By BONNIE DEE & MARIE TREANOR
Out Now from Samhain Publishing, Amazon and other etailers.
Behind every beautiful shoe is a sexy shoemaker.
A Fairytale Fantasies story.
Will Shoemaker works his fingers to the bone to make quality footwear worthy to grace the feet of the king’s six daughters. But recently his one-of-a-kind creations have been coming back to him in tatters.
Determined to find out what is destroying his shoes—and threatening his position as royal cobbler—Will follows the princesses and discovers they’re dancing their nights away in a fairy world. The princess with the fastest feet is Iris, whom he has long loved from afar.
With an arranged marriage looming in her future, Iris wrings as much pleasure as possible out of her last days of freedom. Yet even as she whirls in the arms of an elven prince, she dreams of the lowly cobbler and fantasizes that it’s his work-roughened hands on her delicate skin.
In a magical realm where anything is possible, Will and Iris shatter all barriers between them and find the ultimate fantasy—love—in each other’s arms. But there’s betrayal and treachery afoot...and it’s poised to destroy everything on both sides of the veil. Including any chance of happily ever after for Iris and Will.
“Will you try them on?” Will said.
Wordlessly, steeling herself not to wince if he touched any of the cuts and abrasions acquired last night, she lifted her right foot, and Will took her heel between his finger and thumb. His grip was firm yet so gentle that even if he’d touched a sore bit, she was sure it wouldn’t have hurt. She’d have liked it just as much.
Had his touch always affected her this way? Had there always been this tingling, electrical lightning spark that sizzled up her whole foot to the top of her leg, and to the secret center of her sensuality? Or had she just grown so depraved in her nighttime adventures that any man now affected her as Hadriel did?
Delicately, almost lovingly, Will guided the shoe onto her foot before setting it on the ground. Once there, he caressed around the toes with his fingertips, then slid his hand around the whole shape of her foot, presumably to check that the fitting was snug without being too tight.
Iris found she was holding her breath. The warmth of his fingers soaked through her stockings into her skin. She watched his face, taking in the frown of concentration, the upturn of his mouth into something approaching a smile, as if his shoes on her feet gave him pleasure. A serious, talented man who took pride in his work, who worried over trifles yet was not without a sense of humor. It came out occasionally in a quick riposte to her teasing, or in a half-hidden smile at someone else’s words.
Will. He wasn’t like any other man of her acquaintance—her father’s gallant courtiers or the stern politicians. Certainly not like Hadriel or the other beautiful men of the elven world.
“Have you always been a shoemaker, Will?” she asked.
“Yes. And my father and grandfather before me.”
“Did you never want to do anything else?”
“No,” he confessed, releasing her foot with apparent reluctance. “But then, there was never really a question of anything else. Shoemaking has always been the family business, and there was no one but me to inherit it.”
“Did you rebel?” she teased.
He took her left heel between his fingers and began to slide on the second shoe. “No. I love making shoes—as neither my father nor grandfather did, to be honest. I love to create beauty in this way, whether for men or women. I try to put something of the owner’s character into each shoe, to make it unique and lasting.” His lips twisted, perhaps with embarrassment at having said so much. “Although I never quite seem to have managed the ‘lasting’ since I came to court.”
“The boots and the walking shoes have lasted,” she assured him. “It’s only the dancing shoes that wear out, and that truly isn’t your fault.”
He glanced up at her, his fingers absently stroking along the side of her foot. She shivered. His expression was unreadable—carefully so.
“Will you tell that to the king?” he asked.
“I might drop it into the conversation,” she said airily, “but that isn’t what will get you your job back.”
He seemed to suddenly realize what he was doing, and his fingers stilled. He checked the heel a little more perfunctorily and stood. “Do they feel comfortable? Would Your Highness care to walk in them?”
Iris rose with such alacrity that she took both of them by surprise. She was too close to Will, almost as close as she’d been to Hadriel last night. What would it be like to dance in the strong arms of the unsophisticated shoemaker? The thought excited her, and she wondered if it was merely the forbidden that always affected her like this—the elven realm, the common man. It was a lowering thought in some ways, yet she couldn’t resist teasing him.
She touched one downturned corner of his finely shaped lips and pushed it gently upward. “Do you know, the only time you smile is when you’re looking at shoes? What would Mrs. Shoemaker make of that?”
“There is no Mrs. Shoemaker,” he said. Color seeped under his skin, but to her surprise, he didn’t move away from her touch.
“I know that.” Had she known that? Had she cared, when she’d teased him almost to the verge of flirtation? The truth was, he was so far beneath her that there was no point in even considering the existence of a wife.
Again it was she who became the more flustered. She dropped her hand and brushed past him in order to walk across the room in her new shoes. His body felt hard and unyielding as she bumped against it, causing her womb to clench with hot, unexpected desire. Fortunately, before she could do anything insane, like turn back to him, she became distracted by the amazing shoes. They hugged her feet securely yet seemed to ease rather than hurt the sore places on her soles.
“Why, they’re delightful! So soft and comfortable and light on my feet. I could dance forever in these!” To prove it, she twirled around the room. As she came to rest, she saw that he was watching her, a faint smile on his face, belying her recent accusation. Or perhaps it wasn’t she but her pleasure in his shoes that made him smile.