Beast by Elsa Jade

Beast by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest: Book 10
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The wolves of Angels Rest destroyed the cruel Kingdom Guard’s secret outpost, but not all the victims were saved. Yet…

Tortured and drugged by a clandestine human organization seeking to turn shifters into supersoldier slaves, bear shifter Cianán was rescued by the Mesa Diablo pack. But he was left twisted and broken, some part of him left behind in that too-small cage. Now a quiet forest, alone with his honeybees, is the most he hopes for.

Undeterred by the harsh realities of her upbringing, Trudy’s artistic soul demands she capture all the wonders of the world in her camera lens. When a grumpy, reclusive mountain man saves her from an early-spring snowstorm, she realizes there’s more to his humped and hairy shyness than meets the eye.

He doesn’t believe she can see past his ugliness, but she won’t let him hide from a love that burns true in the heart of the beholder.

Beast starts off with a damsel in distress but Trudy is too determined and stubborn to give up even though the odds are alarmingly against her. Her inarticulate cry for help was heard by a loner, a man/bear who has been hurt mentally and physically to such an extreme he’s broken. Cianán isn’t so lost in his pain that he can’t recognize when someone else is in pain too. He’s compelled to seek out and deal with the hurt intruder as soon as possible and get them to a place where someone else will surely find them and help them out. All Cianán wants is to be left alone. He can’t hurt anyone and no one can hurt him ever again as long as he stays deep in the woods. A haunted man with his bees for company, all he wants is peace, is that too much to ask? It is when fate decides to step in with a different solution in mind. Bear and woman meet and what follows is a romance story unique to the world in which Angels Rest exists, where anything is possible and dreams come true. A reader is in store for some delightful surprises when they read Beast.

One of the things that impressed me about this story is the detail about Cianán while in the state of in between. While he was in stuck as a man/bear, the things he did, said, acted and felt were so solid, I never lost sight that he wasn’t fully a man; the effect of being part bear affected so many scenes they provided a special flavor to the storytelling environment.

The dialogue between Trudy and the hero was oftentimes hilarious, insightful or intriguing and always fascinating. I found the scene with Trudy’s first morning cup of coffee totally adorable. Their dialogue and special moments keep mounting up because their proximity ends up acting like a sensual and romantic courtship. The pressure builds until all that sexual tension finally gets released. Ice cubes may be needed for a few of them.

Romance can’t happen in a vacuum so eventually the reason that Trudy was alone in the wilderness comes to haunt her and Cianán. This is when the hero both proves his mettle and faces the risk of losing the heroine when he reveals who and what he really is. The suspense was just the right amount to keep the tension heightened and me rooting for the hero to win and save the day.

Beast is a treat. I adored Cianán’s character and am so happy for him. I really enjoyed the HEA wrap up and how the author tied up all the threads. This novella is a treat and one more that joins my other favorite stories in the Angels Rest series. I’m such a fan!

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