The Bride and the Beast

( 183 )

Overview

Dear Reader,

I'd been prowling the crumbling ruins of Castle Weyrcraig for so long that I could no longer remember if I was man or beast. Then one stormy night the superstitious Highlanders of Ballybliss decided to leave a helpless virgin bound to a stake in the castle courtyard to satisfy my insatiable appetites.

My demands might strike terror in the hearts of men, but this bold beauty dared to defy me. After she informed me that she didn't ...

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Overview

Dear Reader,

I'd been prowling the crumbling ruins of Castle Weyrcraig for so long that I could no longer remember if I was man or beast. Then one stormy night the superstitious Highlanders of Ballybliss decided to leave a helpless virgin bound to a stake in the castle courtyard to satisfy my insatiable appetites.

My demands might strike terror in the hearts of men, but this bold beauty dared to defy me. After she informed me that she didn't believe in dragons, I had no choice but to make her my prisoner—or risk being exposed to those I had sought to deceive with my dangerous masquerade.

Soon I found myself stealing into the moonlit tower just to watch her sleep. Little does she know that beneath this beast's gruff exterior beats the passionate heart of a man. Gwendolyn Wilder may not believe in dragons, but I intend to use all my sensual wiles to teach her to believe in something even more magical—true love.

Eternally yours,

The Dragon of Weyrcraig

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553581836
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/3/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 592,882
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue
Scotland, The Highlands
1746

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."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 183 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 185 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent historical romance

    <P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Fun read

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Okay.

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    All Fluff

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    Oh My....!

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2000

    The Bride And The Beast

    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!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    Historical Romance Addict!

    T.M at her best. This book was amazing. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2000

    An enchanting fairy tale

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Witty and sensual

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Favorite romance

    Slow at certain points but love the story and msin charcters

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Great read

    Loved it

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    Very good!

    Enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    OK

    Not bad but not the best I've read by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Great book

    A new twist on beauty and the beast! Very good one of my favorites!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Loved this book

    Great story line, great characters, and just all around good book. For those of you who enjoy a good romance but don't really care for smut for the sake of smut ; this book is for you. I have read quite a few books by this author and she has never dispointed and has always exceeded my expectations.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Worth the read!

    This book was very good ! Great romance,courage,and the giggles! Cant wait to read another from this author..

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Must Read

    ***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
    Another hilarious read from Teresa Medeiros. I'm lucky that Medeiros has intriguing cover images because if she didn't I probably wouldn't have ever picked it out of the large box of books I got it from. If I hadn't I would have missed out on a delightful read.

    Gwendolyn Wilder has lived with a lifelong crush, since before the age of nine she has wanted no one other than Bernard MacCullough when she believed him dead the year she turned nine, she was devastated and never really moved on. She hid her nose inside books, covered her body in drab clothes and let the world criticize her weight. She even believed they were right and that she in some way deserved their insults while her beautiful, thin, promiscuous sisters deserved their attention. She was the smart reliable sister, who took care of their addled and aging father and did what needed to be done.

    When the town becomes plagued by what the residents believe is a real life fire breathing dragon making demands upon their village it is Gwendolyn they turn to read his demand notes. And it is Gwendolyn they decide to offer as a virgin sacrifice when they are unable to meet his hefty demands.

    Bernard MacCullough had his life stolen from him at the age of fifteen when his clan betrayed their laird, his father for one thousand pounds in gold. Since that day when he saw his parents slaughtered by the English before his eyes for offering sanctuary to the Bonnie Prince, while the clan they led cowered in fear, locked away safe in their homes he has wanted naught but revenge. Taken prisoner and forced into service for the Royal Navy he's made his own lot in the world without even his name to guard him.

    Fifteen years after that fateful day when his dreams burned before him, Bernard is back and he will have his revenge on the town who betrayed his family. He will learn who traded his parents lives for a mere thousand pounds in gold. What he didn't plan on was the beautiful virgin sacrifice that was left on his doorstep as an offering when the traitor in their midst wouldn't give up his gold to save his town. She had the power to ruin everything for only she knew he was not a beast, but a man and only she had the power to unlock his heart.

    The interplay of these two stubborn characters is not one to be missed as you join them on their journey of letting go of the past to embrace the future, and opening their hearts to fall in love. He gives her the confidence to see the beauty she's hidden away and she gives him the light he's hidden from for fifteen years. She gives him a person he can trust which is something he's not had for fifteen years. They argue and thwart each other at every turn, keeping a reader turning the pages and laughing at their antics.

    It's a definite must read.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely WONDERFUL!

    A wonderful, thrilling tale with a lead female character full of tough grit and sass, along with her stubborn counterpart Dragon.

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    READ IT AND LOVE IT!

    Teresa Medeiros was the first romance author I've ever read, and I am happy to say I wasn't disapointed every book of hers I have read has been a story of mystery and romance. This I must say was my favorite based off of the story of Psyche and Cupid. I LOVED READING THIS BOOK!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    A Hopeless Romantic's True Book

    The Bride and the Beast was an amazing book with a great plot and believable characters. It is truly a fairytale that anyone would expect with a serious of twists and turns that some people may not see coming. I read this book in one day because I found it impossible to put down. A captivating fairytale!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 185 Customer Reviews

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