Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blue Lines by Toni Aleo

You asked, and Toni Aleo answered!

Check out this weeks video where Toni Aleo answers readers questions, and announces winners of the INSTAGRAM party!

Plus, enter to win 5 signed paperbacks! 

And now over to Toni...

Opposites do more than just attract in Toni Aleo’s latest Nashville Assassins novel about a very bad boy and the good girl he can’t resist.

The instant Piper Allen sees Erik Titov, she wants him—wants his rock-hard body, sure, but the strength and mystery that lies behind that superstar hockey jock demeanor, too. So when he sidles up to her at a bar and slinks his arm around her waist, she’s lost. What follows is the wildest night of her life . . . followed by inevitable heartbreak the next morning. And then, a few weeks later, a very big surprise: two blue lines on a pregnancy test.

Only a check to the head could make Erik fall for a nice girl like Piper. But since their crazy-sexy night together, he’s been trying to forget about her alluring body by falling into bed with every woman in Nashville, and it’s not working. So when Piper shows up at his house with a baby-bomb to drop, it doesn’t take much for Erik to suggest the nuclear option: marriage. While it’s supposed to be all for show, the second they say “I do,” the ice between them starts to melt into sizzling steam.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Taking Shots, Trying to Score, and Empty Net.

Don't forget -- If you post your review of BLUE LINES between December 9th - December 18th you could win some awesome prizes! Details can be found HERE.

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Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.

When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.

She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.


Savage Smoke by Kay Dee Royal

Savage Smoke – Book 2 Lycan International Investigation Agency Series

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance

Sizzling HOT! Warning: Lots of two-somes, three-somes, even more-somes, like it stimulating, arousing, and positively natural…or supernatural.

Tagline: Will Trevor rescue Lindsey in time to save her from shifting into Smoke’s pack, and will she even want saved?

Chance and his LIIA pack of agents search for rogue Lycan mastermind, Smoke, kidnapper of Lindsey and fifteen other human women he plans to use for procreating his own army.
Trevor, Chance’s right-hand Lycan, wants his mate back, but believes she’s fallen for her captor. Lindsey loves Trevor but believes he’s given up on her.
Will Trevor come around in time to rescue Lindsey and save her from shifting into Smoke’s pack, and will she even want back with Trevor after spending so long apart?
***Released in June, 2013***


Trevor fought to get Smoke’s disgustedly grinning face out of his mind. Knowing that freak made love to Lindsey on a daily basis and worse, that she accepted and encouraged him, stabbed Trevor deep to his heart, like a twin silver bladed knife. Images of Smoke and Lindsey fucking in that damn cabin in Minnesota carved a permanent place in his head. He recalled how Lindsey rode Smoke as if she loved it, but the toughest thing for Trevor was seeing Smoke’s mark on her shoulder. It killed him, leaving a heavy weight inside his chest.
He kicked out his fury, foot meeting chair, and it slammed into the wall twenty feet away. Just then Jase sauntered into the Ops room.
“What the heck, Trev.” Jase strode over to the chair. “You need to get laid, man. Forget her and move on.” Jase picked it up and bent it back into shape. He set the chair legs on the floor. One second ticked by, long enough for Jase to make it back beside Trevor, and the chair busted in half, making both men jump. “Good grief! That liked-ta scare the fur right off my gonads.”
Trevor chuckled at Jase’s exclamation, his non-use of cuss words. It’d been a good month since he’d heard the sound of his own laughter. And, it didn’t seem to help his ache or the hollow heaviness. He sighed and turned to leave.
“Whoa, where ya goin’ in such a hurry? We need to plan an attack. Get those Lycan scumbags to the Elders so they can be dealt with good and proper.” Jase sidled closer, eyes wide, brows high and his mouth a thin line, an expression Trevor recognized as seriousness.
Trevor knew the kid’s look after mentoring him enough to understand what the young Lycan was up to, but being pulled into something else would never alleviate his loss. He trusted Jase to have his back, but didn’t want any part of a plan that involved Smoke or Lindsey. The little scrapper would have to find someone else. Trevor considered the younger man standing too close, in his space, and gave him a shove. Jase’s butt hit the floor and skidded across the room, stopping beside the chair remnants. Before Trevor blinked, the wiry shit stood in his face again.
“Stop acting like a husk of the Lycan-wolf we all know you to be. You’re setting a crappy example for the rest of us loners.”
“Then maybe it’s time I set out on my own. Take up with another pack.”
“You know you can’t just leave us. You belong in this pack, Trev. We all… No, I depend on you for teaching me the wily ways of women. Stop leading me astray.” Jase chuckled and then went all serious again, but Trevor waited him out until the usual playful grin took over Jase’s face.
“Jase, stop. Can’t you see I’m not in the mood?”
“Shit, you have moods. Good gods, isn’t that female crap? Fuck.”
“And since when do you talk such trash? I’ve never heard you swear…and now, suddenly, you’re choking on those damn words.” Trevor studied Jase, realizing his friend worried about him. He wondered at the possibility of making love with someone else after finding and losing his primal-mate to another. Would his body even allow it? Guess there was only one way to find out. Maybe having Jase along would be a good back-up plan. “Fine, how about we go scare up some tail? What do you think about sharing a female? I understand it’s every woman’s dream.”
Jase’s face lit every which way, from twinkling eyes to his shit-eating grin. “I’m in. It’s like hands-on with a master, watch, learn, and play at the same time.” Jase chuckled. “How can I go wrong?”

Staring Into the Eyes of Chance – Book 1 Lycan International Investigation Agency Series
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Sizzling HOT! Warning: Wild and lust-filled love scenes, extra stimulating, arousing, and positively natural…or supernatural.
Tagline: Olivia swears off men until she meets Chance, a Lycan alpha. He ignites an undeniable hunger they can only sate together.
Olivia endures a thirty-four year passionless marriage, discovering her dead husband’s philandering history at his funeral. She devotes her energy and life-long sensitivity with animals to her wildlife refuge and preserve.
Chance, a Lycan alpha and leader of the Lycan International Investigation Agency (LIIA) throws himself into his investigations. He chooses to neglect his duty of finding a primal-mate after watching his father become an empty shell over the loss of his.
A murderous rogue pack draws Chance onto Olivia’s wildlife preserve, sending Olivia’s animal sensitivities into overdrive. Chance and Olivia discover a sizzling force driving them together.
Will they succumb to its enticing tether, or fight to resume their loveless lives apart?

Kay Dee Royal Bio:

Kay Dee Royal writes paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary erotic romance—maybe because it's also her favorite genres to read! She pens tales with wild, rugged heroes and strong, intelligent heroines. She'll give them both a few shadowy secrets, making her stories intriguing and fun. She resides in Southern Michigan with her family (her dog, her cats, her caged husband... you get the idea). You can find the latest on her titles from her publisher, MuseItHot.

3 sets of book 1 & 2 (Staring Into the Eyes of Chance - Book 1, and Savage Smoke - Book 2)
1 - box of Sees Chocolates (US only)
2- e-copies of Savage Smoke
6 prizes - one winner for each

Fire & Ice by Lacey Weatherford

Book Info-
Title- Fire & Ice
Series- Book Of Shadows Book # 1
By- Lacey Weatherford
Expected Publication Date- September 8, 2013

Time passes . . . sometimes too quickly, other times not fast enough, but that’s not what’s important. The essential thing is what we learn about ourselves during that passage of time and how we apply it. Will we continue to follow the destructive paths we find ourselves on? Will we give in to circumstances that seem completely unchangeable? Or will we desperately fight to hold onto those we love and to what’s good inside us—no matter how terrible the cost?
I only know I would do whatever was required of me to keep Portia, but in a world of witches, warlocks, and demons, anything can happen.

My name is Vance Mangum, and this is my story.

About the Author-

Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a life long resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first "big" book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!

Author Links- 

Deathbed & Breakfast by Bart J. Gilbertson with Interview


1)      First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

I live in O’Neill, NE.  I’ve been here for about 9 months now.  I was in Tucson, AZ for a few years before the move, but I really missed “small town” living.  It also gets me closer to my family, since they are spread out on this side of the country.  I have two children, one of which is grown and married.  I am single.

2)      How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember.  My Mom used to show me stories that I had written when I was 7 or 8 years old.  Some parts I had to laugh at.  My imagination was hard at work in those days!  I have been writing ever since then, through the years.  I used to write stories all the time in my Junior High and High School years.  If I wasn’t reading a book, I was trying to write one.

3)      Do you have a favorite place to write?

No, not really.  Not so much as a favorite “time” to write.  I usually write at home on my personal computer.  However, I love to write into the night.  There are no distractions.  It’s quiet, peaceful.  My creative juices are flowing pretty good at that time.  Sometimes, I’ll even light a candle for a little atmosphere.  I probably stay up too late most nights, an occupational hazard.  Haha!

4)      Why did you decide to write Deathbed & Breakfast?

One night, my sister and I were up late reminiscing about old times (sort of a mini-family reunion as we hadn’t seen each other in a long time), and she began to tell me about a book she was reading by Joanne Fluke at the time.  That was the first I’d ever heard of a cozy mystery.  I loved the concept of a light, easy mystery.  We started tossing ideas back and forth about our own possible series, laughing and having a good time.  We didn’t know it at the time, but the foundation to “Deathbed & Breakfast” was being laid.  Over the course of the next few months, I hammered out a rough draft.  Before I knew it, I had a completed novel on my hands.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

5)      Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Felix Stiffman, the cantankerous old cook.  That’s because with him, I get to be outspoken, crass and off-the-wall.  And believe me, I am!  I pretty much get to say anything I want and get away with it.  Who wouldn’t want to do that?

6)      How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Hmmmm…well, I never really thought of anyone as being my “least” favorite character.  But, if I had to pick one, I guess it would be the “killer”.  And to find out who that is, you’ll just have to read the book!

7)      Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Both.  I am always proofreading and editing my work as I go.  And then after the first draft is completed, I go back through it again.  After that is done, I go through it yet again.  When I’m satisfied with what I’ve done, I send it in to my publisher, Patricia Rockwell and she proofreads it and requests edits to be made, if needed.  Then, I edit again until we are both happy with the finished product.  Editing is a very important part of the whole process.

8)      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to read as well.  I enjoy watching movies, and even at my age, I still enjoy hanging out with my friend and playing a little Madden Football.  I also enjoy music, very much.  I’ve even written a few songs of my own over the years.

9)      Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I’m always either reading a book or a kindle formatted version of a book.  My personal favorite authors are Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony and Lloyd Alexander, all fantasy writers.  Someday, I would also like to venture into that genre of writing.  I read in many different genres though, not just fantasy.  I enjoy a good mystery, thriller or even horror as well.

10)   What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

What a truly excellent question!  I’m afraid I’m going to have to “cop out” on this one, though.  To be honest, this is my first book and the whole experience has been new and absolutely wonderful.  All questions that have been asked about it over the last few months have pretty much covered all the pertinent areas.  There really is no question that I am looking for that nobody has asked me when it comes to the book.  The only question I would love to answer for you is, “Where can I get my own copy?”  Haha!  You can find it on Amazon (kindle and paperback), Barnes & Noble (paperback), and Smashwords (all electronic formats).
Thank you for the interview.  I enjoyed it very much.  And thank you to everyone who has supported me these last few months.  I appreciate all of you!


Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one evening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the murder investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he--and the sisters--set forth to discover who the murderer is.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this first 'whodunit' of the Pookotz Sisters Bed & Breakfast Mystery series which introduces you to the quaint mountain Oregon town of Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants.

​Readers of the cozy mystery genre will fall in love with Edna and Mildred Pookotz, sisters and amateur senior sleuths, as they juggle the responsibilities of running a Bed & Breakfast and solving most bizarre mysteries!

About this author

Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series. Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho. He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants.

He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors. 

Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer. 

He currently resides in O’Neill, NE. He has two children.​

My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling

Title: My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling
Genre: Young Adult
Series: The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #2

Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo

Aphrodite pointed her gun at me again, kind of casually. “Your problem is you’re too hung up on the past. You gotta move forward with yer life.”
I heard Hannah give a smothered laugh.
“You got this cutie pie in love with ya, and instead of enjoying his company, all you do is whine.” With a quick flick, Aphrodite opened the cylinder to reload.
“He’s not in love,” I said.
She peered at Kai. “Whattya talkin’ about? Sure he is. Everyone knows Kyrillos loves Persephone.”
       “I’m Sophie,” I ground out.
She waved the gun around. “Ya ya. That too.”
That too? I took a deep breath, folded my fingers over my palms and looked slightly to the left of her in case I accidentally started blasting. Didn’t want to go down in history as the girl who killed the Goddess of Love.
“Nope. It’s just desire,” I said with faked calm. “Kai is so resistant to the idea of being in love with me that your arrows don’t work. Besides which, when he actually does fall so hard for me that he doesn’t know which way is up, I want him to know he chose that of his own free will. That he chose me.” I threw him a sweet smile.
“Chose you?” Kai got this look of “have we had this conversation before?” on his face. My smile got tight.
Aphrodite scooped up a saclike pink purse laying on the ground. She rooted around in it. “Desire is part of romantic love, silly,” she said to me.
She pulled out a handful of bullets and dumped them in Festos’ hurriedly outstretched hands before turning back to Kai. She gestured with the still-open chambered revolver toward him. “Your body knows what’s what. Stop fighting it.”
Kai glowered at her.
She laughed it off, reloading. “And you,” Aphrodite said to me, as she plucked more bullets from Festos’ hand to load into the chamber. “Yer just as bad with your own issues.”
She couldn’t know about my insecurities around Persephone could she? Aphrodite narrowed her eyes at me.
I gulped.
Aphrodite shot me a look of disgust and popped the final bullets into the chambers. She gestured at each of us in turn with one pink, sparkly manicured finger. “I’m gonna start gettin’ real mad about how youse is all dealin’ with love.”
“There’s a whole bunch of drags around here where love is concerned,” Festos agreed.
“Thanks so much for inviting him along,” Theo said to me.
I grimaced an apology at Theo, then shot back at Festos, “Seems there’s a whole bunch of dogs here, too.” I looked between him and Kai.
“Oh don’t forget Pierce,” Festos replied cheerfully. “He’s a total mimbo.” “He is not,” Hannah defended. “He’s pure love.”
Aphrodite threw her a fond smile. “I like you, girlie.” “Love in name, hormones in game,” Theo countered. “Look at us all in agreement,” Festos replied.
“No, because you’re talking about lust,” I protested.
“Lust is pretty good too,” Aphrodite said, “but it ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” She clicked the cylinder into place and looked at me. “We got a deal? You’ll get Jack to kill the campaign?”
“You’ll undo the love thing?” I asked.
“Nope. You could do with a little love in your life. Kyrillos is obviously brimming with love for ya now,” she ignored Kai’s snort, “so you’re gonna enjoy it.”
“Meaning what?” I asked.
“A date,” Kai piped up. “I’d say I’m ready now.” He arched an eyebrow as if to say “ball’s in your court.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” I slid my arm around his waist and pressed myself up against his side.
A look of surprise flashed across his face. “Perfect.”
I could outdate him any place, any time. I brightened. This was going to be fun. The touching part wasn’t a downside either.
“The fate of the world does dee-pend on you loving each other,” Aphrodite said. “So, good. We’ll start with a date.”
“Still say it’s a euphemism,” Festos burst out. “And Kai doesn’t date.”
Kai snaked his arm around my waist before pressing his fingertips into my hip. “Never wanted to before. Sophie’s the exception.”
“The euphemistic exception?” Festos asked. “Shut up,” Kai and I fired at him in tandem.
Festos took it in stride, waggling his eyebrows cheerfully at Theo who pretended to look disapproving but totally wasn’t. Even Hannah didn’t bother to hide her smile.
“Only thing is,” I told Aphrodite, “I have to be back at school by Sunday morning. I have a meeting I can’t miss. So I’ll have to get this thing with Jack done quickly to have time for the date.”
“Going together to find Hermes is the date.” Aphrodite looked at me like I was an idiot. “You two need as much together time as possible.”
No way. I needed all my wits about me to handle Kai. Something that couldn’t happen if I had to track down Hermes at the same time. I tried a new tactic. “A date involves dinner and a movie. Something romantic. Finding Hermes hardly counts.”
She pinned me in her gaze. “Had so miny of them, Miz Expert? All a date is, is two people spendin’ time to deepen their attraction.”
“Or kill it,” Hannah piped up.
Aphrodite scrunched up her nose. “Huh?”
“There are far more first dates than second,” Hannah explained. “Which means that after spending time, those people realized they were not a match.”
“What she said,” I seconded.
Aphrodite narrowed her eyes at Hannah. “I don’t get ya. You talk like that but you’re so brim up with love.”
“I’m a confounding enigma,” Hannah replied cheerfully.
Aphrodite threw her hands up. “Enough’a this nonsense. You’ll go together to find Hermes. And you’ll be date-like doin’ it.”
That sounded like a threat.
“Almost like you planned it that way,” I said to Kai.
His smile grew wider as he gave my waist a squeeze. “Told you I get what I want. Feel free to let that sink in.”

Tellulah Darling


1. YA romantic comedy author because her first kiss sucked and she's compensating.
2. Alter ego of former screenwriter.
3. Sassy minx.
Geeks out over: cool tech.

Squees for: great storytelling.
Delights in: fabulous conversation.
Writes about: where love meets comedy. Awkwardness ensues.

Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Story of River by Lana Axe

A Story of  River
Tales from Nōl’Deron
Lana Axe

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: AxeLord Publications
Date of Publication: May 2013
ISBN: 0615821537
Number of pages: 313
Word Count: 51,149
Cover Artist: Michael Gauss

Amazon    B&N    Kobo   Smashwords 

Book Description:

Aelryk’s kingdom is under attack by monsters conjured by a dark sorcerer. His only hope lies far to the west, where a powerful water elemental is rumored to dwell. Along the way, he joins forces with the Wild Elves, who were once his enemy. They alone can lead him through the dangers of the Wildlands. Together, they must journey to a mysterious land of eternal spring and return before the kingdom is overrun by evil.



“I’m sorry, Yillmara,” the young elf maid said as she wept. “The child does not live.” She held the tiny bundle toward his mother, who slowly took him from the maid’s arms. Yillmara looked upon the lifeless face of her tiny son and wept softly. She closed her eyes and pressed him to her breast. After a moment, though still exhausted from the birth, she rose from her bed with her son in her arms.
“You mustn’t, my lady! You need to rest!” The maid pleaded with her and touched her arm as if to stop her, but Yillmara continued walking. She made her way from her rooms and stepped out into the light of the dawn. It was a cool spring morning, and the sound of the river danced throughout the forest that was home to Yillmara’s people, the Westerling Elves.
Yillmara approached the river slowly, earnestly. She trod lightly so not to offend the Spirit of the river. With her son still in her arms, she walked into the water and fell to her knees, begging for the life of her child. “River Spirit, hear my plea and grant my son his life. He deserves the chance to live, to grow, and to know the beauty of this forest. He should be given the chance to hear the music of the river.”
Slowly, she placed the lifeless body of her son into the water. Hoping for an answer from the River Spirit was foolish, she knew, but what matter was that compared to the life of her child. She covered her eyes and wept. As her tears hit the water, she heard a soft voice around her. It caressed her and consoled her grief. The River Spirit had come. The young mother’s weeping ceased, and she felt pure serenity. “I will gladly trade my life for his,” she said with all the strength of her heart.
With that assurance, the Spirit granted her request. The mother slid gently down into the river, and the child opened his sapphire eyes. The young maid came running to the river’s edge along with Yillmara’s life mate. The maid took the child from the river and rushed him inside to get him warm.
Though he knew his love’s body would fade into the river, Ryllak waded into the water to be near her. He could see her lying serenely in the water, her face peaceful as if sleeping. Reaching his arms out for her came naturally, but it was no use. He could no longer touch his beautiful Yillmara. She was gone forever.
The river had granted the child his life, and in time, the river would reclaim him.

About the Author:

Lana Axe lives in Missouri near the edge of the woods. She is inspired by her love of nature to write about elves, magic, and adventure. Growing up in Mark Twain's backyard inspired her love of fiction from an early age. She grew up an avid reader and went on to study literature in college.

After eight years of jotting notes and building a fantasy world, she has finally begun releasing novels in her Tales from Nōl'Deron series. They will feature many of the same characters, but each novel will stand alone.

Uprising by Imogen Rose with Interview


1) First, tell us about yourself – where  you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

I very recently got my U.S. citizenship! So I can now call myself a bona-fide Jersey girl. I have lived in central New Jersey for over ten years. Before that, I lived in London, where I worked as an immunologist at Imperial College. I was born and raised in Sweden. I have two daughters and a Chihuahua.

2) How long have you been writing?

I started writing in 2009, so for four years now.

3) Do you have a favorite place to write?

I am a very busy mom, so I write wherever I can—while waiting outside ballet, ice hockey, theater practice, voice lessons… etc. I don’t have a favorite place. I just escape into my fantasies wherever I am.

4) Why did you decide to write Uprising?

Uprising is the fourth book in the series, so it was just a natural process to write it.

5) Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

In this particular book, it’s Rea. She allows me to write without boundaries, without a filter.

6) How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Dillard from the Portal Chronicles is my least favorite character. He is a total loser. He has no sense of responsibility whatsoever.

7) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

My books go through a heavy editing process, which starts with a self-edit. After that, I send it to my wonderful editor, Sue Bernstein. Once she’s done and I’ve applied her edits, the manuscript gets sent to a copy editor, four beta readers, and two professional proofers. I make changes between each of these. Then, before I publish, I proof it again using text-to-speech while reading.

8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love hanging out with my friends, shopping, movies, and spending time with my family.

9) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I don’t read as much as I used to because I don’t like reading while I am in the process of writing a book. My favorite authors include George Orwell, Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, James Patterson, and Enid Blyton.

Bonfire Chronicles Book Two
Imogen Rose

Genre: YA/Paranormal
Publisher: Wild Thorn Publishing
Date of Publication:  10-10-2013
Cover Artist: Phatpuppyart

Book Description: 

The global infrastructure that allows humans and supernaturals to coexist is under threat. A breakdown of this carefully maintained system erupts into worldwide chaos and could eventually lead to Armageddon. 

Code Uprising is activated.

The power of the supernatural world shifts from the city councils to Bonfire Academy and the other elite paranormal preps. Now, the staff and students must follow the code, however deadly the ramifications, to return power to the city sovereigns in order to prevent an apocalypse.


He felt as dead as she looked. With each blow to her lifeless body, he felt his sanity ooze, drop after drop, into the pool of her blood. She was dead. Her only hope now was the guy who had stolen her from him.
The knock on the door filled Quinn with loathsome fury. Had he not already been in his demon form, he’d have transformed because the person on the other side of the door deserved what he had unwillingly subjected Cordelia to.
He flung the door open, growling at the winter faery who was keeping Cordelia’s heart beating. Jagger swept past Quinn to the corner of the room, kneeling down beside Cordelia’s torn-up body. His pale winter hue darkened. He shot to his feet, bringing up his leg and slammed his foot into Quinn’s stomach.
Quinn fell back in surprise, his demon exterior not so much as reddening as a result, but he felt on the verge of losing it and tearing Jagger’s head right off of his fey neck. But he checked himself. If Jagger’s heart stopped, so would Cordelia’s, and Quinn couldn’t allow that to happen.
“What the fuck, Quinn? What did you do to her?” Jagger’s voice was barely audible; his mood had turned from anger to desperation as he looked at the body on the floor again.
Quinn transformed back into his human form, revealing a mess of injuries and broken bones. “I had no choice. It was this or death.”
“Or death? She is dead, you moron!” 
“No, she isn’t. Her heart is still beating.”
“Only because I’m beating it for her,” Jagger muttered.
“Only because I’m letting you beat it for her,” Quinn said quietly. 
“She needs a healer.”
“Wander her back to the Academy. But hurry. Potomal’s team is on their way and will be here soon to collect her.”
“A Wanderer working with Katerina.” Quinn winced at the stabs of pain his human body was unable to dampen.
“What about you? What happened?”
“Cordelia didn’t go down without a fight, but never mind that. I’ll heal. I need you to beat me to within an inch of my life. Here, use this.” He handed Jagger a tire iron.
“Much as I would love to beat the hell out of you, why? If you’re afraid of what they’ll do to you when they find out you let Cordelia escape, why not just come back to the Academy?”
“No time. Plus, the best way for me to protect Cordelia is from the inside. Hurry.”
Jagger glanced down at Cordelia and then raised the iron bar.

About the Author: 

Imogen Rose is the author of the bestselling series, the Portal Chronicles, which has attained cult status within indie literature and become a favorite among teens and adults alike. An immunologist by profession, Dr. Rose published her first work of fiction in 2010. She now writes full time and is currently working on her second teen series, the Bonfire Chronicles. Imogen was born in Sweden and has lived in several places, counting London among her favorites. She moved to New Jersey in 2001. A self-confessed Hermès addict, Imogen freely admits to being obsessed with Kurt Cobain. She enjoys shopping, traveling, watching movies, and hanging out with her family, friends, and Chihuahua.

Twitter: ImogenRoseTweet
Instagram: ImogenRoseGram

Purchase Links

Next book

Retaliation (Bonfire Chronicles Book Three): Coming Spring 2014

Reading Order

If you are reading both series:
1. Portal
2. Equilibrium
3. Quantum
4. Faustine
5. Momentum
6. Initiation
7. Integration
8. Fusion

Portal Chronicles only:
1. Portal
2. Equilibrium
3. Quantum
4. Momentum
5. Fusion (to be published)

Bonfire Chronicles only:
1. Faustine
2. Initiation
3. Integration 

The Temple of Indra's Jewel by Rachael Stapleton with Interview


1) First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

 Would love to! I am the proud mother of two adorable young children, wife to the handiest husband ever, and a writer of Fantasy/Mystery. I often work at the local library because my beautiful office is overrun with kids and pets. My passion lies split evenly between fitness, reading, and writing. What else… we have a dog and a cat. Our family used to include two cats but we recently lost our snuggly black feline Daphne who happens to have been featured in The Temple of Indra’s Jewel. I love photography and have dubbed myself the paparazzi. I think laughter is the best medicine and there really is no brighter spot to my day then hearing my kids giggle.

2) How long have you been writing?

For as long as I could hold a pencil or so they say. I still remember the moment I decided creative writing was my favourite class –Grade three. Making up stories and writing them down just seemed like a very natural thing to do. We often visited my Grandfather who we lovingly coined Grump, at his beautiful old home in Cordova Mines. His wife, Ruth always had books in the house. I read everything that I could get my hands on, much of it probably wasn’t age appropriate. Other kids were slipping into Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, and I was curled up reading V.C Andrews.

3) Do you have a favorite place to write?

I would love-love-love to say my office -- it’s beautiful but truthfully my house is usually filled with noise and since my office is quite accessible, I’m forced to lock myself in my bedroom to get anything done. I wind up awkwardly laying on my bed or sitting on my chaise with a cat climbing all over me, twice a week I run to the local library to get some writing done. If I had to choose the most peaceful place I’ve ever written, I’d say it was at a cottage in Bobcaygeon on a writing retreat with my writers circle. That was definitely my all-time favorite place to create. Come to think of it, the scene with Sophia where she’s admiring the stars dazzling off the lake before going to bed at Gigi’s Lakehouse --that was born from that moment.

4) Why did you decide to write The Temple of Indra’s Jewel?

I guess it was a combination of circumstances. I was twenty-six, pregnant with my first child, taking a night course on history and I found myself with a severance package and a lot of free time. I’d read and loved the Outlander series and I was having trouble finding more time travel books so I decided to write something I would read.

5) Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

That’s tough. I love all my characters. It’s like asking someone to choose their favourite family member. You know. I love my mom for being mom and dad for being dad. Why don’t I tell you instead why I love the chosen few. I’ll start with the obvious. Sophia -- she’s adventurous, playful and probably the most relatable for me. A lot of her decisions are based on a ‘what would I do’ scenario.  Cullen – the loveable redheaded Irishman is based on all the positive traits of my hubby with of course none of the bad.  Gigi -- Sophia’s great grandmother is a mixture of people I know. Some of her relationship with Sophia is based on my mother and my Great-Grandma Trimble and a few of her personality quirks or sayings are thanks to my aunts and/or family in general. Then there’s Leslie and Greta – oh how I love these characters. They are the comic relief and Leslie really is loosely based on a quirky friend of mine.

6) How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Nick is probably my least favourite character. He’s needy, self-serving and explosive and he just really grates on my nerves. Needless to say, I based him on someone as well. :P

7) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

It’s definitely a process. I write my story. I edit a chapter then I take it to my writers circle and they review it and I edit it based on their feedback. Then I read it again a year later once we’ve gone through the whole story. Same process. This may happen one more time. Then I give it to beta readers and edit based on their feedback. Then my girlfriend Sue will sometimes take a run at it and finally it moves to the Publisher for a professional edit and proof. Yawn! I’m tired just thinking about all of this.

8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Well, of course I really enjoy reading. I’m also training for a fitness competition so in addition to working, writing and taking care of my husband and two kids, I train six times a week and fit in posing class with Steve Oldenfield and his team from Pure Spa & Fitness.

9) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I definitely have a few. Heather Graham, Cassandra Clare, Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, V.C Andrews, Deborah Harkness, Kristen Cashore and of course Diana Gabaldon. She just has a way of stringing together a sentence that places you right there in the story. Not to mention her characters are fabulous -- I could read the most boring mundane details and yet I'm fascinated and want more.

10) What scene from The Temple of Indra’s Jewel affected you most?

Gigi’s death by far was the most emotional scene I’ve ever written. We lost my aunt to cancer the year or two before I wrote this and so a lot of the journey and pain was still fresh. The ambulance, the hospital and the morphine -- I still cry when I read it.

The Temple of Indra’s Jewel
Rachael Stapleton

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance
Publisher: iUniverse, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0223-9 
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0224-6 
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0225-3 
Number of pages: 274
Word Count: 75,279

Book Description: 

Sophia Marcil awakens from a snorkeling accident in the Lérins Islands to find herself in the chambers—and the body—of a nineteenth-century princess.

In a confused state and with no idea of her whereabouts, Sophia embarks on a desperate quest for answers, hoping she can find her way back to her fiancé, Nick, and her true identity.

After she finds a diary in an antique desk, Sophia follows a clue that leads her to a questionable alchemist, who relays the history and magic of the mysterious amethyst she inherited from her greatgrandmother— the only possession that made the leap through time with her and perhaps the only thing that can prevent her from becoming a pawn in a murderous plot for the throne.

Using her inheritance, Sophia races through time to the twenty-first century to solve the mystery of her family’s past.

But once she is there, she unearths a dire warning about a curse that clings to her heirloom, leading her down a dangerous path involving two men from different times and ultimately puts her life at risk.

In this tale of obsession, greed and passion, a woman on a journey through time struggles to regain a family heirloom and control its magic, hoping to break the curse before it breaks her.


The sound of heavy footsteps and a feeling of dread overtook me as I woke. A deep humming nagged at my ears and I burrowed deeper into my cocoon of quilts. The door opened and a strong musk stung my nostrils. Go away! I thought shaking my head to clear it as the bed sunk under the strain of company. All the movement was too much and a wave of nausea that could knock over a sailor rolled in.

I swallowed it back down. “Nick,” I whispered attempting to grasp my bearings. What happened?”

His hand stroked my hair before trailing slowly to my ribs, making me very aware of the thin fabric tangled at my waist. As I peeked one eye open, my vision blurred and my eyes stung as if filled with salt."

“Nick,” I repeated. What happened?”

His hand caressed my nipples, first one and then the other, which responded against my better judgment. This wasn’t the time for foreplay, I thought. My head throbbed and the room spun as I attempted to sit up.

“The cavern,” I started to say.

“Shhh,” he soothed laying me back down. I was so damn weak. 

“Tell me!” I said pushing back at him. 

I’d been the first to jump off the boat and head for the reef. Was that only this morning? It felt like a lifetime ago when I’d noticed the deep dark shadows of an abyss off in the distance. I remembered suddenly finding myself over top of it and thinking how’d I get over here so fast? There’d no longer been any fish around me, and I had marveled at how surreal it was to swim over a cliff. That’s when I had seen the metallic light radiating from below. I tried to recall what happened next and pushed my memory to the brink. I remembered sunshine, finding my breath… popping up…

My sinus’s burned and my eyeballs felt like they’d burst out of my head bringing me back to reality and the fact that Nick was still touching me. I ignored him and opened my eyes again, forcing them to focus. There were delicate diamond panes of glass in the windows, floral patterns on the walls and dolls on a shelf. 

“Sapphira ma fleur, réveillez-vous.” Nick’s voice surprised me, pulling me out of my reverie as he slipped the blanket down to expose my thighs. 

I grabbed for it and pulled it back up to my waist shivering. “Nick, where are we?” 

“Nous avons inachevé!” He continued cooing in my ear. I closed my weary eyes, my mind searching, trying to make sense of his voice and touch. He usually didn’t speak French unless we were with his dad’s friends. 

His voice grew deep and menacing as he switched to English and stood up. 

“Sapphira! You try my patience. Stop playing.”

I looked up but I could only make out a dark figure looming over me, pacing back and fourth. “I can’t see you. There’s something wrong with my sight.” 

When I didn’t respond further he tweaked my nipple hard. 

“Owww!” I howled, opening my eyes just in time to watch his blurry shadowed form disappear from the room. 

Where’s he going? What’s gotten into him today? 

I swung my legs over the side of the bed to chase after him but nothing seemed familiar or right. This was not our Villa. Where was I? How did I get here? I remembered wandering up the hill. Oh my god! He’d proposed! 

Wrapping a blanket tight to my chest to ward off the chill, I staggered out of bed and across the room. The nausea was overwhelming and I leaned my forehead against the cold marble of an oversized fireplace, trying to dredge up what had happened. We’d found ourselves on the backside of the island gazing out over the cliff. That must be his problem. His dad wanted us to join the family business in Europe. But I’d said no. And he lost it! 

I gripped the mantle tighter. What had happened next?

I remembered walking away from him to catch my breath, that’s when I noticed that same metallic spinning in the water below. 

Suddenly I was hurdling towards it. 

Dizziness overtook me. 

I opened my eyes to get away from the memory, bracing myself and stared down into the face of an ugly Marie-Antoinette-looking doll lying in a basket. The eyes bulged. 

Had I fallen? 

If so, this was a pretty strange hospital. I ran my hands over my face and head. No cuts, although I did feel bruised, nauseous and dizzy. 

As I contemplated that, a crescendo of tiny knocks rapped at the door. I quickly returned to the bedside just in time to see a petite dark haired girl poke her head in. 

“Oh good, mademoiselle, you’re up. Are you feeling any better?” She signaled behind her and two additional women marched in, opening the drapes, unfolding a food tray and handing me a cup of hot broth. 

“Please, tell us what ‘appened?” her tiny french voice cracked with excitement.

I moved to the window sipping my broth, feeling extremely alien as they began to make the bed and assemble garments. 

“Who are you?”

“Chloe.” She said looking affronted.

I ignored her and gazed out the French doors at the expanse of blue water. The Villa must be built on a cliff. Then it came to me. 

Nick had grabbed me by the neck and leaned me back over the Island’s edge on Sainte Marguerite. I tried to reach for his chest, to pull myself in, then I clawed at his hands to loosen his grip so I could breathe, but as I squirmed I forgot the edge. Loose rocks gave way beneath me. My balance wavered and Nick let go. It was like a bad dream, falling in slow motion. I hit the water with a thud and it drove a terrible stinging up my nose. I struggled to swim. My lungs wanted to explode with panic. I drifted deeper. And then suddenly, I just relaxed as the strange magnetic lights encompassed me. 

“The water, I was d-r-r-owning. Did I wash up here?” I sputtered, confused, almost like an amnesia patient.

Chloe paused slightly giving the other lady a strange look. “You were found floating in the sea.” 

How could Nick have done that? He must have at least dived in and saved me ‘cause here I was alive, or at least partially alive. I felt like death. I remembered it all so clearly now. We’d gone snorkeling at the Lérins islands just off the coast near Cannes.

Had I washed up on shore somewhere along the French Riviera? Or were there other islands, perhaps a private island. 

Yes that was it! This was some eccentric’s mansion and that explained the room. 

“What were you doing at the rivage de la mer?” Chloe asked, interrupting my reverie.

“Give her a moment to collect herself,” scolded the tall thin maid with the pinched face. “She has just awakened and she probably desires to catch her breath, no?” 

“Sorry Anais.” 

“Lisabetta, come look at the nasty bruise on her head.” Anais motioned rapidly for the older lady to come over. 

They all stepped closer, examining my head. 

“It’s nothing. Retour au travail.” Lisabetta said in a mixture of French and Italian. Isn’t that right, mia cara?” 

“But, mademoiselle, how?” Chloe questioned, before seeing the old woman’s face.

“Taisez-vous!” Lisabetta shouted.

Chloe quickly clapped a hand over her mouth as Lisabetta grabbed her wrist and ushered her out into the hall. 

They returned a moment later all smiles.

“Well now, Signorina, you are safe, thanks to that handsome Graf of Württemberg. Let’s take care to get you dressed so the house can move on.” 

She reminded me of someone else, someone else feisty I should have remembered, but my mind was a jumbled mass of confusion. I walked through the fog remembering odd things and yet having no context for them and blanking on other things right in front of me. 

It took me a little by surprise when Lisabetta threw my arms up and Anais yanked the nightie over my head.

“What the hell are you doing?” I said quickly throwing my hands over my breasts or at least the nipples. My hands weren’t quite big enough to cover everything. 

“Mademoiselle?” Anais questioned.

“Give me that!” I screeched yanking for the nightgown as Anais stepped back out of my reach.

“Who are you and where the hell is Nick?”

I was not a shy person, but I was not used to being stripped by strangers.

Anais looked panicked, glancing from Lisabetta to me.

“Leave her,” Lisabetta said calmly.

I wrapped the nightgown around me like a towel and marched over to the door that I had seen Nick exit through. Where had he gone? 

Then it occurred to me to be afraid. What if Nick hadn’t jumped in after me? What if I washed up somewhere alone? 

My hands were cold but sweaty as I clutched the knob. For a moment, I forgot the chill running down my spine, and regarded my hand as though it belonged to someone else: blue veins were visible through delicate flesh. My hands, yet much paler. 

A small measure of comfort tugged at my heart as I noticed Gigi’s ring. The panther sparkled, covered in purple jewels with startling emerald eyes. 

“Should I call for the doctor?” Anais asked.

“No.” Lisabetta clucked disapprovingly. “He’ll put her out again.”

“Put me out?”

Lisabetta nodded, reaching a hand towards the nightgown I clutched around my body.

“Why are you dressing me?”

“Dinner,” Lisabetta said, motioning to Chloe. “The dress from the back of the door and bring the brooch.” 

“Dinner? Don’t you people have a cocktail dress?” I said eyeing the three quarter length sleeves and scoop neckline. “I’m not going to dinner.” My stomach took this inopportune moment to lurch. “Where’s Nick?” 

Lisabetta raised her eyebrow. “Waiting downstairs at dinner.” 

“Oh, thank god.” I said, grabbing the dress from her hands. “Why do I have to wear such a fancy dress? Is it some sort of costume party?” 

“Party. Yes.” Anais smiled.

I eyed her suspiciously.

“Fine. I’ll wear it,” I said, motioning for them to turn around before bending to step into it. “I guess I can’t wear my bikini.” 

I stood up straight surrounded by a sea of bronzed gold. The material may have been made of soft silk but the crinoline underneath felt itchy. The girls instantly went to my back tugging and squeezing until my boobs bulged out the top. 

“Oh god, ouch, what is that sticking into me?”

“A corset, the usual.”

The usual for who, I thought to myself, masochists?

She continued on, nipping and tucking me in as she yanked the laces tighter. I let out an exasperated moan and Anais smiled up at me.

“Euhhhh, have no fear Mademoiselle, we will get you into it, no?” She was soon squeezing me so tight I thought I might pass out. Never mind the near drowning, this would be death by corset. They stood back, surveying their handiwork with satisfaction. 

“One last thing.” Anais said pushing a powder puff into my face.

“Sei bellissima!” Lisabette smiled and pinched my cheek. 

“Oui, très belle!” Agreed Anais.

I huffed, allowing Lisabetta to pinch me one last time. “Can we please go to Nick now?” 

“Of course,” Anais said, opening the door in a motion for me go.

They both just stood there. 

“Could one of you lead the way?” My patience was wearing thin.

Lisabetta looked from Anais to me and then waved her hand.

“Of course.” Lisabetta said, before leading me through a dozen multi-coloured chambers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Ornamental pillars, tapestries, vaulted ceilings and sparkly chandeliers. This place was really something. Eventually the space opened up into an enormous hall with elaborate cross ribs arching high above in an elegant spider’s web shape. As she led me toward the front of the room I was welcomed by a man and a woman similarly dressed in costumes befitting a ball. 

“There you are!” The older woman said. Her face held a faint pomegranate tone, perhaps reflected off the red of her gown, which set off her dark hair. I could feel curious glances boring into my back. I assumed from the shifty eyes and snippets of whispers that they were garrulous and gossipy.

“Princess Maria.” A woman in green flew up to her interrupting us, curtsying before her. “And Comte de Chalais,” she said before kissing the man on both cheeks in an overdramatized fashion. 

I gaped openly at the trio.

“Thank you so much for inviting us.” She chirped turning back to the woman. 

“Don’t thank me. It was Henri’s suggestion.”

I turned away, flushed, and glanced around the room. Three long tables were arranged to make three sides of a square. There were some twenty people set to eat, and perhaps another seven to serve. Panic shot through me like a bolt of lightning. I didn’t see Nick anywhere but I did notice a devastatingly tall, handsome man staring at me. His skin was olive and he had the most amazing, serious, greenish-brown eyes. Our gaze locked as we took stock of one another. He was not entirely clean shaven and although his hair was trimmed, it curled in shining blue-black ringlets. 

“And look at this lovely, exotic creature. Is this your daughter?” The woman in green asked, pulling me back to the conversation at hand.

I waited for the woman in red, Princess Maria, to correct her and usher me to Nick, but instead she nodded and put her hand on my shoulder. “Yes, this is the fair Princess.”

My heart began to pound. I pulled away and turned on her. “Don’t touch me. Where is Nick?”

I heard whispers and gasps ripple through the crowd. 

“Sapphira,” she whispered.

I took a step back, realizing all eyes were looking our way.

“Why are you saying my name like that? It’s Sophia.”

“It’s alright.” She smiled and turned towards a tall, plain, skinny woman with black hair and cold blue eyes that froze me to my bones. “Gabrielle, call for the doctor. She’s had a bump on the head.” 

“What? Give me the phone. I need to call my hotel.” 

The woman scurried through the crowd, returning with a silver haired gentleman. 

“Please forgive her,” Maria expressed to the room. “Perhaps we allowed her out of bed too soon.”

No one moved. 

I caught my reflection in a gilded floor length mirror. It was me and yet it wasn’t. Pale, with rosy red, plump lips and something else wasn’t right. I marched closer, realizing my hair was the colour of toast—a mane full of curly blonde ringlets that shone in a rippling sheet of gold almost to my waist. I studied the reflection. The sun couldn’t have lightened it that much. They dyed my hair and possibly permed it! What the hell was going on here? 

Chapter Two

“What are you people playing at?” I turned back to the mirror, my pale creamy complexion mocking me. “This had better wash out,” I said holding up a lock.

"Why is she being so silly?" Maria whined loud enough for me to overhear. "I don't like this." 

"I don’t either, your highness," Gabrielle said, eyeing me from across the room.

"When will Charles be back?” Maria said and frowned. 

“We haven’t heard yet.”

"Have you heard any further news from Menton?” 

Gabrielle shook her head. “No, only that Roquebrune has joined them in their revolt and will soon declare themselves independent."

“I handed the power over to Charles too late and now his efforts are doomed. If only Florestan had been more of a leader. I’m feeling melancholy. Where’s Nico?” 

My ears perked up at the sound of the name. It wasn’t Nick but perhaps that was his stage name during this little game.

“He should deal with- ” She paused waving her limp wrist at me as if I were a mess to be swept from the floor. “this.”

“He’s not here. He’s handling the Roquebrune situation, your highness. Give me permission to deal with your daughter.”

“Excellent idea.”

Gabriella turned to me, a look of satisfaction brimming over. I tilted my head defiantly.

“What Roquebrune situation? Get me to Nick now!” I demanded.

“Get hold of yourself.” She said, disdain pulling at the corners of her mouth. 

“I will not! Get me Nick.”

“Perhaps you need another shot.”

“No, I don’t need anything except for Nick.”

“Would you like me to give her something to sleep?” The silver haired man rifled through his black bag.

“No. I’m fine. I’ll co-operate. Please. Please don’t drug me.” I begged.

The silver haired man looked to Gabrielle and then to Maria who nodded and turned to whisper to me in hushed tones. “I know you’ve sustained quite the bump, but no more outbursts, Sapphira, or you’ll be put to bed.”

I glanced around the room. All eyes continued to stare at me. Perhaps I’d better play along for the moment.


The eyes began to turn away and the chatter rose once again as Maria took my arm introducing me to several people as if nothing happened. As the introductions went on, I realized everyone believed I was this other woman, this Princess Maria’s daughter. I couldn’t help but wonder where this Princess Sapphira really was and why everyone was content to believe this little charade. But then again, everyone had a title or so it seemed and I concluded that this was some sort of murder mystery game or costume theatre and they had somehow decided I should play a role. Why they thought this would be fun was unbeknownst to me, but the only introduction I cared about was Graf Viktor Wilhelm Alexander Ferdinand of Württemberg who stood about six foot two and had apparently rescued me from drowning the night before. This was the tall, dark and handsome stranger who stared at me earlier.

He was very attractive although in a rugged sort of way, not the type you'd like to meet alone, unless of course you were drowning. His green eyes shone, sweeping the room with a noble expression before settling back on me.

“Prinzessin, it is an honor to be in your company tonight.” He raised my hand to his lips, but his eyes did not linger long with mine under the scrutiny of Gabrielle. My hand dropped, burning, to my side, and my cheeks flamed to match. I longed to get him into a corner alone so we could drop the act, and I could find out what the hell really happened, but Gabrielle remained glued to my side. I discovered that Viktor was visiting a neighbouring cousin when I turned up face down on the shore. The topic, much to my dismay, was changed almost instantly, and I was itching to know why he had deposited me here with these crazy people. The humming in my ears had finally stopped and I could hear clearly although at times I wished I couldn’t. They all spoke so formally and many seemed to be visiting from different countries. It seemed odd that so many would travel for a dinner theatre but the rich could be eccentric.

“How charming you look tonight, Sapphira,” interrupted the Comte de Chalais steering me away, “You will have some wine, won't you?" 

It was a redundant question as the wine was already poured in a crystal goblet that stood on the table. It glowed like a bauble in the candlelight. I flashed on a hazy memory of a large shiny gem but the image escaped me as quickly as it had come. He handed the glass to me, following my gaze back to the Graf.

“You are quite taken with him?” 

I snorted unattractively, “Where’s Nick?”

“Nico? Why would you ask after him?” 

“I’m sorry. I realize you’re playing some sort of costume theatre here, which apparently you all take super seriously, but I don’t appreciate being pulled into this. Please have someone take me back to that room and send Nick in while you play your game!” As an afterthought I added “And perhaps afterwards if you would be so gracious as to explain how the hell we’re getting back to our resort.”

Gabrielle signaled one of the armed guards and I was then escorted back to the room I’d awoken in. 

Thank goodness, they’d finally listened.

The ladies quickly appeared and helped me strip the heavy costume and left again, promising to return and settle me into a bath. I stood staring at the familiar stranger in the mirror, and my eyes settled on the curve of my breasts. The chill in the air had forced my nipples to stand at attention and gooseflesh now covered my arms. 

A knock sounded at the door. 

Nick, I thought. "Come in," I said, turning towards the door as it opened and Henri, the Comte de Chalais sauntered in stiffly holding a china cup.

"I'm sorry to interrupt ma chère. I just came to bring you a tea and make sure you were alright.” I looked at the cup in his hand feeling awkward at my nakedness. 

I quickly pulled the shear robe over my shoulders. It wouldn’t do much but it was close and handy.

“You seem to be having a difficult time recovering from the bump on the head.” 

I was speechless that these people were so wrapped up in this delusion. 

Setting the cup down, he turned and patted my hand. “Are you feeling any better?" 

"No. I’m sorry. I don’t understand, why the charade? I realize I bumped my head when I fell at Marguerite Island and I must have washed up on your shore. But I don’t get why you people refuse to call me by the correct name or let me see Nick. Have you even contacted the police?”

Henri placed his hand on my forehead. 

“Maybe I should get Gabrielle or call the doctor back in.” 

“I’m serious. I don’t know if this Sapphira is a character in your play or a real person and I don’t know what happened to her for that matter, but I’m not her.”

“You’re probably just still a little woozy from all the wine." 

“Why don’t you believe me?” It was little more than a whisper as I pulled my robe tighter around me.

"Sapphira, Please stop with this charade,” he said looking into my eyes, tilting my chin up. It won’t bring your brother home any sooner and it only makes you look spoiled."

The frustration boiled within me and I didn’t know whether to scream or cry. Tears involuntarily flooded my eyes.

"And of course a good night's sleep will help.”

As he drew me in for a hug, I thought of kicking him and running for the door, but I had seen guards earlier and this Palace was filled with halls. Before I knew it, the moment was lost as he squeezed me tight and let me go.

I stood stock-still, feeling the hair prickle on the back of my neck. So many things weren’t making sense. Why were they keeping Nick from me? 

I cursed myself for screaming earlier. Had Nick taken off? I returned to the door I’d hastily seen him exit through. What if it hadn’t been Nick this morning? Pressing my lips together, I forced myself to breathe through my nose so my raspy breaths couldn’t be heard. My heart hammered as I flung the door wide open, preparing for a shock. Much to my surprise, it was actually a sitting room or dressing room. I felt for the light switch but had no luck.

The only other door led to a bathroom where candles flickered on a marble washbasin casting shadows across the salmon wallpaper. 

The tub was filled with water. I stuck my hand in, hot. This must be the bath they promised to return and settle me into. I waited a few minutes to make sure there would be no other surprise visitors and then disrobed once again climbing into the claw-foot tub. While soaking my aching limbs I found myself thinking about the Graf. I couldn’t help but imagine him rescuing me. I mentally smacked myself. I needed to focus on getting the hell out of here and back to Antibes. Nick must have called the police by now; they would be looking for me, wouldn’t they? And yet I couldn’t help but let my mind once again drift to the Graf. Had he seen what happened? Did he watch me fall? Perhaps I could convince him of my identity after all. He was my best shot. A visitor to this odd little island, probably only here for that dinner theatre. 

Heading back through the dressing room, an extravagant armoire caught my eye. It was a long shot but maybe there were some normal pajamas stored in there. I saw a row of ball gowns fit to grace the courts of Versailles. Where were the jeans, t- shirts and sundresses? 

As I fingered the richly embroidered gown, I shivered at the draft blowing in, and noted there was no zipper. Quickly checking three of them, I realized none of them had zippers. Fondling the material between my thumb and forefinger, it occurred to me that these dresses were authentic. Why would someone need authentic 19th-century dresses like these and why so many unless their whole life was a costume party? Where the hell was I? 

I walked to the antique desk by the fireplace, pulling the first drawer open hard and fast, surprising myself as it hit the floor with a thud. A piece of wood went flying, and I realized I knocked out a small compartment. Rubbing my fingers along the back I discovered a panel that could be removed, a small, leather bound book was hidden inside. The pages were dense with large, scripted writing. I flipped inquisitively; it appeared to be some sort of diary. I turned back to the first page and noted the initials, S.M in the upper right hand corner. My initials, but clearly not my book. I flipped to the middle and glanced at a passage dated 1857.

Panic flutters in my chest now day and night. Charles is still absent and Mother threatens to join him on his travels to quell the political upheaval we are faced with. I pray desperately to join. I do not wish to be left behind with the snake lurking.
I placed the book back in the desk and left the room, rounding the corner at the end of the hall, running into the Graf just as he was about to enter another doorway.

“Viktor, I’m so glad to see you again.”

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I thought you’d retired for the night.”

“No. Are you staying?” 

“Your mother suggested I spend the night. I’m going hunting in the morning with your Uncle Nico and the Comte, and I look forward to seeing you at dinner again.” 

“Uncle Nico. Who is this man?” 

"Pardon?” Viktor said.

“Nevermind. Why did you bring me here when you found me?” 

“What do you mean? Why did I return you to the Palace? You’re displeased?” 

I frowned, shaking my head, unsure how to explain. 

“No. Yes. It’s complicated. I found this cavern in the sea-”


I tried to think. “Today or yesterday”. I paused. “I don’t even know what day it is.”

“You’re being serious?”

“Yes, if you’ll just let me finish. In the sea there is this-”

“Do you think me a fool, Princessin?” Viktor interrupted.

“No, of course not.”

“Then you’re telling me you swim alone in the sea and that’s permissible?" 

I forced my chin up. “This isn’t coming out right. I’m not from here. Why do you think I belong in this Palace?”

“I apologize, Princessin. I think I am not understanding your English as well as I thought I did.”

“No. You’re doing fine. You understand just fine. They’re lying. They think I’m this Princess but I’m not. I think they’ve done something to her and now they’re trying to replace her with me.” 

“Are you feeling alright? You’re still confused?”

“Oh nevermind.” I said pushing past him. 

“Wait!” I heard him call after me.

Running now, I came to the end of another hall with a staircase leading up. Noises came from behind me. I hurried up the stairs, and as I approached the landing, I saw a door at the top. Good, somewhere to hide. Then I heard the rumble of two male voices from behind it. 

Damn it! I was trapped. Excitement bubbled in my chest as the women’s voices grew closer. It sounded like Viktor had alerted someone to my hasty departure.

I hurried all the way to the top, pausing outside the door, removing myself from sight as they passed by. I was so worried about the ladies catching me that I almost missed the conversation...

"Does she remember anything?”

“She doesn’t appear to. What did you do to her?”

My pulse quickened at the words. 

“Nothing, I swear. I was only trying to catch her as you ordered, my lord.” 

“Either you’re lying or she’s playing one of her games. Why does she have to be so disagreeable, Enzo? Just like her father. That chamber exists somewhere in this godforsaken fortress and, by God, I will find it." 

"You will find it.” 

“I just said that!” he snapped. “That treasure hunting bastard, Ferris. He gave that stone to the old fool to protect. If only I could find them; imagine what I could do? I’ve tracked them too long to give up now.”

I stepped softly back from the door, turning to go, but the next few words grabbed my attention.

“Sapphira knows where it is. I’ve caught her disappearing into rooms and surfacing in others since she was small. Both her father and brother took her into their confidence. If only I could force her to trust me.” 

“It’s past time she had a husband, my lord,” said Enzo. “Demand her hand then she’ll be forced to tell you.” 

"Her brother is the problem. I’ll have to deal with him as I dealt with the old man." 

A lump formed in my throat. Someone was now pacing and I realized they might soon exit and catch me.

I turned and rushed down the corridor fighting hysteria the entire time. What was going on around here? 

Anais came out of a room just as I approached.

“There you are.” She smiled.

“Anais,” I said, panting. “What is the name of this island?” 

“Island? Princess, I fear you’re not getting any better. I’m going to call Monsieur.”

“No, and why are you still calling me that? Please Anais, I fell into the sea at Marguerite Island and I know I’ve washed up somewhere else. I realize you could get in trouble for breaking character in this crazy play but please tell me where I am?”


“Well that makes sense.” Thank God! Monaco’s not far from the island. I just need to find a phone. I began to ponder the costumes just as Anais clarified.

“I call you that because you are the Princess of Monaco.”

I stared at her, dumbfounded.

“See for yourself,” she said leading me down the hall. 

Curious, I followed her into a room which appeared to be a library or study of some sort. Another lantern sat on yet another fireplace. Where was the electricity? My eyes darted upwards above where she now stood in front of a large gilt-framed portrait. 

She came to my side, and my jaw dropped. 

At first glance it was as though I stood in front of that mirror again at the party. The woman in the painting could have been me—well, me as I looked right now.

“Do you remember now, Madamoiselle? This was just done at the first of the year.”

“And what year would that be, Anais?”

“Why, 1857 of course, your highness.”

About the Author: 

Rachael Stapleton grew up in a small town, writing as a hobby until the age of sixteen when she was given the opportunity to pen a column for the Orono Weekly Times. Today she is a dedicated writer who contributes to a weekly writer’s circle and is also a proud member of the Writer’s Community of Durham Region. 

Rachael lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children.