Picture from ~ l-art-en-rose.deviantart.com
For a beautiful illustration of ~The Romantic Awakening of Sleeping Beauty~ read Lindsay Townsend’s ‘free’ short story, A CHRISTMAS SLEEPING BEAUTY. I confess shedding some good tears, those sweet tears that slip down your cheeks when lovers discover each other, or are reunited for their Happily Ever After. The story is available at THE PINK BLOG.
Lindsay’s story inspired this SWEET Flash Story. Yes, for those of you who thought I only wrote erotic romance...well, yes, I can pen a sweet romance...believe it, or not.
by Savanna Kougar
She walked in the land of shadows. Even her roses were pale shadows, their vibrant beauty denied to her, their heavenly scents gone. Sharomond remembered another life, another time, when lush fragrant rosebushes, heavy with red and pink blooms, twined up her balcony stairway. When roses, happy in their abundance, climbed up the marble archway of her garden. Dreamy, ephemeral and brilliant, her roses had been nearly every color and shade in the rainbow. Once upon a time.
Fleeting glimpses of a man, a warrior prince by his dress, haunted her. During her endless sojourn in the land of shadows she would catch sight of him astride a magnificent dragonhorse stallion. Or, she would briefly see him battling the leviathan black shadow that domed her entire land.
Sharomond had never found her parents, or discovered another human being in the shadowland. The animals were shades of gray. Moving and acting like apparitions, they took no notice of her presence. Loneliness had long ago driven her mad. Yet, madness meant nothing here. Still, she wandered, dreariness clinging to her like a wet woolen blanket.
Sharomond never saw his face, the elusive warrior prince. The color of his eyes remained a mystery, as did the manly definition of his physique. She had tried with all her might to reach him, running until he vanished.
She had tried to speak to him with her thoughts until despair ruled her heart so brutally she had been forced to quit. Sharomond only knew he was as she had once been. Alive. Alive, in a glorious land where shadows did not reign.
Sharomond could not remember how or why she roamed this shadowland. No amount of pondering brought her closer to any manner of answer. What lived inside her now was rage, a rage to find and conquer whoever had cast her spirit into this gray-black imprisonment.
In truth, Sharomond did not know the fate of her people. Were they still living their lives, cherishing the seasons and celebrating their joys? Who cared for them in their time of need? Who brought healing herbs and broths to them when illness struck?
A slight rustle of sound, one she had never heard in this land of shadows, drew her toward her sumptuously attired bed, now mere mist in appearance. Even though, her coverlet and pillows were layers of luxurious mist, they were as insubstantial as her existence.
An urge to lie down claimed Sharomond, and she obeyed. Why not? For, nothing held any great importance anymore. Unless, she could figure out a way to escape. Unless, she was granted a rescuer by some unknown benevolent hand. Unknown, indeed. Had not every one of her often-whispered prayers gone unanswered? No, her God did not recognize her. Not here. Not hidden by the shadows.
With her eyelids slipping closed, Sharomond draped the coverlet over her, even though it felt like a sodden featherbed. She prepared herself to feel nothing, to dream nothing. But, again, she heard a sound. The scrape of a boot? An odd sensation skittered through her. Was it excitement? So foreign was the feeling, she could not tell.
Warm lips pressed against hers suddenly. To her complete astonishment, a tender kiss was placed upon her mouth. Another kiss followed. This one was more urgent and longer, yet just as gentle.
Sharomond fought to respond, puckering her lips. In that moment she did not care who took liberties with her mouth. She only wanted more. So much more of this fleshly paradise.
The next kiss devoured her entire mouth with a passion she had once dreamed about. Sharomond felt the thick waves of a man’s hair inside her fist. Startled beyond any bearing, she stilled, yet did not let go. Rough breathing filled her ears, and she became aware her pants joined with the impassioned pants of another.
“Sharomond, can you hear me?” a man’s voice asked.
The low rich timbre reminded her of being in a deep dark forest, and she trembled with what felt like desire. A familiarity about the man teased her memory. Yet, no image of his countenance entered her head.
“Awaken, please. I need you. Your people need you.”
Once again, his lips seized hers. Gentleness was replaced by a searing fusion of their mouths. A light flashed before her mind’s eyes, and Sharomond felt utterly ignited. Almost painfully so. In that moment she knew who kissed her awake.
“No,” she forced out, even as her eyes flew open. His visage filled her gaze, the warrior who had won her hand in marriage. She had refused him, fearing he would demand her complete obedience.
Eyes, composed of midnight and emeralds, roved over her face. The concern glittering in the depths was so obvious her heart jerked like a rabbit freeing itself, yet leapt toward him. Sharomond un-fisted his dark coppery-colored mane of hair, an act against her sudden yearning for him.
“Sharomond, I love you. I will care for you in every way that you may need as you recover. And, my beloved, I will not insist you become my bride.”
With those words, Dhutrov straightened his handsome, sleekly hewn torso. From his kneeling position beside her, he took hold of her hand. Tenderly, he encouraged her to sit up.
Shivering like the last leaf on a tree in the face of winter’s winds, Sharomond kept her hand firmly clasped within his. The sheer vibrancy of her bedchamber caused her eyes to blink and water. A banquet of smells assaulted her nostrils. Roses, her precious roses, their scents drifted to her as if in welcome.
“The Seventh Coven of Abarus bespelled you and your people,” Dhutrov answered her question before Sharomond could ask, the one hovering on the tip of her tongue. “Your realm was considered to be too influential, too powerful.”
Sharomond knew then. With her whole soul she knew. Still, she needed to hear it spoken. “The state of our world?”
“Beloved, I must be the bearer of terrible news. Our world has fallen to those who are dark-hearted and cruel. To those who have no thought, but for themselves.”
“Yet, your lands remain free, do they not?”
“Yes. But, I am in need of you and your people to stand with us in freedom, or it will be lost.”
Torn in two, between the joy of being rescued from the land of shadows and the reality that her world now suffered from despotic rule, Sharomond could not stop the flood of tears bursting from her eyes.
She wept uncontrolled. Dhutrov lent his shoulder to her and murmured comforting words. His arms embraced her close, feeling invincible in their strength.
Sharomond reached upwards clinging to his neck like a child. Placing her on his lap, he wrapped himself around her, holding her until her weeping eased.
Their lips met in a salty kiss, yet the lingering press of their mouths overwhelmed her with sweetness, the new sweetness of love.
“Dhutrov,” she whispered her heart.
He cupped the side of her face, his gaze adoring her. “Side-by-side, we will ride, my Sharomond, and we will know triumph against our enemies.”
“Yes. As warriors we will ride together.” Sharomond caressed his hand and smiled with her newly found happiness.
Awaken to Your Heart this Holiday Season ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~