(Time for another Monsters, Misfits, and Mushy Stuff book feature! I’m delighted to hand the blog over to author H.L. Burke and her upcoming release, Coiled)
It takes gods to make monsters. When a vengeful half-god strikes at twin princes, he creates two: one a monster in the darkness, the other in the light.
Prince Calen and Prince Volen are mirror cursed, receiving opposite ends of a punishment. When Calen is alone or in darkness, when no eyes fall upon him, he is a man, but the moment someone looks at him, he converts into a massive serpent with the mind of a mad beast.
Volen has the better half of the deal. As long as someone is looking at him, he’s human. The moment the lights go out or all eyes turn away, however, he changes, just as his brother does. Since Volen’s curse is the easier of the two to manage (simply never leave him alone), the twins’ father chooses him as his heir and seeks to cure him even if it means Calen will be cursed forever.
Calen very much believes he is a monster. He’s lived an isolated life in constant fear that something will trigger his curse and his serpent form will take over and harm someone.
She slipped to the floor and sat with her eyes closed, savoring his voice. “You’re inside it somewhere. It can’t be pure evil, not with you at its heart.”
“On the other hand, can I truly be good with that somewhere inside me?” The self-doubt in his voice made her ache.
Princess Laidra has lived beneath the shadow of a lovely sister while her own curse sees her constantly growing uglier. Hidden away by her family, she longs for affection, for understanding, for a purpose. Her very appearance brings her family disgrace, so her mother forces her to stay covered, out of sight, forgotten.
However, Laidra can heal with her touch, and she longs to use this to help people. In the mind of her mother, however, the value of Laidra’s gift doesn’t make up for the insult of her face. Queen Perys makes sure Laidra knows she will never have a place within their family, a revelation that makes Laidra’s decision to strike out on her own that much easier.
“Cover yourself.” Her mother presented her with a veil.
Laidra’s insides twisted. “Did you ever love me?”
Perys stiffened, then sniffed. “Were you ever worth loving?”
Laidra and Calen are two lonely souls, both having experienced rejection due to things beyond their control. When Laidra arrives on Calen’s island sanctuary, his first instinct is to send her away. It’s too dangerous; he’s too dangerous. He might cause her harm, but at the same time, the desire to speak to someone, to just have someone listen to him and to listen to someone in return, tempts him.
Laidra’s response to Calen isn’t fear, but understanding, and so two lost misfits find and cling to each other.
Still, Laidra can’t believe any man could really love her. It can’t be real. If he sees her face, the spell will break, and she’ll be an outcast once more. She must learn to trust, and to believe, in spite of everything she has been told, that she is still lovable.
The yearning in his words mirrored her own loneliness and once again, she felt a pull towards him, as if here, finally, was someone who might understand her.
When I started to write the story, the main draw was the sweetness of Laidra and Calen. For them, finding each other was like finding the shore after being tossed about at sea, some place safe they could finally get a foothold, and once they have that security, they both grow as individuals as well as in their relationship. I’m excited to share the story with readers, especially young readers who may also feel they are struggling for a foothold in an unfriendly world.
And now, #PistachioSnek has something to say!
About the Author
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
Follow her personal blog at www.hlburkeblog.com
A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.
As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.
Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.
But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.
June 5 – Liz Delton, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 7 – Monsters, Misfits, Mushy Stuff Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 8 – Brianna Merritt, Book Spotlight
June 10 – Rebekah Gyger, Greek Gods Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 12 – A. R. Silverberry, Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 13 – Heather Hayden, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 14 – Lea Doue, Author Interview
June 15 – Alyson, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 20 – Jebraun Clifford, Guest Blog
June 22 – Laura Pol, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 23 – Olivia Fisher, Book Spotlight