Beauty’s Beast

Beauty’s Beast by Jane E. Jones
Publisher: The Wilder Rose Press, Scarlet Rose
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Lotus

Beautiful Holly thinks she’s found the man who loves her, but Ristan continues to insist they meet in secret, refuses to marry her, and hides from the night. Unsure of his past, his life, and his love, she is forced into a situation that will bring her love from another man; a cursed, tortured man named Alexavier whose own beauty is hidden beneath a hideous exterior.

Abandoned by Ristan and living in a lonely castle with Alexavier, she is astounded by her immediate attraction to the Beast—his rough touch and scorching kisses leave her trembling and aching for more.

When Ristan returns, Holly realizes where her heart truly lies and discovers a secret that may cause her to lose the Beast forever.

Really, can there possibly be a fan of erotic romance who doesn’t love Beauty and the Beast? The Beast is the archetypal erotic hero—dark, dangerous, and enslaved by his animal nature. The only surprise there can be when you see an erotic re-telling of this story is that it doesn’t happen more often. Jane E. Jones seems to have written Beauty’s Beast with fans of the fairy tale firmly in mind.

The heroine, Holly, is utterly ordinary, and reacts to her adventures as any red-blooded woman would, rather than being somehow repelled by the raw sex appeal that the Beast is capable of. She doesn’t shy away from her love for both Alexavier and Ristan, and makes her choices based on that love. Ristan is an unfortunately underdeveloped character. Meant to be pretty and petty, he comes off as a cardboard cut-out, and it’s difficult to imagine Holly actually falling in love with him, as opposed to just being rather in lust with him. Alexavier is everything the Beast always has been: passionate, sensual, and desperate in his love. I haven’t the foggiest why Holly sees a dilemma in choosing between the two of them, but then I’m not Holly. Maybe Ristan is really, really pretty.

The language the characters use is inconsistent with the “long ago” setting. One wonders if this was a deliberate choice—in order to make an earthier, less precious version of the story—or if the author could not keep things “in character.” This is something to be aware of about this book: there’s really nothing exceptional about Jones’s writing, but the depth of creativity and emotion in her telling of the tale make it worth the read. If you’re not convinced, then here’s one more thing: in this version of the old, old story, our Beauty at last, at long last, gets to have her showdown with the stupid pretty prince who is worthless if he means the loss of the beast. Personally, I had been waiting for that for a long time. If you have too, or if you’ve simply always thought that the prince was just, you know, boring in comparison to the Beast, read this one. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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