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Cinderella Treasure Trove

Cinderella Treasure Trove

By

The Glass Slipper Sisters

Edited by Lynette Sofras and Stacy Juba

Copyright © 2015 Amber Daulton, Jennifer Conner, Kae Elle Wheeler, Rebekah R. Ganiere, Lisa Scott, Stacy Juba, Caroline Clemmons, Joan Reeves, Ines Johnson, PJ Sharon, Sharon Kleve, Angela Ford, Melissa McClone, Rochelle Weber, Rochelle Weber, and Lynette Sofras

Cover Design by Rebekah Ganiere at vwzdesigns.com

Also published on Shakespir

First eBook Edition –December 2015

Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

The excerpts in this book are works of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the authors’ imaginations and are used fictitiously.

Table of Contents

A Little Cinderella Magic

Excerpts by Author

Amber Daulton

Cinderella Had It Easy—Jennifer Conner

Cinderella Series ~ the collection—Kae Elle Wheeler

Rebekah R. Ganiere

Fairy Tale Flirts!—Lisa Scott

Fooling Around With Cinderella—Stacy Juba

Home Sweet Texas Home—Caroline Clemmons

Nobody’s Cinderella—Joan Reeves

Pumpkin – A Cindermama Story—Ines Johnson

J Sharon

Second Chance Cinderella—Sharon Kleve

Spellbound Cinderella—Angela Ford

The Cinderella Princess—Melissa McClone

The Thin Person Inside—Rochelle Weber

Wishful Thinking—Lynette Sofras

Time To Party!

The Glass Slipper Sisters’ Recipe Collection

Appetizers

Meals and Accompaniments

Desserts and Sweets

Party Drinks

Party Games and Activities

Glass Slipper Sister Books and Web Sites

Follow the Glass Slipper Sisters

A Little Cinderella Magic

Who the Heck Are the Glass Slipper Sisters?

If you’ve downloaded this book, then you’re probably wondering: who are these mysterious Glass Slipper Sisters? Are they actually sisters? Do they go around their daily lives wearing glass slippers?

Um, not quite. We are a group of fifteen women who have authored Cinderella-themed romance novels. We consider ourselves sisters in the symbolic sense as we all wrote books inspired by the Cinderella fairy tale.

How did we come together? I founded the group, however, I’m certain that my fairy godmother waved her magical wand behind the scenes to send me the perfect “sisters.” Before the launch of the first book in my Storybook Valley series, I put out a call on writing forums, seeking authors with Cinderella and rags to riches romance novels. Once we had assembled the group, I never expected it to take on a life of its own.

I threw out some preliminary ideas and the brainstorming snowballed as members conjured up their own amazing suggestions. We must have sent hundreds of emails in those early days as we bonded over our mutual love of Cinderella. Soon we had volunteers creating a book trailer, designing graphics, setting up social media pages, collecting individual tweets, monitoring our budget, booking ads, shopping for princess prizes to give away in a grand New Year’s Eve Stroke of Midnight Royal Ball, and taking on editing and production roles for this e-book.

I would like to thank all the group members for their hard work: Caroline Clemmons, Jennifer Conner, Amber Daulton, Angela Ford, Rebekah R. Ganiere, Ines Johnson, Sharon Kleve, Melissa McClone, Joan Reeves, Lisa Scott, PJ Sharon, Lynette Sofras, Rochelle Weber and Kae Elle Wheeler. A special thank you goes out to Rebekah R. Ganiere, who designed our beautiful Cinderella Treasure Trove cover, to Kae Elle Wheeler for the lovely sketches, and to Lynette Sofras who compiled this book.

I’d also like to thank our two honorary Glass Slipper Sisters – Renee Fleming, Independent Consultant with SWAROVSKI’s Touchstone Crystal for giving our group some sparkle, and Tami Adams of Magic of Books Promotion for organizing our book tour.

We are always happy to connect with readers and we would love to have you join our Facebook group. The Sisters post fun fairy tale quizzes, pictures, recipes, and more, inviting group members to tap into their inner princess. We’ve even had an online holiday jewelry party. Plus every Friday is Fairy Tale Friday where we share our Cinderella-themed book news. https://www.facebook.com/groups/482493158588214

You can follow our accounts on Twitter: [+ https://twitter.com/stacyjuba/lists/glass-slipper-sisters/members+]

We also enjoy posting fun Cinderella images on our Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/stacyjuba/glass-slipper-sisters/

Be sure to watch our gorgeously illustrated You Tube video, Fresh Spins on Cinderella Tale. Thanks to Ines Johnson for producing it and to Lisa Scott for the narration. https://youtu.be/9iQeoybSd0o?list=PLMxj85qIUzd9IY9GYRNRXPTgmbcsOYCFE

We appreciate your taking the time to read our collection and we hope you will find some Cinderella stories for your to-read list.

Wishing you a happily ever after,

Stacy Juba, Fooling Around With Cinderella and Founder of the Glass Slipper Sisters

Cinderella’s Enchanted Night

by Amber Daulton

“I’m so happy you came by today.” Elijah’s hot breath teased the sensitive hollow of her throat. His lips trailed across her shoulder blade, down her bare arm, and Annalise almost melted. Then he firmly grasped her waist with his palms and stared deep into her eyes. “I promised myself I would ask you out the next time you came in. If I’d known you worked across the street, I would’ve made time and stopped by to see you.”

“I should’ve put my insecurities aside months ago and just asked you.” Annalise felt vulnerable under his keen gaze. “I don’t ever wear haute couture clothes—this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever worn a dress like this—and I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I’m not sexy. I’m not a little badass who wears safety pins and skulls on her clothes all the time. I’m just…Plain.”

He cupped her cheek in his palm. “I disagree. I remember the first time I saw you. My nerves were through the roof, I hated using cue cards for my first tour since I hadn’t memorized the information or studied the artwork on my own yet, and there you were at the back of my group. A blue scarf covered your curly hair—it rained that day and I could tell you were self-conscious about your hair because you kept patting it—and a white and blue striped dress hugged your body. You also wore a bulky denim jacket over it.”

“I bought the dress on a whim but I didn’t wear it until my friends dared me to. I felt uncomfortable in it, hence the jacket, so I later donated the dress to a thrift store.”

He sighed. “That’s too bad. Memories of you in that dress keep me awake at night.”

“You’re such a flatterer.” She lightly popped his chest with an open palm.

“True, but I’m not a liar.”

Her smile faltered. Grateful Elijah thought she was pretty before she made her wish on the locket, she doubted he’d want the old her since the former didn’t compare to the new her. She planned to go with Cami to the retirement community sometime next week and visit her grandma. Annalise needed to know everything she could about the magic locket.

“I just want to think about tonight.” Annalise shifted her face out of his grasp and licked his index finger. “Just you and me in these gorgeous clothes and in the most elegant Victorian-style bedroom I’ve ever seen. I’m not perfect, Elijah, and I have baggage you don’t want to know about, but let’s put everything else aside for tonight. Will you make love to me, and accept whatever happens in the morning?”

Elijah tilted his head to the side. “I think you’re underestimating me about something but I don’t know what.” He reached up and removed a few strategically-placed jeweled bobby pins from her hairdo. Her curly locks cascaded around her shoulders. Then he pulled her shawl off her arms, took her purse and laid it on a nearby vanity. His chest rumbled as he spoke. “Okay, tonight will be about sex. Tomorrow, I want an explanation.”

Cinderella Had It Easy

by Jennifer Conner

Cami wandered off toward the diorama. She was the only person in the room. Others probably toured earlier in the evening. The walls were covered with portraits of Richard the Third and information which led from one station to the next to reveal the chronological events. Many of the displays were interactive. She picked up the headphones and slipped them over her ears.

It was enjoyable to hear the historical information read back to her. It felt like when her mom used to read her a story. A hand touched her shoulder. When she turned, she found Lance behind her. She pulled off the headphones and placed them back to rest on the stand.

“Do they have all the information right?” he asked.

“Sounds good so far. I volunteered to help the museum and wrote much of the description for this exhibit. It’s right.” She winked at him.

“You work full-time and still find time to volunteer for the museum?”

“When it’s something you love, it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t have to take up my time at night. No guys beating down my door.”

“That’s a fact I like.”

“I guess I have to offer to go and pick them up. That’s the secret,” she whispered the last part.

“Next time, I’ll drive.”

“Next time?”

“When I take you out on a real date.”

“We’ll see.” Cami looked down and twisted the strap of her purse. “You might feel differently tomorrow.”

“I doubt it.” Lance looked across the distance at the lobby. “It sounds like the fundraiser is shutting down. Is there anyone you want to say goodnight to?”

“No. I don’t know most of the people.” Cami ran a hand over the information engraved on the brass plate. “The big reason, I suspect, Henry Tudor didn’t engage in a more lengthy investigation was that the country had been torn apart by a thirty-year war. He needed to get the people united under Tudor reign”

When she looked over, he was watching her.

“What?” Cami asked, wondering what she’d said.

“Do you know how sexy a woman is that can randomly quote historical facts?”

“Right…” She burst out laughing. “All the women in there tonight were watching you and most of them were gorgeous. You could have gone home with any of them.”

“But, I don’t want them.” He took a step closer and tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear. “They can’t tell me why Henry the Seventh was concerned with peace and prosperity but did nothing but encourage the ugly implications against Richard. As I said, I find history sexy.”

“Sexy? I’ve never heard history referred to as ‘sexy’.”

“Let me tell you a story, and then maybe you’ll believe me.” He took her hand and walked her around to the other side of the diorama blocking them from the view of those lingering in the lobby of the museum. “A few months ago, I dated a woman named Anna. Speaking of gorgeous. Anna was a knockout.”

Cami held up her hand. “Stop. I don’t think I want to hear this. Let me live in the fantasy for tonight.”

He grinned. “Give me a chance to finish. We spent…well, some time together. But when that was over and done with, we’d sit down to have a conversation, and I found that it was impossible. I couldn’t help but think of her as the ‘like’ girl. Her conversations consisted of, ‘like, I went to my mom’s, and like, we had lunch and like, we ate a burger and like…’” He twirled a flamboyant hand in the air. “After a few days, every time she started talking, like was the only word I could hear. I would fixate every time she said it. I wanted to gouge out my eardrums with a spoon and Brillo pad my brain. Beauty isn’t everything. Brains last longer.”

She braced her hands on the wood and sat on the rail. “Like, I could totally like understand that.”

“Don’t even start.” Lance chuckled. “When I met you in the lunchroom and you started debating with me on Richard the Third, all I could think of was how lucky I felt for taking this job. Then when you told me that we’d be working together? Even better.” He wrapped his arms around her. Her whole body tensed and then softened as she relaxed into his embrace. How did everything feel so right in his arms? So unlike her, she traced the stubble on his chin and kissed him.

The kiss started gently but then quickly heated. Lance pinned her between the wood railing and his hard body. The heat from his chest pulsed through the linen of his shirt. He gave her long drugging kisses that ignited her entire body.

Was that me that groaned or him? Cami didn’t care, she pulled him down for another round. All of this was happening so quickly, but she only had a few more hours in her Cinderella body. Why not?

The lights over them flicked off and back on and a museum guard cleared his throat. “The museum closes in five minutes.”

They broke apart. Lance rested his forehead against hers. They still breathed heavily.

“Even though this would be a fantasy of mine, we’d best not lose our jobs before we even start on the Roses. There would be some explaining to do,” she said, with her hands still laced behind his neck.

“Good idea. It would be a fantasy of mine too, but when I make love to you, I want to go slow and take all night.” His wicked grin was filled with carnal promise.

Her mouth went dry.

He grabbed her hand and hauled her toward the exit. “If you agree, come on, you have the car keys and I have a key to my hotel room.”

Cinderella Series ~ the collection

by Kae Elle Wheeler

Cinderella snatched one arm and Essie the other as they dragged Pricilla into the first unlocked chamber they could find. Lucky for them, Pricilla’s amusement was so great it lessened her resistance.

“What?” Pricilla choked out, laughing so hard she bent at the waist. “I am just having a bit of fun.”

“You terrified that poor chambermaid out of her wits,” Essie accused.

“We shall never survive the aftermath,” Cinderella muttered. Her heart pounded furiously against her chest. She had to get that stick out of Pricilla’s hands, and soon, before she set the entire castle afire or turned everyone into chirping crickets.

“Where are we?” Pricilla asked, swiping tears from her eyes. Once she’d finally calmed enough to pose the question.

“Some poor unfortunate’s sitting room from the looks of it,” Essie said.

“Well, poor they are not, I would venture.” Cinderella cast a nervous glance round. Heavy brocaded drapes blocked out a good portion of the daylight but for a parted sliver. Heated coals smoldered in the hearth and an empty brandy glass sat on a nearby table.

Cinderella had trouble believing Pricilla bore a single stint of remorse for her theft of the magic stick. In retrospect, it had mattered naught for Pricilla to steal the bread from Cinderella’s plate. She supposed that could not compare to a powerful silver baton.

Why, the two carried on as if Pricilla had not just whipped up a flock of butterflies, scurrying round the palace worthy of Essie’s batting eyes. Thousands of them: monarchs, tiger swallowtails, gossamers of every shape, size and color. All flitting about, covering every conceivable surface. Sending the servants into a horrific frenzy, and with the betrothal ball just days away.

Cinderella had to admit, the situation would be outrageously comical but for the consequences of their shenanigans. She, apparently, harboured enough terror for the three of them. “Do not touch a thing,” Cinderella hissed as Essie picked up the empty brandy glass and brought it to her nose.

Unfortunately, Cinderella’s stark command managed to trigger the opposite effect. Startled, the glass slipped from Essie’s finders. Thankfully, the elaborate rug padded the fall, and the glass rolled to a slow stop.

Cinderella stilled, breath stuck in her throat. Her pulse flailed wildly against the open palm she laid across her neck. Pricilla and Essie froze too. Not for long, however.

“Watch this,” Pricilla whispered, grinning. She extended the silver bar towards the glass, now laying on its side.

Cinderella watched, enthralled, in spite of her misgivings. The glass levitated from the floor and floated to mid-air, swaying precariously under Pricilla’s concentration.

Under her carefully guided journey, the glass was near complete to the table, a spectacular sight—until an adjoining door to the chamber burst open.

Pricilla and Essie’s gasps drowned Cinderella’s. Pricilla snatched her hand behind her back and the glass crashed against the edge. No graceful set down this time as it shattered in pieces when it hit the floor.

“Good afternoon, ladies. To what do I owe the pleasure?” Prince smirked from the doorjamb his arms folded across his chest.

Cinderella could not have moved had someone set her feet afire. He moved to the windows and whipped the drapes aside, flooding his features with late afternoon sun. The effect accentuated chiseled cheek bones and streaks of dirt over a shirt open at the neck. His hair was plastered against his head in an unsightly, quite un-princely manner. He reeked of rich soil and fresh air. He was the most beautiful sight she’d ever laid eyes on. Her breath caught in her throat.

“Please tell me you had nothing to do with the mayhem thundering the halls?” Amusement colored his tone.

Heat flamed Cinderella’s cheeks. Dear heavens, they were sunk. If Pricilla was able to keep the silver baton hidden, mayhap they could escape any dire consequences. It took every ounce of restraint Cinderella could muster to not drop to her knees and beg for mercy.

She snuck a peek at Pricilla. But before Cinderella could screech out a warning, Pricilla whipped the cursed stick from behind and it slanted to the prince.

Her Prince. How could she!

Rendered immobile, Cinderella’s life flashed before her eyes in a series of dark stone dungeons equipped with a stretching rack, or worse—The Wheel. Administered by an evil, mustached-man armed with a leather strap to snap across her bare back. Essie’s cries would bounce off the dank walls she’d be manacled to. Rodents and other vile critters would pick over their broken bones. The picture, so vivid, had her gasping for air.

Riveted and unmoving, except for a furious blinking that had the drapes fluttering with the shift in current, showed Essie suffered a similar vision.

Pricilla, however, was not to be deterred. Arm raised, she wore a vague smile on her lips. “My apologies, Sire,” she said softly. She flicked her wrist.

Prince—her wonderful, beloved, Prince—slumped to the floor like a lump of coal.

Cinder the Fae

by Rebekah R. Ganiere

He raised his hand to stroke her cheek and she shied away.

“What are you doing?” Her voice came out as a shallow whisper.

He ran his knuckles down her face to her neck. Then he leaned in and sniffed her hair. Her breasts heaved against her restrictive bodice as she sucked in a ragged breath making him stiffen in his breeches.

“Cinder,” he whispered in her ear. “I know it’s you.”

“You… you mistake me for someone else, sir. Maybe you’ve had too much to drink again.”

“Cinder.” His voice came out more commanding. He kissed the pointed apex of her ear and then moved to lock eyes with her. “Take off the magick so I can see you.”

Her eyes glowed with fear. “I… I’m not her.”

Rome slipped his hands around her waist and pulled her close. She stiffened but didn’t protest. He leaned in and brushed his lips over her cheek. “Cinder, show me.”

“I…” Her breath caught as he licked down the side of her neck to her exposed collarbone.

His body responded to the salty taste of her skin on his tongue. He kissed over the hollow of her throat. “Show me.”

She tangled her fingers in his hair, making his arousal spike. She pulled his head up and went to kiss him, but he pulled away.

Her hooded bright azure eyes were pools of desire.

“Let me see your face,” he said again.

She looked conflicted for a moment and then the air around her shimmered and the image of Lady Rowena fell away.

“Rome.” His name died on her lips as he crushed his mouth down on hers. Her tongue plunged deep into his mouth and he grabbed onto her. She was his. His Cinder. The one he’s always wanted.

Fairy Tale Flirts!

by Lisa Scott

Cindi Midas could still smell bleach and latex on her hands as she rode the elevator to her apartment. Coming home to posh Grimm Towers from her early morning cleaning job at the Castle Hotel was always embarrassing. Most people probably assumed she was the hired help as she rode the ornate elevator to the 55th floor where she lived with her stepmother. But since she didn’t pay Cindi for cleaning their apartment, technically, she wasn’t the hired help; she was the free-room-and-board help. Luckily, Cindi was a horrible cook or her stepmother would probably have her doing that, too.

It was just before noon and she let herself in the door, desperate for a shower and a change of clothes. Once she got her party planning business off the ground, she’d burn her pale pink polyester uniform and move out. She kicked off her shoes and wandered into the kitchen.

Her stepmother and stepsister sat at the table, the chandelier twinkling overhead. “Sorry, Cindi. You missed breakfast,” her stepsister, Gloria, said, shoving a croissant in her mouth.

“I ate when I got up at four this morning.” She opened the fridge and grabbed a yogurt. “This is lunch.”

Her stepmother, Hildy, splayed three golden tickets in her hand at the table. “Forget food, look what Mother got! I’ve been waiting until you got home, Cindi.”

Cindi dropped her spoon. “Impossible,” she whispered, while Gloria clapped and rushed over to hug her mother.

Once the shock wore off, Cindi practically squealed. “I can’t believe we’re going to the Jiminy Shoe trunk sale today!” Maybe wishes really do come true, she thought, fully aware it was a shallow-as-a-puddle wish, but damn it, she was meant to live in designer wear. Her christening gown had been couture from the looks of the pictures in her old photo album. But that was then. Long before Hildy wriggled her way into her father’s life.

However, Cindi could find some forgiveness in her heart with one of those tickets. The Jiminy Shoe trunk sale was the most exclusive sale in New Royalton and she’d never been to it. Sure, she’d dreamed of going, making lists in her head of all the shoes she’d buy if she won the lottery; or if her father had set up a trust fund for her instead of leaving it all to her stepmother.

Oh, she had real, responsible dreams, too: a successful party planning business, moving out, and finding love someday. But her shallow, greedy dreams glittered with the latest shoes and clothes and cosmetics. A pair of Jiminy Shoes was at the top of her list. Every self-respecting twenty-something-fashionista-wanna-be deserved a pair. And for a moment, while wearing those shoes, maybe she could imagine the life she would have led if her parents hadn’t died. Surely, they would have bought her Jiminies.

Gloria had given her a hand-me-down pair that didn’t fit her. Cindi kept them on a shelf in her bedroom because she enjoyed looking at them, and occasionally stroking the luscious, buttery leather. Finally, she’d have a pair of her own. Luckily, she had a few hundred dollars saved. She practically purred like a cat licking its chops before devouring a plate of tuna.

Her stepmother blinked at her. “Oh, no. I’m sorry, Cindi. You misunderstood. I’m not bringing you.”

Fooling Around With Cinderella

by Stacy Juba

Dylan scrutinized Jaine, arms folded across his royal blue shirt with the Storybook Valley logo stamped over the left in white block letters. “Do you wear contacts?”

“I have plenty of media contacts. Wait. Did you say wear contacts? You mean instead of these?” Jaine fingered the earpiece of her gold-rimmed glasses.

“Right. Contact lenses.”

She gave a nervous chuckle. “I scheduled a consultation in college, but was too squeamish to insert the lens. I was more comfortable in glasses.”

Was she really justifying her vision enhancement choices to her prospective new boss? Maybe he intended to discuss medical benefits. Or did he think she looked nerdy? What was the saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Not that she wanted him to make a pass even if he was hot.

“How blind are you without glasses?” Dylan persisted.

“You wouldn’t want to drive with me.”

“How about if you’re walking around a building? Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”

This interview had taken the Mad Hatter Freeway from Fairy Tale Land into Wonderland where nothing made a damn bit of sense. Did this guy have a glasses fetish, like those weirdoes with shoe fetishes?

“I should be okay. I take them off for special occasions.” In fact, Jaine’s older sister Bree, who was getting married in August, remarked just last week, “You are losing the glasses for my wedding pictures, right?”

What the hell. She’d be a good sport and hope Dylan would be so grateful to pick the brain of a real, flesh and blood, bespectacled person that he would appoint her marketing director. Jaine removed her glasses and the fine details of her surroundings fuzzed. She nodded toward the framed print hanging on a side wall, the picture a wash of symbols and colors. “I can tell that’s a park map, but the words and images smear together.”

And that was myopia in a nutshell. Jaine adjusted her glasses back into place so she could see his reaction. Dylan examined her with such intensity that a blush stained her cheeks. She patted her blonde French braid, in case stray strands were straggling out.

“Here’s the situation,” Dylan said. “I took over the general manager position a few months ago. I’m evaluating possible changes and researching how other theme parks run. My grandfather and father have worked with a marketing firm for years to create our brochures, billboards, print, and radio ads.”

Jaine’s shoulders caved, imperceptible to him, but it felt as if her whole body was sinking.

No fairy tale job ending for her.

“I think we could produce most of those materials in-house,” Dylan continued, and her breath bottled up in her chest. “The firm is expensive and I’m not impressed with their efforts. Summer is our busiest season and I’m not ready to implement a full-time marketing position, but I could hire you in that role effective November second, when the park closes and I can devote more time to your training. Most of our positions are seasonal, but the key spots are year-round.”

Jaine exhaled. He was offering her a job in her field, promoting a family attraction that once enhanced her childhood. Plus, it gave her an excuse to limit her babysitting availability without guilt. Her sister had received free childcare long enough; she could arrange an alternative.

“Besides the PR and education programs, you’d help to expand our group sales efforts,” Dylan went on. “You would invite companies to consider us for their picnics and outings and work with our catering department to make sure the event goes smoothly. Another responsibility would be to promote our new online corporate ticket program where businesses can give discounted tickets to their employees. I’m in the middle of re-designing our website and you’d update content. If everything goes well, there’s advancement potential. I foresee expanding the marketing department in a year or two.”

An opportunity to shimmy up the corporate beanstalk! Before retirement, her father worked as vice president of an advertising agency, and her over-achiever siblings were always shooting through the ranks of their respective jobs. Now she could latch onto her own chance at success… except with her unemployment money running out soon, November seemed far away.

“I’d love to accept your offer.” Jaine hesitated. “It’s just… is it possible to start earlier?”

A hint of a smile slipped across his mouth, contrasting with the furrow grooving his forehead. “I hoped you’d say that. We have a temporary seasonal position that needs filling. It’s thirty-five hours per week and I could add on another five hours to spend on marketing. After Labor Day, we’ll expand your marketing hours and limit the temporary position to weekends.”

Between the furrow and the cautious note in his voice, Jaine was getting a bad feeling, like Hansel and Gretel must have felt when standing before the oven. “What kind of temporary position?”

And how did it involve glasses?

Dylan wheeled his chair around and pointed to the castle poster. She followed his thumb toward the girl in an elegant white and gold gown. “I need a Cinderella.”

Home Sweet Texas Home

by Caroline Clemmons

Set up: Courtney and Derek are at the Winter Madness Ball held at the local county club.

They joined the others circling the room and Derek pulled her into his arms. He looked down at her while they twirled to a waltz. His beautiful cobalt eyes held passion and tenderness. She sighed and rested her head on his shoulder.

His arm tightened, snuggling her to him. His lips brushed her hair and she thought he murmured her name. Contentment washed over her, sending her encounter with Janelle far away.

A samba followed. He put both hands on her hips and she rested her hands on his shoulders. They moved as one to the rhythmic beats. Erotic fantasies invaded her mind. Tropical isles, sun drenched beaches, surf gliding gently over their entwined bodies.

In the middle of the next number, a fox trot, Derek guided her to the edge of the ballroom floor and out into the lobby. Gently, he pulled her into a shadowy corner before he pressed his lips to hers. For Courtney, they were alone in the universe.

He pulled her closer and she melted at his touch. She slipped her hands inside his jacket and wound both arms around him to knead his back, oblivious to anyone else in the world.

As he slowly raised his head, she felt herself pulled into those deep blue eyes.

Her senses reeled from his kiss and she struggled to maintain at least a shred of her sanity. “You’re a prominent person here, and this is a public area.”

“You’re right, but I couldn’t wait a second longer to kiss you.” He pulled her head to his chest. “Let me hold you a few moments longer.”

With his arms gently caressing her, she rested against his chest. When at last she raised her head to meet his gaze, he exhaled in resignation and brushed his lips across hers. “I know, I know. We should rejoin the others.”

Nobody’s Cinderella

by Joan Reeves

Darcy Benton wondered if she needed to check into a hospital. Her nervous system seemed to have shorted out, producing feet that felt like blocks of ice and hands that perspired as if it were July rather than December. Her heart raced faster than a quarter horse, and her face felt as warm as a passive solar collector at the end of a hot Texas day.

Releasing her white-knuckled grip on the strap of her new black leather handbag, Darcy opened it and fished out one of the tissues she’d stashed inside. Hoping that the man who’d created this shock to her system was still engrossed in reading her resume, she furtively wiped her palms. For good measure, she blotted her damp forehead.

Her eyes strayed to the man on the power side. Chase Whitaker was the owner of Sunbelt Oil Producers, one of the many small independent energy companies in San Antonio.

Feeling hot and cold by turns, Darcy examined his features as intently as he studied her resume. His face easily rivaled any male heart throb on the silver screen. To characterize his dark blue eyes as bedroom eyes was an old cliché, but it was certainly true. Bedroom eyes. The phrase made Darcy tingle. She felt a blush begin beneath her prim white blouse and creep upwards. This would never do. She blotted her forehead again, surprised at how damp the tissue felt.

Frowning, she looked at the tissue. Her eyes widened. Blue ink practically dripped from the sodden wad. Horrified, she stared dumbly at her ink-stained finger tips and ink-rimmed nails. She looked at the table next to her, hoping to find a box of tissues. No such luck. Not knowing what else to do, she wiped her palms up and down the sides of her navy skirt then she looked at her hands again. The mottling had been replaced by wide smeary streaks. Suppressing a moan, she closed her hands into tight fists.

Why had this happened when she wanted so desperately to make an impression on Chase Whitaker? And not just because she wanted him to hire her. The man stirred something inside her that she’d never felt in all her twenty-three years. Just looking at him made her quiver.

That brought her up short. Get a grip, she scolded herself. You’re here for a job—not a romantic entanglement. As if she would know how to have a romantic entanglement. A sigh escaped her. Chase Whittaker glanced up, his dark blue eyes sharp and penetrating. He frowned. Surely, he couldn’t know what she’d been thinking? As she watched, he slowly wiped his hand across his forehead. She shifted restlessly in the chair and uncrossed her legs, knocking over her briefcase. Then she realized that he seemed to look, not at her eyes, but about an inch above them. His irresistible mouth twitched as if a smile struggled to break free of restraint. He stood. Darcy’s mouth went dry as her gaze climbed his tall, broad-shouldered frame. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a snowy white square of linen, walked around the desk, and offered it to her. “This should help.”

He touched his forehead again, making a wiping motion. Horrified understanding flooded her. Quickly, she swiped the handkerchief across her forehead and wasn’t surprised to see it come away streaked in blue. She returned his handkerchief with a mumbled thank you. Chase laid it on his desk top and remained standing, towering over her.

Each time she looked at him, she felt so peculiar, like the time her three brothers had dared her to climb the giant pine tree in the back yard, and she’d fallen, knocking the breath out of her.

Belatedly, she realized he was speaking. She caught the end of his sentence. “—give you a chance. We’d wanted someone with experience, but we’re willing to take you on, though we try not to hire straight out of college. However, your class standing was excellent, and you seem like a mature, sober young woman.”

His eyes swept her up and down, from the tight knot of hair forced into submission by half a tube of gel to the black, square-framed glasses. Those sexy eyes quickly took in the severe navy suit, pristine white blouse, floppy navy bow tie, and sensible, low-heeled shoes.

Chase cleared his throat. “And you are obviously sensible and practical.”

Mature? Sober? Sensible? Practical?

Why didn’t he just say she was so undesirable that no man would want her?

Just once, why couldn’t she be seen as incredibly sexy and completely irresistible? Why couldn’t he be as attracted to her as she was to him?

When he offered her the accounting position for which she had applied, Darcy managed to thank him despite the disquieting emotions that raged within.

“Welcome to Sunbelt Oil.” Chase offered his hand.

Darcy shook his hand. His touch was like flame to dry tinder. She throbbed in places she hadn’t suspected could throb. She managed a few strangled words even as a horrible suspicion began to form in her mind. She rejected the idea. It was unthinkable!

Chase led her to the door, and, somehow, she found her way back to her little blue car in the parking lot. She was so befuddled by what had happened that she nearly knocked down an elderly white-haired man, bundled up in a red ski parka trimmed in white faux fur. She mumbled an apology, not even noticing the white-bearded man looked a lot like Santa Claus.

In her car, huddled on the cold blue vinyl seat, Darcy bemoaned life’s cruel sense of humor. “What am I going to do?”

Working near Chase Whitaker, who looked at her as if she were another piece of office furniture he’d acquired, was going to be impossible.

Crazy as it seemed, she had fallen in love at first sight with her handsome new boss.

Pumpkin – A Cindermama Story

by Ines Johnson

The Grand Gesture

The Mistress of Ceremonies hurried through her introductions and then the microphone was in Manny’s hand, but he didn’t take out the notes of his prepared speech.

“Many of you knew my mother,” he began. There was a murmur of nostalgic assent throughout the crowd.

“You may not know that after her diagnosis, she spent most of her days watching romantic comedies. She believed she could laugh the illness out of her body. Her favorite moments in these films were something called the Grand Gesture. That scene just after all hope is lost because one of the lovers, normally the guy, has done something stupid that’s led to the end of the relationship. So he thinks up this bold, romantic move to get the woman back.”

A glance around the room told Manny that he held the largely female crowd in rapt attention.

“An example of a grand gesture would be a guy telling his estranged wife that she completes him in the midst of an angry mob of women. Or rescuing her underwear from the class geek and returning it to her at her sister’s wedding. Or holding a boom box over his head, in front of her bedroom window, early in the morning, while blasting the song that was playing as he deflowered her.”

A different wave of nostalgia swept through the crowd this time as they remembered these treasured moments of Hollywood cinema.

“In the real world, some people might call these behaviors creepy, or stalker-ish. But not my mother. She loved them. She believed in love, believed that when you loved someone you said it loud, you showed it often, and you never gave up.”

Manny paused here, partly for effect, mostly to collect himself as visions of his mother’s joyous face played in his head. He rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest.

“The national divorce rate is 50 percent.”

There was no surprise in the room, where most of the men were older and the women on their arms were younger.

“There’s never been a divorce in the Charmayne family. Not one recorded anywhere in our family line.”

The sparkle of young women’s eyes threatened to blind Manny from where he stood on the stage.

“What that means is when a Charmayne gives you their pledge, they are committed.”

The decision was a split second one, but once Manny made it he stuck with it. He stepped around the podium, mic in hand and dropped to one knee. The gasp of every woman in the room was near deafening.

“To earn your vote, I will do whatever I have to, including blast Peter Gabriel in the streets. Charmaynes don’t quit. I’m committed to this, to the people of this town. I hope that I can count on your vote.”

The room erupted in thunderous applause, and the women’s eyes sparkled even brighter.

Savage Cinderella

by PJ Sharon

She pushed away the tendrils of fear that snaked along her skin. The flesh on her arms rose as if chilled, despite the steamy water. Being alone had kept her safe and alive. Now, her life of exile felt like a prison sentence she longed to escape. It was now or never. If she wanted to be a part of Justin’s life, she knew she would have to try to be a part of his world. A glimmer of hope, a desire for more, sparked inside her. A future filled with possibility lay ahead.

Brinn stepped out of the deep tub and dried off. The dripping water soaked the plush bath mat beneath her feet, the cool air bringing another shiver along her flesh. Abby studied her silently. Brinn pulled the towel tighter around her shoulders, uncomfortable with the scrutiny.

“Do you remember much about it?” Abby asked tentatively as she averted her eyes.

“What?” Brinn knew what her friend was asking but pretended otherwise. She clamped her teeth together to stop them from chattering. The warmth of the hot water quickly receded and the cold of her nakedness took over. She slid the towel lower to cover the scars on her thigh. The pity in Abby’s eyes gnawed at the tight knot in her stomach.

“You’ve never talked about what happened when you were little. Do you remember much about your life before the mountain?” Abby wrapped a thick soft bathrobe around Brinn’s shoulders and led her to the bed, sitting down beside her.

“Not really.” Brinn said quietly. She did not want to have this conversation. It would be hard enough to face the world again without dredging up all those old feelings and awful memories. “It’s in the past,” she said, lifting her chin in defiance. “I want to concentrate on the future for a change.”

Abby nodded agreement and smiled a little sadly. “I understand. But if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here.” She gave Brinn a one-armed hug and grinned up at her. “Let’s get you dressed.”

Happy to let the topic go, she watched as Abby rummaged through her closet, throwing dresses onto the bed and piling shoes into a heap on the floor. “Take your pick.” She said, coming to stand.

Since Abby was shorter and had more curves than Brinn, Abby thought it best to stay with something flowy and simple. They settled on a knee-length sun-dress that gathered under her breasts, with thin straps and a tiny floral print. It was a little short on Brinn’s long frame, but the small pink and yellow flowers gave her a radiant glow. The outfit was finished off with a pair of strappy sandals that left her newly trimmed and painted toes open to the air and hanging slightly over the edge of the small shoes.

Brinn clomped back and forth across the room. “Can’t I just wear my boots?”

“I don’t think so.” Abby grimaced as she put Brinn’s old clothes and boots into a bag, holding each item by two fingers as if disposing of a dead fish. “You’ll get used to them. Try to walk like a lady. Take smaller steps. Keep your feet closer together,” she coached until Brinn figured out that walking in heels was similar to crossing a stream on slippery rocks. If she pointed her toes and stepped softly, she managed slightly more grace than a waddling badger.

Once she mastered the treacherous footwear, Abby sat her down on a small cushioned stool and ran a brush through her hair. The idea of being in the city among crowds of people had her fidgeting on her seat. Despite the queasiness in her stomach at the prospect of what was to come, the long brush strokes soothed her nerves.

“Everything will be fine, Brinn. Relax,” Abby said confidently. She brushed on some pink blush and drew lines underneath each eye with a dark pencil. “Look up and stay still,” she said. Next, Abby dabbed a tar-like substance on her lashes, nearly putting her eye out as Brinn blinked uncontrollably.

“Is all of this really necessary?” Brinn asked, annoyed.

“It will all be worth it; trust me.” Abby continued painting on eye makeup and lip gloss until Brinn squirmed with impatience. “Voila,” she said, standing back and admiring her work.

With her hair blown dry and teeth brushed to gleaming, Brinn was ready. The girls marched into the hallway and stood in front of a long mirror. Abby stepped to the side and peered around her friend. “You look amazing!”

Brinn stared at her reflection, not believing her eyes. She reached up and touched her hair. It was neatly parted down the center and hung in long layers of silken strands on either side of her face, draped like a lace shawl over both shoulders. She sniffed the midnight black feathers that slipped through her fingers. The strands were shiny and smooth, smelling of soap and honey. Her face was darkly tanned, her nose freckled, but the pinkish glow in her cheeks gave her an undeniable radiance. Eyes the blue of summer skies stared back from the mirror, the lashes long and lustrous. Her shimmering lips tasted like sweet berries.

The outfit her friend picked out was the most beautiful article of clothing she’d ever worn. The soft material caressed her skin, bringing to mind Justin’s touch and setting her nerve endings on fire. What would he think if he saw her like this? Her heart fluttered against her chest and warmth pooled in her belly. Would she ever get used to these strange sensations that happened every time she thought of Justin?

When Abby had suggested that she shave the hair from her legs and under her arms, she thought her friend was going too far. But seeing the skin on her legs shimmer, soft and smooth as a shiny leaf, made Brinn’s lips turn up at the edges in a satisfied smile. She examined her reflection in awe. Then the image blurred as tears stung her eyes and cascaded over the brim.

“Don’t cry; you’ll ruin your makeup.” Abby rushed to grab a tissue. “Are you all right, Brinn?”

Taking the tissue and dabbing the happy tears away, she smiled and sniffled, “I’m…pretty.”

Second Chance Cinderella

by Sharon Kleve

My cat, Molly, is my alarm clock. At 6:00 a.m. every morning she climbs from the foot of my bed and wraps herself around the top of my head and her engine starts. She doesn’t care if it’s my day off or not. I found Molly, a twenty-pound cat, at a local shelter. Her mismatched eyes, one green-one blue immediately stole my heart.

I stretched, dislodging Molly. She jumped down, anticipating her morning meal of salmon delight. The wood floor in my small, one-bedroom condo felt cold on the bottom of my feet. I threw on a pair of old sweats, a cotton pull-over, and slid my feet into my fleece slippers.

My coffee pot brewed two cups every morning right before I got up. What a great invention. Molly got her kibble and I got my much needed caffeine.

After two cups of coffee and a slice of wheat bread slathered with peanut butter, I shuffled into the bathroom. Still a little sleepy from all the wine the night before, I grabbed a comb and it easily slid through my normally tangled hair. That snapped my head around and I peered into my mirror at my now lighter silky locks. Oh, my God. A sexy body, from one of the nurses from a daytime show stared back at me. Beautiful, but with my green eyes and my small nose. I pulled the neckline of my sweatshirt out and peaked at my slightly rounder, fuller new chest. My once nonexistent rear end, seemed to be perkier. It sort of worked. I giggled and danced around.

Before I could completely look over the changes I heard my cell ring from the living room. I ran to the phone and picked up. “Hello?”

“Have you seen yourself?” Cami shouted, excitement ringing her words.

“Yes. Yes. Can you believe it worked?” I checked one more time to make sure my breasts were still larger and firm by jiggling up and down. “Did you get what you asked for too?”

“We all did. I called everyone when I got up. I can’t believe it, my scar is gone.”

“Oh, Cami. This is all so strange.” I ran back to the bathroom and admired my shiny hair and fuller body. “I’ not sure what to do.”

“Have fun.” Cami laughed.

I laughed too.

“Get dressed. We’re going to meet at the coffee shop over the Canal Bridge on Pacific and Twentieth. We might be a little late for work, but who cares? We only have twenty-four hours and we need a plan,” Cami said.

“I’ll be there, but you might not recognize me,” I teased.

“We’re the same on the inside just a little better on the outside. See you soon.”

I hurried and got dressed in a black sweater, cotton pants, and grabbed my hospital uniform. If I didn’t stay long I wouldn’t be late for work. I couldn’t wait for Quinn to see the new and improved me.

Maybe Cinderella gets a second chance after all.

Spellbound Cinderella

by Angela Ford

“Good afternoon, Miss. May I help you discover that something special?” A short polite man with high energy greeted Tess as she entered the boutique.

“I hope so.” She handed him the card Parker had signed.

The man read it and smiled. “Miss Tess, Parker has sent you to the right place. I will honor his request and find you the perfect dress. You can call me Franc. Follow me. We haven’t much time.”

His French accent simply made him adorable. Her stomach flipped with excitement. Tess moved fast to keep up with him. He spoke as fast as he walked.

“A new line arrived yesterday so no one but you will appear at the benefit in this line. I have the perfect one for you. It will wrap around that superb body beautifully.” He stopped and turned. “Yet it will not overpower your beauty. Child, you’d look good in rags.” Franc smiled and pivoted.

That’s tomorrow. But I’m sure my beauty will disappear and I’ll be left in my rags. Tess chuckled within and then raced to keep up with him. She followed him to the back of the store and through a door. Franc reached for the garment bag that hung on a clothes rack and then started back into the main store area.

“Follow me. I’ll show you to the change room.”

When he snapped his fingers for her to hurry, she moved faster after Franc than anytime she’d attempted to work out at the gym, which wasn’t often. Her New Year’s resolution never lasted the month of January.

Franc hung the garment bag on the outside of the change room door and unzipped it slowly. He turned when the zipper made its half-way point. “Are you excited?” He asked with a grin like that of a child on his birthday.

Tess nodded. She loved his high energy. He definitely knew how to excite a woman about a new dress.

He then turned to finish the task-at-hand.

Tess stood in awe. Franc had revealed a silver-blue dress. Tess brought her hand to her mouth. She sighed with pleasure.

“Miss Tess likes.” He clapped his hands. His English wasn’t the greatest but his excitement and French accent made him irresistible.

Tess reached out to touch the dress then looked at Franc for assurance she could touch it.

He motioned for her to do so. “Isn’t it the most gorgeous material? This dress is perfect. It is classy, shimmering and sexy.” Franc reached for the dress. He stood behind Tess and held the dress in front of her. She could see the dress against her in the mirror as Franc described the dress further.

“The silver and white sequin dons the bodice of this gown. The sheer, full-length skirt sweeps the floor. The silky satin will feel smooth against your skin. Try it on.” He gave her a gentle push into the change room and then handed her the dress.

Tess opened the door only to hear Franc gasp. He stood with both hands over his mouth.

“Oh yes, Miss Tess, this definitely cries out red carpet―or should I say runway―for you?”

Tess laughed. He thinks I’m one of the models. Now there’s a compliment or one damn good sales person.

“I’m not a model. I run an employment agency. Parker is one of my clients. I refer models to him.” Tess laughed and Franc joined in.

“I assumed. How silly of me? Parker sends models to me for special occasions. He’s never sent a special someone. Is this your first date? Or is it just business?” Franc asked with a wink.

“Our second date, actually, if you count lunch today.” Tess shrugged.

“Well he is one lucky man.” Franc turned Tess so she could she herself in the mirror.

Tess smiled. She never dreamed she’d be wearing a dress this beautiful. Franc was right. She felt like she’d been wrapped in silk as the lightweight material touched her skin. The bodice gave just enough of a peek of her cleavage. I take back what I said to Cami about Cinderella. I don’t know if I’ll get the happily-ever-after but I am certain I’m going to have one magical night.

The Cinderella Princess

by Melissa McClone

Light hit Prince Lucas Alexander Leopold Casimir von Rexburg’s eyes like an unexpected camera flash. Spots appeared. A jagged pain zigzagged through his head. Covering his face with his hands, he swore.

“I only speak English, Your Highness,” an unfamiliar feminine voice said.

“Turn off the damn light,” Luc repeated in English.

“I can switch off the lamp, but it’s time to get up, sir.”

Each word hammered at his foggy, needs-more-sleep brain. He needed rest, not conversation. Darkness, not light.

“The paparazzi are downstairs,” she continued.

Damn. They’d found him. But he’d escaped the hoard with cameras before. This time would be no different.

“I’ll sleep for another hour or so, then I can leave through a service entrance.”

He’d partied late into the night in the hotel’s VIP lounge. He didn’t remember bringing a woman back to his hotel room, or if this was even his room. But why else would she be with him?

He rolled over and buried his face into a pillow. The darkness was a welcome relief. Now to return to sleep…

“You need to wake up.” The woman spoke with a sense of urgency. She’d dropped the sir, a breach of etiquette since he hadn’t given her permission. Unless he’d done so last night. “I can’t do this without you.”

She meant sex. He must be on familiar terms with her. A smile tugged at his lips. Waking up might not be so bad. He’d fall asleep faster after they’d finished.

He turned his head toward the sound of her voice. Blinked open his eyes. Cringed at the chainsaw slicing his brain in half. Squeezed his eyelids together.

That didn’t help.

Bloody hell, how much had he drunk?

“Wake up.”

She sounded annoyed, perhaps angry. Luc must have fallen asleep last night. Disappointed her. Steeling himself for the onslaught of pain, he opened his eyes. Somehow he managed not to cringe or moan.

“Forgive me, ma cherie.”

A blurry, unrecognizable figure dressed in black stood next to the bed. He blinked, until his vision sharpened. Straight, blonde hair fell to her shoulders in a stylish, practical cut. Attractive, possibly pretty if she stopped frowning and smiled.

“I did not mean to ignore you by sleeping the day away.” He ignored the woodpecker chipping at his brain. “Get undressed, come back to bed and I shall make it up to you. Ten-fold.”

Sharp green eyes—the color of the emeralds in his mother’s tiara—collided with his gaze. “The royal scepter appears to be in working order in spite of the amount of alcohol you drank.”

Royal scepter? He glanced down. A white sheet covered his naked body, but didn’t hide the fact that he was hard. Damn.

She wasn’t acting embarrassed so he wouldn’t, either.

“Not any alcohol. Champagne. The drink of royalty. And lovers,” Luc added for effect. “I can order a bottle of Bollinger if you’d like. Unless you’d prefer something else. Your wish is my command.”

The woman looked at him like he was a criminal, guilty of whatever crime she believed he’d committed. “I’m not a royal groupie.”

“Never thought you were.” A woman who wanted to seduce or be seduced by a prince would never button her shirt to her neck. This one was dressed for a business meeting or a funeral service. “Who are you?”

“Emily Rodgers.”

He didn’t know the name, but he’d heard names, hundreds of names, thousands of names. Ones he rarely remembered. Why should he care what she was called unless she planned on undressing and getting into his bed?

“I just arrived,” she continued. “I was sent her to help you. Not have sex with you.”

That explained her outfit and her tone. Not to mention her presence in his room. “Are you alone?”

“My assistant is getting you a glass of water.”

He tried to ignore the lightning bolt pain in his head. “Who sent you?”

“Don Peabody.”

Peabody-Franks was the US advertising firm associated with the reality TV show’s production company, but his father could still be the puppet master behind this farce of finding him a princess bride.

A noise sounded in the bathroom. Something clattered against the floor. Water ran. Must be the assistant.

Luc wanted to get up, move, but he didn’t see any clothing nearby. Had the hotel management put him to bed last night? “Tell me how you plan to help me.”

“First we go back to Italy to film.” A smile still hadn’t cracked her tight lips. “I brought a list of additional bride candidates since the others haven’t…worked out.”

“Not my fault. I’m doing what I can.”

“Really?” She motioned to him lying in bed. “Running away and overindulging in champagne isn’t helping. Princesses are turning down first dates with you. We need one that will at least go out with you once if we’re ever going to find a woman to accept your marriage proposal.”

Each word slapped his face. The sting, however, was nothing new. “If you’re trying to make me feel worse, you’re succeeding.”

“That wasn’t my intention.” Her voice softened slightly. Her expression didn’t. “But sugar coating your situation isn’t going to find you a bride.”

“I appreciate your honesty.” Few told him the truth. Others only repeated what his father wanted said.

Birth order had determined Luc’s fate long before he was born. Being the youngest child of the king meant no one had expectations he’d amount to much. Unlike his six older siblings, he’d had few rules to follow growing up. Spoiled, yes. Indulged, all the time, especially by his mother. That was why he hadn’t thought his parents would pressure him to marry like the others.

“I do need to find a wife,” Luc admitted. “But I don’t understand how you’re supposed to help me unless you know of a princess living in a tower with no electricity or a noblewoman who’s run out of other marriage options.”

The Thin Person Inside

by Rochelle Weber

Sean Wesley went into the snack room to help himself to coffee and a roll. He’d probably gain weight while he was here without his personal trainer and weight room. He’d been a fat kid—always the last to be chosen for games, and stuck in right field when he did play. He’d been saved from a life of obesity by a growth spurt in his late teens, a judge who gave him a choice between jail and the Marines, and switching addictions from food to booze and then cocaine.

By rights, Sean shouldn’t be at a VA facility. Celebrities like him usually got sober at places like the Betty Ford clinic or Hazelden. Actually, he’d come from Betty Ford, but he’d still felt shaky so his manager, Don Nelson, had done his homework. Danville, Illinois, was in the middle of nowhere. The program was different, based on Rational Emotive Therapy, and Sean was a veteran. While he made too much money to be treated at the VA, there’s money and then there’s money. Sean had money—the kind that opens doors and breaks down barriers. The kind that makes even the Federal Government say, “We’ll see what we can do,” and then do it.

So here he was in the middle of a cornfield in bum-fuck Illinois at a shabby old VA hospital. An enormously obese woman came into the snack room interrupting his reverie, and Sean thought, That could’ve been me. What a shame—she’s so pretty.”

  • * * *

Kristen noticed the table of goodies and the drop-dead-gorgeous man perusing them in the break room when she went in there to put her lunch in the refrigerator.

“Want one? I heard they send ’em over every morning. I guess they’re yesterday’s leftovers.”

That’s right. Offer sweets to the fat lady. She managed a tight grimace. “Thanks, but I’m here because I’m a food addict.” She held up her orange.

“I’m Sean.” He prob’ly wouldn’t give a fat chick like me a second look anywhere else. Still, what is it about men with black hair and blue eyes that makes me go all mushy?

“Hi.”

“I’ve heard of food addicts, but what makes ya call yourself that?”

“When my kids were little, I left them without a babysitter while I went to the store and wrote a rubber check for ice cream and M&Ms. I’d say I’ve been about as desperate for my fix as any addict or alcoholic.”

“Wow! Yeah, I guess so.” He held the door for her as they exited and then followed her into the Day Room.

Wishful Thinking

by Lynette Sofras

“But I can’t. I haven’t…” She stopped herself from uttering the clichéd words about having nothing to wear, no matter how true they were. She certainly had nothing to match up to Christian’s attire and doubtless those of the rest of his guests.

“It doesn’t matter to me how you look,” he told her. “Just throw anything on. I want you to enjoy the fun.”

But I wouldn’t enjoy it looking like Cinderella in her rags, she thought, trying to suppress her irritation. Only a superstar would think what he was asking was so simple. Or not think at all. And then she felt selfish. But it was out of the question, he must realise that.

“It’s kind of you, but, it’s just not possible.”

Christian blew an exaggerated sigh and shook his head, looking defeated. “I was afraid you might object, which is why I brought a bit of the party to you, just in case.” He handed her the champagne and flowers. She led him into the tiny sitting room, hastily clearing away Ben’s mug from the coffee table and casting nervous glances around her as she indicated for him to take a seat. He looked so out of place in her humble surroundings that she wanted to apologise, but stopped herself.

“I’ll go and tuck in Ben and be back with you in a moment.”

She put the flowers in the kitchen and rushed into her own bedroom next to Ben’s to brush her hair before hurriedly adjusting her make up. It was a good thing she’d put some on that afternoon at least, because they’d been to a small tea party at a neighbour’s flat where one of Ben’s little friends lived. What a vastly different kind of party there must be at Christian’s house, she thought, applying a few careful sprays of her favourite Dior perfume, a Christmas present from her father. Imagine her at such a party. If only he could have given her some notice to find something glamorous to wear and a babysitter for Ben, although on New Year’s Eve, the likelihood of that was too slim to consider.

When she returned to the sitting room, carrying the roses now crammed into a rather smaller vase than their elegant stems deserved, Christian stood looking at a small Ansel Adams’ poster on her wall. He turned towards her as she re-entered the room, thanking him for the flowers.

“I really am sorry for just turning up like this. I literally discovered where you lived an hour ago, got straight into the car and drove here. It occurred to me that if I phoned first, you might try to put me off coming. I wasn’t sure if you’d want to see me.”

“Not want to see you?” She shook her head in astonishment as she placed the vase on the table. She’d thought of nothing else but seeing him again, though she’d hardly dared allow herself to admit that, or to expect it to happen. And here he was now, looking too magnificent for words and leaving her feeling tongue-tied and awkward.

He moved towards her, their gazes locked together. Their lips came closer, and she felt hers begin to tremble. She breathed in his cologne or aftershave; a heady aroma of citrus with exotic spicy undertones, earthy, sexy and intoxicating. The tremor in her lips spread to her whole body and when his lips finally touched hers, she released a soft moan of longing and utter capitulation. His touch was gentle; their lips making the barest contact at first as if they themselves were hesitant and shy about getting to know each other and this fired her desire almost to fever pitch. He scattered a few exploratory little butterfly kisses around her mouth, as if begging permission to take her completely, before claiming her mouth in a deep and passionate kiss.

How long the kiss lasted, Jess neither knew nor cared. She lost herself in the ecstasy of the exquisite moment, the sheer bliss of the sensuous touch of his lips, soft yet firm against her own. I’ve wanted this not just since that night in the snow; this is something I’ve wanted forever. Her body seemed to melt in his arms, creating the sensation she might disappear altogether, and if she did, she wouldn’t care. She’d lost all control over her will. She was just there, in his arms, responding to his kiss and it was the most perfectly right, the most magical experience of her whole life so far.

At length he pulled away, but in slow motion, while he continued to search deep into her eyes, his own luminous and large. “That was unfinished business. It had to be done,” he whispered.

TIME TO PARTY!

~ PARTY TIPS AND DECORATIONS FOR YOUR ROYAL EVENT ~

Create festive cards or labels and place them in front of your food items, listing all the ingredients in each dish. With so many food allergies around, your guests will appreciate knowing what’s in the dish before they risk a reaction from your favorite recipe. If you know the carbohydrate amount, your guests with Type 1 Diabetes, or low carb dieters, will be extremely grateful for whatever carb information you can provide.

For simple, cheap and effective (as well as edible) table decorations fill large glass jars with candy. Ideas include pink and white marshmallows, pink and white sweet popcorn, blue gumballs, or your favorite shade of Jordan Almonds. Another idea is to fill a bowl with mellocreme pumpkins, or use them to border a tray of cookies or pastries

Look for an inexpensive pumpkin carriage cake topper that can be used as a centerpiece.

Alternatively, if your party is in the fall, it should be easy to find an actual pumpkin. Give it some princess glitz by spray-painting it silver, or white with silver highlights.

You could also decorate your table with something as simple as a round clock and a Cinderella book. To “princess up” your chairs, tie pink and blue tulle around the chairs and add silk roses to the bows.

Having a princess movie play in the background (Glass Slipper Sisters’ favorites include Ever After, Enchanted, and Disney’s live action Cinderella movie) can add to the fun. Also look for a soundtrack of Disney princess songs.

If you need party favors, do an Internet search for glass slipper favors. Sites such as Etsy and eBay offer inexpensive acrylic glass slippers for just this purpose. Glass Slipper Sisters founder Stacy Juba ordered fifty glass slipper pendants for her library launch party and looped sparkling silver ribbon through each one. She used a few rolls of 1/8 inch by 5 yd. ribbon. Stacy decorated the center of each slipper with a shimmering Bling It adhesive facet found with the scrapbooking stickers at the local craft store. Guests received their party favor (which could be used as a holiday ornament or a sun catcher) in a sheer pale blue jewelry pouch. The pouches were bought in bulk online. A gorgeous favor and it cost less than $20 to make fifty of them.

For more money, you can also find larger glass slipper party favors. These can fit candy, such as Jordan Almonds or M&Ms. Sites that sell wedding favors have an interesting selection of Cinderella-themed favors, though they will be more expensive.

Here is a simple party favor idea. Fill small glass jars with candy and top each one with a mini tiara from your local party store.

For kids, what little girl wouldn’t love a store-bought star wand adorned with ribbons and bling?

Want to make your food selection more festive? Here are a few easy ways to lend royal charm to your desserts.

Decorate powdered doughnuts or brownies with mini castle flags.

Create magic wands by dipping pretzel rods in white chocolate and blue sugar.

Do an Internet search for these kinds of cookie cutters: glass slipper, princess, tiara, mice, clock, and Cinderella dress. Bake your cookies in one or more of these shapes. Then decorate with sprinkles, sparkles, or colored sugar.

If you want to really impress your guests, create sugar cookie wands. Bake star or flower-shaped sugar cookies. Halfway through baking, decorate with sprinkles and insert skewers or thin dessert sticks. Adorn the handles with ribbons.

You can also use cookie cutters to create themed sandwiches. Fill a mini crown sandwich with cheese, a dash of mayo, and cucumbers for a dainty treat.

Make heart-shaped JELL-O Jigglers if your party is geared towards children.

Serve a buttercream cake or cupcakes topped with mini tiaras from your local party store.

Make your own Cinderella party marshmallow flowers by inserting long sticks into marshmallows. For extra frills, place inverted mini cupcake liners under the marshmallows to resemble fairy skirts. And for extra decoration, dip the tips of the marshmallows into melted white chocolate and dip into edible glitter or sprinkles.

For healthier treats, try these fun fruits – and not just for kids:

Cut green and red apples into chunky slices, insert toothpicks or cocktail sticks through the narrow end of each cut slice and insert whole or sliced grapes onto the end of each stick to form wheels and voilà – mini fruit carriages.

Make strawberry mice by taking a thin slice off large, firm strawberries so they sit flat on a plate. Insert a toothpick at the larger end of the strawberry to represent a tail (and for holding), while at the pointed end stick in white chocolate chips or flaked almonds for ears and a tiny milk chocolate chip for the nose at the very tip (a little blob of melted chocolate will ensure this sticks). Peel open mini Babybel cheeses to tempt the strawberry mice – cut a tiny triangular slice from each for added realism.

For fruit wands, slice watermelon to a thickness slightly less than your cutter. Cut the slices into star shapes. For each wand, thread blueberries and/or grapes on a skewer. Top each with a watermelon star. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

The Glass Slipper Sisters’ Recipe Collection

~ Appetizers ~

Royal Mouse Treats – or mini cheese and spinach triangles

Recipe supplied by Lynette Sofas, author of Wishful Thinking

Cinderella might well have wished to treat the white mice that led her pumpkin carriage to the royal ball, but if you offer these delicious savory mouthfuls to your royal guests, there will be none left over for the mice. Do make plenty – they will all have vanished before midnight.

This recipe makes between 30 and 40, depending on the size. Quantities and varieties of cheese can be altered to suit availability or your own tastes. The spinach is also optional.

Ingredients:

1 (220 g) pack of ready-made filo pastry

250-300 g carton cottage cheese

2 (200 g) packs of feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoon grated parmesan

2 tablespoons grated strong cheddar

100 g frozen leaf spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible

3 eggs beaten

¼ cup cream with 1 tablespoon sifted flour added and well mixed

Grated black pepper

Directions:

Combine all the cheeses, add the cream and flour mixture and combine well. Sprinkle in the leaf spinach and a good grating of black pepper. Add one of the beaten eggs and mix again.

To assemble:

Cut the sheets of filo pastry into long, equal strips (width approx. 8 cm), brushing each with beaten egg. Place a spoonful of filling on the shorter end and fold over diagonally to form a triangle. Fold the triangle over straight and then diagonally once again. Continue folding over and over, keeping the triangular shape with the filling completely enclosed. Trim or tuck any excess neatly over the finished triangle. The egg wash will help it stick to itself.

Place pies on baking sheets, brush with beaten egg and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden in color, in a moderate oven (325-350°F)

Handy tip:

Cut sheets of kitchen paper into four and fold each into triangles. Pop each pie between one of these, so your royal guests can pick up their treat in its own wrapper and avoid greasy fingers.

Raven’s Favorite Royal Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Recipe supplied by Sharon Kleve, author of Second Chance Cinderella

Ingredients:

6 to 7 ripe plum tomatoes (About 1 ½ pounds)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

8 to 10 fresh basil leaves cut into slivers

Salt and peppers to taste

1 French baguette

¼ cup olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack in the top of the oven. Finely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar.

Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices.

Brush one side of each slice with olive oil and place olive oil-side down on a baking sheet or roasting pan. The baguette slices will toast best in the top rack of your oven, so you may need to work in batches to toast them all.

Place the slices in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Arrange the toasted bread on a platter, olive oil side facing up. Top each slice individually right before serving.

Royal Coach Wheels

Recipe supplied by Lynette Sofras, author of Wishful Thinking

Pinwheel sandwiches make great finger foods for parties and the filling combinations are endless.

For children’s parties you might prefer to use sliced bread with crusts removed and rolled out thinly. Fill with ham, turkey or roast beef, slices of cheese and strips of cucumber. Keep color combinations in mind as you choose your fillings. Just make sure the fillings do not overlap the edges of the bread.

Roll up tightly and wrap in cling film before refrigerating until ready to serve. These can be cut to any size. Cocktail sticks can be inserted at one edge for little fingers to grab like lollipops.

For more elegant tastes at adult parties, use tortilla wraps. Fill with cream cheese and smoked salmon; hummus and turkey with lettuce or baby spinach and roasted red peppers; or use slices of roast beef or pastrami with wasabi mayonnaise; turkey with cranberry and avocado; or chicken with pesto.

Prepare these in advance as above, then wrap in plastic film and refrigerate until half an hour before serving to keep firm. Make diagonal cuts in each and stand on platters to resemble crowns or slice to look like wheels. Secure edges of wraps with cocktail sticks if necessary.

Chicken Salad Fit for a Princess

Recipe supplied by Caroline Clemmons, author of Home Sweet Texas Home

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked diced chicken, white meat

1 cup green seedless grapes (omit if making sandwiches)

1 cup crushed pineapple and juice

½ cup diced celery

¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

3 ounces cream cheese

½ cup sour cream

Directions:

Toast almonds about five minutes. Whip cream cheese with juice from pineapple. Blend all ingredients and chill well.

Crescent Rolls Pumpkin Style

Recipe supplied by Amber Daulton, author of Cinderella’s Enchanted Night

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

4 (8 oz) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

½ cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, blend cream cheese, milk, pumpkin, flour and spices until smooth. Unroll crescent rolls; separate and lay flat. Spread about 1½ tablespoons of pumpkin mixture over the uncooked dough. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon nuts over the pumpkin-covered dough and roll back into crescent shape.

Sprinkle sugar over top of rolls. Bake 13 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Cool and enjoy. Yields – 32 rolls (4 packages)

~ Meals and Accompaniments ~

Quinn’s Regal Spaghetti Bolognese

Recipe supplied by Sharon Kleve, author of Second Chance Cinderella

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups finely chopped onions

3 slices lean bacon, in small pieces

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stock, chopped

½ lb coarsely ground beef

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup beef stock

2 bay leaves

1 strip lemon peel

salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 quarts water

1 lb uncooked spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Additional freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:

In a heavy skillet heat together the butter and oil, then add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pieces of bacon, chopped carrot, and celery, and sauté over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the coarsely ground beef and stir until the meat is coated with fat, and cook until the meat browns evenly, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, wine, beef stock, bay leafs, and lemon peel, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper and the minced garlic. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the bay leaf and lemon peel, then allow to simmer uncovered until the sauce slightly thickens. During the last minutes of the sauce-simmering, cook the spaghetti according to package directions, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Place the cooked spaghetti on a warm platter and dot with the 4 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with the 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan.

Serve the pasta either with the meat sauce on the side or in the center of the platter with the pasta around it. Serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan, and enjoy!

Prince’s Favorite Corn Casserole

Recipe supplied by Caroline Clemmons, author of Home Sweet Texas Home

Ingredients:

1 can creamed-style corn

1 can whole kernel corn

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup corn meal

1 can chopped green chilies

1 small onion, chopped

Directions:

Place stick of butter in the casserole pan and place in 250°F oven just until butter is melted and set aside. In a medium bowl, slightly beat the eggs; drain the whole kernel corn, to all the ingredients and mix. Pour into the hot butter and bake in oven at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Serve warm or the Prince will be displeased.

Pumpkin Burgers

Recipe supplied by Sharon Kleve, author of Second Chance Cinderella

Ingredients:

1½ lb lean ground beef

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce

1 can (10¾ oz) condensed tomato soup

½ cup canned pureed pumpkin

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

6 to 8 brioche buns

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink then drain. Add the chili sauce, tomato soup, pumpkin, salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice and combine. Put on the brioche buns and serve. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Fairy Godmother’s Golden Roast Lemon Chicken with Shallots and Carrots

Recipe supplied by Lynette Sofras, author of Wishful Thinking

This recipe serves approximately four, depending on the size of the chicken drumsticks and your appetites. For children (and yes, they will love it) smaller drumsticks are fine, but for hungry adults you might want to look for larger drumsticks, or use more of them and increase the other ingredients.

Another tip is, if you like the lemony flavour as much as Cinderella, then you might want to marinade your chicken and/or carrots for several hours in extra lemon juice before cooking. Otherwise, preparation takes only minutes.

Ingredients:

500 g (approx. 1 lb) of carrots (small whole carrots like Chantenay are great, but any carrots work fine. Just peel and cut larger ones into equal-sized chunky batons roughly 3 × 1 inches)

75g (3 oz) black olives

8-10 shallots, peeled

A few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried

3 tablespoons olive oil

8-12 chicken drumsticks

Grated zest and juice of 1½ lemons

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

10-15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place carrots, shallots and olives in a large roasting tin (lined with baking parchment if desired). Drizzle with half the olive oil and mix well to coat evenly. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Season the chicken drumsticks (if marinating these beforehand, add seasoning then) and sit them over the vegetables. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining oil. Cook in middle of oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile combine the lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Scatter over the chicken just prior to serving. Serve with your favourite accompaniments – potatoes, rice or healthy grains and a fresh green salad or crunchy green vegetables. Delicious.

Regal Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe supplied by Caroline Clemmons, author of Home Sweet Texas Home

This is an ideal accompaniment for ham or pork loin roast, but will go well with any roasted meats.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked sweet potatoes (or large can)

1¼ cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 eggs beaten

¾ stick butter or margarine

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Mix and pour into a buttered casserole and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the following topping.

¾ cup crushed cornflakes

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup dark brown sugar

¾ stick butter, melted

Combine these ingredients and pour over potatoes. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

King’s Copper Pennies

Recipe supplied by Caroline Clemmons, author of Home Sweet Texas Home

Ingredients:

2 lbs cooked carrots, sliced like pennies (or 2 cans sliced carrots)

1 small onion sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

Mix:

1 can tomato soup

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup oil

Directions:

Pour over carrot slices, onion, and pepper and stir. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.

~ Desserts and Sweets ~

Don’t Turn into a Pumpkin” Bread

Recipe supplied by Stacy Juba, author of Fooling Around With Cinderella

Ingredients:

⅔ cup softened margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 can pumpkin (Not pie filling. Make sure it is actual canned pumpkin.)

⅔ cup water

3¼ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅔ cup walnuts

⅔ cup raisins

Shortening

Directions:

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time. Next, add the pumpkin and water. Mix. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon to the first mix. Stir in nuts and raisins by hand. Prepare two loaf pans with shortening.

Bake at 350°F for 60-75 minutes. Check at 60 minutes to see if cooked through.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe – Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar Free

Recipe supplied by Rochelle Weber, author of The Thin Person Inside (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

Gluten free non-stick cooking spray

1 (9-inch) gluten free pie crust, unbaked

2 large eggs

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

¾ cup Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Line with the piecrust. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the pumpkin, coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add the coconut milk and whisk well until combined. Pour the mixture into the piecrust.

Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Leave pie in oven, reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for another 40 – 45 minutes or until the center looks set. If the crust is browning too much, loosely lay a piece of foil over the pie. Allow the pie to cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate until serving.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Recipe supplied by Angela Ford, author of Spellbound Cinderella

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese

3 eggs

2½ cups sugar

2½ cups flour

¼ cup pecans

3 tablespoons butter

2½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1¼ cup solid-packed pumpkin

⅓ cup vegetable oil

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat two 12-cup standard muffin tins with oil and set aside.

Mix the cream cheese, 1 egg, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Toss 5 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup flour, pecans, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining cinnamon in a large bowl. Lightly beat the remaining eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the pumpkin mixture into the well, and mix with a fork just until moistened. Evenly divide half of the batter among the muffin cups. Place two teaspoonful of cream cheese filling in the center of each cup and fill with the remaining batter. Sprinkle some of the pecan mixture over the top of each muffin and bake until golden and a tester, inserted into the muffin center, comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

The Disappearing Cake

Recipe supplied by Joan Reeves, author of Nobody’s Cinderella

My mom and her friends always made this cake. It’s so easy to make with none of those complicated instructions about sifting this and creaming that. The Disappearing Cake is delicious. In fact, it’s so delicious that it disappears faster than Cinderella racing from the ballroom as the clock strikes midnight!

Ingredients:

3 cups self-rising flour

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1½ cups cooking oil

1 (8 oz) can of crushed pineapple

2 cups mashed bananas

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Grease and flour a tube pan or a bundt pan. Turn on your oven and set to 350°F. While your oven is heating, mix up the cake. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a “well” in the center. Add all the other ingredients into the “well.” Stir everything together. Do not beat; just stir it to mix. Pour into the greased and floured pan.

Bake at 350°F degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Invert onto your cake plate. Sit back and gather the compliments!

Pumpkin Cake Crunch

Recipe supplied by Amber Daulton, author of Cinderella’s Enchanted Night

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter

1 (29 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 box yellow cake mix

Cool Whip

Directions:

Melt butter, set aside. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg in a bowl. Pour into 9×9 baking dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture and cover completely. Pour melted butter on top of dry cake mix (don’t mix in). Bake for 1 hour at 350°F. Cool. Top with Cool Whip. Enjoy.

Spiced Pumpkin Fudge

Recipe supplied by Amber Daulton, author of Cinderella’s Enchanted Night

Ingredients:

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup canned pumpkin

2⁄3 cup evaporated milk

3⁄4 cup butter

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

7 oz marshmallow cream

2 cups white chocolate chips (12 oz package)

1½ teaspoons vanilla

1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

Cover a 13×9 inch rectangular pan with foil. Mix brown sugar, sugar, pumpkin, milk, butter, and spice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stir constantly. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, stir constantly. Stir in marshmallow cream, chocolate, vanilla, and nuts. Stir vigorously for 1 minute. Immediately pour into prepared pan.

Cool for at least 2 hours, then refrigerate tightly covered until firm. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Enjoy. Yields – Makes about 3 pounds.

Glass Slipper Frosting

Recipe supplied by Stacy Juba, author of Fooling Around With Cinderella

Ingredients:

1 package JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup milk

1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip

White sparkles (you can find in the cake decorating aisle of a craft store)

Directions:

Combine pudding mix, sugar and milk in a small bowl. Beat slowly with a rotary beater or the lowest speed of an electric mixer until well-blended, about 1 minute. Fold in whipped cream topping. Put in fridge for a half hour or so, and then spread on cake. Sprinkle with white sparkles. Please note that anything with this frosting needs refrigeration.

“Sparkle Like a Tiara” Fudge

Recipe supplied by Stacy Juba, author of Fooling Around With Cinderella

Ingredients:

3 cups (18 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Dash of salt

½-1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

White sparkles (you can find in cake decorating aisle of a craft store)

Directions:

Line square pan with foil, extending over the edges. Melt chips with sweetened milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle with sparkles. Chill 2 hours. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares. Yields 2 pounds of fudge.

~ Party Drinks ~

Surprising Stepsisters Champagne Sherbet Punch

Recipe supplied by Kae Elle Wheeler, author of Cinderella Series – the collection

Ingredients:

2 quarts ginger ale

2 quarts soda water

1 container raspberry sherbet

1 bottle pink champagne

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in your fabulous crystal bowl, step into your glass slippers, wave your magic wand, and voilà! You are ready for the Royal Ball.

Adult Fruity Cinderella Drink

Recipe provided by Sharon Kleve, author of Second Chance Cinderella

Ingredients:

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz orange juice

1 oz pineapple juice

2 oz ginger ale

4 oz good vodka

Large dash of grenadine

Pineapple and orange slices for garnish

Directions:

Pour the juices into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled margarita style glass filled with ice. Garnish with the slices of pineapple and orange.

Wicked Stepmother’s Witches Brew

Recipe supplied by PJ Sharon, author of Savage Cinderella

Mix equal amounts of chilled apple cider and ginger ale in a punch bowl and garnish with cinnamon sticks and clove studded apples. For Witches Brew add a shot of applejack or rum into each serving cup and fill the glass with punch.

Brinn’s Best Berry Cinderella Smoothie

Recipe supplied by PJ Sharon, author of Savage Cinderella

Ingredients:

1 cup milk or almond milk

½ cup fresh or (frozen unsweetened) strawberries

½ cup fresh or (frozen unsweetened) raspberries

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. honey, agave, or organic maple syrup

(½ cup crushed ice if not using frozen berries)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth, pour and enjoy. Garnish with a fresh raspberry on top and a sprig of mint for a nutritious, delicious taste of summer.

Golden Carriage Punch

Recipe supplied by Caroline Clemmons, author of Home Sweet Texas Home

Ingredients:

12 oz frozen lemonade

12 oz orange juice

1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice

1 cup sugar

6 quarts water

1 quart ginger ale

Directions:

Mix sugar and water to dissolve sugar. Add lemonade, orange juice, and pineapple juice. Chill until ready to serve. Add ginger ale at last minute and serve. Serves 32 punch cups.

Cinderella Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix

Recipe supplied by Jennifer Conner, author of Cinderella Had It Easy

Better than Starbucks and all natural.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons organic pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon of real maple syrup

5 drops of stevia (or you can add another 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup)

2 tablespoons vanilla coffee syrup (regular or sugar-free)

⅛ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, cardamom)

⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of coconut sugar for topping

Directions:

Mix 2+ tablespoons of the mix with a shot of espresso and your choice of steamed milk.

~ Party Games and Activities ~

If your party is for a child, have a dress-up area set up with tutus, wands, jewels, and tiaras. Let the princesses take home the dress-up items as party favors. Have a fashion parade, paint the girls’ nails, and don’t forget to take a group picture.

As a craft, you can invite the children to decorate store-bought wands or crowns with ribbons, markers, stickers, and other embellishments. They can also bead their own necklaces or bracelets.

Here are some ideas for adults, but many of them are suitable for, or easily adapted for kids’ parties:

Celebrity Matchmaker

A fun adult party game to play when guests arrive at a party to encourage them to mingle.

Write the names of famous celebrity couples on sticky labels – one name per label – and mix the labels up so that they are no longer couples. Use popular fairy tale or children’s film couples for younger guests – e.g. Cinderella and Prince Charming, Princess Fiona and Shrek.

Stick a label with a name on each guest’s back as guests arrive. Guests must ask other guests yes or no questions to try to identify the name on their back, and find their match among the other guests. Important: ONLY yes or no questions and answers allowed! You may only ask a person one question, then move on to the next guest.

Once everyone knows who they are and have found their match, they can impersonate that couple for a selfie or a fun group photo.

Crystal Ball

Ideal for smaller, more intimate dinner parties:

If Cinderella’s fairy godmother could genuinely see into the future and was here tonight, what ONE question would you ask her?

Alternatively, what ONE wish would you ask her to grant?

Dinner Dates

Cinderella’s fairy godmother has waved her magic wand and you can choose anyone in the entire world (living or dead) to join you on a dinner date. Who would you choose and why?

Two Truths and a Lie

Each person must write two truths and a lie about themselves on a piece of paper. All papers are folded and put it in a bowl. The host randomly draws each piece of paper one at a time and reads the list to the guests. Now the guests must guess BOTH the person and the lie. Try to identify the person first.

Improvisation

This game involves a bit of acting, which is always fun.

The only props needed are small everyday household items. Put these in a bag so no one can see.

Everyone pairs up. The first pair is given an item – and must improvise as many uses as they can out of it in two minutes. Each improvisation scores one point. When their time is up, the next pair gets their item. The team with the most points wins.

Need an example? Say I was given a chopstick, or drinking straw: I could pretend it was magic wand, fencing foil, lance, musical baton, jester’s staff, or ceremonial sword to knight a person.

A round perfume bottle: poison, love potion, Cinderella’s pumpkin, Snow White’s apple

Peg Leg

A fun game that can be played throughout any party!

Give a small and very light peg (such as florists have or those little pegs for holding Christmas cards) to the chosen ‘pegger’. This person must now discreetly attach the peg to another guest’s hair, clothing etc. The ‘pegger’ then moves away from the ‘pegged’ person and starts counting down from 10 in a loud voice. All guests join in the counting while checking themselves for the peg. No helping each other. If the peg is found before the countdown reaches zero, the ‘pegger’ must try again. If the peg is not found, the ‘pegged’ person becomes the next ‘pegger’. However, since everyone will be on guard, the ‘pegger’ should wait until everyone is occupied again before choosing the next victim, keeping everyone in suspense.

Pick Up Nuts

Need to keep guests occupied while you’re busy adding the last touches to the meal?

Give everyone around the table a straw and a small bowl. Empty a bag of peanuts, or use jellybeans if you know anyone is allergic to nuts, onto a plate. Set a kitchen timer for however many minutes you need for your last-minute preps. Guest must get as many nuts into their bowl using only the straw. The one with the most nuts is the winner. For a variation, use chopsticks instead of straws. Then, players must eat the nuts with the chop sticks, or feed them to their spouse using the straw to find a second winner.

How’s Yours?

Send one guest out of the room. The rest decide on something that everyone has. It can be a body part (fingernails, toes, lips), a physical possession (car, house, phone) or something abstract (hunger pains, sense of humor). Once the group has found something they all have in common, the person is asked to return and start the game by asking every other player “How’s yours?”

The other players reply with one or a maximum of two words, describing the thing they have using descriptive adjectives that are clever, but not too revealing. Start with harder, more ambiguous adjectives and the players towards the end can use their judgment on whether to make their descriptions more direct or easier to identify. After the player has asked everyone “how’s yours,” he or she must guess what “the thing” is.

Celebrity Hunt

A quick and easy after dinner adult party game.

The first guest starts with a celebrity’s name or name & surname. The remaining guests say: “HUNT!” The next guest must then say a celebrity’s name that starts with the last letter of the previous celebrity’s name.

For example: 1st celebrity = Brad Pitt, (The group says: “HUNT!”) the next celebrity’s name must now start with an “T” (last letter of Pitt) – 2nd celebrity = Tom Cruise, (The group says: “HUNT!”) the next celebrity’s name must start with an “E” (last letter of Cruise) – 3rd celebrity’s name can be Ewan McGregor, (The group says: “HUNT!”) next celebrity with a “R” (last letter of McGregor) – get it? Punishment or drinks for those that: pause too long, repeat a name, have no answer, miss a turn or speak out of turn!

Bend a Friend

One of the most hilarious party games you will play.

Place an empty cereal box with top flaps removed in the middle of a room, after clearing all breakables in the surrounding area, in case someone topples over. In turn, each party guest goes to the box, bends over, and picks the box up with his or her TEETH. Only feet may touch the floor, only teeth may touch the box – no other part of the body may be used as support. Bend over in any way you desire – the first round is easy. Now cut about an inch off the top of the box and repeat. Continue cutting an inch off after every round. Anyone that falls over or cannot reach, is out. The prize goes to the last player left!

Pick a Ring

The first player now puts a small ring donut on their toothpick and has to pass it onto their teammates – without it falling

Use sturdy toothpicks for this; and custard donuts for more mess.

Partners in Ink

Players work in pairs, seated back to back, one player drawing, the other instructing them what to draw.

Give the people instructing a bag filled with odd objects (or cards naming objects: for young children, these can be picture cards, for adults they could be concepts, such as love) and start the clock.

The instructor now takes an object from the bag/draws a card and describes it. They are not allowed to name the object or what it is used for, so they need to be creative.

If the partner draws it correctly, they score a point

The pair to finish their bag first wins.

Opposites

The aim of this fun and simple party game is for players to do the exact opposite of what you ask them to.

For example, if you say, “walk,” then they should stand still

Alternatively, if you said “kick out with your left leg”, they should kick out with their right.

Anyone doing exactly what you ask them (i.e. not the opposite action) is out of the game. Last player standing wins.

Dragon’s Tail Tag

Okay, so Cinderella didn’t encounter any dragons, but lots of princesses do!

Have guests form a single-file line with their hands on each other’s shoulders or waists.

When you say, “Go,” the person at the front of the line tries to catch and tag the one at the back, who is doing his or her best to avoid being tagged, all the while staying connected.

When caught, the person at back goes to the front and the one who was first becomes second in the line.

Play enough rounds so that everyone has a chance to be the leader.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Cinderella Treasure Trove. If you enjoyed this book, please consider telling your friends and posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you!

Glass Slipper Sister Books and Web Sites

Cinderella’s Enchanted Night by Amber Daulton – Annalise wanted just one night with Elijah, but will an antique locket and a bit of Cinderella magic fulfill her every dream?

Cinderella Had It Easy by Jennifer Conner – Cami only has 24 hours in her Cinderella body. Will she keep hiding or can she learn how to live life?

Cinderella Series – the collection by Kae Elle Wheeler – A concerned queen and a feisty fairy godmother unleash mischief. All due to an impulsive decision from the prince and the glass slipper fitting other than the intended foot.

Cinder the Fae by Rebecca R. Ganiere – When Prince Rome’s father initiates a contest to win him a wife, Cinder finds herself having to fight sixty other females for his heart while trying to keep the evil vying for the crown from destroying them all.

Fairy Tale Flirts by Lisa Scott – She’s an unappreciated housekeeper with an eye for designer goodies. Can Cindi get her dream shoes and her dream guy? A sweet, funny modern take on Cinderella.

Fooling Around With Cinderella by Stacy Juba – What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer.

Home Sweet Texas Home by Caroline Clemmons – This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.

Nobody’s Cinderella by Joan Reeves – A lie and a wish on a Christmas star…uh oh! This Cinderella should have been careful what she wished for!

Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson – Having given up on fairytales after falling for her toad of an ex, Pumpkin is afraid to take a chance on town royalty Manny who believes she may be his soulmate.

Savage Cinderella by PJ Sharon – Kidnapped and left for dead, Brinn Hathaway survives for years in the wild, only to be drawn out of hiding by a young nature photographer who steals her heart. Now, Brinn must decide if coming out of hiding is worth the hope—and the danger—that may await her.

Second Chance Cinderella by Sharon Kleve – Raven St. James only has 24 hours in her Cinderella body. What will she do with it? Will she become the confident, strong, flirty girl she wants to be? Will she get the guy she has always wanted?

Spellbound Cinderella by Angela Ford – If you had your dream body for only 24 hours… What would you do? One magical pendant gives Tess one wish to use before the clock strikes twelve.

The Cinderella Princess by Melissa McClone – A scandal-ridden prince must marry a royal if he doesn’t want to be disowned, but he falls for the American sent to find him a princess bride.

The Thin Person Inside by Rochelle Weber – Kristen Jensen never expected to fall in love when she finally decided to address her morbid obesity by seeking addictions treatment—let alone with a rock star.

Wishful Thinking by Lynette Sofras – A struggling single mother and a pop-icon turned Hollywood star meet in unusual circumstances. Fate drew them together, but the intrigue and trappings of stardom threaten to unravel love’s ties.

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Cinderella Treasure Trove

Will Cinderella make it to the ball? She did in the fairy tale, but in these fresh takes on the original, just about anything can happen—and usually does. Fifteen romance authors have served up delicious samples of their Cinderella-themed stories, along with a feast of tasty treats and glitzy party ideas. Tap into your inner princess and indulge in excerpts sparkling with dream-come-true romance, nail-biting suspense, haunting magic, bubbly chick lit humor and tear-jerking heartaches. After sampling our tasty morsels, you’ll find a treasure-trove of recipes and ideas to inspire your next party. Let the Glass Slipper Sisters style your regal table to perfection, thanks to the gorgeous, but quick and inexpensive adornments and easy-to-prepare scrumptious delights. You’ll even find a few party games that can be adapted for your royal guests whatever their age. Excerpts from the following books are included within the pages: Cinderella’s Enchanted Night by Amber Daulton Cinderella Had It Easy by Jennifer Conner Cinderella Series – the collection by Kae Elle Cinder the Fae by Rebecca R. Ganiere Fairy Tale Flirts by Lisa Scott Fooling Around With Cinderella by Stacy Home Sweet Texas Home by Caroline Clemmons Nobody’s Cinderella by Joan Reeves Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson Savage Cinderella by PJ Sharon Second Chance Cinderella by Sharon Kleve Spellbound Cinderella by Angela Ford The Cinderella Princess by Melissa McClone The Thin Person Inside by Rochelle Wishful Thinking by Lynette Sofras

  • ISBN: 9781310338519
  • Author: Books to Go Now
  • Published: 2015-12-14 23:20:27
  • Words: 17997
Cinderella Treasure Trove Cinderella Treasure Trove