A Beautiful Evil

A Beautiful Evil

by Kelly Keaton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442409279
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 02/21/2012
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,079,468
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kelly Keaton is the critically acclaimed author of The Darkness Becomes Her trilogy. As Kelly Gay, she writes the popular Charlie Madigan series for Pocket Books. While she calls Raleigh, North Carolina, home, she can also be found chatting about books and life on Facebook and Twitter. Read more about Kelly on her website at KellyKeaton.net.

Read an Excerpt

ONE

“EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE NOW. QUESTION IS, SELKIRK, will you live up to their expectations or be the complete failure I think you really are?”

My pulse thundered like a herd of galloping horses. Sweat rolled down my back, dampening my shirt and the waistline of my jeans. Tiny wisps of hair stuck to my face and neck. I kept my eyes shut and dug my short fingernails into the wrist I held tightly, wishing I could inflict some pain . . . or better yet, make him shut the—

“Do it!” he snarled, his breath fanning across my forehead.

A head butt might work. Bone would crack. Blood would flow. Sweet satisfaction—and even sweeter silence—would ensue. “I’m trying,” I said through gritted teeth.

I squeezed my eyes closed tighter than they already were. For forty-five minutes I’d been “trying,” and that was about forty-four minutes too long to stay in a room with Bran Ramsey.

C’mon, Ari. Concentrate!

If I could figure out how to control my power and use it at will, even just a tiny bit, my training session would be done for the day and I could rejoin the nontortured students at Presby.

Bran’s calloused hand clamped around my throat. My eyes flew open. What the hell? He squeezed hard, his fingers encircling my neck almost completely. I struggled, questioning him with my look, unable to do anything more than make small wheezing noises.

“You’re not trying,” he growled deeply, stepping on my toes. “You’re too scared to try. You even smell scared. You make me sick, Selkirk.”

He wasn’t letting go.

Pressure built behind my eyes and in my face. My lungs strained. I pulled at his hand. I slapped. I kicked. I punched at his arms and chest, unable to reach his head. But it didn’t matter. None of it mattered. Going up against Bran was like trying to beat up an oak tree.

My chest burned. Couldn’t . . . breathe . . .

Bran leaned close, his nose almost touching mine, the brown in his eyes going darker and meaner. “What are you going to do now, god-killer?”

White fuzz began to ring my vision. My arms went limp. He released me with a shove. I stumbled back in disbelief, gasping for air. I braced my hands on my knees, concentrating on each painful breath—in and out, in and out—until the dizziness ebbed and I was able to straighten.

An open-handed smack landed on the back of my head. I ducked, my arms going protectively over my head. “Stop it! Jesus! Are you insane?!”

“Fight me.”

He moved too quickly for me to defend myself. A boot to the back of my knee sent me crumbling to the floor. My hands slapped hard against the mat. This was really starting to get old. “Stop it, Bran. I’m done, okay?”

I’d been trained as a bail bondsman by my last foster parents, Bruce and Casey, but nothing had prepared me for this. This was . . . different. This was removed, cold, and impatient. This didn’t inspire confidence, and so far it hadn’t taught me a damn thing at all. This was simply an exercise to show me what it felt like to be a mouse to Bran’s maniacal cat.

I was almost too afraid to get up, knowing he wasn’t finished with me. I lifted my head, swiped the sweat from my brow with my arm, and glanced at the clock. Five more minutes until the bell rang.

Five more minutes. I chanted those three words over and over as I straightened and faced him.

Bran stood in the center of the room, feet braced apart, thick arms folded over his chest, one dark eyebrow cocked up. There was no sheen of sweat on his tanned face. No dampness to his wavy sable brown hair.

“I thought you were supposed to teach me, not try to kill me,” I forced out through my sore throat.

“Semantics.” He flicked a glance at the clock and smirked, telling me with a look exactly how much damage he could do in the next four minutes.

“I’m done, okay?” I said tiredly. “Can we just . . . stop?”

“Stop what?”

I rolled my eyes, letting my frustrations flow into my words. “Uh, gee, I don’t know. Stop baiting me, stop pushing me, stop hitting me, stop being a supreme asshole.” There, I said it. And it felt good. Damn good. It wasn’t like he was going to take it easy on me anyway.

A lethal grin pulled his lips apart. “Make me.”

The gleam in his dark eyes—it was like he was dying for someone to finally give him some decent action. And that someone, he had decided, was me. It didn’t matter that I was a student and he was a demigod/security specialist/one of the nine Novem heads. Semantics, right?

I stepped forward, knowing I could probably draw this out until the bell rang. I was, if nothing else, experienced in the art of toughing it out. There were ways a body could turn and move so that the blows wouldn’t hurt so much. I took up a defensive position.

Bran’s hand shot out. “No. Make me . . . with your mind.”

His words sank in and I snorted, arching one eyebrow to match his cocky expression. “I don’t exactly see you using yours.”

He moved in a blur, so fast I didn’t have time to tense before he had me spun around and shoved front-first against the far wall, one arm twisted behind my back and the side of my face squished into the oak paneling.

Shock stole my breath, but only for a second before the anger rushed in, forcing away my surprise and pushing my blood pressure higher. The clock was ticking. Tough it out.

Then he breathed purposefully on my neck and chuckled, dropping his voice to a husky tone. “I suppose we could try another sort of tactic. . . .”

He was too close. Too pressed up against me. Too in my space. I was trapped. Completely trapped. Oh God. A sick wave rolled over my stomach.

I felt it then, uncoiling, waking, and my fear turned to panic. I mumbled words like a prayer: “No, no, no.”

Bran laughed softly. “Yes.”

My curse stirred, rising like smoke from my toes to my scalp, swirling, twisting, pushing painfully into places never meant to be filled. Every nerve shivered, every fine hair stood up, every ounce of flesh crawled as though a swarm of bugs scattered along my skin.

My body went stiff, bracing against the inevitable rise of power until I couldn’t bear the sensations anymore. Goddamn you, Bran!

It rushed the rest of the way in. Energetic. Alive. Aware. My curse, the gorgon, was a living shadow inside me.

I screamed and twisted from Bran’s hold, vaguely acknowledging that he let me, and grabbed his neck. His eyes were hard, daring. Our gazes locked as a tingling sensation shot down my arm and into my hand. It was cold, heartless, vicious. . . . Movement, like the softest breeze, began beneath my scalp. Slither—No, no, no.

I screamed again, against the horror, finally finding enough strength to shove Bran back.

Then it was over.

My curse retreated, leaving me slumped against the wall, my eyes wide and glassy, heart beating so fast I thought it might burst.

Bran stood very still. His neck and the skin over his jawbone were white—unnaturally white—marble. Me. I’d done that. His dark eyes bored into mine, intense, but somehow calm and confident. His skin color slowly returned, and his shoulders relaxed.

“And that, Ari Selkirk,” he said smugly, rubbing his jaw, “is called trying.”

He strolled to the far corner to take a swig of water from his bottle. Still stunned by what I’d done, I watched his throat work as he drank deeply. I knew what I could do, had felt the same sensations before, but it was still a shock to the system; it wasn’t something I’d ever get used to. And I didn’t want to.

Bran set the bottle down, swiped a hand over his mouth, then leaned casually against the table in the corner to study me. “Now that we know your power stirs from fear and adrenaline, we have something to work with. Don’t make me push you that far again. It’s . . . distasteful. Soon you’ll be able to control it without giving in to those unnecessary emotions. But”—he shrugged—“I suppose it’s a decent enough start for your first day of training.”

The bell rang.

And I just stood there staring at him, amazed by how he could sound so blasé after all that.

“We’ll work again tomorrow.” He nodded to the door. “Now get lost.”

I headed for my backpack on the floor by the door, my legs so weak I was surprised they even worked. My hand trembled as I grabbed the strap to my bag, slung it over my shoulder, and left the room the other students at Presby had dubbed The Dungeon.

© 2012 Kelly Keaton

Customer Reviews

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A Beautiful Evil 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this series!! i love that Ari isn't your average teenage heroine in most YA novels now a days. she strong and independent but also very caring. i love Ari and Sebastian's relationship they're honest and up front with each other which is refreshing. i cant wait for the next installment of the series im eager to find out more of sebastian's power
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I picked up the first installment of this series I couldnt put it down, and was eagerly awaiting this book. As I picked the book up for the first time it didnt dissapoint having me gripped all the way. Ari's personality is much more definable then most other teen girl main characters these days; she tough, yet as we learn sensitive and sometimes needy, and is loyal too the bitter end. Sebaetian is as too be expected, a total heartthrob that had me dying of jealousy for Ari but rooting for them at the same time...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even better than the first book !!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading A Beautiful Evil, book 2 in this series, I'm still crazy about it! And the next book can't come fast enough!!
Dakar13 More than 1 year ago
(Spolier alert for those who haven't read yet) These books are some of the best stuff I've read in YA in awhile. The fact we have a non-love triangle YA novel is especially refreshing. Besides with just Sebastian in your life who else do you need!!!!! I love just the description and background put into the story, sometimes I feel like i'm there with the character's myself! The only reason I give it 4 stars is sometimes I feel a bit rushed in parts, especially in Athena's prison. It felt like her anguished dragged on and the points of actual action were like a few moments then back to her in pain and watching Sebastian in pain. I wanted a little more action in apart but other than that these books are great reads. I finished the 1st on in a day. This one took awhile just because of the prison parts but other than that great second book and can't wait for the finale!
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I was so excited when this book came to my doorstep! Not only was it a surprise but I knew I would love it! Sure enough, this book captured me gluing my eyes to the pages. What I liked most about this book is the characters growth in the book. I love it when an author can change a character so significantly right before your eyes. Ari is now in training and learning to use her powers. I loved that Ari had to be pushed, that so she can break that human barrier. I still love that Ari is so determined. It really showed Ari heart in who she is meant to be. The love interest really tore at my heart. Though I did love the struggle in it. Ari fought for who she loved and even made some really tough decisions. Despite what is done to her, she made sure everyone is taken care of before herself. While her selflessness is admiring, it is also her very weakness. There were also a few plot surprised that really took me by surprise. I love that Ms. Keaton drew me so much into the book that I didn't even realize what is coming at me. The plot pacing with every turn of the page is perfect!! A Beautiful Evil is an undeniably entertaining story. A fast moving driven action drama, Ms. Keaton present a great sequel. A fresh, invigorating spin on Greek mythology, A Beautiful Evil leaves you jaw dropped!
InkSpotsAndRoses More than 1 year ago
Kelly Keaton knows how to keep a story going! This book picked up right where Darkness Becomes Her left off. *If you haven't read the first book, Darkness Becomes Her, then this will contain spoilers!* Ari is a teenage girl who grew up in the foster system. After a search for her mother at a hospital lead to her venturing into New 2 (formerly New Orleans before hurricanes hit), we find out teenage heroine attending the prestigious Presby school. Her school day is anything but normal; it's filled with a training session that causes her to break, and studying in a library that shouldn't exist. After Athena stole two of the most important people Ari had in her life, she had to find a way to go after them. The Novem eventually conceded and allowed her to search their secret library for as much information as she could find on Athena and her temples. There is a ton of information there, and eventually she finds bits and pieces that may help on her search. No one knows about this library, unless they are a part of the Novem or apparently their children. And rightly so, because this library is hidden in plain sight and has a very interesting title that has been passed down through the centuries... I'm not going to delve into much more here, I really don't want to ruin it for anyone. This book is so fast paced, I'm not sure that I want to share too much for fear of spoilers! I seriously could not put this book down, I read about 120 pages in two hours last night! Kelly Keaton does such a great job at helping us imagine the world that Ari is living in, and visualizing just what her emotions are doing to it. I am happy to say that this is one YA novel that does not have a love triangle! There is a love interest between Ari and Sebastian, but that is it. To me this made it much more enjoyable because there wasn't all the drama involved with a triangle. Future gorgons don't need all that drama in their lives anyways, right? There are some great battle scenes as well, and some of them are a bit gruesome. The high energy that came off of these scenes just kept me going to find out what would happen next! Kelly Keaton is a mastermind at mixing in fantasy with mythology, and still making it believable and believable! I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves Greek mythology and a bittersweet love story!
MichelleL_15 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
2.5 stars rounded down to 2.This book has disappointed me. I really wish I would have liked it. Darkness Becomes Her was also a little disappointing, though less so. But A Beautiful Evil just seemed so poorly thought out. It has such a great premise and the story has a lot of potential, but the writing and the actions of characters was just bleh.The plot of this book was fast. Way too fast. One day Ari is training for her epic battle to the death with Athena and the next day she's in that battle. Though it wasn't very epic. She had maybe two lessons under her belt and she goes off to fight Athena, the freaking goddess of war. How that made any sense to Ari, I will never know.Characters in this sequel were exactly the same as they were in the first book. Zero growth and development(except maybe Ari got dumber). Favorite characters in this book were Bran, Ari's fighting instructor, and Ari's father. I forget his name. Theron, I think? They should get their own books. Both are much more interesting to read about than Ari. And I think a book about Ari's parents would make a great forbidden-love-type romance book. Other good characters? Violet was still her amazing self. That's about it.I found the writing kind of bland and repetitive. Nothing really emotional or special. Could have been way better. I would say the story is predictable, which it was, except for Ari's decisions. I cannot predict stupid. Her "romance" with Sebastian developed further in this book, but I still can't say that their love is a believable one. It was just so rushed in the first book and Sebastian is so easily forgettable. And the ending! I don't see anything on GoodReads about a sequel and I feel like there really should be. It wasn't a cliffhanger, just too open for my tastes. If a third book is ever written I will try it because I really want to know what happens next. And this series has serious potential. Maybe the third time's the charm.I wanted to like this book. It has a higher rating than the first book so I thought it would be better. It has some great reviews so obviously a lot of people enjoyed it. But this book really wasn't for me. It wasn't completely horrible so it gets 2 stars for that. And a half star for the cool, not-so-cliched cover. Good job to the cover artist, whoever he/she is.
STACYatUFI on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Ari now knows what she is and has started her training and research in hopes of saving her Dad and Violet as well as beating Athena.I didn't enjoy A BEAUTIFUL EVIL as much as I enjoyed book 1 DARKNESS BECOMES HER. The story dragged for half the book, there were quite a bit of depressing circumstances and It was a bit predictable at times. I did enjoy the action scenes and the general plot. Ari was still an interesting character. She is unique in her bloodline because of what her father is. I'm hoping now that he is in the story, book 3 will give us a bit more insight on what will happen to her when she is supposed to turn fully into a gorgon. I still really like the setting of New 2 and the different class of characters that come with it. Ari and Sebastian's relationship is interesting. They are definitely tested throughout A BEAUTIFUL THING but they seem to hold strong to each other. I loved Bran, he is proving to be fully on Ari's side and he seems to truly care about her.I actually loved the ending. I'm excited to find out more about what Sebastian can do now and what that will mean for Ari in her fight against Athena. I'm also loving the fact that her Dad will be a bigger part of the story, it will be interesting to see what he brings to the situation. I will still be reading book 3 when it arrives.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I was so excited when this book came to my doorstep! Not only was it a surprise but I knew I would love it! Sure enough, this book captured me gluing my eyes to the pages.What I liked most about this book is the characters growth in the book. I love it when an author can change a character so significantly right before your eyes. Ari is now in training and learning to use her powers. I loved that Ari had to be pushed, that so she can break that human barrier. I still love that Ari is so determined. It really showed Ari heart in who she is meant to be.The love interest really tore at my heart. Though I did love the struggle in it. Ari fought for who she loved and even made some really tough decisions. Despite what is done to her, she made sure everyone is taken care of before herself. While her selflessness is admiring, it is also her very weakness.There were also a few plot surprised that really took me by surprise. I love that Ms. Keaton drew me so much into the book that I didn't even realize what is coming at me. The plot pacing with every turn of the page is perfect!!A Beautiful Evil is an undeniably entertaining story. A fast moving driven action drama, Ms. Keaton present a great sequel. A fresh, invigorating spin on Greek mythology, A Beautiful Evil leaves you jaw dropped!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Shawni24 More than 1 year ago
Kaylexanna More than 1 year ago
Gods & Monsters was one of my favorite series that I read in 2014, and I am SO FREAKING HAPPY to learn that a fourth book is coming out in February 2015! So now I am finally getting around to writing my reviews for books two and three. :) I was SO EXCITED to read the second book in the series after I finished Darkness Becomes Her earlier in 2014. This one was a birthday book buy, thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, and it was definitely worthwhile! A Beautiful Evil is much more slowly paced than its predecessor, but it's still a quick read. The reader gets to learn more about Ari's friends, which I was happy for - that was something we lacked in the first book. While it takes its time doing so, once the action does ramp up, it pretty much doesn't stop. I LOVE ARI. She's one of the main things I love about these books, and she doesn't disappoint. She's still badass, with a bit of the stubbornness that drives me crazy in most YA heroines. I won't lie - it drove me a bit crazy in this book, too, but Ari is still better than a lot of others who have pissed me off in the past, haha. It was great to see more of the secondary characters that we didn't get to see much in the first book. I enjoyed getting to learn more about them, too. New 2 is so vivid to me, and I love how it feels like a place where anything is possible. While the conglomeration of different paranormal things (witches and warlocks, vampires, Greek gods... the list goes on) might be a bit too much for some readers, I loved it. Ridiculous, maybe... but also awesome.
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KKetch More than 1 year ago
Though the first novel, Darkness Becomes Her, didn’t capture me, I found myself pulled into A Beautiful Evil from page one. The characters are starting to grow on me, even Sebastian, who I wasn’t really sure about to start off with. I was also correct in my Goodreads review for Darkness Becomes Her in saying that ‘It wasn’t until the character Athena was introduced that the plotline really started cooking’ and I think this book proves my point. In the A Beautiful Evil, Athena is an amazing villain. The type whose path you would not want to tread across in a dark alleyway. The goddess is brilliant and very dark. Her abilities and power are truly a challenge to Ari and Sebastian, testing their strengths and weaknesses to the max throughout the novel. She is the perfect villain. However, I’ll be honest, the setting is one thing I still can’t get my mind wrapped around in this series. The futuristic, supernatural New Orleans community always kind of throws me for a loop, making it a little hard to grasp. It not that it isn’t well described. In fact, I feel some places are overly described just a tad. But still, the city just doesn’t want to form in my imagination. I have a better time picturing Mount Olympus: the stone gardens, Athena’s palace, and the dungeons. Even with that, the plot is what really carries this novel along with its characters, and I can’t wait to see what Athena and Ari have up their sleeves in the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the story and characters. Ari is a bad ass chick that can kick butt and she's a heart torn girl inside. If anyone isn't sure about reading these 2 stories please do there worth the money even though there not very long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hannah11223 More than 1 year ago
This was a very freaking good book. ^-^ It involves mythology and who doesnt love a good mythology based book? it was full of suspense and action. the main character can really fight haha. i really had a hard time putting this book down. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so excited when I finally got to read a beautiful evil. I reread the first book darkness becomes her to rejog my memory. But i still remember what happened due to it being such a good book so i skimmed through the book reading my favorite parts. This book was awesome and must be the best boom. I loved how Ari, sebastian, and Henry go to save her father but is sent back and look for a new way there. But to only be in Atheanas clutches and sebastian is tortured to drink blood. Ari couldnt take it anymore and see sebasti be tortured so she gave him her blood and he like ignored her afterwards so i was very confused. I was so surprised when at the party when Atheana was trying to curse violet and failed so she tried to curse sebastian and Ari turned him into stone. I was more surprised when she found a way to turn him back and save him. I loved the ending but am curious to find more so i hope kelly keaton makes the next book. Im dying to find out what happens next..... ughhhh SO CURIOUS AN IS AGAIN A MUST RWAD AWESOME BOOK THAT GREEK MYTHOLOGY LOVERS ROMANCE LOVERS AND PARANORMAL TYPE LOVERS MUST READ.... IM SO GLAD I FOUND THIS BOOK EVEN IF IT WAS ON ACCIDENT I THINK THAT IT WAS FATE!!!!! LOL '-'
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