Authors: Regina Doman
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Books by Regina Doman
The Fairy Tale Novels
The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold
Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold
Waking Rose: A Fairy Tale Retold
The Midnight Dancers: A Fairy Tale Retold
Angel in the Waters
Edited by Regina Doman:
Catholic, Reluctantly: John Paul 2 High Book One
Trespasses Against Us: John Paul 2 High Book Two
Summer of My Dissent: John Paul 2 High Book Three
Text copyright 2007 by Regina Doman
Interior artwork copyright 2007 by Joan Coppa Drennen
2007 cover design by Regina Doman
All rights reserved.
First hardcover edition 2007 by Chesterton Press.
You Can't Hurry Love,
words and music by Edward Holland,
Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
(c) 1965, 1966 (Renewed 1993, 1994) Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Controlled and Administered by EMI Blackwood Music
Inc. on behalf of Stone Agate Music (A Division of Jobete Music Co., Inc.)
All Rights Reserved International Copyright Secured Used by Permission
P.O. Box 949
Front Royal, Virginia
Summary: Nineteen-year-old Rose Brier is in love with Fish Denniston: but Fish, struggling with abuse issues in his past, holds her at arms’ length until an old danger and a tragic accident threatens Rose’s life. A modern retelling of the story of “Sleeping Beauty,” and the third novel in the Fairy Tale Novel series.
Printed in the United States of America
…Once upon a time...
I love him more than poetry. I love him more than song.
It sounded promising, like the beginning of a ballad that would soar up into the crazy blue sky. Rose sighed, opening her eyes and running her fingers through her red hair, letting it float back down onto the pillow. It did sound terribly romantic.
“The only problem,” she said to herself as she rolled over in bed, “is that the man I love is the most unromantic creature who ever opened a book.”
She couldn’t picture anyone falling madly in love with such a person as Fish. What a name, Fish. His real name was Benedict Denniston. Fish: think cold, slippery, detached. Benedict: think dry scholarly monk from the Dark Ages. Denniston: think English preparatory school, stolid country squire. Nothing about his name sounded the least bit romantic.
And he wasn’t really handsome, not in any conventional sense of the term. He was of average height and build, with unruly brown hair. His typical expression suggested petulance. There was nothing readily apparent about him that should attract her.
“This is why mathematics alone doesn’t explain the world,” Rose said aloud. Because when she added up all these negative characteristics, somehow the sum was a person who was irresistibly attractive to Rose Brier.
She would see him today, she thought to herself. Today was her sister’s wedding and he was coming, to be the best man.
The mere thought was enough to impel her out of bed with a bounce and over to the closet, humming a passionate love song.
But she heaved a sigh as she opened the rickety closet door and surveyed the clothes inside. The problem was, she wasn’t his love. At least, not yet.
“What is wrong with me?” she moaned, pulling a shirt off of a hanger. “There are billions of men in the world, at least millions who are near my age. Maybe hundreds who are compatible with me. Maybe at least a dozen who would want to date me. There’s got to be at least five on the continent whom I could probably marry. So why in the world am I so hung up about this one guy? And he doesn’t even like you, Rose Brier.”
The lecture had as little effect on her as it usually did. She stared at the ceiling of her bedroom. One of the rafters had a cobweb on it.
Well, at least she and Mom and Blanche were back in the country in Warwick, at the old farmhouse that used to be their home, before Dad died of cancer years ago. And Blanche was getting married. And she, Rose, would be the maid of honor.
The wedding! There was so much to do today! She was out of the room like a shot.
He woke up in the unfamiliar bed, blinking in the bright sunlight. The relative silence around him reminded him that he was in the country, in the home of the Brier’s friends, the Wykas. Yawning, he got out of bed and found the bathroom to start getting ready.
Shaving for Fish was a meticulous process. As he carefully moved the razor over the slightly raised scar on his cheek, he thought again of his dad’s insistence that he have plastic surgery done to erase the effects of his various run-ins with criminals. But Bear always said, “Scars are cool.” Fish admitted that substantial parts of his history were now written on his flesh—one cut on his cheek running down to his chin was from a fight in prison. That one had actually healed the worst—it hadn’t been properly treated at the time. Because of it, he noticed, his smile was slightly crooked. There were one or two faint scars from a few other fights he had encountered on the streets. One from a man who had been more heavy-handed than effective. Another from a slap on the side of the face with a pistol.
And one mark that ran down from between his eyebrows to under his right eye—barely noticeable, but he could make it out. That lovely jag had been courtesy of a Mr. Freet, from a blow with the butt end of a whip. Fish felt it lightly with his fingertips, amazed at how something that had hurt so much at the time was now hardly noticeable. He wondered idly if plastic surgery would have erased that one. But most of the scars from that unpleasant episode were not visible.
He sighed, gave himself one more quick glance, then splashed water on his face quickly and combed gel into his light brown hair, which tended to get out of hand without some help. Then he set about getting dressed.
Once presentable, he walked down the steps to the kitchen. “Good morning, Mrs. Wyka,” he said courteously.
“Good morning to you, Fish,” the woman beamed. “Do you like omelets? I just made your brother one.”
“Sounds great,” Fish said amiably. He had to smile. Most of the time he and his brother introduced themselves to strangers by their Christian names—Benedict and Arthur. But to the Brier family, they had always been Fish and Bear, right from the start, so naturally that’s how the Briers had introduced them to all their friends, including the Wykas.
They probably think our parents were hippies
, Fish speculated. Few knew or recalled that “Fish” and “Bear” were handles from when the brothers had been in juvenile prison. Blanche Brier—now Bear’s fiancé—had always liked the name Bear, and even when she found out Bear’s real name, she and her mother, Jean, and sister, Rose, had continued to use it. It certainly fit Bear, who was tall and burly, with thick dark hair that was inclined to be shaggy.
Fish actually preferred to be known by his real name, Benedict, or Ben, but the Briers had never asked him what he preferred, and so to them, he remained Fish. He had acquired that name because, according to his former inmates, he was so good at getting out of tight places, which was true, and partly because of his aloof, detached demeanor. It was correct that Fish was a fairly calm, analytical person. But he didn’t know exactly why others seemed to think he had no feelings. He supposed he must be better at hiding his responses than most people, and wondered if that were truly an asset, outside of dealing with policemen and criminals.
He was eating his omelet with the careful table manners his mother had drilled into him when Steven came in, stretching and yawning.
“Morning, Steve,” Fish said.
“Hey, Ben, good morning,” Steve clasped his former high school buddy’s hand. “So where’s the groom?”
“Probably out for a morning walk,” Fish said.
“Hope he’s back before we have to leave for the church,” the tall black guy smiled.
“Oh, I’m sure he will be,” Fish took the last bite. “You know Bear.”
“Yeah, I guessed he was pretty much gone for Blanche ever since he snagged my tux to take her to the prom. And ruined it in a fistfight,” Steven laughed. “So how do I get an omelet?”
Fish indicated the other room with a finger. “Mrs. Wyka makes them. Why don’t you go say good morning to her? I bet she’ll make you one as tasty as this.”
“Hey, I’ll be Prince Charming to anyone for an omelet. It’s sure nice of these people to put us strangers up for the wedding.”
“The Briers have some good friends around here,” Fish agreed. “Bear’s trying to buy a house in this town so he and Blanche can live near her mom.”
“I can see why,” Steven nodded. He stepped into the other room and smiled broadly. “Good morning, Mrs. Wyka!”
Fish chuckled to himself as he overheard the friendly conversation that ensued in the next room. Setting his plate on the counter by the sink, he went back upstairs to change into his wedding clothes. Once dressed, he dialed the Brier’s number on his cell.
The phone rang several times before someone answered, and the line opened onto chaos.
“Hello?” shouted the female voice over a background of chattering and calls for assistance.
“Hello, this is Ben Denniston,” Fish said. “Is Jean available?”