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Cinderella and the Lady
by KT Grant

Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: The sudden death of Ellie's father leaves her with an uncertain future. Her stepmother, Geraldine and step-sister Mina treat her like a servant. The seductive Countess Tremaine wants to save Ellie from her life of drudgery, but all for a price--her innocence. Ellie feels all hope is lost until she meets a Lady who makes all her wishes come true. Lady Kristina, the Duke of Perrault's daughter has returned home after five years abroad. She's expected to marry, but her attraction to women stops her from carrying out her parents' wishes. One night she meets a shy servant girl and becomes obsessed. She'll do whatever she can to gain the trust of this mysterious woman and claim her for her own. With the countess pressuring Ellie into accepting her unscrupulous offer, and her step mother growing more unstable, she turns to Kristina for support. But then her whole world comes crashing down when she learns the truth behind Kristina's identity and the lies Geraldine has kept from her. As Ellie falls victim to those dark forces set on ruining her, Kristina fights to save Ellie's heart before she loses her forever.
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: July 2012

eBookeBook

Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [262 KB]
Words: 59882
Reading time: 171-239 min.


Chapter One

The morning was too beautiful for a funeral. Ellie would have preferred clouds or rain to mark the occasion. The glare of the sun blinded her as she watched the coffin with her father's body being lowered into the ground. The minister spoke from the Bible, reciting a passage about a body turning to dust and the soul rising up to meet the heavenly father in everlasting glory. She wasn't certain she believed in God. She had stopped praying when everyone she ever loved was taken away from her.

She wiped away a tear falling down her cheek and glanced away from the cheap wooden coffin her stepmother Geraldine could barely afford. Her caretaker for the past ten years sobbed into her handkerchief. Her daughter, Mina, whispered into her ear. Both women wore black well, their dresses expensive and of the current style, unlike Ellie's frock that was two years out of date.

Geraldine cried out Ellie's father's name--Louis-- and would have fallen to her knees if not for Mina's support. Ellie stopped rolling her eyes over her stepmother's emotional display of grief. The last time Geraldine had acted in such a way was when the priest gave her father his last rites. Geraldine fell across the bed, bawling against Ellie's father's chest. Ellie was never given the chance to rest her cheek against her father's and say her goodbyes. By the time she had been allowed to see him, it was too late.

Another tear slipped down her cheek and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. She should have used a handkerchief, but she didn't have one, even though she reached into her pocket of her dress, thinking a piece of cloth would magically appear. A few pieces of lint and her pet mouse, Jack, lined her pocket. He was dozing on a full stomach after she fed him a few blocks of cheese before the funeral procession to the cemetery.

A chill came over her as the breeze picked up. She tugged her tattered shawl around her head to protect her from the elements. Spring was slowly making its notice, but winter still remained. Her one bonnet had been ruined when her cat, August, used it for a chew toy months ago.

When the coffin was finally in the ground, the mourners spoke a prayer. She remained silent, watching those around her play their part accordingly. Her father had once been a respected member in the community, but due to his illness and lack of fortune, former friends and visitors were far and few between.

Clement and Egan, partners who ran a popular tailor and dress shop in Aulnory, nodded in her direction. Egan's son, Noah, smiled at her softly. She titled her head in acknowledgement, but couldn't find the strength to lift her lips into a smile. Before she dipped her head down, Geraldine's dear friend, the Countess Tremaine, caught her eye. The stare she gave her made her uncomfortable. The countess's eyes remained on her, blazing with some sort of sentiment she couldn't understand.

She longed to flee and escape to her small bedroom. There she could hide her face under her pillow, pretending she was anywhere else instead of Aulnory, where she had been born and raised the first twenty-one years of her life, and would most likely remain for the next twenty-one and longer, abandoned and unloved.

The mourners threw roses into the grave and paid their last respects. Afterward they would flock to her house for the repast. She was the only one without a rose. It had been decided her stepmother and stepsister should have one instead of her, the deceased's daughter in truth. She slipped her hand inside her pocket to touch Jack, her only comfort, and walked away. She ignored the stares and the whispers sent her way. Most had no idea who she was, nor did they care to inquire about her association to the dead baron.

The tears streaming down her face were her final goodbye to the man who rejected her the moment he brought his new wife and her daughter into his home to replace her mother, the one person who loved her, faults and all.


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