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BLOW: THREE LITTLE PIGS RETOLD by USA Today Bestselling Author Demelza Carlton
Three sisters. An absent prince who promised to protect them. And the wolf is at the door…
Once upon a time…
When war breaks out, Rudolf promises Portia and her sisters he will protect them. But his father falls in battle, and Rudolf is forced to return home to command his father's armies.
Shifting alliances turn Portia and her family from friends to sworn enemies. To win the war, Rudolf must conquer her home, and risk losing her forever.
When the wolf is at the door, who will win – love or war?
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Excerpt From Blow: Three Little Pigs Retold:
Rudolf's eyes were upon her, and Portia found she could not meet them. “Father knows as well as I do that I can only wed a man who can hold the islands. Hold them, and defend them, like he has. All this Donald has done is blow wind at us, and the isles have withstood greater gales than anything he's thrown at us thus far. I will wed when a strong enough man presents himself, and not before.”
“See? Portia will never marry for love. Or she'd have picked Rudolf, long ago,” Lina declared with a smile.
Arlie dissolved in a fit of giggles, falling back to kick her legs in the air.
Once again, Portia felt far too hot. She rose and marched out of the room, the sound of her sisters' laughter following her. And booted footsteps. Rudolf, of course.
“Portia,” he began cautiously, as if wishing to warn her of his presence.
She turned and held up her hand to halt him before he said any more. “My sisters like to joke at my expense. And yours. I'm sorry if their levity sounds insulting to your ears. You are a strong and skilled warrior. Both my father and I know that. So do my sisters, I think. But when we hear whispered news of war…well, you see how we react. Lina will pick herbs to dry for every wound and ailment imaginable, and fill the cellars with all the food she can possibly preserve. Arlie…she will make light of everything, as she always does, for laughter is her way.”
“And you shall shoot things, because even if every man on this island dies in battle, you will still defend it while you have breath left in your body,” Rudolf finished for her. “Isla is your home, and the Southern Isles are your kingdom as much as Harald holds Viken, or Donald does Alba.”
Now it was Portia's turn to laugh. “No one understands me the way you do, Dolf. I swear it is as though you have some magical power to see into my head. I'm glad I didn't shoot you.”
Rudolf laughed with her. “I'm glad you didn't shoot me, either. If it comes to war, I hope I am never on the opposing side to you and your father. I meant it when I said I would protect you.” He held out his hand. “Here.”
Portia glanced down and recoiled. “What in heaven's name do you intend to do with those?”
“Give me your hand.”
Reluctantly, she did as he asked. He wrapped the pig's ear around her middle finger, the leather surprisingly warm and soft from being in his pocket. Next, he threaded a thin leather thong through the holes edging the ear, until he'd laced it like one of her gowns. He pulled the whole thing taut, then tied it at the bottom. “Now the others.” Soon he'd shrouded all three of her middle fingers in pigs' ears. The leather was paler than boot leather, as though the pigs' ears were tanned differently. In fact, the pigskin was so close to the shade of her own skin that it looked like she wasn't wearing the finger guards at all. “Next time, wear these when you need to shoot out your frustration. Your arms will tire long before you make your fingers bleed. Pigs' ears are tough.”
“Thank you, Dolf!” Portia threw her arms around his neck. Too late, she realised as her body moulded to his that she shouldn't do such things any more. Though he cared for her as much as any brother, Rudolf was most certainly not one of her siblings. Awkwardly, she peeled herself away from him, only now realising that he held his arms stiffly at his sides. Stopping himself from returning her embrace, or pushing her away? Oh, she was so stupid.
“It's my pleasure, Portia,” he said. With a slight bow, he left her.
Portia sighed, only now realising she held her well-wrapped fingers over her heart. If only she was as free as her sisters. But the world didn't work the way she wanted to, for life was nothing like a fairytale.
Meet USA Today Bestselling Author Demelza Carlton
USA Today bestselling author Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
Interview with Demelza Carlton:
Q: Hi Demelza! Tell us a little about yourself.
DC: Hi, I'm Demelza Carlton, the USA Today Bestselling Author of more than 50 books across various genres. Romance, fantasy, scifi, thrillers… I'm currently in my home state of Western Australia, which just locked down its borders to the outside world today…so I suspect I'll be home for the foreseeable future.
Q: What do you love about the paranormal? What drew you to the genre?
DC: I've always loved reading and watching stories where the characters are more than human, and right now, I think that's more important than ever. Characters I can relate to, yet who have the power to do things us ordinary humans can't. Stargate or Supernatural, where characters can transcend death. Star Wars or the Expanse, where advanced medical technology can cure anything. Or like Lucifer and Harry Potter, where the characters' mystical powers can make the impossible achievable.
Q: For those who are new to your books, what is the story about?
DC: Blow: Three Little Pigs Retold is an adult fairytale retelling…based on some of the more traditional fairytales (before they were sanitised for children). Set against a backdrop of the Hebrides Isles (between Scotland and Ireland) in the twelfth century, when Vikings were claiming territory in coastal communities just like this one. When I was in Poland, researching a number of fairytales, a friend challenged me to write a retelling of the Three Little Pigs…but with a romance in it. I laughed, and said it probably wasn't possible, but a few weeks later, in Scotland, I found my inspiration.
We were visiting some whisky distilleries, and I was the designated driver. After about the third visit, my husband and his friend were getting very merry, and one of them shouted at me to stop because they'd seen a castle.
Having spent months researching castles across Europe, I knew there weren't any nearby, but they were adamant that we had to go back and see the castle. So, I turned the car around, and to my shock, there was a sign pointing off into the hills that there was a castle that way. The boys would not be denied, so I followed the signs to a modern building beside a lake. Across the lake, on a small island, were the stone ruins of Finlaggan castle. Several history books, and a visit to both the museum and the ruins themselves later, and I had an intriguing tale about a mysterious Viking prince who became the first King of the Isles, not through conquest, but through a marriage alliance. Add that to the mix of straw thatched houses, Viking timber longhouses, and stone castles…and I had places for my three little pigs to live. Of course, by this time they weren't pigs at all, but three sisters, caught up in a war for the islands where they live, and my big bad wolf rides at the head of one of the armies…Ah, I'd best not spoil it for you.
Q: Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
DC: You can find me at:
Ooh, and if you're new to my books, take the quiz on my website – there's one where you can find out what kind of reader you are, and get a bundle of free books perfect for you, based on what you like. It takes less than a minute.