TCO is mad excited to have Ryan Loveless here discussing His Cursed Prince, her latest novella. From the synopsis on, you know you are in for a wild ride with this one, and I just love that Ryan gives us a little touch of what happened the day before these two connect. I hope you guys enjoy this!
Three facts about Tuckington Belle:
1. Given the choice between illegally scaling the royal castle’s walls to steal flowers for a client at his family’s dress shop or going on a date with a girl his brother set him up with (“He’s fertile, and he can sew!”), Tuck will scale the wall like a spider after a fly.
2. If, upon knocking himself unconscious when he falls off the wall, Tuck wakes up bruised, blindfolded, and inside the castle, where—based on the unearthly wails heard nightly—the prince no one has seen in ten years is probably a ghost, Tuck would still choose this over a date with a girl.
3. Tuck thinks it’s time to admit he’s gay.
Three facts about Prince Frederick George Deor (Read and approved with great reluctance by Lord “Protocol is Protocol. Stop Being a Pain About It” Todd):
1. He brought a curse upon himself and now bears the skin of a snake.
2. He can’t take his eyes off the injured thief recovering in the castle.
3. Friendships born from lying and insisting the other person wears a blindfold can blossom into true love—which he needs to break the curse.
I love plotting and writing exercises. Before I start a story, I spend weeks or more filling out worksheets on various and sundry. I even made a special Scrivener file for it that incorporates worksheets from different writing books that I’ve read. (That’s another thing, I love books on writing.) A favorite writing exercise of mine is to write out what each of the characters was doing the day before the story begins. It helps me find a jumping off point for where my story should start. Let me share with you now what Tuck and Frederick did on The Day Before.
Tuckington: Tuck stared dejectedly at the empty till. “This won’t keep the shop open past the holidays.”
“The money’s in your hand, doofus,” his brother said.
“Including that. We have to do something special to get the customers in. A gala or a ball–”
“Or a royal wedding. If Prince Jasper were engaged–,” their mother interjected.
“If he were, he wouldn’t get married in the castle here, not with all the banshee-wailing that goes on. People who live near say it keeps them awake all night.” Daniel eyed Tuck. “No, we need a wedding closer to home. A fine young lady of the town matched with an enterprising young lad. A shop owner. She’ll want all the finery for herself and her maids of honor, which we will provide at a reasonable, but profitable, rate.”
Tuck put the money into a bank envelope and closed the till. He avoided looking at Daniel.
Daniel settled his hand on Tuck’s shoulder and squeezed. “And I’ve got just the lad. What do you say, Tuck?”
Frederick: Frederick lay in the center of his bed. Although it was large enough for six of him, he curled tight, trying to be as small as possible. It shouldn’t matter. It’s just an animal. Like me. He clutched his dark cloak, pulling it tighter. The hood covered his face.
“Your Highness? KitKat is sorry. You just surprised him is all.” Gracie sounded plaintive on the other side of the door. “Can we come in?”
She was probably holding the cat. It had been sitting pleasantly in Gracie’s lap, but when Frederick approached to pet it, the thing hissed and reared up. Frederick had taken off in one direction, the cat in another.
“I wish to be alone,” he shouted.
“Leave me!” He rose up to roar, then collapsed back down, intending to stay there until he died.
“I’ll leave your dinner out here,” Gracie said after a moment. Frederick laid still, sulking, until the door opened, this time without a knock. Lord Todd entered and moved around the room, doing whatever he did while Frederick ignored him. Frederick hid beneath his hood and wished himself away.
“George has invited me back this evening,” Tuck said after working up the courage. (Sir Michael did not invite comfortable chatter, and they were nearly stopped before Tuck found his nerve.)
“Did he, now?” Sir Michael said. Tuck couldn’t tell if he was disinterested or annoyed. “Going on inviting thieves back, is he? Not giving us a chance to screen them and all, is he?”
Tuck judged that this addendum was not meant for his ears and remained quiet. He did need to clear up one thing, though. “Is he a servant or…. I don’t wish to get him into trouble. If I’m not to return, please tell me.”
When Sir Michael turned in his saddle to look at him, his face was such a mask of power that Tuck gripped his saddle horn a little tighter to distract himself from the need to cower. “George is no servant,” Sir Michael said. “He is held in especial affection by His Royal Highness Prince Frederick. You will consider a request from George as an order from your prince. What time did he request you this evening?”
The information Sir Michael poured on him was enough to make Tuck overlook the concluding question. “Prince Frederick is alive?” He was certain his eyes were bugging out, but there was nothing to be done about it.
“He is.” Sir Michael said nothing more. Tuck had it on the tip of his tongue to tell him about the rumors, what people said outside the castle grounds, but one look at the tightness around Sir Michael’s eyes quelled him into silence. Almost before he knew it, they arrived at the wall and the door that Prince Frederick had once closed on him. Then Tuck was on the cobblestone walkway outside the grounds, flowers in hand, with directions to return to the same door exactly two hours after sunset. The heavy latch had closed before Tuck realized he wanted to ask where the prince was, even though he was certain Sir Michael would not answer.
Tuck turned away and hurried down the hill. Prince Frederick was alive. He swallowed this truth down and hid it away in a place safe in his belly. Sir Michael hadn’t forbidden him from telling it, but something told Tuck that he should keep it to himself and never even hint at this knowledge.
Thank you all for reading. I hope you will buy His Cursed Prince and if you do, let me know what you think!
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Grab this! Even if you aren’t into fantasy (I’m normally not!), even if you don’t like historical (which this has pieces of, but there’s still things like cell phones, so go figure), and even if the idea of a crying prince makes you want to cry yourself, grab this!
I completely enjoyed this. It was sweet, with some genuinely funny parts. And I loved that Tuck really just didn’t care, even knowing what he knew when his blindfold came off, he still only cared about the prince. Meanwhile, the prince needed to learn to care about himself.
On top of it, there is a twist on the curse, that I didn’t see coming, that I absolutely loved even more! So, once again, I will say…GRAB THIS! 🙂
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Ryan Loveless is the author of numerous M/M romance novels and short stories. She is honored to be recognized as a Rainbow Book Award winner (several titles), Epic eBook Award finalist (In Me an Invincible Summer), and a Florida Author and Publisher Association Awards bronze medalist (Ethan). She lives in New York with her family, a sentence that brings her great joy to write.