From New York Times bestselling author Katy Regnery comes a dark and twisted retelling of the beloved fairytale, Cinderella!
My name is Ashley Ellis…
I was thirteen years old when my mother – retired supermodel, Tig – married Mosier Răumann, who was twice her age and the head of the Răumann crime family.
When I turned eighteen, my mother mysteriously died. Only then did I discover the dark plans my stepfather had in store for me all along; the debauched “work” he expected me to do.
With the help of my godfather, Gus, I have escaped from Mosier’s clutches, but his twin sons and henchmen have been tasked with hunting me down. And they will stop at nothing to return my virgin body to their father
…dead or alive.
** Contemporary Romance. Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**
Visit the Fragments of Ash Website
FRAGMENTS OF ASH IS LIVE!
REVIEWED BY EMMA-LOUISE ON BEHALF OF KFF
This release has been hyped and I was extremely stoked-up to get a copy. I kept everything crossed that this wasn’t another of those cases of overhyped-super-let-down. Thankfully this book lived up to the buzz and so much more. The telling of a modern-day fairytale has been tried and done by several authors. This author is I have to say, the best of them. Chock-full of romance, suspense and a tinge of mystery.
Ashley’s mother is found dead a month after Ashley’s eighteenth birthday. Tragedy rarely hits singularly. Shortly after her mother’s funeral, Ashley is dropped on her head with a revelation from her dear old stepfather Mosier Răumann (pronounced Rowman). With the help of her fairy godfather and a well-meaning man, she gets out of dodge. Enter one of the most abstinent men I have had the pleasure of loving in quite a while.
Julian Ducharme is angry and spiteful to begin with, and at times I almost couldn’t handle how he treated Ashley. There was one pitiful scene about forty percent in that almost broke me. How something as simple as an offering for friendship could lead to one of the most tragic scenes I have ever read. I ended up, and I kid you not with a red face from ugly crying so much, I do not often have to put a book down and walk away because of how it makes me feel. I mentioned that scene to a family member and just talking about it had me in tears again. What has this author done to me?
Quickly I became invested in Ashley and her story. We’ve all experienced a moment or time in our lives where we feel truly alone. Ashley’s character was as fragile as she was strong, weak and yet unbreakable, naïve and yet older than her years. Fragments of Ash is an expedition for both Julian and Ashley. They both have baggage, so much so they are ladened down, exhausted and numb. Julian is almost like the tin man out of the Wizard of Oz; his heart is there if only he could feel it beating in his chest.
“But that doesn’t make him your boyfriend,” I snap. My lips turn down, and I look so sad that I add in a whisper. “Not yet anyway.”
The backstory of both characters creates a slow burn adventure. Adventure is the right word for one of them. It takes re-education and trusting oneself to forget what had been sewn in there over years of operant conditioning. Reading their first kiss was like experiencing my first kiss all over again. Shame mine wasn’t as good as theirs clearly was!
‘My body is his playground, and he is doing things to it that I never imagined. Even more, my body is responding like it’s been waiting for him to touch me like this. Like maybe it’s been waiting forever. I know what it wants, and as my hips start to thrust softly against his hand.’
Ms. Regnery is a true artist of words. I cannot express how immensely overwhelming I felt at times. I craved this book, just one more page, just one more chapter. Working between sessions was a real pain for me. Sadly workie equals no books for Emma. *sighs*
I’m a fickle reader, I know this well enough. When I read Unloved last year I said THAT was this author’s best book. Now I’m stating: that as of this moment, Fragments of Ash is her best. High five woman, and a standing ovation. Bloomin’ brilliant.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © Katy Regnery and used with permission
Sitting in an old, broken-in wicker chair that looks out at the barn and meadow, I place my food on the table beside me and bow my head in prayer.
“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
When I look up, I see the barn door slam shut and find Bruno standing across the gravel driveway, watching me. He makes a baying sound, then crosses toward me, the pitter-patter of his paws on the gravel making me grin.
“Good morning, sweet boy,” I say, as he approaches. “Are you coming to visit me?”
He pads up the three back porch stairs to my chair, sits at my bare feet, and looks up at me expectantly.
“Are you hungry, baby?”
As if he can understand my words, he darts a glance to my eggs and licks his lips.
“I’m not sure I’m allowed to feed you,” I tell him.
“Rowr. Rowr,” he rumbles, looking at my eggs again.
“Hm. Okay. How about I have one and you have one?”
I lower my plate and slide one egg off the side and onto the porch floor. Before it hits the ground, it’s gone.
He looks surprised, then sits down genteelly, staring up at me like I’ve hung the moon. I giggle at his hopeful expression.
“More? Doesn’t your master feed you?”
I pick up my fork and try to avoid his eyes as I cut a small piece of egg then spear it with the tines. But I can’t avoid the small movements of his head, which track my every movement.
He whines hopefully, his amber tail swinging back and forth on the porch floor like a duster.
“Oh, fine!” I say, placing the plate on the floor with another giggle. “You win.”
He leans down, gobbling up my second egg, and I make a mental note to change my grocery order from one dozen eggs to two.
“He’s taking advantage of you.”
Julian is standing halfway between the barn and the house, hands on his hips and a difficult-to-read expression on his face. Annoyed? Amused? Hmm. I’m not sure.
“Did you let him eat your whole breakfast?” he asks.
“Wh-what? No! We just . . . I was just sharing . . .”
“. . . your whole breakfast,” he finishes for me matter-of-factly.
He whistles—a short, high-pitched sound—and Bruno immediately trots down the porch steps and sits down in the gravel next to his owner.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry,” I say, reaching for my orange like I’m trying to even the score. You have a dog? Well, look at me, buster. I have an orange. “I should have asked your permission before feeding him.”
“Probably,” he says, reaching down to ruffle Bruno’s head. “But it’s okay. He’s a hound. It’s not like he’s going to get sick. Hounds aren’t prissy.”
“Are some dogs . . . prissy?” I ask, clasping my orange between both hands. This is the longest I’ve spoken to a single, young, available man, on my own, since I was thirteen, and I can almost feel the fourteen-, fifteen-, sixteen-, and seventeen-year-old parts of me jumping up and down and swooning inside.
“Ever meet a poodle? Or a Chihuahua?”
My shoulders skim my ears when I shrug. “I don’t really know that much about dogs.”
“Never had one?”
“Okay. Well, Bruno’s a hound. Specifically, he’s a redbone coonhound. He’s a working dog. A hunter.”
“He hunts . . . racoons?”
“His breed does.”
“Oh.” I think this over. “Poor racoons.”
And then the most miraculous thing happens. Miraculous because I wasn’t expecting it. Miraculous because I thought Julian was beautiful when I first saw him yesterday, but I had no idea how he could look . . . when he smiled.
I’m not ready for it. None of me is ready for the lightning bolt of pleasure that enters through my eyes and zaps my whole body, down to the tips of my toes and back up again. I feel lit up from the inside. Hot and bright.
“Poor racoons.” He chuckles softly, like he’s surprised, then shakes his head, staring down at Bruno. “Yeah. Okay.” He looks up and meets my eyes, his own still slightly crinkled from his smile. “Don’t worry. I let him tree them, not kill them.”
I realize that my mouth’s hanging open, and I close it, passing my orange from hand to hand as my racing heart pounds in my ears.
His smile fades as he stares back at me, the silence taut between us. His eyes widen, darkening to a deep forest green, and I watch, mesmerized, as he licks his lips before glancing over his shoulder at the barn.
“I should . . . get back to work.”
“Me too,” I murmur.
“You too?” he asks, his brows furrowing in confusion.
“No. Not me,” I say, popping up from my chair, my face flaming as my fingernails dig into the skin of the orange, spraying bitter juice onto my fingers. “I’m not . . . working. I’m just . . . I . . . I have to go, um, too.”
He stares at me for an extra beat, then chuckles softly before heading back to the barn.
I stare at his back, lowering my eyes to his waist, then still lower to his—
“Hey, Ashley,” he says, turning so fast, he catches me staring at his backside.
Can you clock the speed at which a human neck snaps up? Whatever the record used to be, I’m positive I just beat it. “Hmm? Y-yes?”
He grins at me, and I know I’ve been caught gaping. Lord, help me. I brace myself, expecting him to say something lewd or, at the very least, suggestive. Heck, I haven’t been called a bitch in almost thirty-six hours. I suppose I’m long past due.
“Thanks for dinner,” he says softly, then turns back around and saunters into the barn.
Fragments of Ash is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection: contemporary, standalone romances inspired by beloved fairy tales.
The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now
Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now
Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available now
Sheer Heaven (Rapunzel) – available now
Fragments of Ash (Cinderella) – coming October 1, 2018
Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – coming soon
Buy links for the modern fairytale collection
Amazon: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA
iBooks | Nook | Kobo
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract, and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.
Forty books later, Katy claims authorship of the multititled New York Times and USA Today bestselling Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other stand-alone novels and novellas, including the critically-acclaimed, 2018 RITA© nominated, USA Today bestselling contemporary romance, Unloved, a love story.
Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Todaybestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, became a New York Times e-book bestseller.
Katy’s books are available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.
Keep in touch with Katy. She’d love to hear from you!