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The Bride and the Beast

The Bride and the Beast

4.2 183
by Teresa Medeiros

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Teresa Medeiros makes her hardcover debut in this magnificently sensual and romantic tale filled with passion, humor, and suspense. It is the unforgettable story of two indomitable characters whose love affair is the stuff of which legends are made....

Gwendolyn Wilder did not believe in dragons.  But the superstitious villagers of Ballybliss did, and


Teresa Medeiros makes her hardcover debut in this magnificently sensual and romantic tale filled with passion, humor, and suspense. It is the unforgettable story of two indomitable characters whose love affair is the stuff of which legends are made....

Gwendolyn Wilder did not believe in dragons.  But the superstitious villagers of Ballybliss did, and so Gwendolyn found herself bound to a post as a sacrificial offering to the Dragon who haunted the ruins of Castle Weyrcraig. Fifteen years earlier, someone had betrayed the Laird of Weyrcraig and his handsome young heir to the English for a thousand pounds in gold. Now the Dragon was demanding that very amount. The frightened Highlanders hoped that instead of gold, the fair virgin would satisfy the beast's insatiable appetite. As for Gwendolyn, she never doubted that the so-called Dragon was a fraud. She knew there was a perfectly good explanation for the mysterious lights seen flickering in the crumbling castle and the unsettling sound of bagpipes drifting through the glens. But as she waited for whoever-or whatever-to claim his prize, she could not help trembling as a furious storm lashed about her...and she saw what appeared to be dark wings and a stream of silver smoke emerge from the shadows.  Rumor had it that the Dragon could take the form of a man, and so he did with Gwendolyn-a man who would not show her his face. He carried her into his lair and made her his prisoner, his pampered pet. And while she didn't expect to be eaten by the fire-breathing Dragon of Weyrcraig, neither did she expect to be warmed by his sensuous caresses or devoured by his passionate kisses.

The Dragon had demanded gold and the fools had given him this golden-haired maiden. She was the very last thing he expected-and now there was no way he could let her go. She could never know that he was no monster but a flesh-and-blood man who had just laid eyes on the one woman who could slay him. Still, this supremely handsome man of devastating virility was more dangerous than any dragon. He would take it upon himself to enchant the practical Gwendolyn as she had enchanted him. He would weave a spell of sensuous magic around her that would defy all her commonsense notions and tempt her to believe in something even more unlikely than dragons and more powerful than the past that threatened them both-true love.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Kathe Robin
Revenge, redemption, guilt and innocence, wonderful storytelling and a romantic plot are the magic behind this spellbinding, beautifully rendered tale. Teresa Medeiros' talent for incorporating humor and poignancy into a captivating fairy tale confirms her status as a spinner of the finest an most memorable of romances.
Romantic Times
Library Journal
As the only virgin left in the Highland village of Ballybliss, Gwendolyn Wilder finds herself being sent off as a sacrificial offering to the legendary Dragon of Weyrcraig and ends up winning his heart instead in this light, creative version of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. An outspoken, irreverent, and somewhat overweight heroine; a wounded, noble hero; and an ample supply of lively, whimsical humor and excellent writing make Medeiros's first hardcover romance a debut to remember. Medeiros (Charming the Prince) is a popular writer of light, humorous historical romances and lives in Hopkinsville, KY. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/00.] Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
A first hardcover in the warmed-over fairy-tale tradition of Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. The bride is Gwendolyn Wilder, the only maiden in a Scottish glen where most virginity is only a memory at 15; the beast is Bernard MacCullough, laird of the glen who has returned to his broken-down castle to find out which of the villagers of Ballybliss betrayed his parents to the English. Bernard has kept his people away from Castle Weyrcraig by pretending to be the "Dragon." He and his sidekick Tupper get their victuals by sending threatening shopping lists to the village. The mention of innocent blood in one message leads the frightened glen folk to tie Gwendolyn to a stake in the castle courtyard, in case the Dragon has a taste for virgins. Bernard cuts her down and plies her with room and board. He's afraid that if he lets her go, she'll blow his plans for revenge. As the Dragon visits her under cover of darkness, so that she won't recognize him, Gwendolyn falls in love with him. He doesn't seem to mind that she's a bit chubby. He likes her curves, her spirit, and her intelligence. Before she gets a chance to offer him her virginity, though, the villagers return to slay the Dragon themselves. To save Gwendolyn's life, Bernard reveals himself to his people. Heartbroken when she learns her sexy beast is just another guy, Gwendolyn rushes home, where she has spent much of her life tending to her mad father, the traitor Bernard has been seeking. When he learns her secret, Bernard tells Gwendolyn he'll spare her dad if she'll marry him. After an awkward dénouement, the couple will move quickly to happily-ever-after. Instead of purveyingsuchcopycat fables, Medeiros would be better off sticking to the witchy romances she does best.

From the Publisher
"A beguiling blend of myth and magic ... sure to win your heart."
-- New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag

"A beautiful, enchanting fairy tale ... the ultimate romance reader's fantasy."
-- New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah

Don't miss any of the magic in these bestselling romances by Teresa Medeiros:

Charming the Prince
Nobody's Darling
Touch of Enchantment
Breath of Magic
Fairest of Them All
Thief of Hearts
A Whisper of Roses
Once an Angel
Heather and Velvet
Lady of Conquest
Shadows and Lace

Coming soon in hardcover:

A Kiss to Remember

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Random House Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

Scotland, The Highlands

Gwendolyn was nine years old the day she almost killed the future chieftain of Clan MacCullough.

She was hauling herself up a sturdy young oak, carefully testing each branch to make sure it would bear her weight, when his shaggy pony came into view.

She settled her backside into a well-worn hollow in the trunk and peered through the minty green veil of leaves, her heart skipping a beat. Aye, it was he. There was no mistaking Bernard MacCullough's regal bearing or the shock of dark hair that tumbled across his brow. He wore a scarlet and black tartan draped over his saffron shirt. A silver badge emblazoned with the MacCullough dragon secured the tartan, drawing her attention to shoulders that seemed to grow broader with each passing day. Below his short kilt, his long, tanned legs hugged the pony's flanks.

Gwendolyn rested her chin on her hand and sighed, content simply to drink in the sight of him as he guided the pony down the rocky path with a grace and mastery beyond his fifteen years. Although he rode through this pass every day, she never tired of watching him. Never tired of dreaming chat one day he would look up and catch a glimpse of her.

"Who goes there?" he would call out, reining his pony to a halt. "Could it be an angel fallen from the heavens?"

"'Tis only I, m'laird," she would reply, "thine fair Lady Gwendolyn."

Then he would flash his white teeth in a tender smile and she would gently float to the ground. (In her dreams, she always had a pretty pair of gossamer wings.) Using only one hand, he would sweep her up before him on the pony and they would ride through the village, basking beneath the proud smiles of her mama and papa, the slack-jawed gazes of the villagers, and the envious stares of her two older sisters.

"Look! There's Gwennie at the top of that tree. And they say pigs can't fly!" A burst of raucous laughter jerked Gwendolyn out of her reverie.

As she looked down and saw the circle of children gathered around the tree, her skin began to crawl with an all too familiar dread. Perhaps if she ignored their taunts, they would just go away.

"I don't know why ye're wastin' yer time up there. All the acorns are down here on the ground." Ross, the burly son of the village blacksmith, slapped his knee, howling with mirth.

"Oh, do stop it, Ross," laughed Glynnis, Gwendolyn's twelve-year-old sister. She twined an arm through his and tossed her flowing auburn curls. "If you'll leave the poor creature alone, I'll let you steal a kiss later."

Gwendolyn's eleven-year-old sister, Nessa, whose silky straight hair was a shade more gold than red, captured his ocher arm, pouting prettily. "Keep your lips to yourself, wench. He's already promised his kisses to me."

"Don't fret, lasses." Ross squeezed them both until they squealed. "I've kisses enough to go 'round. Although 'twould take more kisses than I've got to go 'round that sister of yers."

Gwendolyn couldn't stop herself from replying. "Go away, Ross, and leave me alone!"

"And what will you do if I don't? Sit on me?"

Glynnis and Nessa made a halfhearted attempt to smother their giggles with their hands. The rest of Ross's companions roared with laughter.

Then an unfamiliar voice sliced through their merriment. "You heard the lady. Leave her be."

Bernard MacCullough's voice was both smoother and deeper than Gwendolyn had imagined. And he'd called her a lady! But her wonder over chat was quickly overtaken by mortification as she realized he must have heard the entire exchange. As she looked through the branches, all she could see of her defender was the top of his head and the polished toes of his boots.

Ross turned to face the interloper. "And who the bloody hell are ye to--?" His snarl died on a croak as he went red, then white. "I d-didn't realize 'twas ye, m'laird," he stammered. "F-f-forgive me." He dropped to one knee at the feet of his chieftain's son.

Bernard seized the front of his shirt and hauled him to his feet. Ross might have outweighed the boy by at least a stone, but he still had to crane his neck to look Bernard in the eye. "I'm not your laird, yet," Bernard pointed out. "But I will be someday. And I should warn you that I never forget an injustice done to one of my own."

Gwendolyn bit her lip to still its trembling, amazed that their taunts couldn't make her cry, but that his kindness could.

Ross swallowed hard. "Aye, m'laird. Nor will I forget the warnin'."

"See that you don't."

Although Ross was subdued as he led his companions from the clearing, Gwendolyn caught the smoldering look he shot the top of the tree. She would pay later for his humiliation.

Her ragged nails bit into the bark as she realized they'd done exactly as she'd demanded. They'd left her alone.

With him.

She pressed her cheek against the trunk of the tree, praying she would disappear right into it like some bashful wood sprite.

A matter-of-fact voice dashed her hopes. "They're gone. You can come down now."

She closed her eyes, dreading the contempt that would darken his face if she accepted his invitation. "I'm really quite comfortable where I am."

He sighed. "Tisn't every day I have the privilege of rescuing a damsel in distress. I should think you'd want to thank me."

"Thank you. Now would you please just go away and leave me be?"

Defying him was her first mistake. "I'll not do it. 'Tis my land, and therefore my tree. If you don't come down, I'll come up after you." He planted one boot in the lowest crook of the trunk and reached for a dangling limb.

Already imagining how fast he could scale the tree with those long, limber legs of his, Gwendolyn then made her second mistake. She began to scramble higher. But in her haste she forgot to test each bough before she put her weight on it. There was a creak, then a crack, then she went plummeting toward the earth. Her last coherent thought was Please, God, let me land on my head and break my neck. But the fickle branches betrayed her once again by breaking her fall instead.

She had only a mercifully brief glimpse of Bernard's shocked face before she slammed into him, knocking him flat.

It took Gwendolyn a moment to catch her breath. When she opened her eyes Bernard was stretched out beneath her, his face only an inch from her own.

His eyes were closed, his stubby, dark lashes fanned out against the masculine curve of his sun-bronzed cheeks. Gwendolyn was so close she could even make out a hint of the whiskers that would soon shadow his jaw.

"M'laird?" she whispered.

He neither groaned nor stirred.

She moaned. "Oh, God, I've gone and killed him!"

If only the fall had killed her as well! Then the villagers could find them here, her body draped protectively across his, united in death as they'd never been in life. Unable to resist the heartbreaking pathos of the image, Gwendolyn buried her face against his breastbone and snuffled back a sob.

"Are you hurt, lass?" came a smoky whisper.

Gwendolyn slowly lifted her head. Bernard's eyes were open now, but not in the death stare she'd feared. They were a rich green, the color of emeralds spilling across a cache of hidden treasure.

As he gently brushed a leaf from her hair, Gwendolyn scrambled off of him.

"I've bruised naught but my pride," she said. "And you? Are you hurt?"

"I should say not." He climbed to his feet, swiping leaves and dirt from his backside. "'Twould take more than a child landing in my lap to knock the wind from me."

A child? Gwendolyn could almost feel her braids begin to bristle.

He brushed a twig from his hair, eyeing her from beneath that wayward lock across his brow. "I've seen you at the castle before, haven't I? You live at the manor in the village. You're the daughter of my father's steward."

"One of them," she replied tersely, not wanting him to suspect that she lived for those days when her papa would take her to the castle while he conducted his business simply because she might catch a glimpse of Bernard bounding down the stairs or playing chess with the chieftain or sneaking up behind his mother to give her a teasing kiss on the cheek. To Gwendolyn, Castle Weyrcraig had always been a castle of dreams, a place of pure enchantment where even the most unlikely of wishes might come true.

"You've a baby sister, haven't you? And another on the way. I've met your two older sisters," he said. "A cheeky pair, aren't they? Always batting their eyelashes and wiggling hips they don't yet have." A bemused smile softened his lips as he took in her rumpled tunic and the faded knee breeches she'd pilfered from her papa's laundry. "You're not like them, are you?"

Gwendolyn folded her arms over her chest. "No, I'm not. I'm fat."

He looked her up and down in frank assessment. "You've a bit of extra flesh on your bones, but 'tis not unbecoming on a child your age."

A child! Somehow it galled her more that he'd called her a child again than that he'd agreed she was fat. How could she have ever thought she loved this arrogant lad? Why, she loathed him!

She drew herself up to her full four feet three inches. "I suppose just because you live in a grand castle and ride a pretty pony, you fancy yourself a man full grown."

"I've still got some growing to do. As do you." He wrapped one of her flaxen braids around his hand, drawing her nearer so he could lean down and whisper, "But my father believes me man enough to escort a most esteemed guest to our castle on this very night."

Gwendolyn jerked the braid out of his hand and tossed it over her shoulder, terrified he was going to tweak her nose or pat her on the head as if she were some drooling puppy. "And just who would that guest be?"

He straightened and folded his arms over his chest, looking smug. "Oh, that's one secret I could never trust to a mere slip of a girl."

Horrid boy. Wretched boy. "Then I'd best be on my way, hadn't I, so you can attend to your manly duties."

She started up the hill, absurdly pleased that he actually looked taken aback by her desertion. "If you'd like, I can give you a hint," he called after her.

She refused to flatter him with a reply. She simply stopped and waited in stony silence.

"He's a true hero!" Bernard exclaimed. "A prince among men."

Since Gwendolyn had thought the same thing about him only a few minutes ago, she was none too impressed. She started walking again.

"If that lad troubles you again, you'll let me know, won't you?"

Gwendolyn squeezed her eyes shut against a rush of longing. Only a short while ago, she would have given her eyeteeth for the privilege of claiming him as her champion. Now, gathering the tatters of her pride around her, she turned stiffly to face him and asked, "Is that a request or a command?"

As he rested his hands on his lean hips, she realized she'd once again made the mistake of defying him. "Consider it a command, lass. After all, someday I'll be your laird and master as well as his."

Gwendolyn tilted her nose in the air. "That's where you're wrong, Bernard MacCullough. For no man shall ever be my laird and master!"

She wheeled around and went marching toward the village, missing the smile that played around Bernard's mouth as he whispered, "I wouldn't be so sure of that, lass, if I were you."

From the Paperback edition.

What People are Saying About This

Iris Johansen
Pure pleasure! Teresa Medeiros never fails to delight me with her heart-breaking characters and offbeat sense of humor. The Bride and the Beast, like all of her stories, pulses with life and takes me away to a place where romance is paramount and fairytales come true. This is one author who always has the magic touch.
—(Iris Johansen)
Kristen Hannah
A beautiful, enchanting fairytale that is guaranteed to sweep you away. The Bride and the Beast is the ultimate romance reader's fantasy—a novel so vibrant and poignant you can bare to see it end. If you are a fan of Julie Garthworths you owe it to yourself to read Teresa Medeiros.
—(Kristen Hannah)
Tami Hoag
Teresa Medeiros weaves a rich tapestry of a tale all lovers of romance will cherish well beyond the turn of the final page. A beguiling blend of myth and magic, The Bride and the Beast is sure to win your heart.
—(Tami Hoag)

Meet the Author

USA Today   and Publishers Weekly   bestselling author Teresa Medieros was recently chosen one of the Top Ten Favorite Romance Authors by Affaire de Coeur magazine and won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Love and Laughter.

A former Army brat and a registered nurse, she wrote her first novel at the age of twenty-one and has since gone on to win the hearts of critics and readers alike. The author of twelve novels, Teresa makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Michael.

From the Paperback edition.

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Bride and the Beast 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago

In 1761, in the Scottish Highlands, the Dragon of Weycraig haunts the villagers of Ballybliss. To keep the dragon from destroying them, the locals decide to sacrifice the virgin Gwendolyn Wilder, who expects to be sleeping in her bed that night because she knows mythical beasts do not live. She enters the ruined hall of the former Laird, killed fifteen years ago, only to see first hand the beast.

When Gwen reawakens from her faint, she sees a man who apparently is hiding. He is forced to hold her captive because a freed Gwen would wreck his plans of vengeance on the person who, fifteen years ago, treacherously sold out his family for a few ¿shekels¿. He has set in motion a plan to destroy the person responsible for the deaths of his loved ones. However, the Beast never expected to fall in love with his prisoner.

THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST is a beautiful adult fairy tale that uses humor to ease the growing tension centering on the revenge story line theme. The novel is well written, brimming with excitement, and loaded with romantic tension. Gwen is a fabulous heroine while ¿he¿ is everyone¿s darling, an intrepid individual learning that love is a stronger sustenance than vengeance and hatred. With her magical writing touch, Teresa Medeiros makes historical romances that never quench the readers¿ thirst for more works by a master spellcaster.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That had me snickering more than once, especially in moments of the heroines darker humor. Overall good banter and a warm feeling of affection throught this story even before declarations of love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by this author. The story line was good but the female was too defiant for my taste. Not intimate until chapter 25! Not recommended.
Romancier More than 1 year ago
If you want a nonsensical/while away the afternoon read, then this book is for you. I knew that was the intention of the novel, but Mederios is wasting her writing skills on this fluff.
Ms_M More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one evening....and I loved it! What a wonderful story. Let's face it...what girl doesn't love a Beauty and the Beast tale? All the better when it's well written! I rarely picture myself as the main character...usually because when I start reading I usually have a person in mind and it's rarely ever myself. This story was different because from the beginning I completely immersed myself in the story...and I wasn't disappointed! I usually rate a story on the "rolleye/facepalm" factor....how many times did I roll my eyes or plant my palm on my face....in this story I did none of that...the characters didn't act horribly out of character for the time period, the plot wasn't too far fetched, and the "pillow talk" wasn't overly cheesey....in fact there was a few times when the Dragon made a passionate entreaty and I melted right along with Gwendolyn! My only "complaint" is that the story was too short! I would have appreciated a chapter or two of Bernard and Gwendolyn actually living as man and wife...the final climax could have been delayed a week or two in the story time line to let the readers experience their new found love and marriage before the abrupt ending. Other than that small complaint, this was a wonderful read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent for those who like to get lost in a good book! It took me about 8 hrs. to read this-I could'nt put it down!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
T.M at her best. This book was amazing. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a classic fairy tale for adults. It let's us all believe that we hold the power within ourselves to tame a beast. This was the first book I have read from this author, but it won't be the last. I look forward to more adventures of this sort.
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This was my first t.m. book and i loved it. Ive re-read it at least ten times. The characters are real and fully developed in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow at certain points but love the story and msin charcters
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Loved it
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