Beauty and Her Beast

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Summary

Anna wished more than anything that her father could find it in his heart to love her. Christian wanted someone to love him despite his monstrous appearance. What will happen Anna's father sells her to Christian in exchange for his own life? Will she find the love she's been denied by everyone in her life? Will Christian realize that he's not the monster he looks like?

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Jennifer Miller
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
34
Rating:
4.7 118 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Prologue

Lord Christian Beauchamp couldn’t help but laugh maniacally as the gypsy girl tried door after door in the hallway desperate to escape him. He would catch her sooner or later, and then he would enjoy using her body in all the ways he’d dreamed. How silly it was for her to fight when he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her.

How could she not? He was the perfect specimen of manhood with his bronze skin stretched tightly across his muscular body, ice blue eyes and jet black hair. He knew he was everything women wanted.

He’d flirted for weeks with Alamina while her clan camped on his lands. Every day, she would bat her long, dark lashes and whisper sweet nothings into his ear, dancing away and laughing each time he reached for her.

Now he was the one who was laughing. Cloaked in magical darkness, he’d stolen her away from her little caravan house and brought her to his manor, to this specially prepared tower. This was the night he would take her to his bed and fulfill his wanton desires with her. She’d fight of course, all women did, but that was all part of the fun, part of the chase.

God he loved watching her run through halls, the candlelight glinting off of her dark hair as it bounced, braided, across her back when she ran. It made his lust almost unbearable to see her body silhouetted against her thin shift every time she ran from light to shadow and back again. Her body looked even more perfect than he’d dreamed it would be, her pert little breasts bouncing under the fabric.

Much to his great anger, the door at the end of the hall that led to the roof access opened under the girl’s hand and she fled up the ladder. Christian cursed under his breath, he would deal with his servants when this was over for that oversight. He’d instructed them to lock all the doors on this floor, and yet, this door had opened for her.

Climbing the ladder Christian called, his voice undulating with laughter, “There is no way out from there, my dear!”

Tears of fear and rage streamed down Alamina’s face as she ran for her life, and her virtue. She’d never believed her flirtations would come to this, a midnight escape from this demonic monster bent on taking her to his bed. True, she’d flirted with Lord Beauchamp, as she had flirted with other men near her family’s camp, but to be taken from the warmth of her bed, the safety of the caravan, and brought to this chamber of horrors was far beyond anything she could have imagined.

The room she awoken in was hung with silk and leather, devices of a demonic looking nature spread on the bedside table ready for him to use on her. At her first opportunity, she’d slipped from her bonds and escaped.

Running from door to door finding them barred against her only added to her fear. Christian had planned this far too well, the abduction, the flight back to his manor, and now all avenues of escape were blocked. When she finally found a door that yielded to her trembling hand she sobbed with relief. It didn’t matter that it opened only onto a wooden ladder, there was hope in that rickety thing. Alimina climbed up into the darkness, splinters digging into the soles of her feet and palms of her hands, but on she climbed. Reaching a trapdoor, she opened it and found herself on a rain soaked rampart.

Reaching the top, Christian saw Alamina looking desperately for any way down from the battlements. The rain had plastered the thin fabric of her gown to her body. He could see her nipples, puckered in the cold wetness, and they were titillating.

“Come my dear Alamina,” he crooned. “Come back to my chambers and we can enjoy the rest of our evening warm and dry. This little escape attempt of yours has been diverting, but one way or another, I will have you in my bed tonight.”

Alimina looked at him, her dark eyes red rimmed, her face a mask of fear. Without a word, she placed one foot and then the other over the edge of the roof, and slowly began lowering herself down. She’d found a drainage pipe that led from the roof to the ground, and with any luck she could climb down and make it back to her camp before Christian could catch her. Once there, she knew her family would protect her from this horrible monster.

Seeing her climb over the edge, Christian ran towards her, laughing as he tried to grab for her arm before she could get too far. In doing so, he accidentally knocked her hands loose and watched as Alamina fell four stories, her eyes boring into his with fear, anger and not a little bit of victory.

Anger gripped his heart as he watched her fall, her beautiful face illuminated in a mask of terror by a bolt of lightning before it was obliterated by the rocks below. All that was left of her once beautiful body was a broken, bloody smear.

“Damn!!” he shouted into the night feeling cheated of all of his fun. Now he would never know the feel of her body under his hands, the smell of her, or hear her cry out his name in ecstasy. Turning on his heel, he returned to his bed chambers, leaving a trail of wet clothes behind him, calling for his valet and housekeeper.

“Agnes,” he roared when she entered. “Have that body taken back to the gypsy camp. Offer them a goat or something, that should be more than enough to cover her loss. Roland, a dry robe!”

“My lord!” the woman gasped, swooning against the door. “The girl is dead?”

“Yes, she’s dead,” Christian sneered back at her from his reflection in the mirror as he was helped into dry clothes. “Her body is on the north side of the manor. Have it removed and the rocks scrubbed, I do not want a trace of her remaining when they are done.”

“But my lord,” Agnes gasped, barely controlling her sorrow, “how did this happen?”

Turning on her with rage, Christian yelled, “Does it really matter how it happened? The whore is dead, now get her corpse off my property and take her back to her people. Pay them for her and get them off my land as well! Tell them they aren’t welcome here ever again.”

Still trembling, Agnes curtsied and left the room. As the door shut behind her, she leaned against it, feverishly crossing herself.

“Dear God,” she sobbed, “what kind of devil has he become?”

With her heart in her throat, Agnes led the wagon carrying the girl’s body into the camp. It had taken an hour to collect the poor, poor creatures remains from the rocks and clean her enough to make her presentable. Before returning her body to her family, Agnes and the footmen who’d helped in the collection, prayed solemnly over her shattered corpse.

Agnes watched with trepidation as one by one the gypsies came out of their caravan wagons, walking soberly to the cart and gently caressing Alimina’s bloodied face. They formed a semicircle around Agnes and the wagon, leaving an opening for the Grand Dame of the camp to enter.

“Your master,” said the crone in a harsh tone, taking the cord of the goat she was offered, “will answer for this crime. He has taken an angel from this world.”

“Please don’t judge him too harshly,” Agnes replied, knowing it was not only Christian she was begging for.

“Tis not I who will judge him,” the old woman wheezed. “Tis the Gods themselves who will determine his fate.”

Raising her trembling hand to the heavens, the crone cried, “I call upon the Old Gods and the New, let this evil beast among men be punished for his crimes!”

With that she pulled out a knife hidden in her belt and slit the throat of the goat, letting its blood splatter over the side of the cart and the rain soaked ground.

Turning, she threw the bloody knife into the ground at Agnes’ feet, looking at the other woman in the face.

“You should return to your master now,” the crone hissed, “he will need you to watch over him more than ever.”

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