When I saw the Samhain Publishing call for fairytale inspired novellas, my mind immediately started whirling. For me, raised on the old-style tales, there was never a thought of sweet, immaculate Prince Charmings or homogenized, bloodless stories. I think of fairytales as dark, often scary things, where consequences are usually harsh, and true love only conquers after a fierce fight. The modern fantasy tales by authors like Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman stir my blood, and I wanted a love story that would (even vaguely) mirror that style of dark, atmospheric writing.
For me, fairytales and fantasy have nothing to do with practically perfect people, but rather with all our traits being taken to the extreme and magic amplifying them, making a bad decision that much worse.
In Awaken, Prince Ryllio makes a choice he rues for hundreds of years—for Mab, queen of the fae, does not forgive, or forget, easily. But he couldn’t know that his years of imprisonment would be easy compared to the pain he feels when the shy Myrina happens upon his enchanted glade.
Journeys Through Seduction
Prince Ryllio once lived so charmed a life, even he began to believe nothing bad could touch him. Then a moment’s indiscretion brought Queen Mab’s wrath raining down, encasing him in stone.
Hundreds of years later, he is losing hope that anyone will find him, much less counter the spell. Until a beautiful young woman wanders into his hidden glade to privately discover the pleasures of her own body. Her sensual innocence reignites his acute longing for freedom.
Lured into the old forest by an irresistible impulse, Myrina finds intimate communion with Ryllio’s imprisoned spirit. His whispered guidance weaves an erotic spell, rousing her to undreamed heights of ecstasy.
The intertwining of their minds comes at a devastating price. As each encounter intensifies, Myrina falls in love with a man she can never touch. And Ryllio realizes he must give up the last vestiges of his humanity—or condemn her to life devoid of a flesh-and-blood lover…
“I can’t help thinking your friend was only partly right.”
“In what way?” Myrina asked in surprise.
“There are some things you can learn on your own, but others only a lover can teach.”
“What kinds of things?”
Ryllio’s voice grew low, caressing. “The touch of your own hands is unlike the touch of another. What you do to yourself cannot feel the same or give the same sensations as when a lover gives you pleasure.”
Myrina shivered, her skin prickling to life, body growing warm and liquid inside. Words failed her, for she remembered the imagined ecstasy of his mouth on her quim, wondered if it could have been even better in reality.
“And,” he continued in the same low, seductive tone, “each lover is different, is inspired to do different things, or the same loving actions in different ways. It is only in the moment you can know whether these new sensations are pleasurable or not. But Elawen also was right. There can be no harm in learning your body’s desires for yourself.”
Flushed with arousal, yet also embarrassed, Myrina thought it best to leave, but could not bring herself to go. It was not just the desire holding her in place, but a bone-deep reluctance to abandon Ryllio now that she knew of his lonely existence. There could be no harm in staying for a while, in being with him during this moonlit night, in asking him some of the questions burning in her mind.
It took some courage, however, to finally reply, and her voice faltered from her throat. “Are lovers so different, one from the other, then?”
“Yes, and you will be different with each one too. What one man will do to you without hesitation, another would never consider doing. And what you enjoy with one man, you will find repulsive if another tried.”
Considering his words, Myrina realised he must have had many lovers before his punishment began, and a spark of something akin to jealousy came to life deep in her belly. It made her voice stronger, with a bit of a snap, when she spoke. “What kinds of things would a lover such as yourself never do? Surely there cannot be many?”
But when he replied, his words doused the flame of her anger, even as they ignited a flash-fire of passion.
“For you, with you, I would do everything, give you every liberty over my body, take whichever you would give in return. There is nothing I wouldn’t try in my quest to give you pleasure, to satisfy you, to make your desire burn so hot it incinerates us both with the ecstasy of our joining.”
There was no need to ask what he meant, for in her mind she saw them together, in flickers of images conjured by his imagination. He was bent to her breasts, lips curved to receive her straining nipple—kissing her back, hands stroking her belly—kneeling between her legs, his hair dark against her thighs—curled around her from behind, the head of his cock poised for entry into her hungering body. She was tied, naked, to a bed—then he was likewise held immobilized for her pleasure. He was behind, in front, between—in her quim, her mouth, her hand, her arse. She was over, under, beside him, her hair unbound, trailing over his skin. Gentle here, masterful there—in control and ceding control—kissing, stroking, licking, sucking places Myrina never thought another would touch.
She pressed trembling palms to her cheeks, trying to rise, wanting to flee, but finding her legs too weak. The images were so real they left her gasping, burning—titillated and confused.
“I’ve shocked and frightened you.” His voice was rueful, but filled with such harsh longing the desire rampaging through her body climbed even higher. “I’m sorry. You are more innocent than I realised. Please—” he added, as Myrina once more tried to rise, “—don’t go.”
She subsided, quivering, drawing her cloak closer around her as though it could protect her from the unfamiliar swirl of emotion between them. His words and images were like an iron chain, binding and drawing her further into an unknown world she desperately longed to explore.