Guest post by Jo March, author of The Queen’s Heart
I’m so excited to be here today to promote something new. In August, Breathless Press is turning five and in celebration of their birthday, they commissioned a range of Flirts based on the characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It certainly sounded like it could be a lot of fun and so I decided to try my hand at it. I’m far more comfortable writing longer stories, but sometimes “stretching” yourself actually means limiting yourself. The challenge, was to craft a story with a range of emotions and a full arc in 2,000 – 10,000 words. For many, this would seem simple enough, but I have a tendency to write long, descriptive passages and I knew that this wouldn’t work for a short.
The next challenge was to figure out what I would write about. After all, we all know the story of Alice, we’re familiar with the characters and the basic storyline… what on earth was I going to do with it? Throw it out. Take the cast and re-imagine them in new roles, stripped of their previous costumes and scripts. It was a liberating experience and once you start to play… well, let’s say that a fertile imagination is a dangerous thing. I found myself with a plethora of ideas and in the unique position of having to limit myself to just one.
The interesting thing is that of the fourteen stories that have been written, none are even close to each other. We’ve all been inspired to write fun, different, sweet, hot, sexy stories and as an extra celebration, they’re being published in a limited edition hardcover print book!!
Below is a teaser from my story, The Queen’s Heart. I hope that you will be intrigued enough to read more!
Clarissa could never have foreseen the magic a simple hatter could bring to her life.
As queen of Wonderland, Clarissa should have been secure in her position, but Alice sought to change all that. A clause in the dead king’s will only serves to spur on their childhood rivalry. Alice will stop at nothing to take the throne for herself. The best laid plans can go awry though and it’s only a matter of time until the true queen of Wonderland will be crowned for good.
“Who are you?”
“I’m just a simple hatter, miss. Newly arrived here to ply my trade at court.”
“Interesting. Well, don’t let me keep you…”
At her dismissive tone, the hatter raised his eyes and stared at her for a moment. “Did anyone ever tell you that you’re awfully bossy? I’m sure the queen herself isn’t as bossy as you!”
“Not lately, no, and since you are new here, you may want to wait until you meet the queen to decide what she’s like.” Stepping to one side on the path, she cocked her head at the exit. “I believe you were just leaving?”
Slowly he walked toward her, closing the distance between them until he towered over her. Realizing that it might not be safe to be alone with this stranger, she was tempted to take a step backward, but one look at the expression on his face showed that he was expecting her to be intimidated. Resolutely she stood her ground. Staring defiantly up at him, she crossed her arms defensively across her chest.
“Am I in your way?”
“Not at all.” And with that he dropped his lips to hers. The kiss was gentle at first—their mouths the only point of contact between them—but within moments, his tongue had teased her lips apart and his hands were buried in her hair, drawing her nearer. Of their own volition, her hands explored the planes of his chest through the cotton shirt he wore, and her fingers memorized every detail.
Without warning he pulled away, his breathing ragged. His gaze bore into hers and she felt as if he were reading every thought that flashed across her mind. Her heart fluttered like a trapped butterfly in her chest—the sound so loud that she felt sure he must be able to hear it. With extraordinary gentleness, he ran the back of his hand slowly down her cheek before stepping quietly past her and leaving the garden.
Jo March lives in her own Wonderland—a place filled with books, animals and plenty of ways to exercise her imagination and creativity. She cannot remember not wanting to be a writer and indulges whenever she can. She lives in Cape Town and considers it the most beautiful place in the world to live.