Her Real-Life Hero
By Vicki Ballante
Decadent Publishing Beyond Fairytales
Adaptation of “The Frog King” and “Iron Henry”
Joanie wants to get her romances published but can’t seem to succeed with her writing. She buys an antique bureau which the shopkeeper says is magic. While using her new bureau, she begins to talk to the hero in her book, asking his advice on writing, all the while thinking it’s her own imagination. She promises he can live in her home, eat at her table and sleep in her bed, if he helps her with her writing. She doesn’t expect him to knock on her door and insist she keep her promise.
Theo has also bought a magic chest of drawers that brings him into Joanie’s life. He wants to settle down with one woman, tired of shallow relationships, and Joanie seems like the perfect candidate if it weren’t for her insistence on getting rid of him.
The magic keeps on forcing them to live together and Joanie’s not happy. This is her first year alone and she’s been craving time to herself after looking after her younger siblings and an ailing aunt. Theo’s presence in her home, although unwanted, stirs up needs she’s suppressed for years. When they start to discover things about the magic and why it’s bringing them together, will Joanie recognize another type of magic at work? Will she succumb to the charm of Theo or will her need for breathing space pull them apart?
Once upon a time….
“It’s magic, you know,” the shopkeeper whispered in a covert tone.
Joanie sniggered. Was the woman teasing her? With that rainbow scarf wrapped around her head and all those beaded necklaces blinking from her wrinkled neck, she could pass for a gypsy.
“I’m serious.” The woman gave her a knowing smile, which caused her irritation to rise.
“I’d like to take the writing desk right away, please.”
“Don’t be in such a hurry. The piece is not your everyday antique. It has magical powers.”
What type of antique store had she chosen? She’d planned on stepping into the little shop on Essenwood Road in Durban, South Africa, for years but never had the finances to bother with expensive historical objects. Today, she’d come in to browse but had fallen in love with the Victorian walnut bureau which boasted a curved roll top revealing nooks and crannies, which could store her stationery as well as her bird-ornament collection. The desk surface could be propped at a slant for ease of writing by hand—perfect for someone who preferred paper and pen to a computer. Underneath were lots of tiny drawers accentuated with sweet, round knobs. She would have plenty of space to store all her equipment. All in all, a good space for her writing.
“You will discover the magic soon. I’m warning you though…it might shock you.”
Joanie rolled her eyes. “Do you honestly think I believe you?”
The “gypsy” laughed. “I thought as much. Don’t come crying to me when things start happening.”
“Whoa.” She pulled away from the woman’s front counter. “Is there a curse on the desk, or is it haunted?”
“The magic is connected to your deepest desires. It will only surface if those desires are unfulfilled.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. This is like some crazy fantasy story on TV.”
“Beware. Not many people can handle the effects of the magic.”
She studied the antique. “Should I not buy it?”
“Your decision should be based on how in tune you are with yourself.”
In tune with myself? Oh, what a stupid question. Getting a book published, that was her deepest desire. Something the bureau would help with. The dark-stained walnut would calm her, the ancient feel would transport her to other worlds, plus the lack of modern clutter, like files and electrical cables, would keep her from being distracted.
“I’ll take it, magic or no magic.” She handed over her bank card. For a minute, she’d let herself get swept away with the gypsy lady’s crazy talk.
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Vicki writes erotic and fantasy romance. She loves taking her characters into an alternate world where strange and sexy things happen. She lives with her patient husband and three noisy kids in South Africa. In between being a busy stay-at-home mom who hates housework and spends half her life cooking everything from scratch, she runs several blogs, writes under another name, and buries herself in the delightful world of her characters.
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