By: Cait Reynolds
You can’t love what you hate, but you can desire it.
Sometimes, it is best to begin at the end.
Angel Hands, by Cait Reynolds, begins at the end of The Phantom of the Opera, revealing, for the first time, the true story behind Leroux’s fantastical tale and the real fate of the Phantom himself.
When the Opera de Paris is purchased and renovated, years after a mysterious fire nearly destroyed it, the Phantom finds himself unexpectedly resurrected - in the form of a young boy hired by the manager’s daughter to play pranks on the cast, crew, and audience. After all, the return of the infamous “Opera Ghost” can only be good for ticket sales, and Mireille Dubienne is determined to see her father’s investment become profitable.
Plain, shrewd, and proud, Mireille pours the rage of her disappointed hopes and looming spinsterhood into helping her father manage the Opera de Paris and making it a success.
What she doesn’t count on is the real “Opera Ghost” deciding he no longer wishes to be an understudy in his own domain, the theater that Mireille believes is hers.
The Phantom and Mireille push each other to the limits of their cunning to control and manipulate each other, with no game too low to play. With each passing day, the stakes get higher, until surrender is no longer an option for the Phantom or Mireille.
Every trick and betrayal drives them toward a startling truth that will change more than one life forever: you can’t love what you hate…but you can desire it.
An Exclusive Excerpt!
“Well?” Mireille snapped. “What's it to be? Hot oil or the rack?”
She was tired of waiting for her phantom fellow to answer her with the expected threat. After pinning her against the wall, all he had done was stare at her. He hadn't moved an inch. She had been a little disconcerted at the glazing over of his eyes as he had gazed down at her, and she felt his rather obvious arousal grind into her hips.
He blinked twice, as if coming to, and Mireille felt a vague stab of anxiety as he looked down at her with the kind of undisguised lust that Carcasonne had revealed earlier. Only this time, the lust in his eyes was...well, not welcome, no, certainly not...but neither was it entirely repugnant.
She took a quick breath in, and for an instant, almost believed that he would kiss her. His eyes were half-lidded, and his lips parted.
“Monsieur, you do an excellent imitation of a dead carp,” she said, trying to regain control of the situation.
“Says the harping fishwife!” he snarled back, all the lust fled from his expression.
Mireille surprised herself with the laugh that bubbled up inside her and spilled out as inelegant giggles and snorts. The phantom stepped back quickly, releasing her as if she was a burning coal. Through the tears of her mirth, she thought she saw a look of genuine astonishment on his face.
“Bon soir,” she said as her laughter subsided and a faint smile lingered like the last moments of sunset before twilight. “I will be going now.”
She saw him looking at her, his eyes almost glowing with some unreadable emotion.
“I still have not said you can leave.” His voice was as cold as the water in the canals, cold as stone, and hot as fire.
“Do you want me to stay?”
She had meant to be challenging and impertinent, yet, for a moment, he seemed to hesitate.
Their eyes met, and they both quickly looked away.
“Until next week,” he said flatly, still not looking at her.
“Same time,” she confirmed, gazing everywhere but at him.
“You had best leave now.”
“I was already going.”
“Well, now you may go.”
The urge to have the last word was almost overpowering. Digging her nails into her palms, she turned and marched back out the way she came. She plotted how the next time, she would be the one to dismiss him, then stopped in her tracks. It was absolutely horrifying.
She was actually looking forward to the next time.
Cait Reynolds Bio:
Cait Reynolds lives in Boston area with her husband and 4-legged fur child. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking delicious meals, running around the city, rock climbing like a boss, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes. Reynolds is able to pull from real life experiences such as her kidney transplant, and her writing reflects her passion for life from having to face the darkest places and find the will to laugh.
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