A dragon is about to find out what happens when a cat discovers his cave of shiny treasures.
After nine years, Pib is finally free from his contract with the newly wed prince. Slipping out in the middle of the night to avoid getting stuck in another contract, Pib shifts into his cat and makes his way home to the little village he foolishly left, hoping his best friend Wil still lives there.
Dray is bored. His services as a princess-guarding dragon are no longer needed and even his gold and jewels are unable to cheer him up. His mood changes quickly when he catches someone in his treasure cave, and it starts a series of events that change his life forever.
When the two finally meet, sparks fly, but Dray will have to move quickly if he’s to save his cat after Pib gets kidnapped.
Part of a series? If yes, can it be read as a standalone? Yes and yes
Series Title: Twisted Fairy Tales
Number in Series: #1
Publisher: Rainbow Ninja Press
Early Download at Rainbow Ninja Press – 27th May
Third Party Pre Order – 3rd June
General Release – 10th June
Word Count: 21,699
Rainbow Ninja Press
Rainbow Ninja Press – EU Customers
Categories: M/M Romance, Gay Fiction, Paranormal, Humor
Pib snuck into the darkened room, tiptoeing quietly so as not to wake the newly crowned prince Geraint and his princess. Looking around, he both thanked and cursed his shifter senses. While he was grateful he could see inside the room, the smell of sex throughout the air was something he could have done without.
Reaching the desk on the far side of the room, he paused and glanced at the couple. Once he was satisfied they were still asleep, he eased open the cover and found what he was after—his freedom. After nine long years as the bastard’s slave, the letter freeing him from servitude almost brought tears to his eyes. Carefully folding it and placing it in his inside pocket, Pib gently shut the desk and tiptoed back toward the bedroom door, leaving the room as silently as he’d entered.
He knew there was only a limited window of opportunity for him to make his escape. Even though the pompous bastard had made a production of signing the form and granting him his freedom, Pib knew it was all for show. If he didn’t escape now, Geraint would get him alone and force him to sign another contract and then make some sort of bogus announcement about how Pib wanted to stay.
Pib snorted, unable to help himself. Luckily there was no one else around the castle at this time of the night, though even if there was, Pib didn’t care. He was leaving, and no one was going to stop him. Anyone who tried would have a close encounter with his knife, or his claws, he wasn’t picky.
“Hey, Pib, where are you off to in the middle of the night?” asked the guard at the front door of the castle. Pib never bothered learning their names or getting friendly with them, especially since Geraint could force him to kill any of them at a moment’s notice. He’d learned that it didn’t pay for him to form any attachments with those surrounding Geraint.
“Getting an early start on my retirement,” Pib replied, smirking at the man while he continued to stroll toward the exit.
“Sorry, Pib, but I have to check. Do you have a signed letter from Prince Geraint?” The guard shifted from foot to foot, showing his unease.
Pib stopped in front of him and forced a smile. “Of course,” he said, carefully extracting the letter and handing it over to the guard.
He waited, watching the guard closely as he read the letter. One wrong move and Pib was going to gut him. Nothing could happen to that letter.
“Looks good,” the guard said, handing the letter back to Pib. “It’ll sure be different without you around, but all the best. And, uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I don’t see you again.”
Returning the letter to his pocket, Pib looked up and smiled a real smile at the man. He wanted to laugh when the guard’s face paled as he caught sight of Pib’s canines, but restrained himself. “Don’t worry, I hope never to see you again either.”
With that, Pib walked out of the castle and made his way through the sleeping village. Pulling his hood up, he used the dark material to blend into the surroundings. He wasn’t taking any chances that Geraint wouldn’t wake up any moment and send guards running after him. After all, Pib was practically friends with all of the skeletons in Geraint’s closet.
Pib reached the edge of the village and paused. After nine long years, he was finally free of Geraint, his orders, and most importantly, his shackle. The magical cuff that had decorated his right ankle for nine years had been removed after Geraint had signed his release. The cuff was the only thing ensuring Pib’s obedience, and finally, it was gone.
Taking a deep breath, Pib stepped over the invisible boundary line and felt the remaining enchantments shatter and disappear, leaving him standing as his true self for the first time in years. Reaching inside, he called out his inner cat to come out and play, and in seconds, his clothes disappeared and he was standing on all fours in his serval form. Stretching, he threw one last glance back at the castle and the village before slinking away into the trees, using the natural camouflage to shield him as he made his way toward the start of his new life.
I'd really like to spend every weekend in a secluded house, doing nothing but writing and talking about writing. The retreat last weekend was fantastic.
The program overview:
Just having the time away from everything that usually grabs so much of your attention is marvelous. Being with others who are focused on writing too, is inspiring. It's reaffirming to be able to discuss the most realistic way for someone to react to a hit-and-run without others thinking we're callous. Staying in a place with a magnificent view and that feels separated from the rest of the world, reinforces the idea that there's nothing else more important to do but write. The photo shows only part of the view we woke up to every morning. We could see right around from the ocean and The Gold Coast, to Brisbane, to the mountains.
What did I accomplish?
Life happens. It gets busy. It gets stressful. And then I realise it's been days, sometimes weeks, since I've written anything and I get more stressed. After a while I begin to lose motivation and confidence. I get cranky, short-tempered, and my family begins to point up the stairs and say, "Go to your room!". They know I need to write.
Last week I talked about writing groups and how they help me stay focused and achieving. A couple of the groups I'm in also organise retreats--weekends away that are focused solely on writing. Having time away from all the distractions and responsibilities life entails, where there's a number of us thinking of nothing more than putting words on paper, or improving those we've already written, is incredible.
I always come away from those weekends with new enthusiasm--and a lot more accomplished. The picture is where I'll be working this weekend.
I have a long list of goals for this weekend. Typically, I won't do them all, but I know I'll have more done on the retreat than I would if I stayed at home.
Job number one is to write a synopsis and blurb for No Evil Star, the sequel to The Planet Whisperer. I have three paragraphs written so far, but only the first one is worth keeping in any way. I'm expecting there'll be at least six versions before I get something approaching a reasonable synopsis. (Have I mentioned how much I hate writing synopses?)
Belonging to writing and critique groups is one of the defining factors for my writing. Without the groups, I wouldn't write as much or as often, and I definitely wouldn't write as well. I'm completely selfish when choosing writing groups.
I'm in one critique group because their focus is speculative fiction. They'll read a bit of everything, but the primary focus of the text has to be spec fic. The feedback Vision Writers give is invaluable in helping me keep the science/fantasy right. They're a friendly group that maintains a serious writing focus. There's a core group of regulars with others dropping in as and when they can. I've been involved with the group since the late 90s so have seen the core group change many times. We organise a retreat once a year for those who can attend.
Another critique group I'm in has a focus on romance. The feedback I receive from them primarily revolves around character development and relationships. It doesn't have to be a romance for the group to read it, but their feedback will always be character-based. Each member of the group has different strengths and foci, so the feedback is always varied and solid. I've been with this small group for years and we've become friends. We also go on retreat every year where we focus more on our writing than critiquing.
After doing the Year of the Edit through QWC several years ago, I got together with some of the others from that program and we formed our own little mini-group. We meet once a month for writing time, followed by lunch and discussion. I'm always amused that after spending a couple of hours sitting silently side-by-side writing, we walk down to the cafe exclaiming how great it is to spend time with each other.
Earlier this year, I did another workshop through QWC - a novelists' bootcamp, an intense program over a weekend. Out of that program has formed my most recent writing group. We meet once a month for writing and discussion time: 45 mins writing, 15 mins discussion. The format has a name but I keep forgetting it. I keep thinking it's Polgaris, but that's not right - we aren't in David Eddings' Belgariad series. Regardless, the format works really well. Last time I went to a meeting, I wrote a scene map for an entire novel in five hours. I'm going to another one today and hope to complete final edits for No Evil Star and write a synopsis.
So that's the selfish part of writing groups - what I can get out of them. It's not the only part, though. I also put a lot into the groups, offering my own critiques of others work, offering support, becoming involved in impromptu plotting brainstorming sessions. I'm there to help others as well.
It's a happy coincidence that every time I help someone else I learn something for myself ... and we're back to selfish reasons! :)
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
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