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The Moonlight Masquerade
The Moonlight Masquerade
The Moonlight Masquerade
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The Moonlight Masquerade

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Cinderella retold: Fae, vampires, shifters, and a Godmother who’ll grant you any wish—if you pay the price.

Elle is desperate enough to do the one thing she promised herself she’d never do: bargain with the Godmother for a wish. But if she pays the price, it will leave her forever changed.

So she makes the daring decision to lie to the Godmother.

She’ll pretend to pay the price.

Can she get away with her freedom before the Godmother finds out?

~ ~ ~

This is episode 3 of 6 of a SERIALIZED Cinderella retelling. It is not novel-length. Expect cliffhangers! Approximately 23,000 words or 100 print pages.

**Prefer to binge-read all the episodes together? Look for City of Wishes: The Complete Cinderella Story**

~ ~ ~

In a world of fae, vampires and shifters, where wishes can be bought and bargained for, Elle is human, bound to her stepmother by a slave charm. Her only hope at freedom is to wish for it. But the Godmother rules the illegal wish trade, and the price she demands is steep. Is Elle willing to pay it?

PublisherRachel Morgan
Release dateMay 24, 2019
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Rachel Morgan

Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn't grown-up enough for a 'real' job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart. Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

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    Book preview

    The Moonlight Masquerade - Rachel Morgan


    On a quiet street in Vale City’s Willowton borough, moonlight shone through a dusty attic window where Elle Winter stood blinking at the glamorous, white-haired fae woman perched on the end of her bed. It was surreal enough that the Godmother herself was sitting in Elle’s bedroom. Perhaps their entire conversation—and the Godmother’s presence—was actually a dream. Elle pressed her nails into her palms, and the pain felt very real. So, not a dream?

    I’m sorry, she said to the Godmother. "I know it’s really late, so maybe I zoned out for a second and misheard you. But it sounded like you said you want me to kill the prince?"

    Yes. Prince Chevalier of House Belmont.

    Elle let out a choke of a laugh. Is—is that a joke?

    The smallest of frowns marred the Godmother’s perfect features. I don’t ever joke about the price of a wish.

    N-no! Elle blurted out. "I won’t kill someone. You can’t ask me to do that."

    Elle, you just told me how important it is that you wish for your freedom. That it’s the only way you and your stepsister can run away together, and that she means more to you than anyone else. Has that changed within the last few seconds?

    No, of course not. But … I mean … you’re asking me to commit murder.

    I am, the Godmother said, as simply as if she were asking Elle to pick up something she’d just dropped on the floor.

    But … this … this doesn’t even make sense, Elle said, hoping to bring some rationality to the conversation. Why me? I’m not even allowed to go to the ball. Surely it’s far less complicated if you ask someone who’s actually going? There must be people summoning you for wishes all the time. I’m sure you’ll find someone else in the next few days.

    I’m not asking someone else, Elle. I’m asking you. You can get close to him.

    "And someone else can’t? You can’t? You’re the Godmother. You can do anything."

    Well, I’m flattered you think so. The Godmother smoothed one hand over her perfectly styled hair. But there’s a limit to the extent of my reach. Prince Chevalier has certain magical wards placed around him. Wards that specifically target me. I can’t get close enough to him. It has to be you.

    Elle shook her head. I’m … I’m really not the right person for this job, she insisted, her voice trembling slightly as despair began to inch its way up her chest and into her throat. Even if I was happy to end someone’s life, I would have no idea what to do. I’d mess up the whole thing.

    You are exactly the right person for this job. Your talents make you uniquely equipped.

    My talents?

    I know you’re not entirely human, Estelle Winter.

    Excuse me? I’m definitely human. My blood is as red as any other human’s.

    The Godmother leaned back on one hand. "Forgive me. That isn’t quite what I meant. I know you’re human, but I also know what you can do, and it isn’t something any other human can do."

    For several moments, Elle was silent. She longed to ask when exactly she and the Godmother had met and how the Godmother knew these things about her, but the mysterious woman had already made it clear she wouldn’t answer questions about the past. About ‘someone else’s story,’ as she’d put it. Yes, okay, Elle said eventually. I can remove people’s memories. I have no idea how I possess this strange magical ability while also being human, but that’s the way it is. What does that have to do with killing the prince?

    Your power doesn’t simply remove memories, the Godmother said patiently. "If you take it further—if you remove all memories, if you remove the mind itself—the body cannot survive on its own."

    Elle felt a sickening jolt in her stomach. What? How do you know that?

    You’ve done it before.

    I most certainly have not.

    You don’t remember. You took the memory from yourself.

    Elle could only stare, her heart pounding, dread building inside her. That … can’t be true. I’ve—I’ve never used my ability on myself. She realized the absurdity of what she was saying as the words left her mouth. If she had taken a memory from herself, then of course she wouldn’t remember doing it. Her clients had their memories of meeting with her; they knew she’d taken something, even if they didn’t know what it was. But if she had done something terrible and then immediately removed that space of time from her own mind, she would have no way of knowing it ever happened if she didn’t write herself a note or leave some other clue.

    The Godmother let out a sigh. It honestly doesn’t matter what you believe. What you’ve done in the past isn’t relevant right now. My point is that you need no weapon. You need no killing expertise. You will simply do what you’ve been doing for years. You’ll convince the prince to accompany you to a quiet spot away from all the activity of the ball, and then you’ll take his memories and his mind, to the point where he slips away from this world.

    Elle swallowed past the rising nausea in her throat. And what if he doesn’t want to follow me anywhere? What if I don’t even have the chance to get near him? There’ll be hundreds of women vying for his attention.

    And you will be the one to capture it. I’ll make sure of that. And your hairstyle will hide the tips of your ears so he won’t know you’re human. Trust me, Elle. Prince Chevalier will follow you anywhere.

    But … I … Elle trailed off. She’d run out of things to say, used every argument she could think of, but it seemed the Godmother wasn’t open to negotiating. She’d decided on her price, and now Elle had to say yes or no.

    A noise reached her ears from downstairs. Elle looked over her shoulder, terror wrapping its fingers around her heart and squeezing tight. What would Salvia do if she walked in here and found the Godmother?

    Don’t worry, the Godmother said. No one can hear us while I’m in this room. Now, I need your answer, Elle. Do you accept this price or not?

    Oh, I, uh … Elle’s scrambled thoughts tumbled over one another. Can I have a day or two to think about it?

    Don’t you know the rules?

    The hand of fear squeezed a little tighter. What rules?

    If you summon me and refuse to pay the price I set, you don’t get to summon me again. That will be it. The end of all our dealings.


    "It’s a simple decision, Elle. This is what it comes down to: who would you rather save? Your stepsister

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