Re-Release from Changeling Press
Genre: BDSM, Erotic Romance
Theme: Exhibitionism and Voyeurism, Magic, Fantasy
A frog, a curse and a broken promise. Sometimes punishment can be its own reward...
4 star (Lovely Rose) Review from RTB: "The author has woven such an erotic fairy tale. It has a curse to break, but with a twist." 4 star Review from TRR: "This is a twisted fairy tale and it's a kinky delight."
Serena never thought asking for help from a frog would result in her being naked and tied to her bed. She should be afraid. She should call for the guards. She definitely should not be… begging for more.
Prince Rennick needs to get his hands on Serena’s necklace -- the one item sure to break the curse that turned him into a frog. When an accident makes him temporarily human, he cannot help but use his Dominant nature to bend Serena to his will.
What should have broken the curse turns into a desperate attempt to save Rennick’s life. As they try to find the key, Rennick demands much from Serena, but is she willing to surrender everything to this frog-turned-prince?
"Let go of me, you lecher!" Serena shouted. She tore away from Lord Bart Ducan, whom she'd dubbed Lord Grabby. This intolerable man was the latest in a string of losers her stepfather had introduced her to, apparently hoping she'd choose one to wed. She shifted back, but stopped when she spied a part of her gold and pearl necklace caught on the buttons of the lord's sleeve. "Don't move," she cried out, but he turned, and just that quickly, the slender strand snapped. She felt the tug, then the release as it fell from her neck.
"Your papa told me you'd be a hard one to bring to heel, but I didn't think he was serious." Lord Grabby tried to reach for her again. Furious, she kneed him in the crotch, and his resulting doubled-over stance and gasps for air elicited no sympathy from her.
"He's my stepfather, you excuse for a man," she spat, torn in her irritation between the two men. She should have known something was wrong when Lord Grabby led her out of the Great Hall and into one of the dark garden mazes. He hadn't paid one whit of attention to her the entire evening, but after coming from her stepfather's rooms, he'd headed straight her way. Okay, if she were honest, she knew something had transpired behind those doors that involved her, but she'd not expected to be accosted.
"Your stepfather, then," Lord Grabby wheezed. "He and I... came to an agreement that I would wed you."
She snorted. Her? Wed? The Enchanted Land hadn't bred a man who could live up to her standards. "That'll happen over my dead body," she promised.
Lord Grabby had his hands on his thighs, trying to stand, and Serena trembled in anger and disgust. She lifted a slipper-clad foot, set it against his hip, and shoved with all her might, making the man lose his balance to topple right into one of the sunken, mossy pools.
He sputtered and cursed, making her cheeks burn, but she'd had enough. Spying her necklace lying on the ground, she scooped it up, tugged a ripped sleeve back up to her shoulder, and stormed off, leaving him behind.
"Damn my stepfather," she fumed, slipping through a hidden arch and making her way to a secret part of the maze -- her own personal garden.
Since her last birthday, her stepfather had been hell-bent on marrying her off. A strong man, she'd admired him when her mother, God rest her soul, had married him when Serena had been ten. She'd thought she'd want a husband like him. Someone she could admire, look up to, respect. Instead, what did her stepfather offer? Some of the stupidest, rudest, most unbelievable men in the kingdom.
One time, the gardener came upon her when she was getting away from a potential suitor. She knew how to defend herself, and the gardener seemed to respect this, but he surprised her by building her a separate maze. "To have time to pull yourself back together," he'd explained in a delicious northern brogue.
As she now stomped through the twists and turns, she played back the words Lord Grabby had thrown her way and found herself getting mad all over again. "I need to be broken, my ass," she grumbled.
Reaching the middle of her maze, she crumpled on the garden bench, letting her frustration bleed out now that she was alone.
"It's not that I don't want to marry," she spoke to the evening air, "it's just that there is no one good enough to marry."
She wrapped the necklace into a ball and let it roll from hand to hand.
She loved this piece of jewelry. Given to her at birth by a northern wizard, the precious strand of gold and pearl beads was one-of-a-kind. Beautiful, coveted, and only she knew it was bespelled.
When Lord Grabby's sleeve had torn the necklace, it broke the clasp, but she had no worries. As a child, she'd discovered that if she wound the strand into a ball, the necklace would soon fix itself.
She let the lumpy ball fall from hand to hand. A rustle in the grasses near the small pool startled her. Her fingers fumbled, and the ball tumbled out of her hands and rolled toward the pool's murky edge.
She scrambled for the necklace, her fingertips just brushing the edges of the beads. She'd always remember what happened next, in slow motion. The makeshift ball continued its roll and smoothly slipped into the dark pond with barely a splash.
Serena stared, frozen, as her favorite keepsake, once whole, then broken, and now gone, sank away.
As if that had been her lifeline for control, Serena laid her forehead on the grass. Tears she couldn't hide or hold back any longer spilled out, and she finally allowed herself the cry she'd needed to release for months.
She had no idea how long she lay there sobbing into her arms, but when she lifted her head, she started when she came face to face with the biggest frog she'd ever seen.
"Agghh!" she screamed, pushing back in a hurry. That thing was staring at her, like it'd been studying her.
"Go away. Shoo. Go... go sit on a lily pad or something," she admonished the horrid thing. Gathering her composure, as if how she appeared mattered to the frog, Serena returned to the garden bench and smoothed out her hopelessly torn and wrinkled dress.
"Why do you cry so hard?" the frog asked.
She froze. Had that frog just talked to her? "Excuse me?" she asked, her brow raised high and her nose tipped up. She barely looked at the thing hopping toward her.
"I was in the pond. I heard a noise and wondered who disturbed my peace. Now I want to know why."
"This is my garden, frog. Go find another if you want peace. Stop stealing my own."
She wanted to push at the creature with her foot, but thought better of it. Her slippers were brand new, and she didn't want frog slime to ruin them.
"You must be an enchanted frog," she commented when the frog simply stared at her. "I didn't know frogs could be enchanted." When the animal remained quiet as though it waited on her, she deflated. "Fine. It's not like you're the next man trying to break me," she huffed.
"Never mind. You want to know what's wrong? My stepfather's trying to marry me off to over-blown barbarians. I've been manhandled more than any woman should be. And if that weren't bad enough, tonight's idiot broke my necklace. Now it's at the bottom of this pond."
"Hmm. Sounds rough."
She wiped at her eyes, refusing to cry anymore. "Well, you asked. It's not like you have any stress in your life."
"You have no idea."
She rolled her eyes. "Like you could have a hard life. You sit all day in my garden, eating bugs, swimming at your leisure... Wait. You're a frog."
"Do I even need to respond?"
"No. I mean, you can swim to the bottom and get my necklace, can't you?"
"I could, but why?"
She laughed, happy that she might get her necklace back. "Because you can. Because that necklace means the world to me, and because I'll... I'll let you stay in my garden."
"You'll let me?"
"Yes. Otherwise I'll have Henri, the gardener, chase you out."
The frog appeared to shake its head. "Not possible," he seemed to mumble. He hopped over to the pond, stared down for a long time, then turned back to her. "If I retrieve your necklace, you must make me a promise. Otherwise, it'll remain at the bottom of the pond."
Serena didn't even blink. What could a frog want? An endless supply of flies? Whatever it came up with, the price would be negligible. She shrugged. "Sure."
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