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On Friday's blog, I discussed openings, so I thought I'd give you the opening of The Bull Riding Witch today.
I woke with my head pounding and my tongue coated with the fur balls of ten thousand cats. I nearly gagged at the stench that filled the air, a scent that combined the reek of inside of a knight’s armor after jousting with the odor of rotting flesh.
Confused, I examined my surroundings. Hung on the wall facing me was a portrait of a huge bull with its head down and its heels kicked high into the air. Incredibly, a man, hanging onto a rope with only one hand, sat on the bull’s back. Why would anyone ride a bull? Bulls were dangerous and impossible to control.
Piled high on the bedside table were plates covered with the remains of several meals, bowls with a few dregs of sour milk, and empty bottles. The sheet I lay on was stained with various substances I didn’t want to identify. Where was I? This was certainly no place worthy of me, the crown princess. Maybe I had somehow ended in the servants’ quarters, although I couldn’t imagine how.
I tried to sit up, and my head felt as if it were going to split in two. I groaned, and the sound was deep and masculine. What the . . .? I looked down at my arms. They were muscular and covered with hair. I grabbed my naked chest. My breasts were entirely flat, and my chest was covered with thick, coarse hair. When I rubbed my hand across my face, I felt thick stubble. I looked down at the short clothes, which were the only thing I was wearing; there was a bulge that just shouldn’t have been there. I lifted the waistband and peeked. Dear gods, how had I gotten one of those? I poked it with my finger, and it twitched. I snapped the waistband closed and jumped away, but I couldn’t get away from the body I was wearing.
My breath came in dizzying gasps, and my pulse raced. This was just a dream, I told myself. It couldn’t be real.
From the bed, I saw a small, closetlike room with a mirror on the wall. With my skull threatening to split apart, I stumbled out of bed and tripped over piles of dirty clothes that covered the floor. I pushed through them to the other room. In a mirror stained with water spots, a man stared back at me. Medium-height, broad shoulders, shoulder-length brown hair with brown eyes to match. A scar near the right eyebrow enhanced rather than detracted from the rugged good looks. It was a face that would have drawn a second glance even from a princess and one that would have sent my father calling for the guards.
But it wasn’t mine. I grabbed the filthy porcelain basin underneath the mirror. How had this happened? Had I gone mad? “Think, Daulphina,” I told myself. “There has to be a logical explanation.”
Tell me what you think. Have I followed my own rules?