Now that “Don’t Date the Haunted” is officially released, I can share a sneak peek to the up-coming sequel! (insert “Heather squeal” here) Now, if you don’t know what I mean by a “Heather squeal,” go read my first book! It’s available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.
If you have read “Don’t Date the Haunted,” then THANK YOU! I’d super appreciate your review on Amazon and/or Goodreads! It could be as simple as “Book was good. Interesting world. Fun characters. Five stars.” Any five star rating would seriously make my day, and I will respond to it.
As much as I wanted to include the first chapter of the sequel at the end of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” it’s still in the editing stage. But since you were awesome enough to read (and review?) my first book, I wanted to thank you by sharing the opening pages of the sequel, “Don’t Marry the Cursed,” coming April 2, 2021.
Here’s the cover!
ONCE UPON A TIME
This phrase is a misconception as history often repeats itself.– Thesis of Adventures
It is usually paired with “in a kingdom far away.”
That is also a misnomer, as that kingdom is often Fairy.
My not-quite-useless ability to see blue-green auras revealed a light shade around my trembling hands. I balled them into fists and raised one to knock on Psi Dorm 201, located on the southern side of Heartford University. I became increasingly familiar with this door over the past nineteen months. Behind it lived the love of my life; Pansy Finster from Horror.
I attempted to dry my sweaty palms while smoothening my doublet. Only then, did I notice my appearance.
Curses, I was a mess.
My undershirt poked free beneath my doublet, and my black leather boots had scuff marks from my day’s frantic activities. Thankfully, they were mostly hidden by my dress-trousers which needed more than their usual pressing. What was that dark smear and how long had it been there?
I fingered through my dark brown hair in a failed attempt to tame it. The new ring on my middle finger caught on a couple strands. Every detail of my perfect plan had been defenestrated by that ring. Bullbeggar.
My frustrated scowl disappeared as soon as the door opened. Pansy stood before me. Just the sight of her lifted my heavy heart. Then it clenched with anxiety. How could I tell her?
She wore a Contemporary yellow dress that matched her wardrobe of “comfortable and easy to run in.” She also wore the blue pansy-flower necklace that I gave to her after her red one broke. Her straight, raven black hair now reached the top of her bare shoulders, dark and soft as umber. Her blue-green aura was light and safe from dangers. Her aura’s shortness allowed me to analyze her angular features beyond the blurring glow. She smiled at me with delightful eyes of smoky quartz. Then she took in my grungy appearance.
“Theo?” she asked. “Is something wrong?”
“Hey,” I said, releasing a heavy breath. “Will you walk with me? Plans…have changed.”
Pansy would have called that the understatement of the year if she knew how much they had changed.
I had planned everything to be perfect. We were supposed to walk as graduates from Heartford University then take a picnic on the Regency side of Romance’s Heartbeat River next to a field of pansy flowers. We would eat tea sandwiches and biscuits until the sun set over the line of majestic evergreen trees. Then, I would ask the most important and romantic question.
As if only love mattered. As if I could provide for a woman without my father’s blessing. As if we could live in Romance for the rest of our days without the responsibility of 1.55 million people.
Curses, how would I convince Pansy to say yes to that? Even so, how would I convince Father to say yes to her? He tolerated our courtship (to put it nicely) while I was the “useless” second son. The ring on my middle finger changed my importance and the scrutiny I would face.
I offered Pansy my elbow of escort as we walked out to the city streets of Heartford, Contemporary, Romance. I directed our walk away from the singular building known as the Tower. Over a year and a half had passed since the horrific masquerade that occurred within. I still remembered the fear of drowning in the trap set by Pansy’s ex-fiancé’s poltergeist, though drew a blank when the Supernaturals revived my life. I just remembered our auras turning black as my ability forewarned our deaths.
A diner’s smells of spaghetti and breadsticks returned my thoughts to the present. Pansy and I walked past brick and marble townhouses that had been repurposed for businesses. Several showcased their products in their bay windows: wedding dresses, wedding cakes, wedding photography studios, wedding venues…the usual Romantic shops. This was hardly my first time passing these stores with Pansy beside me, though this was the first time my stomach churned at the sight of them.
Pansy pursed her full lips in thought and glanced at me between steps. I failed to organize my thoughts for an entire block. When I rubbed the back of my neck, I found sweat. Disgraceful.
After the second block of silence, Pansy slid her hand down my arm until her fingers intertwined with mine. “Theo?” she asked again. “What’s on your mind?”
“Hmm?” I blinked out of my anxious thoughts. Subconsciously, I had fiddled with the ring on my right hand. I clenched my fist to stop. “Just how plans never go according to plan.”
Pansy smirked. “Always have a back up plan,” she quoted from her brother’s book about surviving Horror. As much as I wanted to join her smile, my frustrated frown remained. When I stayed silent, she prodded, “What plans went wrong?”
Just the most important step of our courtship.
We passed another shop that advertised tuxedos and tailcoats to buy or rent. My heart ached to recall my older brother in his ceremonial attire as Margen’s Marquis. The uniform had been tailored for Greggory, and I knew it would drape loosely on me.
We stepped into a city park. The paved pathway curved between deciduous trees in full bloom. A spring breeze smelled of sweet pollen and caused some white petals to float across our scene. Perhaps I could still provide Pansy with the perfect moment. If I could just calm my thoughts and nerves for half a minute.
I led Pansy to a metal bench along the path. We took a minute to sit, and my left arm wrapped around her shoulders as she snuggled into my side. I hoped she ignored my racing heartbeat. Then, with a deep breath, I willed myself to start from the beginning.
“I received news from Margen this morning.”
“News?” she asked. “Did your dad explain why he hasn’t written to you these past few months?”
“Nnno,” I slurred, wondering for the eighth time that day why my father’s last letter dated two months ago. Was his silence connected to the sudden appearance of my brother’s ring? Why did my weekly letters from the lords claim that all was well? Had they been fabricated? If so, why, and what were they hiding?
The evidence of trouble burdened my finger. I rested my right hand over Pansy’s, and her eyes landed on the hulking piece of metal and stone on my middle finger. The ring was massive, made of gold and fortudo gems. It was crafted from King Sayer’s mines, strong as dragon scales and more reflective than mirrors. I had not seen its likeness in a year, yet there was no mistaking the gray-blue tones.
“What’s that?” Pansy asked.
“This was my brother’s,” I explained. “Marquis Greggory Fromm, the Wind Master, of Margen. I received it this morning.”
“Your brother sent it to you?” Pansy bit her lip, unsure what to say. She settled with, “It’s huge.”
I chuckled. “Yes, I was never meant to wear it.” Her eyebrows raised and prodded for an explanation. “See,” I said, “this ring signified Greggory as the eldest and heir to my father’s duchy. It can only be removed by the wearer or magically transferred to the next heir upon death.”
Pansy straightened and frowned. “So, that means—”
“For this ring to appear on my finger, either my elder brother visited Romance, snuck into my apartment, then deliberately removed the ring from his hand to put it on mine, or—” I swallowed “—he is dead.”
She gasped, “Supernaturals! I’m so sorry, Theo. You were close, weren’t you?”
“Not as close as you and Oz. While you and I both idolize our older brothers, yours actually responded in kind. Greggory is…” I paused and struggled to think of my brother in the past tense. He was…everything I failed to be. “Greggory was a champion among swordsmen and master with his ability. He was the oldest and heir to the duchy with the power to change the very winds. He also had a stubborn attitude. We disagreed on multiple accounts in regard to treatment of the lower classes and cursed beings. I figured the only way to gain influence and to support the people was through political knowledge.” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly to rein my emotions. “However, I am now the Marquis of Margen. His duties have fallen to me, and I must return to Fantasy.”
Greggory was dead. I was marquis. Curses! As the second eldest, I elected to study poli-sci to serve as Greggory’s assistant and advisor, not to be the man himself. Margen titled me “The Trusted” because the people thought my ability was useless, and I feared to strike my opponents even in the friendliest of skirmishes. I stroked my mental bruise from the time I froze in front of the whole town in a duel against my younger sister. How could I lead a duchy of magical warriors?
Regardless of the lightness of my aura, my fingers trembled. Two hands of grief—denial and fear—gripped me by the throat.
Pansy’s brown eyes met mine with turmoil and worry. “Two questions then: when do you go and how soon will you be back?”
I placed a hand on her cheek and said the cursed words, “I must leave as soon as I am capable.” In full honesty, that was the reason for my disarrayed attire. After swallowing the sudden appearance of Greggory’s ring, I spent the day packing and preparing for my departure. “My Masters thesis on Adventures will be postponed. Concerning my return…I may not.”
She leaned away from my touch. “So, you’re leaving? It’s that simple?”
No, it was hardly simple. The mere thought of saying goodbye to Pansy wrenched my core. Yet the thought of abandoning Margen to collapse—my homeland and inheritance—likewise tore me apart. If I could protect Margen from my younger brothers, or just a small piece of it, I had to try. Margen was the home of my heart, and Pansy was the keeper of it. How could I decide between the two?
I squeezed my eyes shut and whispered, “I dare not ask you to join me. I will protect Margen from my wayward younger brothers by taking the title of marquis and future duke…or I may die in my attempt.”
“Not if I can help it.”
“Sorry?” My eyes snapped open. Pansy set her jaw.
“Let me go with you,” she said. “I can’t stand aside and watch if you’re in trouble. Let’s see, how did you put it when you asked me to go to the ball with you? Oh! Will you let me be your sidekick?” She grinned.
My heart groaned. Was this how she felt when I asked her to go to the masquerade, and she begged me to understand how perilous it was?
“This is not the average Fairy Adventure. I know not what awaits me in Margen. This Adventure may be dangerous.”
Regardless of the worry in my eyes, she laughed. “Compared to Hauntings? Seriously, Theo, no matter what we’re up against, I’ve probably been through worse.”
I opened my mouth to argue, then closed it, hoping she was right.
“Alright. You may accompany me under one condition,” I said, then bolstered my courage for the audacity of the words about to leave my lips.
“Sure, what is it?” she asked.
2 replies on “SNEAK PEEK of “Don’t Date the Haunted” SEQUEL”
[…] Can you feel the awkward?If you didn’t notice, I first spelled “Theodore” with an E at the end. I later changed it when Theo’s background became less English and more Germanic.Theo also changed status a couple times. At first, he was just an ambiguous Fantasy noble. Then I made him a Count, and he was still a Count as I finished writing the third book. Problem was that his dad was always Duke Conrad (changed spelling to the Germanic “Konrad” later). Yay for being from The United States and needing to actually research to understand royalty lines and titles. Even if it’s in my own Fantasy land within the fantasy world of Novel, I wanted Theo’s dad to be a duke, which meant Theo was either the eldest marquis, or a lord of the duchy. I bounced back and forth on his status until finishing my fourth revision of Book 2. Then I had to change Marcellette’s name because it used to be Marquise. I changed it to avoid any confusion between Marquise’s bratty character and the Marquis of Margen title (which becomes a big deal in Book 2–and if you don’t know how, finish the book, then read the sneak peek to Book 2 here!) […]
[…] Romance in “Don’t Marry the Cursed,” released TODAY!You can read the first chapter here, then buy the paperback or ebook on […]