paused. “Do you want to kill them while they sleep?”
Verity shook her head. “They didn’t kill me even though I trespassed in their cottage. I think we should leave them in peace.”
“As you wish my lady.”
Rhys took her hand and together they headed back outside into the sunlight.
Kate Pearce was born into a large family of girls in England, and spent much of her childhood living very happily in a dream world. Despite being told that she really needed to ‘get with the program’, she graduated from the University College of Wales with an honors degree in history.
After graduation, real life did intervene and she ended up working in finance which was not the greatest career choice for a would-be writer!
A move to the USA finally allowed her to fulfill her dreams and sit down and write that novel. Along with being a voracious reader, Kate loves trail riding with her family, ‘western style’ in the regional parks of Northern California
Kate writes in several different romance sub-genres under different names. She is a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Ellora’s Cave and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.
Want to read more from Kate Pearce?
This giveaway is provided by Kate and Penguin/NAL
One winner will receive a copy of Mark of the Rose by Kate Pearce
Available on September 6, 2011 from Penguin/NAL
About the Book:
After hearing that Vampires have returned to the court of Henry VIII, Rhys Williams must form an unwanted alliance with Verity Llewellyn, a lady-in-waiting to the new queen. His childhood companion has grown into a clever and beautiful woman, but she is completely untried as a Vampire hunter.
The revelation that the queen is pregnant only makes the situation all the more dangerous. Who is systematically draining her blood and how, without being noticed? As Rhys and Verity work together to untangle the mystery, the battle to save the queen and the heir to the throne heats up—as does the uncontrollable passion between them.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
1. Leave a comment for Kate, let us know what you think of this fable, book or series.
2. +1 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
3. Giveaway is open to everyone.
4. Please include your email address in your comment.
5. All Fantastic Fables winners will be announced on September 7th.
6. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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