Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Excerpt, Guest Post & Review of Before Midnight By Jennifer Blackstream

Before Midnight
Blood Prince Series
Book One
Jennifer Blackstream

Genre: Fantasy Romance/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Number of pages: 180
Word Count: 45k

Cover Artist: Elaina of For the Muse Designs

Book Description:

Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

Short Excerpt:

“You look like you’re trying not to laugh.” Loupe furrowed her eyebrows and briefly halted scrubbing the wolf pup. “What’s so funny?”

Etienne cleared his throat. “Ah, I believe the bath was meant for you.” He gestured to the clean nightgown lying folded on a chair.

Loupe turned red from her neck to the tips of her ears. “Oh. I see.”

Etienne couldn’t help it. He laughed, a booming sound that made the two pups he was still holding in his arms bark. Loupe frowned.

“No, it’s all right, Loupe, truly,” Etienne assured her, reining in his amusement. “I’ll have the servants bring up another bath.”

“No, don’t be silly, I don’t need another bath.” She pulled the pup out of the tub and wrapped him in the large towel that had been provided. The pup’s growls were muffled as she vigorously rubbed him dry. Etienne watched, amused, as she left the pup to stagger out from under the towel and across the floor. She grabbed the sponge that had also been by the tub and dipped it in the bathwater.

Loupe looked down at her dress. The bodice wasn’t terribly low-cut, but it did give a hint of cleavage. Loupe began scrubbing the mud from her skin. The smile died on his face. Etienne’s blood heated as her motions drew his attention to the smooth mounds of her breasts. Every vigorous scrub made the tempting globes of flesh bounce in the most mouth-watering display. He took a step forward.

“There,” Loupe announced. “My dress is a bit damp, but I’m sure it will be dry by morning…” she trailed off as she turned to find him staring. He took another step and her eyes widened.

Something of his less than pure thoughts must have showed on his face because her blush returned with reinforcements and her gaze bounced around the room like a bee in a field of tempting flowers.

The wolf pups hopped around on the floor, tumbling around Loupe’s skirts. An image hit Etienne so hard he almost swayed on his feet. Loupe sitting in a chair in his bedroom, wolf pups playing on the rug at her feet and a baby in her arms…

He shook his head, struggling to gather his thoughts. No one in his family had the gift of future-sight. The image wasn’t a premonition, it couldn’t have been. He was just tired, under too much stress from the witch’s blessing.

Without meaning to, he’d crossed the room and now stood only an inch or so away. Despite his brain’s ramblings, his body seemed to be perfectly clear in its goals. Loupe titled her face up, her wide green eyes locked on his like a frightened deer watching a predator.

And he did feel like a predator. For the first time since the witch’s blessing had cursed him, Etienne felt primal, animalistic. His body moved on instinct instead of rational thought as he raised his hands, slowly sliding them around Loupe’s waist. The desire to grab her and throw her down on the floor filled him with tension and he had just enough sense to grit his teeth against the urge. He didn’t want to scare her. He just had to taste her.

The first touch of her delicate lips against his stole his breath. He slid his mouth over hers, teasing and coaxing her to relax into the kiss. She sighed, her lips parting in what he took for an invitation. He caressed her full bottom lip with his tongue, reveling in the clean taste of lemon and tea.

Loupe moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. The sound of her voice and the press of her body against his sent a fresh wave of heat through his veins. Etienne groaned and crushed her against his chest, delving his tongue into her mouth to taste as much of her as he could. The hard length of his cock strained his pants. She was so warm, so willing…

Here's Jennifer's guest post: 

So, as I’m sure most of you know by now, Disney is no longer making fairy tales, aka “princess movies.” According to Ed Catmull (Chief of Pixar Animation Studios) and John Lasseter (the man who oversees Disney Animation, there are no more fairy tale movies lined up (in fact, two fairy tale movies were cancelled, “The Snow Queen” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”). Why? Because these movies apparently only appeal to little girls between the ages of three and five. Once the little girls get older than that, they start looking at “tween” ladies (i.e. Selena Gomez). Boys apparently don’t want to watch princess movies (which, by the way, is why “Rapunzel Unbraided” was renamed “Tangled” and some of the focus was shifted to the swashbuckling hero).

My initial reaction to this, I’ll admit, was outrage. How dare they stop making princess movies? What happened to tradition? What happened to fantasy and impossibly high standards? Then I thought about it.

And I’m still mad.

I’m thirty-one years old. I have a four year old boy. He loved “Tangled” and he really liked “Brave.” So did I. And I bought both. My son also adored “Beauty and the Beast” (Side note: He actually watched “Beauty and the Beast” so much that my mother, who also loves it, turned it off one night after he fell asleep because she couldn’t take it anymore. She turned it off right as the beast was turning back into a human prince! She still can’t believed I cried out for her to turn it back on…). I thought the Frog Princess could have been better, the side characters sort of annoyed me. Still, I’m ready for the next princess movie.

I understand that trends come and go. I do. And I understand that Disney has to make money (poor little dears must be suffering so, what with the pittance they charge for their theme park >twitch<). But telling me that little girls grow out of princesses too quickly is just ridiculous. Sheesh, one look at romance novels should let them know in no uncertain terms that we never outgrow our princesses…

What I will say is that we ask a little more of our princes now. I mean, in Cinderella and Snow White, the princes were interchangeable. At least Sleeping Beauty’s prince fought a dragon and The Little Mermaid’s prince had a go at an octopus-witch (oh, and they had names too!). I did love Flynn Rider from “Tangled.” He was so snarky and John Cusack-ish.

But I digress, the point is, they were on sort of the right track with “Tangled” (which performed spectacularly in the box office, by the way). Don’t stop the princess movies, just raise the bar a bit! There are so many fairy tales out there that still need to be brought back into the public eye, and Disney, for all its faults, does such a wonderful job with that.

I’m not going to stop writing fairy tale romances for the mature ladies. I hope Disney does right by the little ones.

Thanks so much for the post Jennifer, I hope that Disney reconsiders. I enjoyed Tangled, it was really great but I would like more princess movies please.

My Review

I really liked this Cinderella retelling. There were supernatural creatures which I love and I also liked how fast paced it was. Loupe is the servant with the evil stepsisters and stepmother. The family business was killing and skinning wolves. Loupe hated it because she was the one skinning them. She takes care of some wolf pups in the woods by her house and sometimes bathes in the river. She meets the prince there and he shows an interest in her and loves that she's so protective over the pups. When one of the pups gets lost she goes to the palace to ask the prince for help and this is where the story takes off. Price Etienne must find a cursed wolf in order to get his wolf back, and what he doesn't notice is that it was in front of him the whole time.

I enjoyed the characters: Loupe, she was a tortured girl but Jennifer didn't elaborate that much on that which I appreciated. She was also wolf, which she really disliked and if her step family were to find out they'd kill her on the spot. She only wanted to be happy with a husband but she was sure that she couldn't find one since she was cursed.
Etienne: This prince had two choices; either impregnate someone asap so that they're born wolf, or find a cursed wolf. So he chose to have a ball, where he can sniff out a specific wolf to marry.
Etienne's parents, the King and Queen: I felt like they were such generous people, they cared about their kingdom and their people.

4/5 Stars I really enjoyed it and recommend it to fairy tale retellings lovers, they always have an interesting twist. I liked the romance and the steamy scenes were good as well.  If you like Cinderella and werewolves you'll like this one.


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