Attraction, Disguises, and the Truth within The Artist’s Masquerade by Antonia Aquilante

The Artist’s Masquerade
by Antonia Aquilante
M/M Fantasy Romance
Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: December 21, 2015
Length: Novel (300 pages)
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Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon | AllRomance | Kobo

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.

Thanks for having me on your blog today! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and my new book, The Artist’s Masquerade, came 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. If you have read The Prince’s Consort, though, you’ll find some familiar faces in The Artist’s Masquerade.

The Prince’s Consort is the story of Philip, ruler of Tournai, and Amory, second son of a prominent glass merchant, who meet when Amory’s father offers Philip a night with Amory in exchange for more time on a late commission. Philip and Amory are both horrified by the offer, but Philip sees something in Amory and keeps him at the palace, for longer than one night, and they become friends, then lovers. Trust grows between them to the point that Philip even tells Amory of the magical Talent that runs in the royal family, which has been kept secret from all but a few for generations. They don’t expect to fall in love, nor do they expect someone to resort to murder to keep them apart.

The Artist’s Masquerade is the story of Flavian and Cathal. Cathal is Philip’s cousin and friend, though he wasn’t as supportive of Philip as he should have been in the early stages of Philip and Amory’s relationship, and as the reasons for Cathal’s behavior made themselves known to me, I realized Cathal needed to have his story told – and gain his own happily ever after. He’s torn between who he is and his desire to be the perfect royal duke’s heir in his father’s eyes. Meeting Flavian forces him to come to terms with this struggle – once he stops denying his attraction to Flavian. Flavian is a newcomer to Tournai. Fleeing a restrictive and dangerous homeland, he is disguised as a woman and traveling as a companion to his friend, the woman Cathal is betrothed to. It makes quite a tangle for them, as their attraction grows and feelings begin to develop between them.

The third book in the series, The Scholar’s Heart, will be out in 2016. It’s the story of Etan, Cathal’s younger brother, and Tristan, Amory’s oldest friend, both of whom readers of The Prince’s Consort will likely remember. They met in that story, and though I felt bad doing it, I had to make them wait a little while for their own.

I’ve had so much fun creating the world of Tournai and its people, places, and magic, and I’m not done with it yet – or maybe I’m not ready to leave it behind yet. Not when there are still so many stories to tell. My current project is book four of the series. No title yet (I’m horrible at them!), but I’m excited about the story. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did writing them!

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.)

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The Prince’s Consort
by Antonia Aquilante
M/M Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Dreamspin
ner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Length: Novel (290 pages)
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Buy Links: DSP (ebook) | DSP (paperback) | Amazon | ARe | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

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.

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  1. Thanks for letting me visit today!

    1. It was my pleasure to have you over. Love these stories (can’t wait for book 3).

  2. Sounds intriguing.

    • Melissa C. on December 26th, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Congratulations Antonia on your new release!

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