Alluring Tales: Awaken the Fantasy

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including Lover's Locket

"Lover's Locket" by Cathryn Fox

Centuries ago, on the eve of her arranged wedding to a man she doesn't love, Princess Caira Montright flees her father's castle and secretly meets her lover, Zarek.

Their plans to elope are foiled when one of Lord Montright's vassals captures them. The all-powerful Lord Montright places a curse on Zarek, banishing him to an eternity of hell inside a portrait—a portrait that finds its way back to Caira in every lifetime. Zarek is forced to watch Caira throughout the centuries yet never be able to claim her as his own.

The only thing that can break the curse is for Caira to recite the incantation on the Lover's Locket. Then she must battle the forces of evil to free him forever.

Publisher: Avon Red, Harper Collins

"I see you have found the Lover's Locket."

"What?" Startled by the woman's sudden appearance, Caira jumped back. She hadn't even heard her approaching footsteps.

The woman gestured toward the beautiful silver necklace enclosed behind the protective walls of the glass case and motioned for her to take a better look.

"The Lover's Locket," she repeated. Her aged voice cracked like dry brittle bones causing goose bumps to pebble Caira flesh.

Palms open, Caira placed her hands on the glass. She was so mesmerized by the beauty of the exquisite piece of jewelry she almost found it impossible to speak. She fought to recover her voice. "It's magnificent."

"You're searching...Yes?"

"Searching?" Caira didn't understand the question.


"For your true love."

She was surprised at how perceptive the old woman was. Uncomfortable talking about her personal life with a complete stranger, Caira turned the discussion back to the locket. "Is it antique?"

The woman ignored her question and asked one of her own. "Should you wish to have it?"

Caira gave a quick shake of her head. "I can't afford-"

The woman cut her off. "It is not for you to argue." She opened the glass case, removed the locket, and placed it in Caira's hand.

The second the locket came into contact with her flesh an odd tingling began in her bloodstream. She was strangely fascinated by the piece. Strangely fascinated by the way her pulse kicked up a notch at first contact. Curious of its origins, she stared at the antique locket in awe. She'd never seen anything more beautiful.

The woman touched her arm bringing Caira's attention back to her. "You feel it don't you?" she asked.

Uneasiness closed in on her as she met the woman's challenging gaze. She felt something, an unexplainable strange pull toward the locket, but she wasn't about to admit it. She lowered her lashes, hiding her emotions from the woman's probing gaze.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Caira responded quickly, turning the locket over in her hand. A ribbon of sunlight burst through the window and reflected off the unusual intricate design etched in the silver. Caira squinted and stared at the inscription until the words in front of her blurred together.

The gypsy curled her weathered fingers around Caira's and squeezed until the locket was tightly enclosed in the safety of her small hand. "With this locket comes great power, but with all great power there comes darkness."

"What do you mean?" Caira asked, indulging her for a moment.

Her gravelly voice became as smooth as silk as she recounted the tale of the Lover's Locket. "It is said that if one recites the incantation etched in the silver, their true love will be revealed." Suddenly, an anxious expression crossed the gypsy-woman's beguiling violet eyes. "The incantation also awakens the Keeper of Darkness from his eternal slumber." Frowning intently, she looked deep into Caira's eyes. "The person who recites the incantation is the only one who can defeat the Keeper of Darkness. It is said that death is the price of failure."

Caira blew out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. She remembered the old legend well. It was only a few years ago while babysitting her niece that she'd recounted the story herself. She almost laughed out loud at the foolishness of it all. She took a moment to recall the legend.

It was believed that centuries ago on the eve of her arranged wedding to a man she didn't love, a rebellious princess had fled her father's castle and secretly met her lover. Their plans to elope were foiled when one of the Lord's vassals captured them. The all-powerful Lord had a curse placed on his daughter's lover. In retaliation, the princess acquired the help of an old, gypsy woman. She had an incantation etched on her most precious possession, a locket given to her by her lover. Should the locket find its way to her in another lifetime, the princess could read the incantation and break the curse. But unfortunately, as the old woman had already said, with great power comes great darkness. The princess must battle the forces of evil to free her lover forever.

"You know the story...yes?" The worry in the woman's voice gained her full attention.

Caira forced a smile and addressed the old woman's concerns. "It's just a legend. A story told at slumber parties. The legend also says that only the princess can unleash its power," she pointed out. Rolling her shoulders she continued, "So if this ever fell into the hands of the original owner-"

A frown formed on her forehead as the old woman sealed her protest with her fingers. Caira repressed a shiver as a chill rushed through her. "What makes you think you're not the original owner, Bella?"

Her skin prickled. The air almost seemed to crackle with electricity. Bella?

Obviously the old woman had her confused with someone else.

"My name isn't Bella, its Caira."

The woman gave a slow nod. "Yes, of course, Caira. Forgive my slip. Perhaps this belonged to you in the past, Caira."

She met the woman's glance and tried to placate her. "It's ridiculous to believe the legend." Waving her hand over her worn jeans and t-shirt she said, "Besides, I hardly think I was a princess in another lifetime."

"Yes, well, you'll never know unless you recite the incantation." The look in the woman's eyes caused her skin to grow cold.

Caira gulped, her stomach plummeted. Good Lord what was going on with her? What was she getting all worked up about? She shook her head to clear it. It was just a silly legend.

Wasn't it?

Reviews:Fallen Angel Reviews wrote:

5 Angels from Fallen Angel Reviews

Passionate encounters lead to love affairs that will make the reader sigh with satisfaction. Each story effortlessly blends into the other, and I wasn't able to put the book down. For old fans and new readers alike, ALLURING TALES: AWAKEN THE FANTASY is a true delight!

CK2S Kwips and Kritiques wrote:

Wow! Individually, each of the stories in the anthology ALLURING TALES: AWAKEN THE FANTASY more than sizzle, but united in one hot little book, they are downright combustible! The title promises alluring tales, and it definitely delivers!

With some anthologies, you find several stories you like or love, and maybe a story or two that aren't quite up to par. It would be hard to find anyone who could say this about ALLURING TALES: AWAKEN THE FANTASY! Each story is just as good as the last one. I personally would be hard pressed to choose a favorite between them, and am very grateful I don't have to!

The Romance Studio wrote:

ALLURING TALES: AWAKEN THE FANTASY really does offer a story for every taste. Each story is well written and all the authors have written stories that are engaging and entertaining. This anthology is a great way to get a taste of the writing styles of each author, making Alluring Tales: Awaken the Fantasy, an excellent book to read.

Just Erotic Romance Reviews wrote:

WOW!! ALLURING TALES: AWAKEN THE FANTASY was an amazingly erotic book filled with lots of sex, interesting characters and {keep beating my heart} love. The seven Allure authors have developed a group of well-written and easy flowing stories. I was impressed by the anthology as a whole and am more than ever eager to read more Allure authors.