Message From The Author

Author's Message

Fairy tales have a depth of fascination that runs right down into the marrow of our cultural bones. They are quirky, simple yet tricky tales, full of double meanings, imbued with the power to take our minds back to a child-like, magical state of imagination, where pumpkins turn into coaches, straw into gold and frogs into princes.

As a writer, I love tinkering with these ancient tales, turning them this way and that, or blending them together in new ways. What if Prince Charming, for instance, were himself the sleeping beauty, encased in a glass coffin behind a wall of thorns? And what if the only princess whose kiss could wake him from his cynical slumber was that of a Cinderella who was wont to pick up a sword, swing up in the saddle and thunder boldly down the road, behaving more like Robin Hood than the long-suffering waif of legend?

This whimsical concoction led me to create PRINCE CHARMING, my third historical romance. A February release from Ballantine/Ivy, PRINCE CHARMING is the final installment of my Ascencion trilogy.

In 1816, the decadent and gorgeous royal playboy, Prince Rafael di Fiore, clashes with Ascencions most elusive highway robber, known as the Masked Rider. But when the young bandit is finally arrested and the mask comes off, Prince Rafe is shocked down to his elegant fingertips to discover that his nemesis is
a lovely, redheaded spitfire!

Since hes bored by the endless wait to ascend the throne, taming Dani is a challenge Rafe cant resist. A powder keg of moxy and vulnerability, this unlikely Cinderella doesnt fawn over him. In fact, shes apt to kick him where it counts if he gets too close.

Just in time for Valentines day, Prince Charming offers a read as decadent, rich and sinfully sweet as double-chocolate devils food cake, with none of the calories! Enjoy.

A heartfelt thanks to readers for making my Ascencion trilogy a resounding success! Hope to see you all at RTs Houston convention! Write to me via www.gaelenfoley.com or by mail at P.O. Box 522, Library, PA 15129.

Abridged Excerpt from PRINCE CHARMING

As they grappled in the road, her horse reared with a frightened whinny. She clung to the reins, fighting to keep her balance, but she felt herself being slowly overpowered by his sheer physical strength.

Suddenly he pulled her down out of the saddle. Freed of its rider, her thankless gelding bolted at once. She let out a wordless cry of fury and found herself standing in the road, clutched in her erstwhile prisoners grasp.
He towered over her. His eyes were like lanterns and he was grasping her hard by her arms and he was ever so much taller now than when shed been on horseback. Strands of his hair had fallen free from the queue; he looked ferocious and huge, barbaric in his elegant clothes.

You little shit, he snarled in her face.

Let me go! She fought him. He gripped her harder and she shouted in pain when he jerked her hurt arm. Ow! Damn it!

He gave her a shake. Youre caught! You understand?

She hauled back and punched him across the face with all her strength, tore out of his arms and fled up the embankment. He was but two steps behind her.

Her heart beating wildly, she scrambled up through the dust and slippery dried leaves, then the prisoner tackled her at the top of the embankment, hooking rock-hard arms around her hips.

He smashed her under him onto the ground and fell on her back, snaking his forearm around her throat.

I hate men, she thought, closing her eyes in distress. Let me go!

Stop squirming! Youre caught, damn it! Give in!

Dodging the boys blows, Prince Rafe held the slim body pinned beneath his own. The boy bucked and thrashed, fighting him furiously.

Yield, he ordered through gritted teeth.
Go to hell! The pitch of the young voice climbed higher, shrill with fright.

Panting with exertion, he drove his full, muscular weight more firmly down to still the little hellions writhing. Hold still! He jerked a look over his shoulder toward the road and his approaching men. Over here!

At his movement, the bloodthirsty little bandit somehow flopped over onto his back, still trapped by Rafes arms.

I told you you would hang, he growled.

No, you said I would be drawn and quartered

Rafe caught a flying fist in his hand. Be still for Gods sake.
Suddenly, the boy froze and drew in his breath, staring at his signet ring.

You! the boy croaked in a hoarse gasp.

Scowling toward his men, Rafe glanced down and narrowed his eyes in satisfaction. Aha, brat. Finally, catching on, are you?

Rafes laugh was throaty and smug, then he stopped abruptly. What the devil? He furrowed his brow as he caught a whiff of a scent his instincts knew, but recognition danced just beyond his minds reach.

What is your name, you miserable urchin? he demanded, laying hold of the boys black, hood-like mask.

Suddenly the little bandit moved like a flash of lightening The dusty, bleeding little hellion kneed him hard in the groin, a direct hit to the royal jewels. He gasped for breath in a momentary state of pure helplessness. The boy pushed against his shoulder, rolling him off onto his side, then scrambled clear of his feebly grasping hand.

Through blinding agony, Rafe summoned the full, furious power of a kingly roar: After him! he bellowed, as the boy tore off into the woods


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