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Authors: JT Schultz

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BOOK: Frog Tale
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He frowned. “Are you sure it wasn’t your sister Stella? The similarities are there if you think about it. Who knew
Blondie could have PMS everyday out of the month?”

Chloe’s brows dipped and her full lips broke into a warm smile, rewarding him with a giggle. “No, but now that you mention it, the resemblance is uncanny. Only the dragon had red eyes not bleached blonde hair.”

His soul found a little comfort in her comment and over the fact she seemed to be calming down. “At least you’re smiling.”

It was so real. I’ve never been that afraid of anything in my life.” Chloe lifted a hand and brushed some lose strands away from her face. “You mean a lot to me Luc and I know my sisters think I’m crazy. Frankly, I think they are downright bitchy, so they can think whatever the hell they want.”

Your breathing is better, are you going to be okay?” He didn’t like the fact she’d had a nightmare. Something about the red eyes sent his nerves on alert.

I’ll be fine.” She nodded and smiled then sighed. “Part of me knew things would be all right, you weren’t scared at all.”

I have to confess I don’t know if I’d be that brave around a dragon. One gnarly breath of flames and the situation could be bad for me. Roast frog legs―not a pleasant thought.”

You were brave,” she whispered and gently ran a finger over his back. He hated how sweet she was sometimes, a simple reminder of how different they were, in not only age, but also species.

I don’t know how brave a frog can be.”

Her brows dipped and she shook her head. “I never said you were a frog.”

Stunned, Luciano had to have misheard. “What do you mean I wasn’t a frog? What was I?”

Chloe pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and she sighed. “Well, you were very much a man. A real cute one, jet black hair, sapphire blue eyes, anyway you were going to slay the dragon for me and keep me safe.”

How fairy tale like.” He didn’t know what else to say. His hair in human life was black and even now he still had blue eyes. In the corners of his mind, though he had many questions, the big one was, did Chloe’s nightmare have anything to do with his curse?

If there’s a connection between the two, does she know what I look like?

He wasn’t sure why Chloe knowing what he looked like mattered. Maybe, because he knew she liked what she had dreamed.

If only this situation were easy.


The house
held an eerie quiet for a Saturday morning.  Georgina and Stella had left early with their mother to go shopping. They whined and complained the entire time over how Chloe had her hair done and had got contacts, so they needed something new too. Whiners, the sisters were nothing but self-absorbed little demons who were interested in only themselves. What could Luciano say? He didn’t like them and detested how they treated Chloe. His gaze fell on the bathroom door. She’d been in there long enough, what could she possibly be doing?

Curiosity and fear got the better of him. “Are you okay?”

A giggle echoed from behind the closed door. “You worry too much, I’m fine. Just putting on some make up.”

“You seldom wear make up.” He reminded and hoped to God above this didn’t have anything to do with the boy she’d mentioned when she’d come home from the mall.

The bathroom door opened and Chloe stepped out. “I thought I would put a little on today like I did yesterday since I’m meeting Scott at the mall before the concert.”

Luciano’s mouth dropped open and he stared in disbelief. He raked his gaze over her and shook his amphibian head then blinked. Chloe didn’t look
sixteen, but instead looked about twenty years old and very female. “You aren’t going to wear that outfit are you?” he sounded cranky and jealous but decided he preferred to consider himself parental. Yeah, an authority figure not just the frog friend.

She glanced down to her short denim skirt and the fitted t-shirt then glanced back to where he sat. “What’s wrong with what I have on? Mom bought me the outfit yesterday. It’s the very latest style.”

He really didn’t like this and hated the fact he again was jealous. “Because you don’t look sixteen and do you need to wear the make up? It makes your eyes stand out and emphasizes those long lashes of yours.”

She blinked at him. “Is there something wrong with the way that I look?”

Damn it!

“No.” He heaved a sigh. “You look incredible Chloe
and that would be the problem.  I love you in that shade of blue, but then again, I always like you in blue. You’re beautiful. I know I've said it before, but don’t let Stella and Georgina ever tell you anything different, because you’re incredible.”

Her face broke into a smile and for the first time, he really noticed how full her lips were. The lipstick had to go. She needed to put on a heavy sweater, baggy jeans and maybe remove the eye make up too.

Chloe’s features frowned slightly, further emphasizing the plumpness of lower lip. An unhappy expression crossed her face. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

The lipstick definitely had go
. Her lips were damn near perfect and if he noticed, rest assured the quarterback kid, with raging hormones and no appreciation for her, would too. He silently cursed in Italian and glanced back up at Chloe.

She shook her head. “Something is bothering you, tell me.”

What could he say? What dare he admit to her or himself? He sat on her pillow, taking in how pretty she was. Some guy was going to have less than noble thoughts on his brain with just one look at her. He knew, he had been a sixteen and seventeen-year-old boy at one time and he remembered exactly what he was like.

Now I am just plain out and out jealous. Why couldn’t things be different?

He was twenty-one and her sixteen. This wasn’t fair, he’d lost his human life to frog hood, but hers still lay ahead of her and he wanted her happy. “You're meeting the football player?”

“Yeah, I have to go.” She glanced at his glass house then back. “Did you want me to put you in your castle?”

Yes. There I can sulk in silence.

“Yes, please.”

Chloe carefully leaned and scooped him into her hand. She had the softest touch and he never realized how much he still took for granted just being around her, sharing laughs and conversation. Something was different today. He felt different and the way he perceived Chloe was different.

What is going on?

“Luc, are you sure you’re okay?” She shook her head. “Maybe I should stay here if you’re sick... I can go out with Scott another time. I just don’t want my sisters to do anything stupid to you if you’re under the weather.”

He didn’t understand. “Your sisters will be gone most of the day. They’re shopping with your mo
m. I’ll probably end up talking to your dad for a bit. I’m fine.” He paused and thought for a moment. “You would really stay home with me if you thought I was sick?”

She giggled and the sound touched his soul with warmth. “Of course, silly. I love you, that’s what friends do. I can go out with
Scott; I’m sure, another time.”

He wanted to fake being sick and have her stay, but it wouldn’t be fair. “You go meet that boy and make sure he treats you like a lady.”

I will and thank you for making me feel pretty.”

His heart tightened. “You’re more than pretty, you’re beautiful. I love you in that blue t-shirt you know. Then again, I always like you in blue.”

A strange expression crossed her face. “You told me that already, when I came out of the bathroom.”

He smiled and nodded. “Well, I’m telling you again.”

She giggled again and glanced at her watch. “I’m going to miss the bus.” She carried him over to the glass tank. “Have a good day, I’ll tell you about mine when I get home.”

Careful not to drop him, she lifted him to her face and kissed him softly. Her hand lowered him down and by the time he realized Chloe had kissed him she’d run out of the bedroom and
was descending the stairs.

A searing pain shot through his body and his
blood now boiled beneath his flesh. He couldn’t breathe and he debated about calling for Chloe. The front door slammed from below, too late he couldn’t. His stomach knotted and his body jerked so hard he went sailing out of the tank. His entire body and soul flamed as if on fire and his feet hit the cool hard wood of the floor. He blinked and stared down at his two feet and wiggled his toes.

I’m human again.” He glanced around. “I’m human again, standing naked in Chloe’s bedroom. Not good.” He walked into the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and wrapped the thick terry around his waist. Never had he been more thankful the women of the house were gone. “Albert!” he called and stepped into the hall and didn’t hear anything. “Albert!”

Albert stepped in the hall and his eyes
widened. “Who the hell―”

Fear, surprise and several other emotions flooded through him, but first and foremost, desperation in Albert believing his next words. “It’s me
, Luciano, we have a huge problem.”

The older man shook his head in disbelief and waved
him into his office down the hallway. “Come.”

He padded down the hall and stepped into the office he had come with Chloe a few times. “The spell…”

His friend shook his head. “What happened and why are you no longer a frog?”

Chloe kissed me in a hurry to go meet the football player kid. I already don’t think her going was a good idea. However, I have bigger problems.”

You’re human again.” Albert frowned. “Chloe kissed you?”

Oh hell.

“In a friend sort of way, you know I mean the world to her.”

His friend nodded and raked his gaze over him. “That I do.
No clue what possessed her to kiss a frog—no offense.”

“None taken.”

Albert cleared his throat. “You need to call your father.”

Luciano’s emotions spun with the ferocity of a tornado
as he tried to piece together what had happened. “Can we start with clothes and maybe real food?”

“Of course, I have something you can slip on until we can take you for more suited
attire.” Albert blinked. “I can’t believe you’re really a prince. He narrowed his gaze to Luciano’s eyebrow. “That’s one hell of a scar; you’re still a good looking kid though. My girls would think so I’m sure.”

He spun around and glanced in the glass of the cabinet on the bookshelf. A long thick scar ran above his brow
, down to his temple and stopped at his cheek bone on the one side. The marking from the fingernail of a witch had destroyed his once handsome face.  He didn’t think once, that the mark to his flesh would be this bad. Hurt, betrayal and a sense of loss for the man he’d once been hit his heart like a sharp blade and pierced through to his soul. “I suppose I should call my father and tell him I’m coming home.”

What he wanted to do was hide his face from the world.

“We can call him after we get some clothes for you and some food. Then we’ll book you on a flight home. Of course, you’re more than welcome to stay, but I think you need to go to your father. A lot has happened since you’ve been here.”

Something in the older man’s tone revealed there was much he wasn’t saying. Luciano nodded and knew he had to leave. He couldn’t stay and he had to be gone before the Starling women arrived home, especially…

“I’m going to miss her.” He didn’t mean to come across so sad, he had become soft; sadness was a sign of weakness.

Albert shook his head, he obviously didn’t understand. “Miss who? You’re going home.”

He fought the strange tightness across his chest then inhaled a breath in and exhaled with slow precision. Saying her name was more than difficult, admitting silently, the brunette angel had become his world.

“Tell me Luc, who are you going to miss?”

He looked Albert straight in the eye and knew that his spoiled party ways of youth were gone. It was time to grow up. “Chloe.”

Pain stared back at him in Albert’s
sympathetic gaze, his lashes fluttered and he looked away. “You are everything to her; she obviously loves you if her kiss broke the spell. This is going to be a difficult time.”

“You can’t tell her the truth Albert.” He hung his head. “I was a very spoiled young man. My father would question my integrity where your daughter is concerned.”

Luc, she adores you and if her kiss…” The hurt in the man’s expression was nothing compared to the ache Luc’s soul endured.  “Oh dear.”

She’s sixteen and though I have never played the situation anything than above board, my dad would question things due to my once upon a time, womanizing ways.”

The Starling patriarch, his friend and business colleague of his father’s
, shook his head. “I know with Chloe things were different.”

“She kept me going and is the most incredible young lady I’ve ever met. Believe me. I’ve known my fair share of them.” For the first time in his life, he had found love and had now lost it. He was never going to recover. His mind raced, if Chloe broke the spell Ramona had placed on him that only meant one thing.

BOOK: Frog Tale
11.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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