“Handsome and Petal” by Jo Atkinson

Brody aka Handsome is a construction hunk with a big sweet-tooth who falls for Lily, the Junoesque beauty working in the bakery he frequents.  When his Petal, Lily, gets the chance to make her dream come true, Handsome will stand by his lady love against a vicious termagant determined to use any means to destroy their happiness. 

It’s Hansel and Greta bursting with delicious culinary imagery and warm fuzzy humor and romance at its sweetest.  The witch was so darn sour I wanted to replace the “W” with a big capital “B.”  This story is so adorable it’s fattening.

 

“Sasha and the Seven Rossetti Brothers” by Kelly Wade

Aspiring actress Sasha King is caught in a power struggle with her father’s widow, Moira.  Moira is a former model backing a play to move her career to Broadway.  Sasha gets a shot to star in the production and the best part is that her crush, Aidan Prince, is the male lead.  Sasha’s forced to battle her nasty stepmother for Aidan’s heart and her place in the acting world. 

Will hard work and true love prevail over a vain and vicious woman intent on destroying talented Sasha and her future happiness?

Of course, there’s no disguising the fact that this is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves set in New York on Broadway.  I was dazzled by the originality, cheeky humor and revamped characters in “Sasha and the Seven Rossetti Brothers.”  This story deserves a toast for its charm, wit and sparkling creativity.

 

“Windrush” by Charlotte Boyett-Campo

Hayver Kenyon gets stranded on a lone country road, miles and miles away from the city life he’s used to. Suddenly, he’s abducted by a creature with brilliant green eyes.  Right now, rain is the least of his worries.  He’s crossing his fingers and praying that he won’t be eaten.  Maybe he’ll wake up and discover it’s all a wild dream?

“Windrush” is picturesque Beauty and the Beast tied into an unusual twist accessorized by humor and sex.  Ms. Boyett-Campo is an excellent author yet after reading her wonderful writing, I felt as if I'd read the ending already.

 

“How Red Tamed Her Wolf” by Holly East

Ruby adores Alex Wolf but not everything is perfect.  Alex calls her “Little Red,” a nickname she despises, constantly breaks dates and expects her life to revolve around his.  Her best friend tells Ruby she’s a pushover and that Alex is taking her for granted.   It’s time for Ruby to put her big, bad wolf in check, and with a few tips from her gal pal, she and Alex will come to a mutually satisfying understanding agreement.

Little Red Riding Hood is all grown-up and raring to out-bad the wolf.  This very contemporary tale is completely delightful and totally naughty.  “How Red Tamed Her Wolf” is a special treat for all the Little Reds out there needing to tame their own misbehaving wolves.

 

“The Match” by Devon Salerno

Elle wanders the bitter cold New York streets on New Year’s alone.  Her life is empty without Graeme.  The decades of love letters from him weigh her down as she recounts every moment together.  Now it all seems a lie. In the desolate night, she recounts everything she has lost.

A bittersweet variation on the Little Match Girl, it didn’t make me cry like the poignant Hans Christian Anderson story.  My heart was warmed by the hope and the memories of Elle and Graeme.  “The Match” was a reminder of how valuable every moment spent with our loved ones is.

 

“Letting Her Hair Down” by Ashlyn Chase

Rapunzel lets her hair down for Prince Wunderkind. The moment he enters her tower, he tutors her in the ways of pleasure.

“Letting Her Hair Down” is an 18-and-over Rapunzel retelling.  Rapunzel and the witch are modern in their speech and attitudes.  Our damsel in distress has a very flip and snarky mouth and is totally assertive. The running joke is that the Prince uses courtly language until the clothes come off.  Maybe this is a sly commentary on chivalry versus the modern day guy or the expectations of women when it comes down to sex and relationships.  

 

“The Schumacher and the Elf” by Chase Jeffries

Royce Schumacher is descended from a long line of German shoemakers. He decided to make his living as a broker on Wall Street.  At 32, his life is empty and when he inherits his father’s shop, Elfriede, the shop employee welcomes him back to the family business and into her bed.

Aside from the spicy sex and leather fetish, there’s not a lot else I could recommend about “The Schumacher and the Elf.”   It’s a good story but terribly unremarkable; this type of tale that would appeal to people much like Royce and Elfriede.  For the record, there’s plenty of them out there, which proves my point.

 

“Frog” by Suzanne Elizabeth

Cassandra drops her Noni’s heirloom into a pond and a park maintenance man offers to fish it out.  His price?  He wants to spend time with Cassandra, for her to get to know him.  The froggy man is not her ideal; still a promise is a promise.  After a while, Jason starts to look less reptilian as his inner beauty shines through and touches her heart.

One the best points in “Frog” is the message about beauty and love.  It’s a fabulous take on the Princess and the Frog that I truly dived straight into it. 

 

“Free Falling” by Victoria Lake

Wendy and her brothers are aerobat performers under circus manger Hooke’s thumb.  Fellow performer Peter has a plan to claim her for his own while saving everything they’ve worked so hard for.

“Free Falling” is without a doubt one of the best stories in this anthology.  I wouldn’t change a thing about it and I’m totally impressed by Ms. Lake’s ingenuity in how she handles Barrie’s classic.  Stupendous.

 

“Legs” by Rachel Kenley

A whole new world opens up for a mermaid when she discovers that her legs are for more than just function.   They are the means to everlasting spine-bending pleasure.

Cute, cute, cute is the perfect word for the perfectly cute story.  It was fun, sweet and happily rendered with a delightful HEA that gets the blue ribbon for tender, quixotic endings.  

Spellbound is an anthology loaded with good hits, lesser misses.  It’s got frills for romance, thrills to make the brain tingle and erotic spills for less cerebral pursuits; a pleasurable and sizzling read for all the fairy tale fans out there.

     

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