While Beauty Sleeps by Ripley Proserpina

While Beauty Sleeps
Ripley Proserpina


There once was a girl who was born to be cursed. By no fault of her own, she was doomed to remind her kingdom of everything ugly. No matter how many good deeds she did or how kind she was, it was her destiny to die, and take her kingdom with her. Her mother and father wept when they saw her, and the witch who cursed her celebrated gleefully as each year passed.

Except there was hope. Her sisters, older and wiser, and with no small amount of magic of their own, countered the witch’s curse. If Kumiko could be loved, truly loved, the curse would be broken, and everyone would see what the witch had hidden.

But all her life, Kumiko had been let down—by the parents who hid her away and by an ill-fated curse.

Until they arrived.

Four princes, full of smug confidence and pride, were determined to break the princess’s curse before her twenty-first birthday.

All they had to do was fall in love.

I frequently cry over fairy tales and this one is no exception. I love the princes who travel to meet her, all four of them come with thoughts of the money involved in helping to break the curse. That quickly changes as they get to know her.

Kumiko’s curse appeared differently to everyone who sees her face. She really had decided to accept her fate as put forth by her curse. However Wataru, Reiji, Dai, and Goro, Princes on Iriogaki in Sara, have more than just curiosity about the princess and they aren’t going to give up easily.

This is made apparent when even after seeing her face they refuse to leave. This is a favorite scene from as they followed Wataru to his room.

I knew my friends would follow me into my room, but in the seconds after seeing Kumiko’s face and hurrying away, I wasn’t aware of anything but what I’d seen. Her words replayed in my head. “I’m not actually ugly.”

Tripping up the steps to my room, I clutched at the bannister.

“Keep going,” Reiji whispered behind me, voice tight. “Hurry.”

I was going as fast as I could, but everything was a blur. Twice more I tripped. The second time, I hit my knees so hard, I knew I’d have bruises.

Somehow, I made it to my room, opened the door and found a chair to collapse into. Then I dropped my head into my hands and wondered how the hell I kept myself from doing exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t.

Because I wanted to.

I wanted to run away. My suitcase was still open, and in seconds, I could have that thing packed and be out the door. By the end of the day, I could be on Iriogaki and this would be nothing but a nightmare.

Her face.


Her face.

It wasn’t her features, I couldn’t recall those, but as soon as her scarf had slipped below her chin, I’d been hit with a wave of revulsion. Thank God, Kumiko’s eyes had been closed.

“It’s all in our head,” Dai said, but his normally deep voice was paper thin. It wavered and broke as he tried to go on. “It wasn’t her we saw, but the curse.”

Reiji made a noise and with a thump, hit the ground. Head low, he took deep breaths as if he was trying to keep himself from passing out. Or throwing up. “She was right,” he said. “We thought we were so different. I want to leave.” He glanced up, face pale and lips white. “If I could go right now, I would.”

“I know,” I whispered. Part of me wished I’d listened to Kumiko and hadn’t seen her face, but another, much smaller though still vocal part, yelled out that it would be just as awful no matter when it happened. “But we won’t.”

“It’s not her,” Reiji said, and then, “Poor girl. No wonder she hides.”

“Can you imagine?” It was the first time Goro spoke. Trembling, he took his glasses off and pressed the heels of his palms against his closed eyes. “She knows what she shows us isn’t who she is. Guys, her whole life is made up of moments like the one we just had. Thank God she couldn’t see us.”

Dai nodded. “If the witch who cursed her ever appeared again—” He threatened what I was sure everyone who knew Kumiko wanted to do. “And last night, I judged her family for eating without her…” He stared off into space, wrapped up in wherever his thoughts had gone.

“So we agree,” I said, digging deep for confidence. “We stay.”

“Of course,” Goro answered.

“Yes,” Dai stated simply. “I won’t leave her now. Especially not now.”

“We are her friends,” Reiji said. “We’ll prove it.”

A soft knock on the door had us startling, showing just how off balance we were. I waited until my friends nodded and then stood. My body swayed and I held onto the back of the chair to get my bearings before going to answer it.

Aoi, Miori, and Fuyumi stood outside. Miori chewed her lip nervously while Aoi’s sharp gaze studied us. Fuyumi crossed her arms. “She showed you.” A statement, not a question, but I nodded anyway. “Stupid. I’ll have a car meet you downstairs. Can you be ready in an hour?”

“We’re not leaving,” Reiji answered quickly. “We’re regrouping.”

Aoi and Miori wore similar shocked expressions, but Fuyumi narrowed her eyes. “Regrouping?”

“Yes.” Goro wiped the lenses of his glasses on his shirt before putting them back on. “She asked us to leave her after she showed us. So we did.”

“What did you say?” The normally quiet Miori pushed Fuyumi aside. “Why would she tell you to leave? And if she did, why are you still here?”

“Before she showed us,” I answered. “We agreed to come back to our rooms immediately after she showed us. We didn’t say anything.”

“Not a gasp? Not a scream?” Aoi asked.

“No,” Dai replied.

“And you’re staying?” Aoi went on.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Huh.” Aoi lifted an eyebrow before turning back to her sisters. “Okay. So, they’re staying.”

“Do you see the curse?” Goro asked. No one seemed closer to Kumiko than her sisters, and from what I’d heard, they were the ones who had been able to counter the witch’s curse. Was it possible that by doing so, it somehow didn’t affect them?

“Yes,” Aoi answered. “When we look at Kumiko, we don’t see her face. Her real face.”

“How—” he began to ask but then stopped abruptly when Fuyumi took a threatening step forward.

“She’s more than her curse.” Fuyumi’s shoulders slumped. “And she’s our baby sister.”

“Every day we wish we were stronger. We wish we were able to undo what the witch did. But we were children, and the way we countered the curse was the way a child would,” Miori went on.

“With a prince’s kiss,” I said, realization dawning.

“Yes,” Miori said. “But the prince must truly love her.”
Ripley Proserpina. While Beauty Sleeps (Kindle Locations 887-930).

Now winning over the princess while not seeing her face is a challenge, but these guys are more than up to that challenge.

I loved the slow build, the incidents that complicate things even more, and the absolute love they manage to share.

Plenty of tears and laughter,Mr. Whiskers, Goro’s very large cat has quite the personality as well.

5 contented Purrs for Ripley!

Ripley Proserpina

Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and one dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, Midnight’s Crown, and the young adult/fantasy duet, Wishes and Curses.

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Montana Ranger’s Wedding Vow – Brotherhood Protectors Book 8 by Elle James

Montana Ranger’s Wedding Vows
Brotherhood Protectors Book 8
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Elle James


Hot Delta Force Cowboy and sexy female Army Ranger
plan a wedding to trap a saboteur

Dallas Hayes muscled her way through Army Ranger training only to be considered a curse on her all-male unit in an operation in Syria. When half the team is killed, she’s left Injured, losing the lower portion of her leg and is medically discharged from the life she loved in the Army. A fight with her physical therapist at Walter Reed lands her at the Brighter Days Rehab Ranch in Montana with an offer to join the Brotherhood Protectors.

Retired Delta Force soldier, Vince “Viper” Van Cleave, did his time in the Army but hasn’t managed to fit into the civilian world. What can an expert sniper do with his life when not shooting at enemy combatants? A widower, his first assignment is to masquerade as the groom of a former Army Ranger female and stage a wedding to smoke out a wedding saboteur. Together, they make a formidable team that might just make it to the altar intact.

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Vince ‘Viper’ Van Cleeve’s first assignment for the Brotherhood Protectors seems like a piece of cake, provide escort to Hannah and Taz as they head to the airport to fly to their honeymoon destination. With Chuck driving the limo, everything seems to be going right on schedule, until it isn’t. A close call that leads to a very interesting assignment.

Dallas Hayes is a former Ranger, having lost part of her leg in combat she is now at Brighter Days Rehab Ranch to figure out what her life will be going forward. Hank Patterson has been looking forward to the day that he can ask her to join his Brotherhood Protectors and now he has the perfect reason. He needs Dallas to be Viper’s bride to catch whoever is sabotaging weddings in the area, more important now that Taz and Hannah had been targeted.

This is a favorite scene as they accept this mission.

“Well, since you two are officially on board, I’ll get back to the ranch and have my computer guy dig into all the backgrounds of anyone we can come up with who might have it out for one of our lucky couples.”

“Start with people having anything to do with the planning and setup,” Viper said.

“You might also check on anyone local who could have been jilted or stood up before the ceremony,” Dallas said.

Viper gave half a smile. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?”

“Or a man,” Dallas added. “Men can be just as cranky about being left at the altar as women.”

“You know this from experience?”

Dallas’s green eyes flashed. “I read.”

Viper chuckled. “I’m betting you don’t indulge in bride magazines.”

“Never.” Grimacing, Dallas shook her head. “My tastes lean toward news and crime fiction.”

“So, you know all the best places to hide the bodies,” Hank said.

Viper raised his eyebrows. “Should I be worried?”

“Only if you scorn me.” Dallas’s lips quirked.

If Viper wasn’t mistaken, Dallas almost smiled. He liked the sparkle in her green eyes, so different from Emily’s blue-gray eyes. And the fiery auburn hair was a stark contrast to Emily’s golden blond. And Dallas was taller, stronger and less ladylike than Emily. All of her physical traits made Viper’s agreement to the charade easier.

If Dallas had looked at all like Emily, Viper would have politely declined the assignment and asked for someone else to take his place. Having a blond-haired, blue-eyed partner would have been a constant reminder of what he’d lost and that he hadn’t been there for Emily to keep her from dying.

Dallas was as different from Emily as night from day. He could treat her like one of the guys. No sweat.

As long as he ignored the little spark of electricity that shot through him every time he touched her. Why that happened, he wasn’t sure. From what Viper gathered, Dallas was all Army Ranger. She was one kickass soldier, and she’d rather shoot a man than kiss him.

As much as he didn’t want to admit the fact, the shine of her fiery, auburn hair and the flash of her green eyes were sexy as hell. Not his type, but definitely sexy. His type had been Emily…blond and blue.

Now…he didn’t know what his type was.

His gaze swept over Dallas’s shiny auburn hair, her athletic figure and the way she wore her jeans. Having a prosthetic device in place of her lower leg did nothing to detract from her raw sexuality. And the kicker was, she didn’t know just how sexy she was.
James, Elle. Montana Ranger’s Wedding Vow (Brotherhood Protectors Book 8) (pp. 38-40). Twisted Page Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Who knew that planning a fake wedding could lead to romance. I loved the way Viper broke through Dallas’ insecurities. The descriptions of his kisses will have you wanting to sample one yourself.

No matter what Dallas does, she can’t deny the fact that when Viper kisses her she wants more. However she doesn’t feel she deserves any of it. I loved her fumbling with the wedding planning, her balking over wearing a dress, and her realizing she really wished it was all for real.

Several hair-raising incidents, very few clues and a surprise twist will have you turning the pages.

Now I need to see what’s next in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Elle!

Click the Image for Buy Links and More!Brotherhood Protectors Volume 1
(Books 1-3)

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Brotherhood Protectors BDRR Unit Book 1


Elle James Elle James

Award-winning author Elle James grew up as an air force military brat. She received her work ethic from her rock-solid father, her creative streak from her artistic mother and inspiration from her writing partner and sister, Delilah Devlin.

As a former member of the army reserves and a current member of the air force reserves, she’s traveled across the United States and to Germany, managed a full-time job, and raised three wonderful children. She and her husband have even tried their hands at ranching exotic birds (ostriches, emus and rheas) in the Texas hill country. Ask her, and she’ll tell you what it’s like to go toe-to-toe with an angry three-hundred-and-fifty-pound bird and live to tell about it!

Her adventures in the army and air force reserves, and the wild antics of her life on a small ranch in Texas give her fodder for mystery, suspense and humor in her writing. Elle writes gothic, paranormal mystery for the Harlequin Intrigue line and paranormal romantic comedy for Dorchester Publishing. A former manager of computer programming and project management professionals, Elle is happy she now has the opportunity to pursue her writing full time.

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