About the Book by Stephanie Burkhart
Romanian unification is on the horizon and the spirited Crown Princess of Carpathia, Caroline, would prefer to ride horses and archery to embroidery and dancing. Complicating her life is her recent discovery that she’s a witch.
Prince Stefan Sigmaringen travels to Carpathia to meet Caroline. He discovers he has much in common with her. He also learns that a strange man, Timon, has an unnatural interest in him.
Upon Stefan’s engagement, he overhears his mother confessing to a horrible secret – she cursed him in order to conceive him and Stefan will become a werewolf when he turns eighteen. There is a condition to overcome the curse, but it will require Stefan to draw on all his inner strength and Caroline, her courage. Can they break the foul enchantment and secure their future or will Stefan give himself over to the lupine curse that haunts his family?
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Stefan went down on one knee. “Caroline, will you marry me?”
“Yes, I will.”
Loud applause broke out.
Stefan reached into his pocket and withdrew a ring. Caroline gasped. A diamond surrounded by aquamarines. “It’s beautiful.”
He smiled and slid it onto her finger. Caroline sensed conflicting emotions within him. Happiness clashed with apprehension, and she shared those emotions. Their night of happiness had been tempered by danger.
Father Nicholai, the Orthodox priest, stepped forward and placed Caroline’s hand in Stefan’s. Then he made the sign of the Orthodox cross over them.
“May God bless you and watch over you as you begin your life together. You have the church’s blessing to marry. Love is patient. It is kind, gentle, and all-knowing. Nurture such feelings in your hearts, and your marriage will be satisfying and fruitful. In the Lord’s name, I bless you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Stefan and Caroline made the sign of the Orthodox cross, and the guests did the same. Everyone raised their voices and said, “Amen.”
“Wine for all!” Mihai said. “I have a toast!”
Waiters passed red wine to everyone and gave Stefan and Caroline a set of gold goblets. Mihai raised his glass. “A toast — norco — to the engaged couple. May you find true happiness like Theresa and I have found, and as Mircea and Aurora have found as well.”
Everyone raised their glasses. Stefan clinked Caroline’s glass and took a long sip. Caroline barely had her lips to the goblet when she detected a foul smell coming from it. Her stomach clenched. He gagged, the wine splashed a little on his jacket, and he collapsed on the ground, choking.
“Stefan!” Caroline fell to her knees next to him, and placed her glass next to her. Mihai raced to Stefan’s side, wrapped his arms around Stefan, and raised him up. Michael joined them. Gasps of concern filled the room. Caroline glanced at Stefan’s mother. Her hands covered her mouth, and terror filled her eyes. Caroline’s father rushed to her side.
Stefan’s eyes snapped open. They were yellow. His cheeks narrowed, and his teeth, sharp and pointed, hung over his lower lip. Then he relaxed and slumped in his father’s arms.
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children’s books published with 4RV Publishing.