Humans have the most irritating habit of thanking God for their good fortune but blaming me when disaster strikes.

No, I’m not the devil. Truth be told, most of that good fortune is the fault of Big Red downstairs in the hot spot. Luck is a hell of a temptation.

I am the force that moves the world. I put the stars in the sky and encircle them with planets. I make the seas ebb and flow. I send the water vapor into the skies to build clouds and rain back down. I soak the seeds to sprout.

These are easy tasks. These are pendulums, once set in motion, never ceasing.

Humans are trickier. Freewill is a pesky thing, forever challenging my rule, forever upending my carefully laid plans, forever leading my hand to do truly heinous things in order to keep the world moving. I have no interest in making the lives of humans difficult — I have no interest in dealing with them at all — but certain events must happen. If freewill resists, those events must be forced.

I am Fate, and my will must be done.

Not all Sleeping Beauties are awakened by True Love’s kiss.

King Alessandro suffers from an all-too-mundane curse: an unhappy marriage. His entire life is consumed by his duty to both his wife and his kingdom, so when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in a sleeping spell, he figures it’s also his duty to kiss her awake.

Talia isn’t Disney’s Princess Aurora. She’s the daughter of a merchant, and she’s the victim of a prophecy that she will be felled by a splinter of flax. She awakens—sort of—at King Alessandro’s kiss, but she still has a long way to go before she finds her Happily Ever After.

In this retelling of Giambattista Basile’s classic fairy tale, the road to the happy ending is paved with illicit affairs, deception, and murder. Alessandro and Talia will get their happy ending, but will it be worth the price?

Available now at Amazon.

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