Every Friday, now known as “Fiction Friday,” I will post a new installment of my serial novel, The Kiss of Life.
Based loosely on the story of Sleeping Beauty, this is a dark YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance set in modern times. This is not a professionally edited novel, and may go through major changes during the writing process. Once it’s complete, my editors will tear it to bits and make it amazing, then I will publish it!
I encourage reader feedback, so you, dear readers, will have a chance to shape the final novel as I write it. Leave a comment, let me know what you liked, what you didn’t, what you want more of or less of. You will be a part of the writing process!
Each week, I’ll randomly draw a name from the comments, and that person will get a free ebook. You can choose from Forbidden Mind, Lexie World, Bits of You & Pieces of Me or wait and get The Kiss of Life free once it’s edited and published! Once it’s published, I will also have another drawing with a paperback and bookmark giveaway!
So check back every Friday for some fresh, raw fiction straight from my overactive mind.
The Kiss of Life-Prologue
The Kingdom of Andoria
17 years ago
The woman stood with the squirming child clutched in her arms and smiled as a tear of joy slid down her smooth, pale cheek. Finally, after all these years of trying, we finally have a child. A perfect little girl. Creamy gold fabric draped her slender form and flowed down to the carved stone floor inlaid with gleaming crystals. The delicate golden crown resting on her head accented her long, honey colored hair.
She gleamed like the sun in the sky, but her smile outshone even that. Her husband linked his arm around her waist and pulled her close. She held up their daughter as the man beside her, the man she had loved for years, raised his strong, baritone voice along with his goblet of wine and addressed their people.
“I present to you, your new Princess, Her Royal Highness, Princess Aurora Mae Perenna of Andoria.”
The crowd gathered around the long, mahogany tables raised their voices to the rafters in cheers and celebration. Tomorrow the Princess would be presented to her kingdom, but today was a private affair, meant only for their dearest friends, their closest advisors, their immediate family.
The Queen made eye contact with each of the twelve women who flanked her and the King at The Royal Table–their true inner circle, a coven of ageless women who had advised the matriarchal lineage of her family line since anyone could remember.
A coven who had recently lost one member, Nasia, the most powerful of them all, the one who, after years of living within an egalitarian matriarch, had pushed for something more, something that shouldn’t–couldn’t–exist within the borders of Andoria. She had been banished from their very own Brigadoon, a land sheltered by the march of time in the modern world of cell phones and laptops and science. A land still ruled in magic.
Nasia belonged to this land, and it broke the Queen’s heart.
Nasia had once been her dearest friend, a sister. She should have been here for the Ritual Blessing.
The Queen shook the thought from her mind and refocused on the angel in her arms as her husband’s voice filled the room.
He bowed graciously, with his trademark twinkle in his eyes. “And now, I give the floor to the most loyal Lacia.”
The woman to the King’s right stood, adjusted the long black gown worn by all in the coven and smiled in her serene way.
She cleared her throat and looked into the Queen’s eyes with a hint of sympathy. They had both lost someone.
“It is my honor to bestow the first of many birth blessings on Princess Aurora.” With the blink of an eye, Lacia flicked her wrist and a sparkle of light descended on the child. “I give you the gift of courage tempered with compassion, that you may know when to fight and when to love, when to stand strong and when to bend to the winds of change.”
Something stirred in the Queen’s heart. A worry. A fear. But it passed in a heartbeat and more blessings embraced her child in sparkles and glows and rainbows of light. Beauty to surpass the goddesses of old. Wisdom to rival the scholars of history. Kindness to heal the world. Each gift was absorbed into the destiny of her child, shaping and changing her.
The final woman, Mira, stood, ready to take her turn. Her hand opened. A sparkle of white light hovered over it. Her parted lips were ready to speak, when the intricate wooden doors of the dining hall slammed open in a burst of flames.
The Queen gasped and clutched Arial to her breast. “Nasia.”
Nasia sauntered to the center of the hall. She too wore black, but not the robes of the coven. Instead, tight black leather pants and a matching bodice clung to her form. Her pale face, more so since her transformation, glowed like the moon and her crimson lips curled in a sneer.
Her voice struck the Queen like an icy slap in the face. “Hello my dear Queen Isabelle. I am so glad I was not late for the blessings, as I have one of my own.”
The Queen straightened her spine and glared at her former friend. “Nasia, you are banished from this kingdom and not welcomed here. Leave now!”
Guards rushed to remove her from the gathering, but a jolt of lighting from Nasia’s hands sent them crashing to the draped walls and into the tables laden with food and drink.
“I will not be dismissed so easily, not until I’ve had my say. This is the blessing I offer to the child of the woman who betrayed me. Your daughter shall have her childhood, unblemished and uncut, until the moment she turns eighteen. When the first drop of pure blood stains her perfect skin, she will die.”
The Queen screamed, “No!” The King called for more guards, but it was too late. Black, thick shadows swarmed around her child’s sleeping form. Her green eyes opened and the baby cried in fear and pain.
Queen Isabelle sobbed. “Stop! Whatever you’re doing to her, stop! Please. Don’t punish her for your hatred towards me.”
Nasia didn’t waver or flinch. “It is done. Now you will know the pain you have caused me by ripping away the only family I have ever had.”
She left the hall in total silence, save for the crying child.
What could she say? What could any of them do? The curse was binding, even if given in the guise of a blessing.
Mira walked to the Queen and embraced her.
Queen Isabelle looked into the woman’s eyes, pleading. “Can you reverse it? Can you save my daughter?”
Mira lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry. You know I can’t do that, but there might be something I can do. I’m just not sure that I should.”
Blood pounded through the Queen’s veins–she would give anything, do anything, sacrifice anything to save her daughter. ”Do it!”
“Your Majesty–My Queen–the price might be too high, even for you.”
Around them the hushed fear filled the hall and drenched her in its poison. “I don’t care what it costs, just save my daughter.”
“Very well.” She held out her hands to the Queen, and Isabelle placed Aurora into her arms. Mira kissed her head and made hushing noises until the child had calmed.
“I can’t undo what’s been done, little one, but I can offer you this, your final blessing. When your skin is struck and blood pours forth, you will not die, only fall into a deep sleep, until the Kiss of Life awakens you.”
Mira’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at the Queen. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”
The Queen frowned, confused. “You have offered my daughter a way to live through the curse, how could that be bad?”
Mira handed the child back to the Queen. “The path to life is paved in death. You may yet wish I’d let your child die.”
Call to Action
Comment and let me know what you think. Each week I’ll pick a winner, to be announced the following week, who will win a free copy of the ebook once it’s published. And come back next Friday for Chapter 1!
And if you enjoy serial books, check out the beautifully romantic work of Becky Tsaros Dickson from Thinking Too Hard. She started a serial novel on the same day as me, and posts new chapters each Friday as well. Go read Chapter One of Say My Name.We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Want more from Karpov Kinrade? Check out our Amazon page here. New to our work? Get