Beast, Allison Cassatta and Tracey Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Fairy Tale Reimagining, Contemporary
Length: 216 pages
Reviewer: Lady Letti
Can you imagine your whole life changing in a blink of an eye…? The face you see in the mirror, a face you once adored, suddenly seems foreign, alien-like. That man that’s staring back at you moves just like you, tilts his head the same way you do, is mimicking everything you do. You can’t seem to comprehend how something so grotesque could possibly be you.
Accepting the reality that hiding in the shadows is the only way, you can be seen, knowing that light is your enemy and that it can reveal something you abhor. The darkness is the only place that makes you feel safe; you’re essentially hiding from the world, where solitude is your only comfort. I just described the “tragic” life of Ara.
Ara was a narcissistic, cold-hearted man who was unforgiving and cruel. He was the epitome of selfish. He gloried in the power that is beauty. He believed that others coveted it and, because of that, he could control them. Beauty plus power was too much of a gift for this man to handle, and so the powers-that-be took one away.
After his accident, he became a lost and shattered soul hidden within the compound of his home. He hasn’t felt the caress of the wind on his face, a passionate touch in seven years, he only leaves the solitude of his home, for doctors’ appointments.
Then there’s Ilias, who is farm born and raised. He left his childhood home after a falling out with his father. He began working for Ara and living at his residence for a probationary period, until he could gain the trust of his employer. He brings light into the darkness and each day he finds himself getting closer to Ara.
“I can’t take it anymore.” Ara moaned.
“I can’t either,” Ilias said.
“I want to be inside you.”
“Then what are you waiting for?”
All I could do was shout. Finally!
When Ara realized what he was feeling was actually love, not simply lust, it was a profound moment. He then makes the choice to live anew, that’s when the darkness slowly drifts away.
“I want to be able to love,” he quietly admitted. “I want to let go of all this-” He shook his head, searching for the word he wanted. “-insecurity. Yes, that’s what it is. I’m insecure. But I have every right to be, right?”
Wow, I absolutely loved this book, the words and quotes made such an impact, the writing flowed perfectly, I was able to relate to the characters. It had such a believability about it. I found myself getting attached to Ara and Ilias, I could see them grow and change. It’s amazing how both these authors commanded the attention of the reader. I didn’t know how to put the book down, or better yet, I didn’t want to. I was spellbound.
This is Beauty and the Beast in the 21st Century, it was a fairy tale. I love books with sugary sweetness, when in the mood. How this story is different is that the angst in it wasn’t over the top, it balanced out the sweetness perfectly. It’s a delectable delight.
ARC supplied by Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest review.