If there is something I have a weakness for is the Beauty and the Beast plot. I just love the wicked romance inherent to a helpless woman who falls prey to a beast of a man. After all, there's something primal in belonging to a powerful man, being at his mercy, only to turn him inside out and bring light to his darkness. This is what I was hoping for in this sensual and modern version of the fairy tale.
It really spins the story with a naughty twist. Lily has sold her freedom for a year to a recluse in a mansion. If that doesn't perk up all your alarms and ripples your senses, there's only one thing that will. All the little, deliciously hot encounters Lily has with her new, controlling master, Aidan Pierce.
He's a harsh man, loaded with secrets. It was really exciting to feel through Lily those early stages when everything is unfolding in the strangest ways. The eerie mansion, the weird rules, the moody master she can never see... He's a mystery that doesn't want to be unraveled. However, the intimacy has to happen and I liked how it was done.
Adding to the tension, it's the mystery surrounding Aidan's past. What has led him to an obscure lifestyle? Or to his dubious bedroom techniques? Is he beyond redemption? It was alluring the way they get together at nights, sometimes domineering and harsh, other times slightly hopeful that Lily means something special to him. The uncertainty she feels adds to the thrill of passion and to the reading pleasure.
The writing style is fine, reflecting in a natural way both feelings and actions. In addition to the dual POV, which I love, the author paints a vivid picture of a woman who must relinquish her free will to a stranger in exchange of her father's well-being. Little by little, the details come to light and I really enjoyed how things proceeded. When a small spark of hope seems to be within reach for both of them, a misunderstanding builds up the drama just before the end of part one. Oh, naughty writer, that's how you make me crave the second part, isn't it? You're good! ;-)
Lily and the Beast
Author: Amelia Jayne
Aidan Pierce led a charmed life. Wealth, power, the love of a good woman – until his taste for kink triggers a devastating accident that forever changes his life. Now a mysterious recluse, Aidan doesn’t let anyone see what he’s become. In order to save a loved one, Lily Gray is forced into an agreement that gives Aidan absolute power over her body for one year. Lily has sacrificed her freedom and surrendered her body, but she never imagined he’d take possession of her heart. What will happen when Aidan threatens to dominate her entire life? Steeped in darkness for so many years, Aidan never dreamed his sweet little sub would come to command him with a single smile. Can her love lead him into the light? Will beauty tame the savage beast, or will his dark desires tear them apart?
*** This is a dark, erotic retelling of the classic fairy tale,
not intended for those under 18.
WARNING: hot EXCERPT ahead!
“It’s just sex, I can totally handle this.” My lips moved without sound, but I felt better for reminding myself. It wasn’t like I’d never done it before. Michael was my third serious relationship and the fourth guy I’d ever slept with. Maybe Aidan Pierce was a hideously deformed troll with a pot belly, but with the blindfold on, I could pretend he was an Adonis. Or even Michael. I seized upon that bit of fantasy, clinging to it.
Still, when he touched my shoulder I flinched. I couldn’t help it! His hand withdrew instantly, but I’d obviously ticked him off as he grabbed hold of my chin, firmly keeping me in place.
“Do you know what the contract you signed means?” he said with slow, deliberate care, as if I was mentally challenged.
“Yes,” I replied, fighting the instinct to pull away from his grasp. In a few seconds he let me go, and I could feel him pacing a slow circle around me from his footfalls on the thick rug.
“You agreed to be mine in any way I deem fit for the period of one year. Surrendering your body freely to any physical demands I make, whenever I make them, without complaint or objection,” he rattled off from memory, and I wondered how many other girls he’d made this agreement with. I’d read that part of the contract right enough, but when he said it that way, I wondered if his idea of physical demands was the same as mine.
“You belong to me. Say it,” he prompted, tapping me on the bottom of my chin.
“I belong to you,” I parroted back, my stomach clenching into a knot at the current of possessiveness I picked up in his voice. I couldn’t see him, but I could feel him looking at me, eagerly awaiting my every response.
He leaned close, more heat coming off of him than the crackling fireplace, and a rash of goose bumps broke out over my skin when his breath tickled my ear. “If I wanted to bend you over the back of that chair, shove your pretty pink panties aside and f*ck you raw right now, I could. Do you accept this?”
My hands clenched into fists at the harsh words, but his voice was soft, almost sweet at my ear – as though paying me the most gentle, loving compliment. Behind the blindfold, I felt myself blink, my breath hitching as I nodded in response.
“Answer me,” he barked, and I shuddered, wanting that soft, lover’s tone back.
“Yes,” I gasped, hating the way my voice cracked, because I had to admit, it wasn’t all fear. There was a tiny part of me that wanted to push him, to see what he’d do next. I sucked in a sharp breath when the next touch came, willing myself to be still, to submit. Large, blunt fingers trailed up my bare arm to my shoulder in the lightest of touches, dipping across my collarbone to the other shoulder.
Lulled by the gentle touch, I almost cried out when he withdrew, my mouth going dry as I recognized the sound of his belt buckle being undone. I waited for the zipper to follow, but instead I heard a long hiss, punctuated by a slap – his belt coming free. In the next instant, he wrenched my arms behind my back, pinning my wrists together at an awkward angle. My shoulders pitched forward, leveraging for a more comfortable position, and his hand closed around my throat, hauling me up against the solid wall of his chest.
“You will submit without complaint or objection, that includes nonverbal actions,” he growled at my ear.
“I didn’t complain, I was just trying to get more comfortable and…” His hand tightened, and I winced, remembering I wasn’t supposed to speak unless he asked me something. When I fell silent, his grip eased, and I dragged in a ragged breath.
His voice softened again, became that lover’s tone, as his hot breath spilled over my shoulder. He let go of my throat entirely, hand roaming lower over the slope of my breast and to the flat of my belly. “There is no part of your body that is forbidden to me. If I want to hurt you, I can. I can take you however and whenever I want.”
Despite his words, his hold on me shifted slightly, putting less strain on my joints, and I wondered if he even knew what kind of mixed messages he was sending out. Did he want to hurt me? Was that what I’d signed on for?
“I own you, don’t I?” His voice became a sexy purr as his lips caressed the outer whorl of my ear, and I nodded, my breath coming faster as an unwanted thrill coursed through me. I was completely under his power, like he said. And I could tell myself that it was just sex, but there was nothing normal about this. I was utterly his to do with as he pleased. On one level, the thought was terrifying, but there was a rush of something else. Something that had my thighs pressing together against the slick heat that gathered between them.
“Say it!” His hand closed roughly over my breast, fingers squeezing tight, and I cried out in shock, desperately trying to remember what he wanted me to say.
“Y-you own me,” I stammered, and his touch instantly gentled, becoming a caress.
“Good girl.” A flush of pleasure went through me, at hearing that simple praise. I wanted to hear it again, but his voice was harder when he spoke. “You exist only to please me. So instead of pulling away from me, you’d better be trying to figure out how to make me happy.”
“But I have no idea what you want, I don’t know you,” I objected, and he patted me lightly on the belly.
“I’ll teach you.”
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ABOUT THE MASTERMIND
Amelia Jayne lives in a cottage by the sea with her two cats and a very understanding husband. When she’s not busy writing smut or reading historical romances, she’s dreaming up semi-healthy recipes to explore her love of chocolate and Italian food.
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Do you like a twist to your fairy tales, book buddies? ;o)