Saturday, 29 August 2015

Guest blog: Kae Elle Wheeler - 'The Price of Scorn'

Fourteen years after Prince Charming and Cinderella are crowned as Chalmers King and Queen,  Cinderella, Pricilla and Esmeralda gather at their mother’s deathbed.

Lady Hildegard Roche has nothing but resentment and scorn for the stepchild who culminates all that was stolen from her.

In a story of enlightenment and shock, the sisters learn how tragedy shaped their mother into the woman she became. The question is: Can the sisters forgive her?

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Excerpts (3)

#1

“Why are you telling me this now?” Papa roared so loudly the paintings on the wall seemed to tremble. But Hilda knew it was she who was trembling. On stealthy feet, she hugged the wall and crept closer. There was no other way to gain her freedom save leaping from her balcony.

Even Juliet had not jumped to her death in that particular fashion. That line of thought sent a chilled pricks over her skin. We are not lovers destined to death, she reassured herself.

All she need do was make it to the pond. Off Papa’s property. Then out of Alsace to the safety of Grenoble, all within the arms of Pierre. ’Twill be over soon...’twill be over soon...soon. If she kept repeating the words, they would come true. Wouldn’t they?

The duc must have departed. Papa would never dare speak to Maman so plainly with a guest in residence. Relief filled her along with a twinge of guilt. There was no choice in leaving Maman to her fate. She’d made her decision in no uncertain terms, her place was with Papa.

She shuddered. If Papa had any inkling Hilda had given her most precious commodity to Pierre Tasse, he would kill her lover without remorse, and beat her to a bloody pulp. She moved quietly along the carpeted hall.

She slipped by the clock—a monstrosity—though she rather loved the overbearing piece of wood at the moment.

“You,” Papa spat.

Hilda froze, squeezing her eyes shut.

#2

“SO, WE’RE TO HAVE a new papa?” Pricilla stood on her tiptoes, surveying the array of items laid on out Hilda’s vanity. To a curious child it must resemble a market full of sweet meats for the taking.

Her glance moved from a sleeping Esmeralda on a pallet before the hearth to Pricilla. Hilda took a small jeweled box from Pricilla’s hands and set it back on the vanity out of reach.

“Where did on earth did you hear such a thing, ma chère?”

“From Cousin Dirk.” Her tiny fingers clasped a necklace laced with emeralds.

Hilda frowned at Pricilla’s reflection in the mirror. “What exactly did Cousin Dirk say?”

Her nose wrinkled as she studied the clasp. “That if you married him, he would be more a papa than Gustaf ever had been.” She gave up on the necklace, dropping it back on the vanity before latching onto the matching bracelet and slipping it onto her wrist.

“That’s certainly true enough,” Hilda muttered under her breath. Gustaf had been a menace. But instincts warned Dirk would be just as awful, in perhaps a different way. “But as things stand, I plan on marrying no one.”

Pricilla paused and turned large, worried blues eyes on her. “But where shall we live?”

“Here, of course,” Hilda told her. She lifted Pricilla’s wrist and surveyed the gap that would fit an additional wrist or two. “Very nice.”

“But I heard him say if you didn’t marry him, we should have to leave.” Tears shimmered into luminescent pools. “That we should have to live in the woods—in the dark.” Her tears spilled over. “I don’t wish to live in the woods, Maman. I-I don’t like the dark. Maman, you must marry him. S’il vous plaît, you must.”

Each panic-trilled word rose in hysteria, until Pricilla threw her arms about Hilda’s neck, sobs racking her small form.

Hilda squeezed her tightly, furious at Dirk’s nerve in saying such things to a child. Her child.

#3

Hilda squinted in the afternoon sun over the array of blooms that normally calmed her. “Lord Roche,” she began. “I cannot—” The words were more difficult to say than she’d envisioned. Her knees shook beneath her skirts and she forced herself to move, lest she collapse. At the low terrace wall, she laid her hands atop.

“Please, your grace. I must apologize for placing you in such a precarious position.”

She glanced at him, his earnest expression tugging at her.

He began to pace. “’Tis true. As I said, I am looking for a wife. But, I feel there is something truly special about you.”

Her short laugh erupted at the irony. “Me, special? Lord Ro—”

“I have not explained to anyone why I need a wife.”

Hilda paused.

He stopped before her, captured her gaze. “Anyone can see how much you love your children. Your face lights up the dark just saying Lady Pricilla’s name.”

Something inside melted a little. “Oui, Lord Roche. That is so. She—they—are my world,” she said softly. Steeling herself against long dead dreams, she straightened and her tone sharpened. “That changes nothing, sir.”

“Do you fear for your children?”

“Every day,” she bit out, feeling as if Gustaf still had his hand gripped about her throat, squeezing.

“They’ve nothing to fear from me.”

She looked away from his gaze back over the garden. She almost believed him. But a woman was always under a man’s control.

About the Author

Kathy L Wheeler (writing as Kae Elle Wheeler) graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems that includes a Vocal Minor. She is an avid theater buff (holds season tickets to Broadway Series in OKC), loves the NFL and NBA (also holds season tickets to Thunder Basketball in OKC), loves travel, people and karaoke.

She is a member of several RWA chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. She writes both Contemporary and Historical romance.

Kathy/Kae lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma, has one grown daughter who recently had a baby, and one bossy cat!

For more about Kathy / Kae Elle please visit:



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