A little boy who lives in a castle spends his days reading, riding horses, and wandering around his family’s estate. On his fifth birthday, the boy bids his parents good-bye as they head for a party; he has no idea that he will never see them again. With his parents deceased in a strange accident, the boy attempts to carry on with the help of his servants. But on the one-year anniversary of his parents’ deaths, the little boy suddenly transforms into a beast, changing the course of the future forever.
Two hundred years later, the Beast is still not used to his new existence; what’s more, he is haunted by bizarre dreams of a beautiful lady. As the Beast attempts to determine whether the woman is real, an elderly man stumbles upon the castle during a storm. When he innocently takes a rose from a vase to give to his daughter, the Beast becomes enraged and shows himself, setting off a chain of events that puts the man amid the Beast’s desperate quest for happiness.
Beast presents a timeless fairy tale from a new perspective, telling of the beast’s relentless search for the enchanting woman he dreams of as he begins to suffer the consequences of uncovering a deadly curse.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.62(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Tiffini Hunt
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Tiffini Hunt
All rights reserved.
The sun was setting as supper was served. Pinks and oranges filled the sky, and there were little, puffy clouds, which made it that much more beautiful. It was the day of my fifth birthday.
While I was outside playing with our cat, Mother called me in to wash up. As I ran toward the castle, a huge smile spread across my face. I ran up the steps, and when I arrived at the door, my mother gave me a squeeze and kissed my forehead.
My mother was beautiful. Her hair was golden like the sun, and her eyes were a deep sea-blue color. She was tall and elegant. That day, she was wearing a purple gown with beaded flowers. When she held me, I loved running my fingers over the beads on her gown.
The castle had big, heavy wooden doors. Sometimes I had a difficult time opening them by myself. There were stairways that led to different parts of the castle, which had many rooms. I had no idea what was in most of them. Papa did business in a few of the extra rooms, and Mother painted in one. I liked to watch Mother paint.
Numerous paintings were displayed throughout the castle, especially in the hallway that ran from the foyer to the dining room. A row of paintings of our family hung along the wall, beginning with a picture of my great-great-great-grandpa and ending with a picture of me. The newest painting, a likeness of me that had been painted for my birthday, was hung before dinner. I had to wear nice clothes that morning for the artist to paint the picture of me. I wore a loose-fitting light blue dress shirt with black pants. Mother said the blue brought out my eyes.
It was the last painting on the wall, and it was the first one of me alone. We had many paintings done of my parents and me, so it was weird standing there all alone, posing by myself. But it meant that I was growing up.
I walked past the paintings and into the dining room, where Papa was already seated at the head of the table. The dining table was located by the windows on the right side of the room. I loved having the windows open, because the smell of roses drifted into the room.
The table was huge. It could fit up to twenty people—I counted! While we rarely had more than just Papa, Mother, and me for dinner, we had almost every seat filled a few times.
On the left side of the room was a fireplace, with a couch and a chair in front of it. At times, after dinner, we would sit by the fire to relax. Mother would sometimes read a book to me while Papa smoked his pipe in his chair. I hated the smell of that thing. Papa smoked less after he discovered that I really disliked it. Secretly, Mother hated it too.
People always said that I was the spitting image of Papa. The only difference between Papa and me was that I had short brown hair, while he had long brown hair. His eyes were the color of the clouds on a gloomy day, but they would change from grey to blue depending on what he was wearing. Mother said that I had her eyes but was definitely my father's son.
As I looked around the room and inhaled the intoxicating aroma of the roses, Mother came in with a vase of deep-red roses in her hands. She set the vase on the table. Mother smiled at me as she did this. She knew how much I loved the scent.
She kissed my father before sitting down next to him. My parents were very much in love. Anyone who came in contact with them, even someone just passing by, could easily see that. They affected many people around them in a positive way. Never had I seen love like theirs, which made me want the same when I grew up.
My parents wanted me to be more than a rich kid. They wanted me to be intelligent, so I was homeschooled. I had a private tutor named Chapin. He knew just about everything there was to know. I'd had a private tutor since I was three. The strange thing was that I actually liked learning. Sometimes at night, when I could not sleep, I would go to our library and read.
Our library was huge. It was located upstairs above the dining room and was a total of four stories high. There were probably over twenty thousand books. Mother would read to me in the library a few nights a week; she had done so for as long as I could remember. I loved reading any book I could get my hands on. Our librarian, Audric, grabbed the books off the shelves when they were too high for me to reach.
Audric was a studious old man. His hair was as white as freshly fallen snow. He told me to read a lot of books, not only to learn but also to exercise my imagination. It was always interesting to talk with him. He was silly at times. After I finished studying for the day, I would talk to him about different books, and he would recommend ones that I should read when I grew older.
Sometimes I would sneak a book from the library into my room at night. After my mother said good night, I would relight a candle so that I would be able to read the book by candlelight. I had been in trouble before for doing that. But I still did it anyway.
The library, like the hallway to the dining room, had paintings in it. These paintings were of landscapes and houses instead of our family. There were times when I would just stare at them and daydream about being in them. My favorite painting in the library was of a house—the Rose House, as I called it.
The Rose House had a roof made of dark wood, while the house itself was tan, with a brown front door. Also, there was a window not too far from the door, with deep-blue shutters. My favorite thing about it was that there were roses everywhere. They not only surrounded the base of the house but also grew up the sides of the house. There were red, bright pink, yellow, white, violet, and multicolored roses. The house was surrounded by tall trees, which made it look as though it were situated in front of a forest.
Whenever I set foot in the library, Audric or one of the others working in there would open the windows for me so that the scent of the roses would rush in and fill the room. Even though the library was on the second floor, I could smell the roses' scent in the room. Surrounded by the smell, I would close my eyes, pretending that I was at the Rose House. I had always wanted to go there. But I was not sure if the house was a real house or just a painting. At night, sometimes I dreamed about the Rose House. I wished it were real!
Before I walked to the table, where my parents were sitting, I walked over to the window. Once there, I opened it a little more and then turned toward my parents. One of our maids, Deleena, started to bring out dinner. Deleena had brown eyes and short dark brown hair. She was shorter than Mother was, but her heart was just as big.
"Come on over, darling—time to eat!" Mother informed me.
"What is for dinner, Mother?" I asked.
"Your favorite, Son!" Papa chimed in.
"Yum!" I said as I rushed to the table.
My favorite meal was rabbit and mutton with onions and potatoes. It was accompanied by warm white bread. Really, I enjoyed any type of game, but rabbit was my favorite. Papa said that not many people were able to eat rabbit, only those with money. Bread was something that I ate often. Honestly, I could have eaten it at every meal. In fact, when I wanted a snack, I would have hot tea along with bread, enjoying time with Mother and Papa.
I sat on Papa's right-hand side, across the table from Mother. As I sat down, Mother smiled, so I grinned, with my two front teeth missing, back at her, which made her giggle.
Deleena brought out the food, kissed my forehead, and wished me a happy birthday. Our maids and other workers in the castle were like family to us. I hung out with a few of them from time to time, telling them everything about my day. My parents thought it was silly, but they truly were my best friends.
Mother began to dish out the food. But before we ate, Papa said a prayer. After we said "amen," we began to enjoy the wonderful meal in front of us.
After we finished eating, Mother handed me something—my present. It was a book that I had been asking for, even though I could not fully understand it yet.
Not long after we finished dinner, Deleena brought out apple cobbler, my favorite dessert. The smell of the apples made my mouth begin to water. I began to lick my lips, preparing for the warm, flaky crust and the sweet, tart apples.
"After you are finished with your dessert, you have a little bit of time before you need to go to bed," Mother told me. "We still have to finish preparing for the party your father and I are going to. I am sorry you cannot come with us."
"I understand. Sometimes those parties are really boring to me. I like it when we have them here, because if and when I get bored or tired, I can leave the ballroom and go to my bedroom. I do not have to stay and dance with girls," I stated, laughing. "I hope you have fun!"
My parents were invited to parties all the time. The next day, after my birthday, they were leaving for a business trip. I was not allowed to go with them, because I was still too young.
After finishing dessert, I ran, with my new book in hand, through the hallway with the paintings, up the stairs to the left of the front door, and into the library. Once there, I put my new book on a shelf that I could reach.
I walked over to the giant windows in the library; they were still open from earlier, when I was being homeschooled. As I started to close them, I caught the aroma of the roses. This stopped me in my tracks. I took a moment, becoming lost in the sweet scent. After I came back to reality, I shut the windows and then walked over to the painting of the Rose House. I held a candle up to the painting to take one last glance at the roses.
After standing there for some time, I decided to make my way over to my parents' room, which was in another wing. From the library, I walked down the stairs, toward the dining room, and then past the hallway with all the paintings of our family.
I walked through the foyer into another hallway. I called this hallway the Seasons Pathway because of the designs painted on the walls. The walls were covered with many different, intricate trees. Some were full of blossoms; some had lush green leaves. Others had brown, red, and yellow leaves on the branches and surrounding the bases. There were also trees that were completely bare, with snow on the branches and around the trunks of the trees.
After I passed one of Father's business rooms, the stairs that led to my parents' and my rooms were to the right of me. The ballroom was to the left of where I was standing. My parents loved to throw balls. We had way too many, in my opinion. Mother explained to me that I had to take dance lessons, which were held in there too. We had our own dance instructor, Cantrelle.
At the last ball, my parents had made me dance with a girl—Ava. She had bouncy blonde hair and was wearing a pink dress. I really did not want to dance with her; I did not like girls then. But she was a close friend of mine. Her mother, Odelia, and my mother were good friends. Because of their friendship, we saw each other all the time.
I did enjoy the music they played at the balls. In fact, it was because of a ball that I started to learn how to play the piano. Right before my fourth birthday, I started lessons. We had a music room in another wing of the castle. I practiced in there almost every day. One day I hoped to have the chance to play the piano in the ballroom. Mother said that I had to wait until I was older and had more experience before I could play it. But I really wanted to play it more than anything, and I thought I was good enough to play on the beautiful black piano in the ballroom.
Once I was between the ballroom and the stairs, I looked at the doors leading to the ballroom before running up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, on the second floor, a few guest rooms were on my left. We had many guest rooms in the castle. Many travelers and other people stayed with us from time to time. Because of this, I met a lot of interesting people. The most interesting person I met was a philosopher! He knew so much and seemed really nice.
To the right of where I was standing was a restroom, and ahead of me were more stairs, which led to our rooms. Our rooms were in the west wing of the castle, on the third floor. My room was to the right, while my parents' was to the left. These hallways were not as long as the others were.
Once at the top of the stairs, I heard Mother making noise in her room, so I ran to the door and knocked on it.
"May I come in?" I asked, peering in through the partially open door.
"Of course, my son!" responded Mother. She was sitting at her vanity, fixing her makeup and hair in the mirror. There were pins all over the counter. Her hair was curled.
She grabbed a curled lock of hair and twirled it around her finger. Then, after placing it in the precise location on the top of her head, she grabbed a pin, put it in her mouth to open it, and stuck it in her hair to make the curl stay in place. She did this until all of the curls were placed on her head. Some of the curls were not as tight as others, so they hung down a little. When she moved, these curls bounced with her.
I walked into their bedroom and over to their bed. It was difficult for me to sit on their bed because of my height. The top of the bed was level with my shoulders. I had to put both of my hands on the bed and jump, spinning myself around, to be able to sit on it. Whenever I did this, Mother always giggled.
"Mother?" I softly said.
"Yes, my love?" She looked at me in her mirror.
"What time do you and Papa have to leave tomorrow?"
"Not until after lunchtime. We can go riding in the morning after breakfast if you would like to."
"Oh yes, please, Mother! That sounds lovely!"
Mother was wearing an elegant red gown. This one reminded me of the roses outside because of the color.
Papa walked into the room with his right arm behind his back. As he turned toward my mother, with his back toward me, I saw in his hand a rose that matched her beautiful dress. When I leaned forward to try to smell it, I almost fell off the bed.
As he handed her the rose, he said, "For my love, a beautiful rose, which cannot even compare to your beauty!"
"Oh! You are so sweet!" She blushed. "I love you!"
"I love you too, my bride."
Whenever they dressed up, they looked so elegant, almost as perfect as a painting. Papa leaned over to kiss Mother. Their love was so pure and natural; they genuinely cared for one another.
Our cat, Buttons, came into the room. His nose was pink, with an orangish-pink spot on the right half of it. His fur was orange, with white on his paws and belly. His eyes were golden like Mother's hair. Buttons was a sweet cat who loved to be held and petted. And he was almost always purring; he was rarely quiet.
Buttons jumped on the bed next to me and then crawled into my lap. He was purring so loudly that one could have heard it from a few feet away.
"All right, Son, time for you to go to bed," Mother informed me.
"Oh, okay." I sighed.
I walked out of my parents' bedroom and toward mine. It was dark, even with the candles lit on the wall and the one in my hand.
Once in my room, I set the candle on my night table so that I could put on my pajamas. When I picked the candle back up, I walked into my bathroom. As I set it down on the counter to brush my teeth, I heard Mother walk into my room.
"Make sure you go to the bathroom, sweetheart," she reminded me.
She was sitting on a chair by my bed, waiting for me to finish. She held the vase of roses that had been on the dining table as we ate dinner.
As I walked to my bed, I began to yawn. Mother set the vase of roses on my night table, next to my glass of water.
Every night when Mother put me to bed, she would sing a song to me. When I lay down, Mother pulled up my covers and then sat next to me on my bed. She placed her arm around me and began to sing:
Grow up big and strong.
Let your beauty shine,
Let your love ring
Until the end of time.
Little rose, my little rose,
Be all you can be.
You are my little rose,
And I love you so!
Her song and her voice were very soothing.
"Do you have to go out to the party tonight, Mother?" I whined.
"Yes, I am sorry. But we will be home before you know it! Do you want me to wake you once we are home?" she asked me.
Excerpted from Beast by Tiffini Hunt. Copyright © 2013 Tiffini Hunt. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beast is a new twist on an old story. This re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast story focuses primarily on the "Beast", giving us insight, not before known, into his life before he became a beast and how he came to be cursed. Most versions of this story focus mostly on "Beauty", so this is a nice addition to any collection of re-told fairy tales. Tiffini Hunt is a new author, and I hope to see more from her soon.