Just a Taste: Snow White and the Wicked Queen, Chapter 1
I am so excited to share the launch of the paperback version of Snow White and the Wicked Queen: Chapter 1.
This book was my debut novel in 2021, and I have waited far too long to hold it in my hands!
Curious what you are in for? I'm dropping a sneak peek below, along with the blurb - just in case you need to whet your appetite.
What would the Snow White tale be without the wicked Queen?
Once Upon a Time…
Welcome to the enchanted forest. In a castle high on a hill, a storm is brewing in the midst of the dangerous woods.
The good Queen has died, leaving her baby girl and grieving husband to care for the Kingdom of Seven Hills.
Enter a stunning Princess who steals the King's heart with a single dance and becomes the new Queen before the sun breaks over the hills.
But the new Queen is coldhearted, jealous, and cruel. She wields terrible dark magic and bewitches the King and the kingdom with the wink of one golden eye. Her magic mirror is hung in her shadowy tower room, and soon she has woven a spell around all she encounters.
Can the enthralled adoration of the King and his people fill the bottomless pit in her heart? Or will such a stunning beauty, and powerful sorceress, be undone by a tiny baby Princess?
Snow White and the Wicked Queen - Sneak Peek
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Seven Hills, a good and kind queen sat sewing on a window sill. Beyond the window, snow fell like white petals and lay in fat heaps across the castle garden. In the scant lap beyond her swollen belly, a blanket of the softest cloth balanced precariously, and she stroked it with loving fingers.
“I hope this will keep you warm, my love,” Queen Aalis murmured and pressed one scarred hand to her belly as she relaxed back into the window seat. The babe that grew heavy inside her shifted, and the good queen smiled, reflecting on how her life had changed. “Your papa worries that drafts will make us sick or that I will fall from this ledge and take us both to our death,” she said as she opened the window wider. But she could not leave it closed, not when it could open, not when this window had no bars. The cold press of iron in her palm brought back old memories of wielding a sword, the sound of metal on metal, the tang of blood in the air. But the memory was fading, and as Queen Aalis released the handle, a wave of contentment settled over her. Not for the first time, she marvelled at the novel sensation.
“You will fight less than I did, love,” the queen promised her unborn babe. “And you will know love. So very much love.” Satisfaction curled in her stomach, and in the golden fog of peace, she let her guard down and turned her face into the biting cold. Her eyes fixated on the swirling dance of fat snowflakes caught and tossed in the bitter wind. Then her needle slipped and pierced deeply into the tender skin of her fingertip. Three drops of her blood fell into the drift of snow on the window ledge and drew her eye.
“How lovely,” she whispered, stroking the swell of her belly, placing her finger between her lips as she sucked the pain from the tip. “I wish you were this beautiful, little one. I wish you were as beautiful as red blood in white snow against a black window frame.”
The words left Queen Aalis’s lips and were torn from her peaceful moment as the wind picked up and hurled her wish out into the world, where ears more powerful than any could imagine were listening.
But the queen knew, and pressed her fingers harder against her lips, tears welling and running from her eyes. To the marrow of her bones, she understood that no wish is granted without paying dearly in return.
“What have I done?”
On shaking legs, King Osgar ran through the castle, his eyes wild, chasing the screams that echoed down the stone halls. The shadows of the halls drowned him in darkness, stealing his breath and hollowing out his heart as he ran on. The screams tore at something inside of him, and his legs could not possibly move fast enough to outrun the terror that settled in his chest. Slipping on the stone stairs, the king raced around a corner and down the impossibly long hall to his queen’s chambers. A tight knot of servants stood clustered by the doors, wringing their hands, their voices thin whispers, their faces ashen.
“Move!” King Osgar roared, and they parted, opening the chamber doors and letting him rush past. Crossing the threshold, the king stumbled to a stop. The soul-searing screams ended, though they rang on in his ears, and a new sound broke through the sudden quiet—the cry of a newborn babe.
Like walking into a nightmare, the king crossed the queen’s sitting room and took in the melee. The royal healer bent over the bed, her black cloak spread across the sheets like death. Maids and servants rushed past with rags bundled in their arms, basins of water, all stained dark red. The King froze, his eyes skipping over the servants’ faces, their averted eyes, their grey cheeks. Fear spread through him like ice water.
King Osgar turned slowly to face a stout woman with dark red hair and solemn brown eyes clutching something close against her chest. More sheets? His panic-fogged brain asked. But then the bundle moved, and the cloth parted. A face with cheeks as red as blood peered up at him from eyes ringed in soot-black lashes.
Like a man in a dream, the king reached for her. The nursemaid set the babe in his arms. With one cold finger, he stroked her red cheek, her snow-white forehead and knew he would give his life to protect this tiny creature. The king raised his eyes, and Nurse Hildegard met his gaze unflinchingly. Her dark eyes were filled with sorrow as she slowly shook her head.
The paralysis that had claimed him loosened its grip, and the king, the baby cradled in his arms, rushed to Queen Aalis’s side. The healer closed her bag and turned away, the queen’s pale and sunken face peering up at her husband as he sat at the edge of the bed.
“She is perfect, Oz,” Queen Aalis whispered, her breath hitching as she raised a finger to stroke the babe’s cheek.
The king swallowed over the lump in his throat.
“Name her Snow White,” the queen’s voice was so soft the king had to bend closer to hear her. “Love her. Keep her safe.”
The king nodded, hot tears falling from his eyes. Queen Aalis smiled softly, her eyes falling closed, then her breathing slowed and finally stopped. King Osgar held his new baby close against his breaking heart and whispered into the icy silence, “I promise.”
Four seasons passed before the mirrors around the kingdom were uncovered. The sun was breaking across a crisp, clear day when King Osgar set aside his black cloak and slid into a royal blue tunic. His eyes burned as he looked down at the first colourful clothing he had seen on his body in an entire year.
Down the stone corridor, in the sprawling nursery, Nurse Hildegard snatched a toddling Snow White from her feet and swapped her heavy black dress for one of red velvet, with a matching red ribbon tied in her ebony curls.
As the snow fell in fluffy white flakes across the bright winter day, King Osgar stepped out onto a massive balcony on the side of the castle and looked down over the multi-coloured woollen cloaks and hats, shawls, and cowls of his subjects. They had gathered in the blinding winter light to hear the king’s first public declaration since the birth of his daughter. Every eye in the kingdom strained, every neck twisted to capture a glimpse of their king.
“He looks thin,” some worried.
“But he looks regal,” others replied.
“He looks pale,” some whispered.
“But he looks strong,” others countered, loyal and proud. Then a hush fell over the gathered masses as King Osgar raised one hand. His voice rang like a great bell across the town square.
“My loyal subjects, the time of mourning has passed. My beloved wife, your queen and mother of Princess Snow White, was taken from us a full year ago, and it is time again to live. So, on this day, I declare before you all that I will be seeking out a wife. I will fulfill my obligation to provide you with a queen and my daughter with a mother.”
Whispering broke across the square, then the king shifted, his rich blue cloak falling back, and silence fell in one single gasp across the royal subjects. King Osgar held the squirming Snow White against his broad chest. Her skin was white as snow, her cheeks as red as blood, her hair as black as ebony, and the beauty of the tiny baby stole the breath from every mouth in the kingdom.
“There shall be a great ball in thirty days, on the night of the next full moon. I will invite every eligible lady from as far as my word will travel, and I will find you a queen, my good people. A queen you will be proud of.” The king tugged his cloak back around the princess. As one, the crowd shook themselves from their stupor and let their cheers ring in the cold air.
The fastest horses in the kingdom ran in all directions, carrying messengers laden with invitations to the ball, and word of the king’s search for a new queen broke like a great wave across the lands.
In the days that followed, every dressmaker’s fingers bled from the mountains of ball gowns they sewed. Every farmer’s pocket overflowed from the produce they sold to the palace. Every florist in the realm filled wagons until they bent low under the weight of their centrepieces, wreaths, and swags woven and built from the surrounding forests’ foliage, vines, and evergreens. The cooks in the castle doubled, and the royal hunters brought every strong boy and man to hunt the game and fowl for the feast.
On the day of the full moon, princesses, duchesses, noblewomen, and queens arrived from kingdoms and lands as far as word had traveled. The king’s subjects waited and watched as the beautiful ladies streamed up the castle steps and into the ballroom lit with so many candles. The castle glowed gold in the cold winter night.
But in the crowd of hundreds of powerful and graceful women, one, in particular, stopped hearts. Silence broke like a flood around her as Princess Calista met the eyes of King Osgar.
His heart stopped mid-beat. Breath hissing to a halt, the king’s gaze locked with hers, and the rest of the room faded to mist. Shaking his head to clear the fog, King Osgar grasped the arm of his most trusted advisor and demanded softly, “Who is that?”
The advisor stared with the rest of the guests as the beautiful woman, dressed all in white, crossed the room, her wide golden eyes locked on the king. The candlelight shone like the sun off her hair. As she walked, trailed by four heavily armed guards, she untied her cape edged in white fur, letting it fall to the floor behind her, revealing her gown. It was a sea of silk and satin, framing her creamy skin. One might think that wearing all white would cause a lady to fade into the background, possibly disappear against the snow, but in an ocean of jewel tones and rich brocade, she shone like a star against the night sky.
The advisor sucked in a breath, having momentarily forgotten how to breathe, and whispered to his king, “May I present Princess Calista of the kingdom to the east. Her husband, Prince Aiden, died most suddenly before he could sire an heir. I understand she has only just come out of mourning herself.”
But the king barely heard his advisor. His breath shuddered as the beautiful princess approached, his heart squeezing in his chest as if crushed in a fist. His vision blurred until he could see only her radiance. From above the crowd’s roar, beyond the wave after wave of heads turned in Princess Calista’s direction, the king’s mind filled with whispers: The most beautiful woman in all the lands. The perfect queen. None more precious, none more lovely. I must have her.
As if in a trance, King Osgar stood from his throne, and a hush fell across the crowded ballroom. Like a parting sea, the way cleared between the king and his quarry, and he approached, awed and stunned by such unparalleled beauty.
Most beautiful. Most lovely. I must have this woman.
As thick and heavy as the snow, silence fell across the ballroom as the king stood before the princess. She gathered her ethereal skirts in one hand, bowed her golden head, and dropped into a curtsey so graceful the entire room was charmed. King Osgar bowed back like a man in a dream and, without a word, offered the beautiful Princess Calista his arm.
Rousting themselves from a near trance, the band picked up their instruments and began to play.
The king and the princess danced once. They chose a waltz that froze every eye in the room on the beautiful couple. Without a word exchanged, but for the whispers swirling in his head, the king knew he was lost. As the music died at the end of the waltz, King Osgar turned to the crowd.
“I have found my bride,” he declared in his deep, booming voice. No one noticed the slight wooden edge to his words. “Princess Calista, from our neighbouring kingdom, will be your new queen.” The stunned silence lasted a moment longer before a deafening cheer broke it. The crowd raised their glasses and toasted the happiness of their good king and his stunning betrothed.
The priest was pulled from the feasting tables and blessed the union despite his shock, conducting a rushed service while one hundred spurned suitors cried, their eyes sick with envy. The bride was radiant, her golden eyes wide and too innocent as the king stared at her lovely profile and stroked the smooth skin of her hand.
“She’s too exquisite to look directly at,” some whispered.
“It is hard to believe anything that heavenly can be human,” others agreed.
“She looks more angel than mortal,” some murmured.
“How blessed we are that the king found his next love so swiftly,” others added, then raised their glasses as the priest announced the king and his bride husband and wife.
The ball evolved into a wedding celebration, with the stunned crowd falling into the festivities and swiftly forgetting how unusual the evening had become. The people feasted and toasted the king and his new queen throughout the night.
As the sun turned the night sky purple, King Osgar sent for a maid to take Queen Calista to her bed-chamber.
Continued in Snow White and the Wicked Queen.
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Regina Grimm is the author of erotic fairytales written for the uninhibited readers 18+.
Check out her books:
Snow White and the Wicked Curse: Chapter 1
The final chapter, Snow White and the Poisoned Apple.
Prefer to read the whole story at once? Grab your copy of Snow: The Complete Erotic Series now! All five books are coming soon in Paperback.