Snow: A Retelling of Red-Rose and Snow-White by Summer Donnelly
I've always loved the story of Rose-Red and Snow-White, a Grimm fairy tale about two sisters who fall in love with bear shifters. (This Snow is not related to the one with the 7 dwarves.) In German, Schneewittchen is the girl with the dwarves. This Snow was originally called Schneeweißchen)
It's a story I've always wanted to read but could never find one. So, I wrote it myself.
Come join me in Thistle Grove, a land full of Fables following the War of the Wicked Witches. Per the Treaty of the Wicked Witches, the Fables were removed out of the Woods They've established a town, complete with a bear shifter Baron, his brother, and a big bad wolf-shifter Sheriff.
Book 1 is available now. Book 2 will be out the end of March.
Crossing Grimm River on the back of a giant brown bear was an all-new experience for Snow. She giggled, straddling his large back. “This is better than riding a horse,” she announced as he dropped her, safe and sound, on the other side.
Tristan chuffed at her, and she giggled anew. “Aw, poor baby, you don’t like being compared to a horse?
Tristan shook his fur and sprayed river water over her shirt, jerkin, and leather pants. She observed her surroundings as Tristan went back across the river to get Ruby and Avery.
“I can cross on my own, Tristan,” Avery said, his voice deep and growly in the morning.
They had eaten the last of the biscuits that morning and washed them down with icy cold river water. No one knew what was on the horizon, and they were all on edge.
Once they were all on the same side of the Grimm River, Avery led the way. “Castle and cave are to the east.”
“I can’t even see the sun,” Snow said, falling into line. Avery, Ruby, Snow, with Tristan at the rear. “How can you tell east from west?”
“Instincts,” Avery responded. He sniffed the air, seeking his way.
“It’s too quiet,” Tristan warned. “Beware.”
Tension settled into Snow’s shoulders, and she narrowed her eyes. Yards fell, and then miles between the river and where they were. They were deep in the Woodlands now, and hardly a drop of sunlight fell to the forest floor.
After several hours, Avery slowed down. “There’s a berry bush up ahead. Tristan, help me see if they’re okay to eat.”
Tristan chuffed in response. Still keeping an eye on the women, the two shifters sniffed for poisons or spells that may hurt them.
Ruby and Snow spread out a blanket to sit on in a small clearing.
Snow took her throwing knives out of their sheaths. “Let’s practice while we wait,” she suggested. Ruby nodded and took out her own knives.
“Good one,” Ruby congratulated Snow. “You’re getting better!”
“Okay, your turn,” Snow suggested. Ruby eyed up her target and tossed the knife. THWAP. It, too, hit the tree and shuddered in relief.
By the time Avery and Tristan returned with a basket of berries, Ruby and Snow were warm and a little sweaty from their practice session.
“Looking good on the throws,” Avery said with a nod. “Let’s take a break and eat. I think we’ll be outside the forest by dinner. I saw a few rabbits running around. We can set up some snares and hopefully have a brace or two for dinner.”
The small group welcomed their brightly colored feast, although none of them relaxed enough to enjoy their meal. Conversation was subdued, as each waited. Trepidation crept up Snow’s spine and took up permanent residence.
She frowned. Was that a sound?
Snow glanced around, but no one else seemed to notice. “Tristan? Do you hear that?” she asked.
Tristan’s ears perked and his nose lifted. “A dark cloud is traveling towards us.”
The sound grew louder. Snow and Ruby shared a look before getting to their feet. Each pulled their staff out of its scabbard and prepped their knives.
Avery shoved his sleeves up, exposing forearms covered with hair. “It sounds like a stampede or some sort,” he said just before shifting into his wolf form. He howled with the pleasure of being a wolf again.
“What the…” Snow said. “It looks like a storm cloud. But that can’t be.”
“They’re bugs,” Ruby said.
“Gnats,” Tristan corrected.
“Gnats? How can gnats hurt us?” But no sooner were the words out of Snow’s mouth than the bugs swarmed the group.
“My eyes!” Ruby cried out, seconds before she began choking. Weapons were useless. Raw strength was wasted on their tiny foes. They attacked everywhere. Eyes. Ears. Choking them.
Tristan raised his paws, swatting them, but they got in the delicate membranes of his eyes. He blinked. Stopped. Unable to see what he was swiping at, he was a loaded weapon with too many friendly targets around him.