Title: The Cinderella Curse
Author: Dee S. Knight
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance
One evening, in a land far away, a wife spins a story for the amusement of her husband. Like the original tale, this contemporary Cinderella is definitely for those who love romance and a HEA. However, she adds a few touches of the erotic. For her husband, you understand.
In this tale, Charlotte dreams of her prince, James, but learns about beauty and love from her fairy godfather, Cooper. She might not lose a glass slipper, but her heart is in danger of being left behind. One thing for sure, by the time our Charlotte arrives at the ball, she’d sure like to know which man is her real Prince Charming.
Charlotte started the engine when they got in. “So the heater will put out something besides cold air before I get home,” she said, by way of explanation.
She seemed to be stalling for time, but Cooper sat patiently waiting. He’d had a long day, but knew instinctively that if he hinted at it she would go home and not tell him what she wanted. And what Cooper wanted, he’d decided after their kiss, was to get to know Charlotte better.
“Cooper, I want to work on this project with you. It means a lot to me. But I want more of a makeover than you mentioned earlier.”
“Oh? What do you have in mind?” He was intrigued now.
“I have an ulterior motive, but I’m nervous about telling you.” She tapped her fingertips on the steering wheel before speaking softly. “I’m in love.” Cooper sat up, suddenly alert and interested.
She didn’t meet his eyes. “I can’t tell you. He doesn’t know. I want to capture his attention, and you’ve just handed me the means. But I need more than to change how I look, I need to change how I feel, how I act, so he’ll see me the way I want to be. He’s very sophisticated, and I’m just from a little town outside Kansas City. Do you know what I mean? I need a friend to help me. A… a man friend.”
Suddenly, Cooper was worried. “Charlotte, I’m not sure I totally understand what you’re asking. First of all, whoever this guy is, if he’s worth anything he will like you for who you are, right now. You’re a wonderful person, and he should appreciate that without your changing yourself. And second, why do you need a man to help with this? A makeover like I had in mind is one thing, but for something as personal as what you’re talking about, wouldn’t a girlfriend be better? I mean, for what I think you’re talking about. For what I’m afraid you’re talking about,” he finished lamely.
“A girlfriend can’t help me. I need someone to teach me. About physical things. Like kissing and touching, and…” She looked at him hopefully.
“Sex?” His voice actually squeaked. She smiled and nodded. “You want to learn about sex? For this guy you think you’re in love with?”
She sighed and shot him a relieved look. “Oh my gosh, I was so scared to tell you but you completely understand. Cooper, you’re such a good friend. It’s strange, but I feel like I’ve known you for years instead of just a couple of days. You’ll help me, won’t you?”
It felt hot in the car. Cooper rolled down the window and took deep gulps of air. What could he possibly tell her? God, he liked her himself, he’d be damned if he would groom her for some other man. And he especially wouldn’t prepare her sexually for someone else. What in the world was she thinking?
“What in the world are you thinking?” he demanded. “You can’t just walk up to someone and ask them to get you ready for sex with some other person. Are you crazy?” Her face fell and tears welled up in her eyes.
“Oh, shit, Charlotte, I’m sorry. But you’ve got to stop and think about what you’re asking.” He rolled the window back up and adjusted the heater control. Then he turned in his seat and faced her directly. “Charlotte, you’ve never been to bed with a man before, have you?”
She looked miserable as she shook her head no.
“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You should be happy that you’ve saved yourself for the man you love, and that’s my point. You should save yourself for the man you love, whoever this guy is.” Cooper felt a sudden sharp stab of jealousy spike through him, followed closely by a wave of lust. If he’d been any less a gentleman, he would have grabbed Charlotte right then and there and shown her what being with a man was all about. But he was a gentleman, or was trying to be. “Don’t you think he will want to initiate you into the art of making love?”
She seemed to consider this, and when she faced him straight on he saw that she’d discarded the logic of it. At least she didn’t look like she would start crying anymore.
“No. You don’t know what I know about this man. He’ll think I’m a country bumpkin if I go to him a virgin. He’s very worldly, far beyond anything I’ve even thought about. Cooper, he knows how to do things, sexual things, that I didn’t even know people did.”
Cooper became more and more concerned.
“How do you know all of this about him? Charlotte, I’m worried now. Who is this guy? I want to know—as your friend, I want to know.” She just shook her head. “Well then, I can’t help you.”
He faced forward, feeling his jaw tense into a tight line as it did whenever he felt stubborn about something. His forehead wrinkled. She reached out her hand and ran the back of her index finger across that line, smoothing it into relaxation. He took her hand in his and held it on his thigh.
“It’s James Clarkson,” she whispered. In shock, he snapped his head back toward her. “Now you know why I need help, Cooper. No matter how different I look or act, if I go to him as I am, I’ll be so afraid. He’ll see me for a country mouse and he’ll hate me, laugh at me. Please.” No response. “Please, Cooper.”
“Charlotte, I can’t do this.”
She leaned back in her seat and looked out the windshield herself. Wistfully, she said, “Maybe when you’ve waved that wand of yours, worked your magic and I’m more beautiful…”
He blew out a breath. “That isn’t it, and you know it. I already know you’re beautiful.”
What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
I love when the air is chilled and crisp. The sky is at its bluest against the gold and scarlet of the trees, and the smoke from people's chimneys infiltrates each breath. The heat from the summer dissipates and the air is cleansed. Fall is my favorite season! Here in Idaho we don't get as showy a season as we had in Virginia. I miss that.
What inspired you to write this story:
I'd written a fairy tale short story for the anthology Ain't Your Mama's Bedtime Stories based on Rapunzel and wanted to continue in the genre. It was fun re-creating adult tales from stories I'd known since childhood. I followed Cinderella with a take off of Goldilocks, which I really enjoyed writing. I hope readers think they're enjoyable, too!
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or CA account to win.
Runs September 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on October 1.
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.
After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website (www.nomadauthors.com). Fortunately, Dee’s high school sweetheart is the love of her life and husband to all three ladies! Once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity. Join our newsletter to access exclusive free reads on the Nomad Authors website!
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