Beauty's Beast

Beauty's Beast

by Amanda Ashley

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Overview

"Ashley is a master storyteller." --RT Book Reviews

"A master of her craft." --Maggie Shayne

Beauty

Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself. . .

And the Beast

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born--that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts. . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420135626
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 317,295
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Amanda Ashley is one of those rare birds—a California native. She's lived in Southern California her whole life and, except for the earthquakes, she loves it. She shares a home with her husband, as well as an adorable Pomeranian named Lady, a wild house sparrow named Tweety, and a tortoise who remains nameless. Amanda and her alter ego, Madeline, have written 60 books. Not bad for someone who started writing just for the fun of it. Her books have made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. You can learn more about Amanda and her books at AmandaAshley.com.

Read an Excerpt

Beauty's Beast


By AMANDA ASHLEY

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2014 Madeline Baker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3562-6


CHAPTER 1

Shivering uncontrollably, Kristine Arrington stood in the center of the dreary cell, her only light that of a single candle. The stones were cold beneath her bare feet; the gray walls damp and covered with mold. The single window was small and square and barred. And set too high for her to see out. Not that she would have looked, for there was nothing to see but the gallows where, on the morrow, she would draw her last breath.

She whirled around at the sound of a key in the lock, backed away from the door as it swung open.

"I've come to cut yer hair," the burly guard said, moving into the room. He shoved a three-legged stool toward her. "Sit down."

Hands clasped, she did as bidden, her nostrils wrinkling with distaste as he leaned toward her. He smelled of old sweat and ale. The stink of the prison clung to his clothing.

She recoiled at the touch of his dirty hands moving through the heavy fall of her hair, dug her fingers into her arm to keep from crying out as he made the first cut.

"Damn, girl, ye've got enough hair for a dozen women," he muttered.

The sound of the heavy shears sounded like thunder in her ears, and with each cut, another lock of hair fell at her feet. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut as he deprived her of her one true beauty. She had always been vain about her hair. Unbound, it had fallen in thick golden waves past her hips. Was this the punishment for her vanity?

"Ought to bring a fine price from the wigmaker," the guard remarked as he gathered her hair from the floor and moved toward the door. "More than enough to pay fer yer buryin'."

Kristine waited until he was gone, and then, feeling like a sheep shorn of its wool, she ran her hands over the short, spiky ends. Tears burned her eyes and she stiffened her shoulders. She was going to die. She would not cry over the loss of her tresses.

A short time later, a tall, solemn-faced priest came to hear her last confession. A single tear escaped as he gave her absolution, then traced the sign of the cross on her forehead.

Alone again, she sank down on the floor, her head cradled in her hands.

She was going to die.

Feeling numb, she sat there. Would it hurt? Would her legs hold her as they led her up to the gallows? Or would she collapse, weeping and crying like some spineless coward?

She didn't want to die. She had nothing to live for, but she didn't want to die.

Her head jerked up when the door opened again.

Was it time already?

Only it wasn't a guard who entered her cell, but a kind-faced nun bearing a wooden tray laden with a plate of broiled chicken, fresh vegetables, and a loaf of bread still warm and soft instead of hard and stale and crawling with worms. There was a glass of warm sweet wine, as well.

"For me?" After weeks of watered gruel, moldy bread, and tepid water, it seemed a feast indeed.

The elderly nun nodded.

Kristine wept with gratitude as she savored each bite of tender chicken, each morsel of the warm, yeasty bread.

The nun didn't speak, only smiled sympathetically as she patted Kristine's arm, then carried the dirty dishes away.

Later, full for the first time in weeks, Kristine curled up on the thin pallet in the corner. Seeking oblivion in sleep, she was too steeped in despair to give heed to the skinny, long-tailed rats that scurried across the stones in search of some small scrap of food. No need to worry about being bitten now, she thought glumly. What difference did it make if she caught the plague?

The rattle of the guard's keys roused her from a troubled sleep. She bolted upright, fearing that it was morning and they had come to take her to the block. Stomach churning with fear, she stared at the guard, blinking against the light of the lamp.

"That's her," the guard said. He stepped into the cell and lifted the lamp higher. "Stand up, girl. His lordship wants to see yer face."

She had learned long ago to do as she was told, and to do it quickly. Hardly daring to breathe, she scrambled to her feet.

It was then that she saw him, a dark shape that looked like death itself shrouded in a long black woolen cloak. The garment fell in deep folds from his broad shoulders to brush the tops of his black leather boots. The hood of the cloak was pulled low, hiding his face from her view. Black kidskin gloves covered his hands. He stood there, tall, regal, and frightening.

"Her name's Kristine," the guard remarked. "Don't recall her family name."

The hooded man nodded and made a circling motion with his forefinger.

"Turn around, girl," the guard demanded brusquely.

She did as the guard asked, her cheeks flushing with shame as she felt the hooded man's gaze move over her. She was barefoot and filthy. What was left of her hair was dirty and crawling with lice. Her dress, once the color of fresh cream, was badly stained, the hem torn. And worst of all, she smelled bad.

She heard a faint noise, like the rustle of dry paper, and realized the stranger had asked the guard a question.

"Just turned seventeen," the guard replied with a leer.

She heard the rasp of the hooded man's voice again and then he turned away, melting into the shadows beyond her cell.

The guard followed him, pausing at the door to look back over his shoulder. "This be yer lucky day, girl. Seems his lordship has taken a fancy to ye."

"I don't understand."

"He just bought yer freedom."

Kristine staggered back, overcome by a wave of dizzying relief. She wasn't going to die.

"He'll be comin' by to fetch ye tomorrow night."

Coming for her. Tomorrow night. Relief turned to trepidation. "What ... what does he want with me?"

The guard threw back his head and barked a laugh. "He says he's going ta marry ye."

"Marry me!" Kristine stared at the guard in shock.

"Aye."

"But ... he doesn't even know me."

The guard shrugged. "What does it matter?"

Why would a stranger want to marry her? And why did she care, if it would get her out of this terrible place with her head still on her shoulders? "Can you tell me his name?"

"Why, don't you know? That's his lordship, Erik Trevayne."

Stunned, Kristine stared at the guard. She would rather lose her head that very night than become the wife of the infamous Lord Trevayne. A beheading, at least, would be swiftly and mercifully over. "And he wants to marry me? Are you sure?"

"Aye, girl. It seems a fittin' match. A murderin' wench bein' wed to the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle."

CHAPTER 2

I am to be the bride of Erik Trevayne, Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle.

It was the first thought that crossed Kristine's mind upon waking in the morning. And hard upon that thought came every rumor she had ever heard of the man, every bit of idle country gossip, every lurid tale.

He was a monster who hadn't been seen in public since his wife died.

He had killed his first wife and child with his bare hands.

He had been cursed by the devil himself.

He was half man, half beast.

He was old, ugly, deformed, cruel, the seventh son of Satan.

He had been beset by some rare plague that left him horribly disfigured.

Kristine huddled under her thin blanket, shivering uncontrollably. Why did he want to marry her? What manner of man took a condemned murderess for a wife? She fought back a wave of hysterical laughter. She had murdered a man. The lord of Hawksbridge Castle had murdered his wife. As the guard had said, it did, indeed, seem to be a fitting match.

Never had the hours passed so quickly. Why, she wondered, did time seem to limp along when one waited for a happy occasion, and run on eager feet for an event one dreaded?

She tried to pray for strength, for courage, but words failed her and all she could do was murmur, "Please, please, please," over and over again.

At dusk, two plump women clad in identical gray woolen gowns entered the cell. One carried a small box, the other carried a large bag.

A short time later, one of the guards dragged a small wooden tub into the cell. Two other guards followed and filled the tub with buckets of hot water, shuffling out when the task was complete. One of the women added several drops of fragrant oil to the water.

Kristine stood against the far wall, watching, wondering. Who were these women? What were they doing there? Were they also nuns? It seemed doubtful, considering the way they were dressed. Both had dark brown hair and eyes.

She looked longingly at the tub. She had not been allowed to bathe in the five and a half weeks she had been imprisoned. One needed money to procure a bath, a decent meal, a change of clothing. She had no funds of her own, nor anyone she might appeal to for aid.

She hesitated when the taller of the two women gestured for her to step into the tub. Surely they didn't expect her to undress and bathe in their presence?

The women smiled reassuringly as they approached her. Why didn't they speak? When they began to undress her, Kristine shook her head. Stripping off her soiled clothing, she hurriedly stepped into the tub and sank beneath the water, her cheeks flaming with embarrassment.

She tried to protest when the women began to wash her, but they ignored her, their hands gentle, quick, and competent, their eyes sympathetic when they saw how thin she was. One of them vigorously scrubbed her cropped hair and scalp, the other washed her from head to toe. When they were satisfied that she was clean, they helped her out of the tub and toweled her dry, then smoothed a soothing balm over her face and neck, her breasts, her arms and legs.

Kristine was shivering with nervousness when one of the women opened the bag and withdrew a chemise, drawers, and a petticoat, all trimmed with pink ribbons and dainty pink rosettes. Next came a gown of shimmering ice blue silk.

Kristine gaped at the dress. Never in all her life had she beheld anything so lovely. The cool silk felt like heaven against her skin, so much richer and softer than the rough homespun she was accustomed to. There were matching blue slippers for her feet.

She knew a moment of embarrassment as the two women studied her hair, or lack of it. Then, with a sigh, the shorter of the two pulled out a delicate veil of cream-colored lace from the satchel. With a small shake of her head, the woman set the veil in place.

The two women walked around Kristine, smoothing her skirt, making a slight adjustment to the veil, and then they smiled at each other, obviously pleased with what they had accomplished.

One of the women rapped sharply on the door. A moment later, the guard standing watch outside the cell turned the key in the lock and the two women escorted Kristine out of the cell, down the long dank corridor, and out of the prison.

Kristine emerged from the darkness feeling like a newborn lamb about to be led to the slaughter. She took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of clean, fresh air for the first time in over a month.

As soon as she stepped outside, two men wearing the bold green and black livery of Hawksbridge Castle fell into step beside her and escorted her to the small red brick chapel located across the road from the prison.

Her heart was pounding wildly as she entered the church, followed by the two men and the two silent women.

As soon as she was inside, her gaze flew to the altar, to the tall hooded man who stood waiting for her there.

"Come, my daughter."

At the priest's words, Kristine dragged her gaze from the man who was to be her husband. Taking a deep breath, she walked down the short, narrow aisle, noticing, for the first time, that there was a woman seated in the front pew. A petite dark-haired woman dressed in unrelieved black.

Kristine was trembling from head to heel by the time she reached the altar. A wave of panic washed over her when the hooded man took his place at her side.

The priest smiled at them. "You will please join hands."

Kristine's gaze darted toward the man at her right. He was tall, so tall the top of her head barely reached his shoulder. A cloak of finely woven dark blue wool shot with fine silver threads shrouded him from head to foot. Soft black leather boots covered his feet. He hesitated a moment, then extended his hand, revealing a long arm clad in fine white linen.

For a moment, Kristine stared at the gloved hand he extended toward her and then, wishing she could still her trembling, she placed her hand in his. His hand was large, the fine leather of his glove velvet-soft against her palm. She could feel the latent power in that hand as his fingers closed firmly around hers.

She looked up at the priest, her heart racing. If she begged the good father for help, would he offer her sanctuary? If she refused to marry, would her savior send her back to prison to face the executioner's axe?

In a daze, she listened to the words that bound her to a man whose countenance she had never seen.

Too soon, it was over.

"Lord Trevayne, you may bestow a kiss upon your bride, if you wish," the good father said cheerfully.

Kristine stared up at the man who was now her husband, every instinct she possessed urging her to flee as she waited for him to claim his first kiss. Tall and regal, he stood there, not moving, his face hidden in the deep folds of the cowl, and then, slowly, he shook his head.

She felt his fingers tighten on hers—an apology for humiliating her, perhaps?—surprised to find that his rejection should hurt so badly.

"The Lord bless you both." The priest made the sign of the cross, then turned toward the elegant woman clad in black. "Madam Trevayne, come forward and make your new daughter welcome."

The woman in the front pew stood and walked toward Kristine, her face an indistinct blur beneath a short black veil. She was a small woman, with fine bones and small, delicate hands. Her dark brown hair was liberally streaked with gray. Kristine found it hard to believe that this petite gentlewoman had given birth to the tall, broad-shouldered man who stood so silently beside her.

"Welcome, daughter," the woman said, her voice cold, distant. She pressed a cool kiss to Kristine's cheek, but her gaze was focused on her son.

With both their faces covered, it was impossible for Kristine to see their expressions, but there was no mistaking the tension between mother and son. It crackled between them, leaving Kristine to wonder at its cause.

"Is this wise, Erik?" Lady Trevayne murmured softly. "Are you not tempting fate?"

Kristine winced as her husband's grip tightened on her hand; then, without a word, he released his hold and stalked out of the church.

Lady Trevayne looked at Kristine, then slowly shook her head. "Leyla and Lilia will see you to your new home, daughter. Fare thee well." And so saying, she moved past Kristine and knelt at the altar, where she bowed her head in prayer.

Glancing over her shoulder, Kristine saw the two women who had assisted her at the prison waiting for her near the door.

"Do not be afraid, child." The priest offered her a reassuring smile as he firmly traced the sign of the cross on her brow with a spatulate thumb. "Go with God and fulfill your duty, as a wife should."

With a nod, Kristine followed the two silent women out of the church.

A shiny black carriage drawn by a pair of matched chestnut geldings awaited her. When she was settled inside, the two silent women joined her. She heard the crack of a whip, and the carriage lurched forward.


Trevayne paced the deep shadows of his chamber, waiting. In the adjoining room, Leyla and Lilia were preparing his bride for bed.

His bride. He had chosen her because she was marked for execution, because she had been the most pathetic of the lot, because he had looked at her scrawny arms, flea-bitten legs, and shorn head and felt nothing. Nothing at all. He had not expected her to clean up so well. Washed and scrubbed and clad in ice blue silk, her dark green eyes luminous beneath the gossamer veil, she had looked incredibly young and vulnerable, like a little girl playing dress-up in her mother's clothes.

He wished she had remained ugly and unattractive.

He raked a hand through his hair. It was time to fulfill his father's last wish, now, while he was still able. As promised, he had taken a bride. In the nights to come, he would plant his seed within the girl's womb and pray it took root quickly. Once the child was born and pronounced healthy, he would seek the peace of mind and soul that only the grave could bring.

He whirled around as the door opened. Leyla stood there. She nodded, indicating that his bride was ready.

With a sigh, he waved the buxom woman away. Then, taking a deep breath, he left his chamber to do his duty.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Beauty's Beast by AMANDA ASHLEY. Copyright © 2014 Madeline Baker. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Beauty's Beast 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
BookGirlR81 More than 1 year ago
Beauty’s Beast started out great.  I loved getting to know Kristine and I really felt for her when they were preparing to execute her.  Then there’s a last minute rescue and it’s all downhill from there.  Erik is selfish and condescending; I have no idea why Kristine falls in love with him.  And there’s the sex.  He practically rapes her and the language used to describe the act itself is old fashioned, archaic and clunky. Kristine is a weak simpering woman until the very end of the story when she suddenly grows a backbone made of steel, which is not very convincing.  And the ending is rushed.  It’s as if author Ashley suddenly realized she had reached her word count and decided to end the novel in 2 paragraphs, which left me feeling empty and cheated.  Do yourself a favor and skip this one.   For more in depth reviews visit my blog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this, based on the title, but from the first chapter, it came off wrong. It was predictable. Nothing surprised in this story. It also gave me the willy's from the first sex scene. It read like sexual harassment, and was not a good way to start the book. I like Amanda Ashley, but I did not like this book. I do wish I could get my money back on this read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started out great, then it felt rushed at the end...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story had promise, but there was a lack of true imagination with the storyline. Characters lacked depth. Love story wasn't believable. Just a disappointment. "C" for effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was so emotional, it brought tears to my eyes, I loved the happy ending.
tx_writer More than 1 year ago
Every time I find a novel that takes on the beloved fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, I jump into it with the intention of enjoying every page. That's exactly how I felt reading author Amanda Ashley's version most of the time yet the story, as a whole, didn't stay with me after I finished. The heroine, Kristine, was not what I expected and I applaud the author for the great beginning hook. Condemned to die for murdering a man who deserved it, Kristine doesn't expect anything but a quick, hopefully merciful, death. You can imagine her shock when a hooded figure visits her jail cell and makes an offer she'd be an idiot not to accept: marry him and live. Refuse and die. That, folks, is known as a no brainer. Her husband-to-be is the mysterious Erik Trevayne, also known as the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle. Early in the novel, Erik's scenes are gripping. His secrets, her secrets -- hell, SECRETS GALORE -- push the tension to delectable levels. Erik's story rips at your heart strings. He's a man slowly turning into a monster because of a curse he should never had had to endure. He's a man who's lost a wife, gained a witchy adversary, and newly married to a murderer. Ah, but romance doth bloom for him and Kristine, and I delighted in guessing how and when she'd see his face. That's the best part of the story, in my opinion. When, when, when. Unfortunately, the story turned into why, why, why. Maybe the clearly historical romance-y flavor of the story, despite the paranormal elements, that forms this retelling simply dissipates and what's left is a wold in sheep's clothing tale. The change is abrupt and did more to throw me out of the story than Kristine's switching from a strong heroine to more of a "lay there and take it" damsel. Still, I enjoyed a chunk of this novel, and I'm sure other readers will as well. Just temper your emotions for the original tale and you'll be okay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was borin all the way through i gave it two stars because i made it through the entire book even though I have to admit skimming through most of it.
CarmellaS More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book...as a matter of fact I have loved anything written by Amanda Ashley! This story is about Erik and Kristine. Erik lost his previous wife, Dominique, to childbirth and because of it a curse has been placed upon him by her mother. She did not want her daughter to marry and bear children because she felt her daughter was too fragile. The curse she places on Erik is "that he turn into the animal he is until Dominique forgives him". Erik becomes a recluse after that, earning many names such as the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle. Erik saves Kristine from the Gallows. She is about to be executed for murder, a murder that was self defense. They wed that night and he tells her that the only thing her wants from her is an heir, other than that he wants nothing to do with her and to never touch him. She rarely sees him during the day, only from afar, but at night he comes to her and leaves when this seed is planted. Kristine wants more...she wants to know who the man is behind the mask and what he hides. She finds she does enjoy his attentions and sees the loyalty of his staff. Now that I have set it up, you really need to read this book! It is full of magic...the magic of love and even some magic from a witch and wizard...and the magic of forgiveness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amanda Ashley is a fabulous writer and never fails to entertain you with her vivid imagination! I have read all of her books and loved everyone! This story ranks among those that I have placed at the top meaning I will read this over again many times! Her books are also full of passion and romance but the good, clean kind, meaning no vulgarity! Thank you Ms. Ashley for the many hours of pleasure you have given me with your wonderful stories!
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
Beauty Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself... And the Beast Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born—that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts... Review: This book was not what I expected, yes I expected a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, but I did not expect it to be so emotional. The story is of Erik, who is cursed by his former mother-in-law after the death of his first wife in childbirth.  She curses him to slowly turn into a beast for every tear and drop of blood that came from her daughter...and the only way to save him is for the dead daughter to forgive Erik.  Erik has locked himself away in his castle for almost 5 years, when he decides to take Kristine as his bride and fulfill the promise of an heir he made to his father. Kristine is about to be executed for killing a Lord in self defense and agrees to become Erik's wife.  At this point Erik is half beast already and does what he can to get Kristine with child and keep himself emotionally removed from her, so that he may kill himself once Kristine is pregnant. I honestly thought this was going to be just an erotic retelling of a fairytale, but was I pleasantly surprised to start reading this and find it a very emotionally driven story.  While this is a love story, I would say the the love scenes are more on the sensual side. There were large parts of the story that left me teary-eyed.  I felt so bad for Erik, he lost his wife and child and then he really lost everything else including his life.  Later in the story when he realizes that try as he might, he wants to stay with Kristine and their baby and it seems as all hope is lost is so heartfelt and sad. Erik is still gruff and stubborn with everyone, but the author does a good job of making him well-rounded.  I thought Kristine was well written also.  She wanted so much for Erik to love her and have that intimacy that a husband and wife should have that made me sad for her.  But Kristine has to have some back bone, she fought off and killed a man trying to rape her and then she is willing to make a huge sacrifice to save Erik's humanity.  Now, don't get me wrong it is not all woe is me.  It  has lots of great things going for it, it is historical, it has action, romance and some magic.  I really did not want to put this down once I started reading it and I didn't :) This is the first time I have read this Author but will definitely read more her work! Excellent re-telling of Beauty and the Beast! 4.5Stars
Bukgoddess More than 1 year ago
Beauty's Beast is Amanda Ashley at her very finest. Newest release and stand alone this is Amanda’s own re-telling of the ultimate story of love and devotion against all odds, the infamous Beauty and the Beast! Lord Erik Trevayne and Kristine Arrington are in a battle against evil which will compel you to read until the last page is turned. As the second son of the Lord Hawksbridge Castle, Erik had no ties to the estate, as the spare there was no love lost between father and son, for his brother Robert is the heir to all his father owns. Although Erik felt his father a wise man and respected him, unforeseen circumstances forced a deathbed promise, to Erik is was more a curse. Fulfilling that promise brought another curse upon Erik, this time from the village witch Charmion, …”for every tear my daughter wept”…..the haunting memories of his last remembrance of his late wife Dominique continue to plague him. Kristine Arrington, filthy and cold, housed in the prison dungeon facing the gallows for what is being called a brutal crime committed against Lord Valentine a peer of the realm, (regardless of his reputation as a notorious rake) must come to terms her life will end at such a young age. Faced with keeping his promise, honor-bound Erik Trevayne, now known by all as the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, is desperate to once and for all rid himself of the curse set upon him. Erik hopes to find the answer in one doomed soul destined to die. With time continuing its fast march forward can Erik control himself long enough to accomplish what is required and keep his stone-cold heart caged safely within? This captivating story will hold the reader spell-bound (literally)!
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful take on an old tale! I was immediately hooked from page one and loved this darker version of Beauty and the Beast. Kristine has been condemned to the gallows for killing a peer when she is surprising rescued by Lord Hawksbridge. After having been cursed all he wants to do is produce an heir and then end his misery and suffering. Kristine is out to make the best of this odd situation and discover Lord Hawksbride’s secrets. Lots of mystery and intrigue and the characters have lots of depth and chemistry together. An all-around excellent read.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A dark and emotional retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty's Beast was a wonderful romance. I really liked this book. It had romance, magic, deep emotions, and enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. I thought it was a lovely read. Kristine was a likable heroine. She was smart about her situation, determined to judge Erik by what she saw of him, rather than the rumors she heard about him. And, when the time came for finding answers, she didn't leave any stone unturned. I thought the was great and I liked her. Erik was also wonderful. His emotions were very well portrayed. His despair and hopelessness about stopping the curse and his reluctant caring for Kristine. He was a good man who was put in a bad situation and was trying to make the best of it without hurting anyone. I thought he was just adorable. The romance was lovely. Kristine and Erik were a sweet couple who slowly grew to truly love each other. And, they definitely had chemistry. I thought they were a delightful couple. There were a couple of things that didn't hit the mark for me. 1) It says right in the beginning, when Erik's mother-in-law was cursing him, that the curse would only be broken when her daughter (his late wife) forgave him. So I don't understand why he didn't find a medium or a necromancer or something to call up Dominique (the aforementioned late wife) and ask for her forgiveness (even though he didn't do anything wrong. She died in childbirth, something every woman knew was a possible outcome when they got pregnant during this time). I don't get how that didn't occur to him at some point in the 4+ years that he had been cursed. 2) During the last third of the book, a lot of elements suddenly came up that felt unnecessary. I was already into the story. I didn't need the sudden inclusion of a wizard, a wicked witch's lair, and a wolf pack with an overly friendly female wolf. I would have liked it better if it had just stayed focused on Erik and Christine and them actually trying to figure out how to break the curse (again, not sure why no one though about calling up Dominique). Despite both of these issues, though, I still enjoyed they book. Though it did knock down a peg, it was still a great book. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through (even in the problematic last chunk). I really liked how the emotions were portrayed, particularly Erik's clear despair at slowly turning into a beast. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely. Beauty's Beast was a wonderful romance that I really enjoyed. Emotional, dark, and romantic, this book was lovely. Romance lovers, this is a book you'll want to check out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I have several books of Amanda's and I am glad I chose to review this one. I like her fantasy-paranormal stories. This is a nice version of Beauty and the Beast. Erik Trevayne never wanted to become Lord Hawkesbridge. His first wife died in childbirth as did her baby. Charmian, her mother, is a witch and puts a curse on Erik for killing her daughter. Go ahead 4 years and he (spoiler) has found a girl, Kristine, to marry and get his heir. His curse is affecting him and he doesn't want to become close to Kristine. There are lots of tense moments between them. No spoiler, but there is a twist or two near the end. I fell in love with Kristine and Erik. They were just so vulnerable. Please read this book. It's hard to put down. Enjoy! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Kristine is on her way to be hung. She is a young innocent girl who murdered a man. With time counting down till her execution she never dreamed she would get a way out of it. All that changes when she gets freed only to become the wife of Lord Erik. He is called the Demon Lord and rumors have flown about him for years. Now married to a man she knows nothing about Kristine is finally finding happiness even if Erik hides from her and keeps her at a distance. Erik has to produce a heir and he knows the curse cast upon him is nearing being complete. He is becoming more beast than man. His only hope is he leaves a heir behind. That is all he wanted Kristine for but she slowly draws him out and makes him wish for more. The two fall in love but their time together is to be short as there seems to be no end to the curse. Kristine is a very sweet girl. She is young and had her life tore apart by a cruel man. She is always trying to get Erik to spend more time with her and even after a shock she still wants only to be with him. She will do anything to help him. Erik has gave up hope and stays by his self. He doesn't want the pity or the horror people give him when they see him. He has walls up but as Kristine tears them down you see how sweet and caring he can be. He only wants her to be happy. As re-telling of Beauty and the Beast this is a wonderful one. Kristine is an amazing woman who will do anything and give anything to help the man she has grown to love. Even when she has never seen his face she has grown to love him. He doesn't treat her bad but he doesn't treat her great either in the beginning. They have to learn to trust each other. I love how far they go and the sacrifices they are willing to make to help each other. It Shows how much they love each other and how far they will go to show that love. I love the addition of another creature besides the witch. It added a unique touch to the story. There is tons of danger, a lot of love and magic to be found in this amazing book. I would recommend this to anyone who love a fairy tale retelling, a love story or a story with some paranormal in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stayed up all night reading it....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was so heartbreaking and yet so touching that you fall in love with the Beast and hurt for him! Great book as usual by this writer. Her characters truly come to life on these pages and soon you'll love the Beast too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasn’t a bad little story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was predictable but an okay story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth the effort. Gets a bit silly at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kristine offered to give her baby to an evil witch in exchange for her husbands curse to be broken. Not sure what the author was thinking with that plot twist. Made finishing the last chapter difficult knowing that Kristine would sentence her baby to live a life filled with evil and misery. Will not be reading another book by this author and shame on her for portraying child abandonment and abuse as ok as long as you love the child's father!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story became tiresome at times but but became sick when hero had to beg on his knees..then became sicker when he was transformed. Too much evil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down! Well told as all of her stories are!