The Artist’s Masquerade
Chronicles of Tournai
December 21, 2015
Cover byAnne Cain
M/M Fantasy Romance Novel
DSP eBook / DSP paperback / Amazon
ARe / Goodreads
As the first-born son of the Duke of Tournai and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always tried to fulfill his duty to family and country, including following through with an arranged marriage to Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal. Cathal doesn’t know that Flavia is really Flavian, a man masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive place in which Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.
Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s true gender, he cannot fight his attraction to him. Flavian is intrigued by Cathal, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries Cathal is more taken with his feminine illusion than the man beneath it. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent that allows him to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—a skill invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.
Thank you for having me here today! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and my new book, The Artist’s Masquerade, will be out December 21st from Dreamspinner Press. The Artist’s Masquerade is the second book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, but it can be read as a standalone if you haven’t read the previous book, The Prince’s Consort, yet. The Artist’s Masquerade is the story of Cathal, cousin to Prince Philip in The Prince’s Consort, and Flavian. When I realized I needed to write Cathal’s story, I had to figure out just what kind of man Cathal would need, and how dutiful Cathal would fall in love with him. More than anything I’m a pantser when I write. I don’t outline, I don’t plan each scene of the story before I begin, but I do try to know as much as I can about my characters before I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. This isn’t to say that I don’t learn things along the way - I do - and sometimes those thing make me change directions, but I still have to know enough to begin.
As I thought about Cathal, Flavian and his story began to emerge. Flavian, a younger son of a noble family, who had to disguise himself to escape the restrictive empire that was home. With his prickly exterior and his artist’s soul. With his fears and his courage, his independence and his fierce loyalty. All the contradictions that make up Flavian and that ultimately make him the one for Cathal - and Cathal the one for him. Flavian challenges Cathal, shakes him up, and Cathal needs that. He needs to be tossed head first into love with someone his responsible side would see as utterly unsuitable. And Flavian...he’s running from his old home, his old life, and trying to create a new one. Love isn’t a priority for him. He doesn’t realize how much he needs it, needs someone like Cathal. He’s built a lot of walls between him and the world just as Cathal has his own obstacles to overcome. It doesn’t make it easy for these two - and that’s before you take into account Cathal’s betrothal to Flavian’s friend and the spies running around Tournai causing trouble.
One signed paperback copy of The Prince’s Consort, the first book in the Chronicles of Tournai series.
(Paperback for US entrants only; if winner is international, they’ll receive an eBook.)
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent - they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.