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Jennifer Youngblood

Remembered (Book 2 of The Grimm Laws)

Remembered (Book 2 of The Grimm Laws)

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📚Read an Excerpt

Edward angled toward her and held out the glass slipper. “I believe this belongs to you.”


She took it from him and placed it in her lap. The glass slipper, perfect and pristine in every way, was a stark contrast to her mixed-up life. “Aye, I seem to have lost it the night of the ball.”

Where was her fairy godmother? The woman had magically appeared the night of the ball, but Cinderella needed her now more than ever. Why couldn’t she pop in and whisk her away from this situation?


He gave her a searching look. “What happened at the ball? Why did you flee?” 


Here it was—the moment of truth. The moment where she would either tell Edward the truth or live with the lie forever. There was no fairy godmother to save her. She was on her own. Could she really do it? Could she sacrifice her happiness for the good of her family?

She glanced at Seraphina who was making a show of sipping her tea, although Cinderella knew that her keen eyes were taking in every detail. 
“I am truly sorry, Edward.” Her eyes met his, and she moistened her dry lips. “The truth is …” The words got caught in her throat, and she had to begin again. “The truth is …”

Everything hinged on this moment. She was standing on the precipice of either disaster or good fortune, and it would all be decided by the words that issued from her mouth. If only there was a way to undo everything and start fresh, but it was too late. It was written in The Grimm Laws, and not even her fairy godmother could change that.
Cinderella was engaged to a prince who loved her. Surely, she could find happiness in that. She should be grateful that such a wonderful man adored her.

“I was overwrought.” She had to force the words out of her mouth. Finally. She’d said it. Even from across the room, she could see Seraphina’s shoulders relax. “It was the excitement of everything. Life in the palace is so much more than I am accustomed to,” she explained.


Edward looked relieved. “Of course,” he answered smoothly. “I was afraid I’d done something to upset you.”


“Nay.” She looked away. Tenderly, he cupped a hand on her cheek and turned her face so that she was forced to look at him. His golden eyes scanned over her, and he seemed to be memorizing her every feature. Then he gave her a radiant smile. 
A window of her heart opened, and she thought back to the night they danced at the ball. She’d felt a sliver of happiness then. Perhaps she could capture it again.

“You’re a good man, Edward. A kind and noble man.”
He took her hands in his. “I seek only to make you happy. I realize how quickly everything took place, and then I worried that I’d pressured you into getting engaged.” There was an earnest look in his eyes. “I fell so hopelessly in love with you that I never stopped to consider your feelings. I want you to love me as I love you, Cinderella. I realize that it will take time.”

A sense of urgency sounded in his voice. “I’ll spend the rest of my life seeking to earn your love.” He brought her fingers to his lips and kissed them. “Cinderella, come back to the castle with me … please.”


Tears gathered in her eyes. “For you, Edward, I will go.”


The saga continues with book 2 ...

A determined prince, unyielding loyalty, and a forbidden love so strong that it will bring a kingdom to its knees.

Elle finally realizes that her heart belongs to Rush, but is it too late? Will she be able to convince him that her feelings are real, or will she lose him forever?

Adele works her quirky magic to show Elle glimpses of her former life in the fairytale world where Cinderella’s charmed life in the castle with Prince Edward hangs by a thread.

Things start to unravel when Rushton is thrown into the dungeon where he awaits his death.

Cinderella must decide if she will follow her heart at the risk of death or if she will succumb to the fabricated happily-ever-after that’s being forced upon her.

The stakes get higher when the Sorceress Griselda turns her loathsome shadow crawlers loose on Elle and her friends in the modern world, unleashing their worst fears.

In a dramatic showdown of light versus darkness, Elle must fight against the clock to find the key that will save them all, and in doing so, must face her most fearsome adversary of all—the girl in the mirror.

Readers who grew up enjoying The Selection and fans of the hit TV show Once Upon a Time will get swept into an enchanting royal world of breathtaking fairy-tale romance where loyalty and love are tested to the limits.

Read the First Chapter

Frustration with the Mirror

Elle studied the mirror with an eerie fascination. There wasn’t a scratch on it. But how? She’d gone over to Rush’s house to tell him how she felt about him and found Lynessa there. She poured out her heart to him, and he just stood there with a brooding expression while Lynessa chomped her to bits.

She came back to her room and threw the hairbrush at the mirror, causing it to splinter into a cracked web. And then somehow the mirror had repaired itself. She’d felt that whisper of calm in the moment before she caught a glimpse of a gold key.

Had she only imagined the key? How could this be happening? Was she going crazy? She looked into the mirror, trying to see the key, but there was only her reflection, staring back. She placed the tips of her fingers on the mirror. Adele had told her the girl in the mirror was trying to tell her something important. And as absurd as that had sounded at the time, Elle was starting to believe Adele. Her aunt was somehow connected to the strange events that had taken place.

“Who are you?” she demanded to the mirror.
Nothing.
She blew out a breath and lowered her hand. Her eyes were drawn to the girl, looking back at her. It was her … but it wasn’t her. There was the same long blonde hair. The same fine-boned features with the faint smattering of freckles. The same blue eyes fringed in thick lashes.

Even as Elle tried to pinpoint the difference between herself and the reflection, the answer flooded over her. The girl in the mirror was confident … resilient. The girl in the mirror wouldn’t be quelled by the likes of Lynessa Miles. She knew who she was and would go after what she wanted.

Elle glared at her reflection. “What’re you keeping from me?”

The girl in the mirror smirked.

Elle jumped as her heart began to pound. Exerting all of her effort, she pushed away the fear and squared her chin. “I’m not afraid of you,” she uttered quietly. Saying the words aloud gave her a sense of empowerment. 
The girl in the mirror looked pleased. 
“Now, tell me what I need to know. What was that I saw in the mirror? It looked like a gold key.”

She leaned forward as a surge of anger took hold. She scowled into the mirror. “Tell me or I’ll smash you to pieces.”

She reached for a cheerleading trophy and clutched it in her hand. A gush of wind whooshed through the room. Elle looked down at the single piece of stationery that had materialized in her empty hand. She put down the trophy and turned the paper over. It was blank on both sides.

Then, words began to form on the page, just as they had when Adele sent her the empty box that turned into chocolate. It was the same night when Adele had offered her a job at The Chocolate Fountain. Elle looked down, a sense of awe filling her breast. It was as if the words were being written with an invisible pen. This can’t be happening, her mind screamed.

And yet … it was. 
Elle, Dear,
Stop making empty threats to the girl in the mirror. Violence doesn’t become you. It seems that you are making progress. That’s good news indeed.



The writing stopped. For a moment, Elle feared she would be left wondering what this was all about. But then, thankfully, it continued. 



We must discuss this at once. Come to The Chocolate Fountain right away. Rae tells me that you have band practice tonight. Come now, so we will have time to discuss things before the other band members arrive.
Your loving aunt,
Adele



* * *



The Chocolate Fountain was a welcome sight with its salmon-colored brick siding, large front porch, and cheery windows painted bright turquoise. Having no other way to get there, Elle rode the ridiculous bike with the large white seat and matching basket with daisies attached.

Normally, she felt perfectly safe in Tower Heights, but today was different. From the minute she stepped out the door, a sliver of unease trickled down her spine. To make matters worse, she’d not passed another person on the sidewalks. It was the eerie feeling of being watched, but when she looked over her shoulder, no one was there.

Eager to get inside the protection of the building, Elle parked her bike and hurried up the stairs. There was a “closed” sign on the door. Good, she could talk to Adele without interruptions from customers. The door was locked, so she used her key to let herself in. She made sure to lock the door behind her. Only when she heard the lock click did she relax.

She pushed aside the lace curtain on the door and looked out, scouring the front yard and street. A large blackbird, flying overhead, caught her attention, but there was no sign of a person.

“Good, you’re here.”


Elle nearly jumped out of her skin. She whirled around and put a hand over her chest as she gave Adele a shaky smile. “You scared me.”


Adele peered over her sea-foam blue spectacles. “Are you okay, dear? You look a smidgen pale.”


“I’m fine,” she answered a little too quickly. 
It was obvious from the skeptical look on Adele’s face that she wasn’t buying it.

“Let’s go upstairs to the study. I made your favorite—salted caramel hot chocolate.”


Elle realized then that Adele was holding two steaming mugs, piled high with whipped cream. She reached to take one. “Do you need some help?”


“If you’ll grab that silver tray of truffles on top of the glass case that would be great.”


“Sure.”

Elle grabbed the tray and then frowned. There were only two truffles on the tray—one white and one milk chocolate.

“Should I grab a few more truffles, so that we can both have one of each kind?” Adele’s truffles were legendary, and Elle didn’t like the idea of getting just one.

“No need, those are both for you, dear. Come, we haven’t got much time before the others arrive.”


“Okay.” Elle followed her up the stairs. Adele was normally so relaxed, but today, there was a nervous edge to her. It heightened Elle’s personal anxiety to the point that by the time they took their seats in front of the fireplace, her hands were clammy. She placed the silver tray on the large ottoman covered in a red and green tapestry.

Adele handed her a mug of hot chocolate. She scooted back in the chair, trying to find a comfortable spot. Her mind ran through the list of things she wanted to ask Adele. She needed answers—answers that would hopefully give her the reassurance that she needed to prove she wasn’t crazy. 


“Shall I make a fire?”


Elle glanced at the fireplace that was devoid of a single stick of wood. It would take much too long for Adele to make a fire, and there was no firewood. She pictured her aged aunt, lugging sticks of wood up the stairs. “No, that’s okay.”


Adele gave her a quirky grin. “It’s no trouble.”


Elle forced a smile. “I’m fine … really.”


Adele’s eyes seemed to be laughing at some private joke that eluded Elle. “Suit yourself.” She raised the mug to her lips and took a drink.


Elle cupped the mug, embracing the warmth. Then, she lifted the mug to her lips and took a sip. It was delicious, and she could almost feel the smooth liquid flowing through her body, restoring a measure of calm. She tried to formulate her thoughts in an attempt to tackle things one at a time, but it all spilled out like milk flowing from an overturned jug.

“I need to know about the mirror … and I need to know about the girl in the mirror. Also, how did the paper appear in my hand? And the words … they started forming on the page … you’ve done that once before when you first offered me the job to come and work here.”


Adele placed her mug on a nearby side table and then brushed a stray curl from her eyes. A kind smile curved her lips. “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to tell you those things.”


Elle’s face fell. “Why not? You said in your note that we needed to discuss things. These are the things I want to discuss.”

Frustration scattered over her, and she had the unreasonable urge to punch something. Her eyes pled with Adele’s, and she had the feeling that she was drowning in craziness and that Adele was her only lifeline.

“I need to know what you know. Something is happening to me—something that I don’t understand. Mirrors don’t repair themselves, and reflections don’t smirk back. And words don’t magically appear on a page,” she finished. 


Adele looked at the ceiling. “Oh, drats. Do you see the predicament you’ve put me in? She’s confused, and I can hardly blame her.”


Elle narrowed her eyes. She was tired of her aunt’s silly games. “Who are you talking to?” She glared up at the ceiling. “There’s no one there.”


“Okay, let’s cut to the chase, as you kids say. Go ahead and eat the white truffle, and I’ll get Bree.”


“Who’s Bree?”


“Eat the white truffle, dear.”


Elle crossed her arms tightly over her chest and scowled. “Not until you tell me the truth.” 


Adele gave her a challenging look. “Eat the truffle.”


“No,” she said stubbornly.


Adele’s voice grew gentle. “Have I ever done anything to hurt you?” 


The look of exasperation on Adele’s face caused Elle to feel a spark of guilt, and she almost ate the truffle just to appease Adele. Her aunt had been nothing but kind to her. Still, Adele was keeping things from her, and she needed to know what those things were.

“I’ll eat the truffle when you tell me the truth,” Elle said firmly. 


“I’m too old for this nonsense,” Adele muttered and then waved her hand. “Eat the truffle.”


Elle’s hand seemed to have a mind of its own. She looked down in shock as she reached out, took the truffle, and placed it into her mouth. 


“Now chew and swallow,” Adele commanded.


She complied, even though her mind was screaming for her to do the opposite. She barely noticed the smooth, delectable taste as the truffle slid down her throat. 


“There,” Adele said, “that wasn’t so terrible, was it?”


Elle only glared at her. She watched as Adele walked over to the oil painting of the mother and daughter, resting on a red velvet settee. Adele removed the painting, revealing a safe. She opened it and retrieved a thick leather book that looked ancient. She sat down in the chair facing Elle. 


“You keep that book in a locked safe?” She made a face. “Are you afraid it’s going to jump up and run off?” she finished sarcastically. 


Adele chuckled. “We’ve had this conversation before, dear.”


“We have? I don’t remember.”


“I know you don’t. Tell me about the gold key,” she said unceremoniously.


“So, I’m supposed to answer all of your questions, but you won’t answer a single one of mine?”


“No need to act like a sour puss, dear. I’m only trying to help. Answering my questions will help you gain the answers you seek. I promise.”


She blew out a breath. Arguing with Adele was futile. “For a split second, I thought I saw a gold key. But before I could tell for sure, it vanished.”


Adele frowned. “You don’t have it?”


“No, I only saw it for a second, and then it disappeared.” 


Adele leaned forward and caught Elle’s arm. She looked furtively over her shoulder and then lowered her voice. “I want you to listen to me. You will not remember anything else about our conversation today, but I need you to remember this.”


“Whoa. Wait a minute. I won’t remember anything about this conversation? What’re you talking about?”


“The milk chocolate truffle will make you forget,” Adele said impatiently. 


Elle looked at the truffle in horror. “Then I won’t eat it.”

Even as she spoke the words, she realized that she wouldn’t have a choice. Adele would make her eat it, just as she’d made her eat the white chocolate truffle. She shook her head. “If the milk chocolate makes me forget, then what does the white chocolate do?”


“It will help you remember.”


“Remember?” she said dubiously. “Remember what?”


Adele waved the comment away. “We’ll get to that. First, we need to talk about the key.” She peered into Elle’s eyes. “Do not tell anyone you saw it. Not Rae, Rush, Edward … no one.”


“Okay.” This conversation was getting crazier by the minute. Her aunt was nuts, and she was pulling her into the insanity.


“Repeat it.”


“I won’t tell anyone I saw the gold key,” she repeated dully.


Adele studied her carefully. “No one can know you’ve found it. Otherwise, you will be in grave danger.”


Alarm raced through Elle. “What kind of danger?”


“Did anyone follow you here?”


Elle’s heart bumped up a notch. “I don’t know.” She swallowed hard as a layer of perspiration formed on her forehead. “I had the feeling that I was being watched, but I didn’t see anyone.”


“No, you wouldn’t have. Griselda’s too smart to be seen.”


“Who’s Griselda?”


A shadow crossed Adele’s features as her eyes flashed with anger. “Evil knows many faces, but hers is the most terrible of them all. She’s your worst nightmare,” she said quietly. “She has eyes everywhere, I’m sure she already knows that you saw the key.”


A sick panic twisted over Elle, and she had the feeling that none of this was real. It was her worst nightmare, and she would soon wake up … hopefully. Please let this be only a dream. 


“Listen very carefully. When you have the key in your possession, you must bring it here. I will keep it safe until you find the others.”


“The others? There are more keys?”


Adele nodded.


“How many?”


Her mouth moved like she was going to answer, but then she looked up at the ceiling. “What do you mean? I can’t tell her? Oh, fiddle faddle. Who cares about the rules? She needs to know. She needs to be able to protect herself … in case.”


Elle couldn’t help herself. Even though she knew no one was there, she looked up. Adele was always talking to some imaginary person she called Merek. “Are you talking to Merek?” She rolled her eyes. 


Adele looked surprised, and then she gave her a censuring look. “Despite what you think, I haven’t lost my marbles, dear. Yes, I’m talking to Merek, and he’s telling me to stop dawdling and get on with it.” She looked down at the book. “Bree.” She tapped on the cover. “Wake up, dear. Your assistance is needed.”


A hysterical laugh bubbled in Elle’s throat, and she swallowed it down. Her aunt was one step away from the loony bin, and if she stayed here any longer, she’d be right behind her. It was on the tip of her tongue to say she was leaving when the cover of the book opened on its own, and the pages began to turn.

A gust of wind whipped through the room, and suddenly, a blazing fire appeared in the fireplace. 
Adele laughed. “Splendid. Bree thinks we need a fire too. A fire always makes these situations cozier, don’t you think?”


Elle blinked and then looked again at the roaring fire. Her jaw dropped. “You’re magic,” she exclaimed with a tinge of awe. 


“Yes, you’re remembering already.” Adele rubbed her hands in anticipation. “Okay, Bree, it’s time to do your thing. And get to it pronto, will you? We haven’t much time before band practice starts.” 


The mirror, the key, and now this … it was too much. A wave of dizziness washed over Elle as stars began popping out of the air. 


Adele caught her arm. “Don’t you faint on me, dear. Try to relax. Think of the white truffle and how it tasted in your mouth. Concentrate on the book.”


Elle looked down at the blank pages.


“Look closer,” Adele urged.


She had the feeling that Adele’s voice was far away and that she was floating. Her eyes went wide when she saw the gold script on the pages, and then a scene lifted from the book.

There were rugged, snow-capped mountains in the distance and dazzling lakes. She was floating over a thick forest that soon gave way to a lush countryside with leafy trees and gentle hills.

Then, she saw the massive stone house resting prominently in the center of a meadow. She recognized the crisscrossed, diamond shaped bars over the windows and the large wooden door.

A whisper from before wafted over her and seeped into her pores.

This was familiar. This was home


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