Friday, December 30, 2022

New Release-Book Review & Excerpt: CHESHIRE IN HEARTSLAND by Ariella Zoelle (Wonderland Ever After #2) - Includes Giveaway!

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Cheshire in Heartsland
By Ariella Zoelle

Cheshire 1800

Wonderland Ever After, Book 2

Cheshire is determined to convince King Rei to give them a second chance at happily ever after. But what if the only way to do that is for the cat shifter to team up with his enemy?

I could sulk about King Rei choosing his duty to his kingdom over our relationship, but it’s way more fun to get payback by stealing his crowns. Of course, my favorite form of revenge is tempting my fated mate with what he could have if only he wasn’t so stubborn.

We’ve been playing our will-they-won’t-they game since he took the throne, but the stakes change when a rival prince arrives in Wonderland to try wooing away my beloved. As a master of mayhem and mischief, I’m prepared to chase off the unwanted interloper by any means necessary.

But I quickly discover that the little princeling isn’t what he seems. And what’s more ingenious than working with my enemy to catch Rei by surprise? After all, I said I’d do absolutely anything to win him back.

Will my efforts finally motivate Rei to let me claim him as my mate?

Cheshire in Heartsland is the second book in the Wonderland Ever After series. This sweet-with-heat MM paranormal fantasy romance features affectionate shifters, fated mates, second chances, and a royal gay romance. Escape into this Wonderland full of whimsy, where everyone gets a HEA without cliffhangers. Each book can be read as a standalone but is best enjoyed in order.

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Chapter 1: Cheshire Cat

“I can make us both feel better,” I offered King Rei.

“What would make me feel better is if you’d leave me alone.”

It was the same claim he always fell back on when he was losing the fight against his desire for me. “We both know that’s a lie, so why do you keep saying it like it’s true?”

For once, he didn’t argue with me. “You can’t be here.”

“Because Prince Renner arrives tomorrow for his marriage interview with you?” I narrowed my eyes in displeasure, rankling at Rei’s responsibilities as king forcing him into such an unsavory situation.

The regret on his face mollified me somewhat. “You know I didn’t want to agree to that, but I had no choice.”

“Wrong. You could choose to be with me instead,” I insisted. “Now that the magic has returned to Wonderland and the shifters have reemerged from their long hibernation, there’s no reason for you to keep rejecting me.”

“That doesn’t mean my people will accept you as my royal consort.” Rei sighed with old frustrations. “Your reputation as a troublemaker and hell-raiser—”

“If you were mine again, I’d be as docile as a dormouse,” I promised with a pleading gaze. “I wouldn’t need to cause any trouble when I’d finally have everything I want.”

It surprised me when he pulled me down into an embrace. “Please don’t look at me like that. It makes it too difficult to tell you no, Chess.”

Despite my displeasure, I delighted in the small show of affection. I nuzzled against him with a purr, even as his still-hard prick made me want to do more than waste time talking. “Give me the chance to charm your people and reassure their fears about me. I promise you they like me far more than you think they do. I don’t know why you believe the townsfolk aren’t fans.”

He hugged me tighter. “I wish it was that easy.”

“At least let me try before I lose you for good.” I rocked against his hardness, earning me a sharp breath. “Please, Rei.”

He guided me to look down at him. “I can’t get out of the marriage interview, but you have my word I won’t fall for Prince Renner.”

I pouted. “But everyone says he’s Prince Charming, a perfect blend of gorgeous, generous, and kind. He’s everything a king’s consort should be. It would be the height of foolishness not to choose him to stand by your side.”

Rei ran his fingers through my hair as I nuzzled against his palm. “When I became king, I vowed if I can’t be with you, then I’ll be with no one. I have no intention of breaking my word.”

His words should have made me feel better, but they didn’t. I hated that he stubbornly chose to be alone when he didn’t have to. “Why would your people want to be ruled by a King of Hearts who can’t love?”

“It’s not that I can’t love. It’s that I can’t love you openly. There’s a difference.”

“You beautiful, stupid, stubborn man.” I’d had enough of his words that tugged at my heartstrings and made us both sad. Instead of arguing, I gave in to the forbidden urge I had resisted since the eve of King Rei’s coronation. I kissed him with all the pent-up love that I had been forced to hold back for the past three years of his reign.

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Carra's Review

After reading the first book in this series, it was hard to wait to read Cheshire’s story after being teased with his and Rei’s situation.  I love his character with his naughty behavior and tendency to poke around while no one can see him.  Of all of the characters introduced in the series, Cheshire is by far my favorite…such a wayward cat.

Rei has had the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders since he became the king, and he’s worked tirelessly to make things right after his mother’s and oldest brother’s reigns.  Unfortunately, that meant denying himself a relationship with the person he loves…all out of his supposed duty to his people.  His angst is self-imposed, and Cheshire, along with Rei’s other friends, are relentless in trying to get Rei to change his thinking.

As for Prince Renner from Mirrorland?  The part he plays in all of this is unexpected, but leads to some interesting revelations.  You may not expect the feelings his character will evoke.  He is also the instigator of one of the funniest scenes in the book—and the most revealing for Rei.

I had high hopes for Cheshire’s story, and I’m happy to say the author delivered.  4.5 stars for Cheshire in Heartsland, and now I again can’t wait for book number three!  If you haven’t started this series yet, you’re really missing out on the fun :-)

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate Ariella's new release, we are giving you the chance to win the eBook of your choice from Ariella's Published Works!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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Check out Book 1:
Alistair in Wonderland

Alistair 1800

Wonderland Ever After, Book 1

Alistair falls down the rabbit hole and becomes the new Alice. Can he save Wonderland’s magic by falling in love with his fated mate?

My life sucks until Bianco shows up. He’s a gorgeous albino who promises me a fun adventure while looking like a handsome prince from a fairy tale. I happily follow him down the rabbit hole in the hopes of getting up to some sexy shenanigans.

Imagine my shock when I discover he’s the famous White Rabbit from the books and one of the last shifters left in Wonderland! Even more surprising is finding out I’m a descendant of the original Alice, which means I’m the only person who can bring the missing magic back to their world.

That’s all well and good, but our incredible chemistry is highly distracting. It’s impossible to resist our intense attraction when I’m his fated mate, so why bother trying? But maybe there’s a way to have it all.

What if forming a mating bond with Bianco is the way to make all my dreams come true and save Wonderland at the same time?

Alistair in Wonderland is the first book in the Wonderland Ever After series. This sweet-with-heat MM paranormal fantasy romance features affectionate shifters, fated mates, and a magical gay romance. These books have hilarious characters to adore, a lot of sexy fun times, and no angst love stories that make you laugh and swoon. Escape into this Wonderland full of whimsy, where everyone gets a HEA without cliffhangers. Each book can be read as a standalone but is best enjoyed in order.

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About the Author:

Ariella Zoelle adores steamy, funny, swoony romances where couples are allowed to just be happy. She writes low angst stories full of heat, humor, and heart. But sometimes she's in the mood for something with a bit more angst and drama. If you are too, check out her A.F. Zoelle books.

For real-time updates on her writing progress, please join her Facebook group for exclusive teasers or follow her on Twitter or Instagram. You can also sign up for her newsletter to gain access to bonus chapters, previews of upcoming books, exclusive visual guides, and more.

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