Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Mythology #Fantasy #Anthology: ONCE UPON A WINTER, A Collection of Fairytale Retellings by Jennifer M. Miller ETAL


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A Collection of Fairytale Retellings



Snowflakes cursed by magic.

A world sleeps in winter’s embrace

White as snow. Blood red. Darker than the shadows hidden below, fairytales come to life with unexpected twists of fate.

Can Belle protect her happiness when winter brings an old foe?

Will spring ever come to Sleeping Beauty’s cursed kingdom?

Can Snow White escape her chilling fate?

Crave the whimsy, wonder, and heartbreak that begins with once upon a time.

Let the magic of the season consume you. One click today!

A Collection of Fairytale Retellings

Of Wolf and Rose
An exclusive short story



Once upon a time, a little wolf said, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow the traitor down.”

Before him, a time had come when fierce wolves were ambushed. Blood, sweat, and tears were shed in a hopeless battle. Broken, beaten and fatally injured, the wolves fought to overcome all odds.

Heir to the King of the Wolves and future Alpha of the Yellowstone Caldera, the weight of the world would soon be the little wolf’s to carry.

Pictures of alphas from long ago lined the packhouse walls. Far too soon, Wilder’s picture would be added. He’d only recently begun attending formal meetings with the council.

His father walked with an air of confidence. Power radiated from the mere presence of the King.

Wilder followed in his father’s footsteps. They ventured into the Wyoming sunrise. A brisk breeze passed, bringing with it the deep musk of pine and autumn foliage.

The two men leapt into the air, immediately shifting from man to wolf.

Tales of shifters stretched the expanse of time. For some, the change was painful. For the King and his pack, it was as natural as breathing.

When they touched the ground again, only fractions of a second has passed, yet paws with long black claws touched the earth where feet should have landed.

The King, taller by two and a half centimeters, shook his dark charcoal fur. He held his head back and released a deep howl, alerting the others to meet in the clearing.

Wilder, a lighter grey wolf with icy blue eyes, peered into the woods. His ears pointed at the sound of his father’s howl. He pushed his snout into the air.

Something strange lurks in the distance.

Together, they sprinted through the grassy lawn of the Packhouse toward a line of timber.

Sticks and dried leaves crunched beneath them. Motion stirred in the darkness of the forest. A black rabbit ducked into a hole, and the scent of fear tickled Wilder’s nose.

Perhaps, if wasn’t on a royal mission, he’d follow the rabbit for an afternoon snack. For now, the rabbit was safe.

The King jumped over a fallen oak tree withering away into the ground, a haunting realization that he too would be left to rot. He pushed harder on his paws, increasing his speed.

Wilder remained at his father’s flank, close enough to protect the family crown if trouble came near. Long before his first shift, Wilder’s father placed the young pup on his shoulders and ran through the very same forest.

Wilder remembered clinging to his dad’s ears. His eyes wide and wet from the rush of the wind. The view from his father’s shoulders was a sight of unspoken beauty.

Streams rushed by leaving only the sound of water trickling over rock. The sounds of birds and little critters stopped. The wilderness fell silent.

“Do you smell that?” The King asked his son through their mindlink, a way to speak without being heard.

The strand of fur along Wilder’s spine stood on end. He replied, “Yes.”

A whisper of wind shook the branches. Without a saw, the wolves’ claws elongated two times longer than they’d been before. The King’s teeth mirrored his claws—long, sharp, ready to rip into evil flesh.

Danger approaches,” he warned his son.

The clearing had once been a safe place where alphas from the region met to hunt. A common ground to gather food for their families and fellowship with other packs. To mate.

Now, it reeked of death.

Wilder pulled back his ears, listening carefully for movement.


It was quiet, too quiet.

“The others are her,” the King’s beta informed the Pair.

Eight alphas from the region gathered along the treeline, hiding in the shadows of the thick forest, waiting for the King’s orders.

Wilder’s father crouched low. Jaws tight, canines at the ready, his fierce growl pierced the silence.

Wilder scratched his front paw into the dirt, giving him the leverage he needed to rocket off of his hind legs when the time came. The son stood ready, willing, and able to accompany his father in battle.

The King stepped out of the safety of the trees.

A dense morning fog set in.

Wilder remained hidden, while the other Alphas took their place alongside the Alpha King. The fiercest of the wolves stood shoulder to should. Their bodies built a solid roadblock between the scent of danger and the loved ones behind them.

Whoever, or whatever, left their senses riling would not pass without bloodshed.

“What is it?” Roman, Alpha of the West Moon Pack, asked aloud.

“Pure evil,” another alpha muttered. “Stand firm. Do not let them pass.”

“Calm yourselves.” The King stood firm. “We must seek to understand. We’ll fight if we must, but not until we’ve exhausted every other option.”

Pride filled Wilder’s heart. He knew with his father at the helm, the pack could defeat any enemy.

The alphas pushed forward, taking a single step in unison.

“Stop,” The Alpha King’s command rumbled.

The stench of sulfur burned Wilder’s snout.

A dark figure appeared on higher ground. Swirls of black and grey smoke encircled the shape that wasn’t quite human.

“Wait for my command, men.” The King broadened his stance.

And woman,” Elizabeth, Alpha of the Lamar Valley Pack, threw her snout into the air.

Wilder snickered.

The only female alpha in the region had to be fierce, bold, and quick. When she was a teen, her family disowned her. Destiny brought retribution.

Elizabeth’s eyes dipped on a low growl.

The shadow moved closer, his form shifting from bear to lion to human.

His scent, his form, the smoke—the creature screamed tales of death.

“We will try to maintain peace first.” The King switched into his human form.

“No!” Wilder screamed through the mindlink. In wolf form, the King was protected. What weapons did he have without his claws?

He threw an angry snarl over his shoulder to tell his son to stay back. “You must protect yourself, son. You are the future of this pack. Remember all that I have taught you.”

Alpha Roman advanced in the King’s shadow. Friends since both, Roman would always stand beside his King.

“I’ll take back what is mine,” the creature hissed. His human tongue turned into a slithery fork.

The shadow monster rose high into the air. Puffs of smoke formed daggers behind him, aimed directly at the king.

Roman released a growl. “Shift! They do not want peace.”

“What is it you’re missing? Let us work together.” The king held his hands out to the creature.

The daggers moved impossibly closer, inches from the King’s head.

Dad. Shift. Protect yourself like you told me to do.” Wilder called to his father. Begging him to take action. “What will mom do without you?”

The King’s breath lodged in his throat. He forced himself to swallow.

The creature released an evil laugh. An army of smokey figures of all shapes and sizes drifted into view.

“They came to fight. Not find peace. You must shift,” Roman advised the King.

The royal leader jumped ten feet off the ground and landed in his wolf’s form.

Fight like there’s no tomorrow. Heads up. Claws out. We must defend the pack.” The King charged forward, hurdling himself at the target. The being and the wolf clashed mid-air.

They tumbled and turned, somersaulting round and round.

“For the pack!” Roman rushed the enemy.

The line of alphas charged into battle.

The fog turned black as night.

“My feet are stuck in place.” Alpha of the Hayden asked.

“I can’t see anything,” Elizabeth added.

“Magic,” Roman answered out loud. “We won’t be able to penetrate the supernatural boundary separating us from them.”

“No.” Wilder chomped at the cloud of smoke. A mystical force knocked him back. He climber to his feet and shook the magic from his fur.

He flashed his canines and attacked again, only to be thrown back to the line of trees.

“Goddess help us.” Roman sent a silent message to the supernatural Luna, Goddess of the Moon.

Meet Author Jennifer M. Miller…

USA Today and internationally bestselling author Jennifer M. Miller writes for Creative Words Press, LLC.

When she’s not writing, Jennifer travels across the United States with her family in an RV. At each destination, she draws inspiration for her next story.

Whether its worlds with magic or a budding flame between the star wide receiver and his coach’s daughter, she always adds a healthy dose of humor and heart.

Jennifer’s bookish idols are Lucy Score, for her witty banter, and Emelia Rose, who writes the best angsty characters.


Links to Jennifer’s website, blog, books, #ad, etc.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vQnptc


**Special Giveaway** Jennifer will give away a paperback copy (U.S. Only) of ONCE UPON A WINTER to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

9 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Mythology #Fantasy #Anthology: ONCE UPON A WINTER, A Collection of Fairytale Retellings by Jennifer M. Miller ETAL”

  1. Good morning, Jennifer, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I cannot wait to read this collection. I love reimagined fairytales and am already caught by your excerpt. Thanks for sharing your book with us today!

  2. Good morning Jennifer! Wow, this book of Anthologies, sounds and looks Great!! Thank you for sharing your excerpt, I love the sound of it! I love, love fairytales. Have a Great day and Thank you so much for the chance.

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