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When Regis was young, his mother told him a fairytale about a man trapped in a tower, cursed by a witch and guarded by a dragon, waiting to be awoken by his true love. Nine years old and no fool, Regis hadn’t believed a word.
Now he’s of age, and it seems his mother’s fairytale was more than a bedtime story. Because now there *is* a man asleep instead of a tower, and once Regis wakes him, the attraction is undeniable. Jonathan is perfect: soft-spoken and strong-minded, a warrior with a passion for justice and a loose idea of rules. He’s determined to bring down the witch who cursed him, and Regis is inclined to help.
Problem is, Regis himself is no Prince Charming. In fact, he’s the witch’s apprentice.
The first page:
By the time he was nine, Regis had realized that his mother knew about things before they happened. She would bring in the wash before there was a cloud in the sky; she had salves for bruises and bloody knees that hadn’t happened yet, lectures prepared for future misdeeds. And no matter what he was up to, she would catch him mid-act.
He attributed this strange omniscience to adulthood, and looked forward to the day he might abuse it.
Then the day came when a man in their village was killed. His mother took him to the funeral, where the body was placed on a pyre and lit. “I don’t understand,” Regis kept trying to say, but the adults shushed him. “No, really! What a stupid man. He — ” His mother gasped, horrified, stooping to grab him. “But why did he go into the woods if there was a bear there?”
“Regis, don’t be ridiculous. How could he have known?” his mother asked. When he began to explain, she clapped a hand over his mouth and hauled him off. She placed him on a bench away from the pyre and said, “Now, stay here until you’re ready to be behave,” and she left.
After the funeral, as she set down their supper at home, he spoke up. “Ma, did that man know he was going to die?”
“Adults aren’t psychic, dear.”
“Yes, they are,” he said. “You are.”
She didn’t even glance up as she spooned stew into their bowls. “That’s different. I’m a teller. It’s a gift that sometimes pops up in our family.” She tweaked his nose. “I’d hoped you’d have it, but it seems you’ve taken after your father instead.”
“Did you know that man was going to die?”
She paused, then said, “Yes.”
“Why didn’t you stop him?”
“I couldn’t have. My visions tell what the future is, not what the future might be. If I could have saved him, I wouldn’t have seen him die.”
This sounded monstrously unfair, as well as monstrously untrue. “You stop me from doing things all the time,” he said stubbornly. “If your visions don’t let you change the future — ”
“I have visions of myself stopping you. Eat your stew.” Regis huffed, decided that tellers were stupid, and went back to his dinner. He wondered why on earth his gifted mother lived in a backwater village in the middle of nowhere.