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Length:
232 pages
3 hours
Released:
Apr 17, 2021
ISBN:
9798201309985
Format:
Book

Description

The queendom is in great peril. Can a spoiled princess and three commoners save it?

Zirconia is all set for her grand coronation when tragedy strikes. Something horrid has befallen the people of Silvania, and Zirconia, despite her sheltered upbringing, finds herself teaming up with the most unlikely of commoners to save her queendom:

- Her sexy best friend, a bunny shifter

- A hulky bear shifter mercenary

- A royal prince on a mission

- An eccentric, devilish vampire who has a flair for the dramatic

Romance blooms, allies are made, and Zirconia finds she's gotten more than she bargained for with her hot as hell companions.

Can her unlikely heroes help her save her people, or will this quest prove futile?

Love Blooms is part of Spell Library but can be read as a standalone. Like the cover, this book is a crazy fun read, written especially for readers who love our sense of humor.

Released:
Apr 17, 2021
ISBN:
9798201309985
Format:
Book

About the author

Hanleigh is a USA Today Bestselling Author and is about as English as it's possible to be, without actually being English.She first fell in love with books as a child reading Dr Seuss, but moved onto romance when she first read Pride and Prejudice at the age of twelve. She wishes she could live inside the world inside her mind, but since that isn't possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with her readers instead.


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Love Blooms - Hanleigh Bradley

1

Zirconia

Ido a little dance as I slip on my sacred panties. They’ve been blessed by the Royal Wizard, each flower hand-picked by a member of the Royal Guard. They serve one purpose, and one purpose only: to make me look stunning tomorrow when I’m crowned queen.

Queen Zirconia of the Queendom of Silvania. The mere thought of my coronation sends my heart racing. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I first learned of the difference between being a princess and being a queen. I’ve been dreaming all my life of claiming my rightful spot on the Silvanian throne, just like my mother, and her mother, and all the women of our lineage.

Now, that day is almost here. Tomorrow, the sun will rise over the horizon and I will step out of my castle with this perfect bouquet covering my royal lady garden. My subjects will kneel before me, inhaling the fresh floral scent emanating from my nether regions as they accept me as their true queen.

My heart skips a beat. I’m so ready for this!

My princess? A serving girl with hair the same shade of blonde as my own slips into my chamber. Her features vaguely resemble mine, though she is of no relation, and we’re of almost the same height and weight. It’s why I picked Penilia, out of all the girls in the queendom, to serve as my personal maid.

Her eyes drift down to my coronation panties and she gasps as she takes in the violets, juniper, lupine, calluna, willow, and sage, woven together with a variety of other blooms to make up my panty bouquet.

What do you think? I ask, though I already know what she’ll say.

They’re stunning, my princess.

Exactly that.

I regard myself in the mirror once more. My waist-length hair cascades down my spine like a waterfall, ending just above my panty line. And my lavender top, though made of the finest silk, looks quite plain as it hugs my queenly frame. All intentional, of course. One must always endeavor to draw the eyes to the magnificent floral arrangement below.

I believe this will do for tomorrow, I tell Penilia calmly. It takes willpower to remain dignified and royal even as I squeal and dance on the inside, but I pull it off marvelously. Just like a true queen. Now, help me change?

Into your nightgown? the maid asks hopefully.

I shake my head. Not quite yet.

You need a good night’s sleep, my princess, Penilia urges.

I shake my head again. I had an afternoon nap. Now, my night garb, please?

With a resigned nod, Penilia rushes off to grab a different silk top and another pair of floral panties. They’re dried, not fresh, but almost as stunning. Still worthy of a Silvanian Royal. Of a princess about to be crowned queen.

As I change, Penilia carefully lays out my coronation clothes, ensuring they’ll look just as fresh and beautiful come morning. Once she’s done, she stops hesitantly near my bed. Perhaps—

Go on, Penilia. I push back the duvet and gesture for her to slip in. I’ll only be an hour. Two at most. Now, what do you say if anyone dares enter?

Whatever it is can wait until morning, Penilia recites, her voice trembling. You’d think she’d be used to her role by now, but each time I sneak out, she’s as worried as if it were the first.

"More firmly, Penilia. You want them to believe it’s me," I reprimand.

Whatever it is can wait until morning! Penilia snaps, sounding perfectly royal this time.

Much better. I nod and head toward the secret passage. I’d discovered it as a little girl, back when my parents still lived and my mother was queen. I’d used it to spy on them and learn all manner of ruling, and later, to play with the cook’s son, Jace.

Thinking about my bunny shifter best friend sends my heart racing, though I can’t pinpoint why. Excitement, I suppose, mixed with regret. We’ve always known our nightly jaunts would come to an end once I became queen.

I grab my cloak, which hangs at the end of the secret passage, and slip it on before I exit the castle. No one pays me any attention.

Jace’s cafe is a brief walk down the dirt path leading away from the castle. A dark figure loiters out front, but I instantly know it’s him. I would recognize that shortly cropped dark hair and lean, muscular frame anywhere.

Jace, I whisper softly as I approach.

Zee! You made it. He quickly ushers me inside his new establishment and locks the door behind us.

I hear business is booming, I say as I slip onto my usual barstool. I only ever come here at night, after the place is closed, so I get my pick. Then again, if I were to come here during the day, my Royal Guard would empty the place out and I’d have my pick then, too. Not that I would do that to Jace.

It is. Jace grins happily. I made a special coronation drink that I’ll be serving tomorrow. Would you like to try it?

I’d love to. I watch my best friend as he moves behind the counter, biceps flexing, his lips slightly parted as he concentrates. A coronation drink is a great idea. You really have a knack for this.

You should probably wait until you’ve tried it, he teases. You might hate it.

I roll my eyes. I couldn’t possibly hate anything Jace created, and from what I’ve heard, neither does anyone else.

Since he opened the cafe last month, it’s become one of the most profitable businesses in Silvania. His pumpkin spice lattes and hot chocolates have been a hit at the palace, and the bunny shifters in the queendom have all been raving about his carrot-cinos. I’ve also heard that a nasty, bitter brew called coffee has been popular with the commoners, but I’ve never really understood the appeal.

Here. Jace slides a lavender drink, the color of my coronation top, across the counter. It’s topped with whipped cream, decorated with small candies shaped like flowers, and it smells…

It smells like my coronation panties!

I call it the Coronation Bouquet, Jace says proudly. Try it and tell me what you think.

I take a sip, and my eyes grow wide. The drink is absolutely divine. If one were to take a bite out of my panties—a sacrilege I would never allow—this is what I imagine they would taste like. A mix of floral perfection and sweet sugary goodness.

It’s amazing, Jace. I moan.

I made it just for you, Zee.

Thank you, I whisper in awe, suddenly fighting back tears. Jace has always been like this. Perfect. And not being able to see him anymore, to share my dreams and tell him my secrets… I just can’t imagine a life without my best friend.

I think we should celebrate, Jace says. He grabs the multi-colored jewel I had the Royal Wizard spell for him and taps it twice. A fast melody bursts forth, and he pulls me off the stool and drags me to an empty spot so we can dance.

It’s one of the things I love most about Jace. I don’t have to act like a princess, or queen, when he’s around. He gets to see the real me, and he understands that a princess is still a little girl, and a queen a woman. He knows that I am just Zirconia deep down and that this is exactly what I need.

We dance until we’re both out of breath, and Jace taps the jewel again to switch to a slow song. He pulls me into his arms, and we spin slowly until we’ve both regained our breath enough to be able to talk.

I’m going to miss you, Zee… he says softly, and that’s when it finally sinks in.

I’ve always known that my time with Jace would come to an end when my coronation arrived, but I don’t think it ever felt this real. Or hurt this much. I didn’t think I would miss this when all my dreams were coming true.

I should be looking forward to donning my crown and taking my rightful place on the throne. Instead, I find myself longing for all the things Jace and I shared, old memories that will live on without new memories to join them. Mornings spent exploring the palace tunnels, spying on the goings-on of the castle and learning all its secrets. Afternoons playing tag in the neighboring forest, or imagining we were knights of old going on some wondrous quest. Then the nights spent sneaking down to the kitchens to steal pastries while Jace practiced making all the beverages he planned to one day serve at his cafe.

We’re both where we always wanted to be, I tell him softly. Him with his cafe, and me about to be crowned queen. So why does it hurt so much?

I look up at him, and he stares back down at me. I can still taste the Coronation Bouquet on my lips, but I suddenly want to taste something else. Jace.

In all the time we’ve known each other, we’ve never once kissed. But if we’re going to part, I want something to remember him by.

Tentatively, I move up on tiptoe and press my lips against his. They’re warm and soft and oh so perfect that my heart bursts with longing.

For a second, I fear Jace might not kiss me back, but then his lips move tentatively beneath mine. Jace tastes of carrots, flowers, and childhood memories all grown up. It makes me want to burst into sobs, hold him close, and never let go. So I do the opposite. I pull back.

I guess this is goodbye? Jace asks softly.

I nod, but I can’t seem to pull away. We kiss again—a soft touch of lips filled with longing—but this cannot last. It cannot be. Jace is a commoner and I am a princess about to become queen. So I do what I do best. I put on my invisible coat of royal dignity, coupled with the very real cloak I wore on my way here, and slip out into the night.

2

Zirconia

This is the best day of my life, the day I’ve been looking forward to for what feels like forever, and yet, I have a really bad feeling about it. There’s this queasiness in the pit of my stomach. Penilia would tell me that I’m just nervous. But I don’t think that’s it.

I look amazing, if I do say so myself, so it’s not about that. My floral cape and panties are divine, and they smell heavenly. Personally, I think my floral panties make my royal garden look queenly. I wonder if all my subjects will be intoxicated by my floral fragrance.

Penilia comes into the room, humming under her breath. She’s as happy as I’m supposed to be. This is everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m finally going to be crowned queen.

What’s with the long face, Your Highness? Penilia asks as she gives me one last look over, checking that every single flower is in its rightful place.

Nothing, I mutter.

That face says otherwise. Penilia knows me better than I’d sometimes like. It’s your coronation day!

She says it with so much excitement, I’m almost jealous.

I’m probably just nervous, I say, trying to deflect her interest from what I’m actually thinking about.

Not thinking about a certain bunny shifter, then?

It really annoys me that she knows all my secrets. It’s not like I actually tell her. She just somehow always ends up finding out.

Why would I be thinking about Jace? I ask, feigning indifference.

My excitement is tainted slightly at the idea of losing my friend, especially after last night, but Penilia doesn’t need to know that. I can’t get the feeling of his lips against mine out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about Jace and how much I’m going to miss him.

My lips feel like they’re still tingling from his kisses.

I reach up to touch my lips as I look at my reflection in the mirror. Everything is exactly how I always imagined it would be. Except Jace. As much as I’ve always known our friendship had an expiration date, I don’t think I actually had any idea how much it would hurt when the time finally came.

It must be upsetting to have to say goodbye to him.

Not really, I lie, but she seems to see right through me.

Are you sure about that?

Well, what would you suggest? I ask. I can’t exactly renounce my throne.

She doesn’t say anything, choosing to brush my hair instead.

What would I do? Be a barista? A commoner? My words sound harsh, and I don’t mean them as cruelly as they probably sound.

You could still be queen… she mumbles.

And take Jace as my king? Or a prince consort? I ask, laughing bitterly as my eyes well up. The people would never allow it. There would be rioting in the streets.

My own thoughts drown out her reply. Losing him will be the only downside of becoming queen today. But that one tiny little downside seems to completely overshadow the whole thing. I can’t allow myself to wallow, though. Not today, not when I’m wearing my very best floral panties and I have a queendom to rule over.

Today is supposed to be a celebration, and here I am on the verge of tears. Shaking my head, I berate myself for being so silly. Jace would laugh at me, teasing me for being such a sappy girl.

Jace is just a commoner; I knew this day would come. This is my destiny, and he’s happy too. It’s not like he wants to be my prince or anything. He’s living his dream, making coffee for the entire queendom.

As disappointing as it will be to lose Jace and to not be able to indulge in more of those kisses, I have so much more to gain. This is my destiny. My queendom is waiting for me, and I can’t disappoint them.

I silently try to reassure myself that it won’t be so bad. This is everything I’ve ever wanted and perhaps, more importantly, it’s my duty. That does little to ease my disappointment, though. The two things are incomparable and I hate that I have to choose.

Especially because there’s absolutely no choice to make. I have no choice. There is only one option to choose, and unfortunately that choice doesn’t have a cute pair of bunny ears.

I’ll just have to marry. I might not be able to take a commoner for a husband, but at least I’m now old enough to seek out a prince to marry. Surely a prince would kiss better than a commoner, I try to think positively. If Jace’s kisses could turn my insides to jelly, then surely my future husband would be able to turn me into a puddle on the ground with his kisses. I blush pink at the thought before turning away from the mirror and making my way through the castle and into the throne room where my coronation is set to take place.

Before I even enter the throne room, I can hear the crowd, and my heart pounds in my chest.

Even though I’m feeling a little bit nervous, I put a wide smile on my face and work hard to keep my steps steady. The grand throne room is crammed full of people. Immediately, I search for Jace in the crowd, wanting the comfort of seeing his face.

But no matter how much I search for him, I don’t seem to be able to find him anywhere.

What I do see stops me mid-step. I’m supposed to be making my way to the center of the room, but I’m standing, staring. My mother would tell me I’m being impolite, but then again, I’m pretty sure she’d do the same thing if she was here and seeing what I’m seeing.

For a brief second, I wonder if perhaps I’m still in my bed, fast asleep, and this is some sort of stress-induced nightmare.

All around the room, my people are completely oblivious to the fact that I’ve just entered the room. Most of them have their backs to the coronation stage where I’ve just entered. No one has bothered to announce my arrival, either. That’s definitely not normal.

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