Once Upon A Kiss
For over a thousand years – so legend has it – the brambles have grown wild over the ruins of Dunhelm Castle. Many believed that the thorns were a sign that the castle was cursed, so no one dared to trespass, and the secrets that they protected and concealed have remained hidden – until now…
Armed with a pair of gardening shears, Baird Beauforte is determined to clear away the brambles that hinder the development of his resort, and he won’t let local superstition deter him. Dunhelm Castle is supposed to be the latest jewel in the Beauforte Resort chain, but the renovations can’t be finished if the workmen are frightened of a so-called curse. To dispel any lingering fears, Baird decides to vanquish the briars himself. What he never expects is to find a mysterious slumbering beauty…
Aurelia is like no one he has ever met before. Upon awakening, she demands to know his identity and why he is in her father’s castle! Bemused by her claim of being a king’s daughter, he is certain he has never met this “princess” before, although something about her rouses a haunting sense of familiarity. Soon, dreams plague this by-the-book businessman…dreams that feel more like memories. And Baird begins to wonder if he can claim his heart’s princess – now and forever – with a kiss…
Expect to find a Sleeping Beauty trope in this story. It was a little bit of a different spin, but still enjoyable. The true love and reincarnation theme is abundant in this story and I could not be happier. Aurelia finds herself in a strange but familiar place surrounded by two strange men, one of them (very handsome) that supposedly kissed her awake. She of course, does not believe in fairy tales and believes she’s still in her time and subject to an evil man Bard, Son of Erc. Baird, our hero, unfortunately has a similar sounding name and does not know that Aurelia is planning a sweet vengeance upon him.
Throughout the majority of the story Aurelia believes that she has been enchanted by Baird/Bard and his priest/lawyer. I wasn’t a fan of her during this time. She was quite frustrating, but being that she was from a time that people proved to be superstitious, her actions did make sense. She just thought she was being tricked.
“Aurelia attributed this to Julian’s magic, because she could think of no other reasonable explanation.”
It was her thoughts on Baird’s “whore” or rather, his interior designer that really made the story. It was really entertaining.
“She knew it was not her imagination that the whore’s chemise nearly burned her skin.”
Probably my favorite interactions and dialogue were surrounding that topic. But like I mentioned earlier, I loved the reincarnation theme. When Aurelia finally realizes that she’s not in her time, she starts seeing similarities between her loved ones and people in the present day. It was bittersweet and that’s when I started liking Aurelia. She’s reasonable after all. It’s when she fights for her one true love that turns the tale and I truly enjoyed the journey through time via flashbacks that Aurelia and Baird have.
When the story ended, I wanted more of it.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*