Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him?
Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he's changed right before her eyes. He's not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now... but then again, so is the beast.
Jenni James is the busy mother of ten kids (7 hers, 3 her hubby's) and has over twenty-five published book babies. She's an award-winning, best-selling author, who works full-time from home and dreams about magical things and then writes about what she dreams.
Some of her works include The Jane Austen Diaries (Pride & Popularity, Emmalee, Persuaded...), The Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection (Cinderella, Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Beauty and the Beast...), the Andy & Annie series for children, Revitalizing Jane: Drowning, My Paranormal Life, Not Cinderella's Type, and the Austen in Love Series.
When she isn't writing up a storm, she is chasing her kids around their new cottage and farm in the tops of the southwestern mountains, entertaining friends at home, or kissing her amazingly hunky hubby. Her life is full of laughter, crazy, and sunshine.
The prince half sobbed, half howled into the night air as his feeble skin ripped, agonizingly making way for the tormented form to escape. He was nearly doubled over, never having known such excruciating pain before, and yet the old woman continued to laugh at him.
Her unmerciful cackles pierced his ears louder than his tearing skin.
He was sickened and dazed as the transformation ended with a jolt, leaving a deep-rooted, throbbing ache throughout his whole form. Everything stung with the awareness of newly stretched and swollen limbs. Taking a ginger step, he practically fell over from the searing of nerve endings as the pain shot up from the soles of his feet to his legs and back. Tender, singed, and unprotected new flesh covered his whole form.
He was so preoccupied with trying to cope, he did not hear the woman until she said, “You will be sore for quite some time, so you had better get used to it.” Her laughter grated again.
“Why?” gasped the prince. “Why me? Why now?” He tried to straighten and turn to meet her gaze more fully, but while attempting it, he stumbled and collapsed. Fire surged through every bone as his raw nerves met the harsh ground. The pain was more unbearable than the transformation. Dizziness flooded into his pounding skull and his nauseated stomach threatened to spew out his throat and onto the ground if he did not hold as still as possible.
He felt her cane grind into his hip, but he was too weak to acknowledge it.
“You, boy, needed to be taught a lesson.” She jabbed him with the sharp stick and continued, “Now you will forever know what it feels like to be ugly. Your eyes are too hazy at the moment to see the figure you have become.” She moved the cane to his inflamed, disjointed knee and dug deep into the taut tissue. He flinched and writhed in agony, his howls filling the darkened forest. “But when you awaken, and you will awaken, you may wish you were dead. However, that is not the purpose of such a transformation. You will live through this—it will be several days until you are healed enough to make it back to your castle, Prince.” She hissed his title as if it were the true curse. “At that point, when you are able to crawl up the stately stairs to your fine room, I want you to haul yourself up upon your chiseled table and peer into the looking glass. Take in every inch of your deranged form.
“That will be the day you accept what has truly happened to you and the day you realize what it means to be a hideous beast forever.”
“No!” he yelled as her cane lashed at his swollen twisted spine. “Please…” His body convulsed. Nausea swam in dizzying circles until he could no longer focus on anything but the bile rising, aching to relieve itself, as the cane pounded again and again.
The old woman wheezed, and thankfully the whacking stopped. She coughed for some time before weakly sputtering out the rest of the curse. “You will be forced to stay this way forever—half man, half beast—unless you find some poor, pitiful female to embrace, accept, and love you for the monster you are.”
Her breathing became more labored. “You h—have one year to achieve that impossible feat. O—one year from today to ch—change your spoilt habits and become a man. If you do not succeed, you will be forced to roam the earth in your gruesome form, terrorizing all who meet you, c—causing them to escape in fear from your presence. Though I must warn you—”
She wheezed again, a huge, snarling inhale, which forced a series of bone-rattling hacks from her. They became larger and more pronounced with each cough—precious air forcing its way into her battered lungs.
The prince felt the space around him shift before he heard the thud of her collapse and the silence that followed.
It was several minutes before he was able to slowly scrape his body against the earth in painful strides enough to flip over and see her, and another several minutes before he could move enough to see that she was indeed dead.
He smiled then, a bitter hate-filled smile.
CECELIA’S EYES FLUTTERED OPEN and she stretched to the glorious sunshine trickling through her window. The day was warm and welcoming—her toes wiggled in excitement under the patchwork quilt her grandmother had designed especially for her. Today she would cast off being Miss Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe and instead, become the girl promised to Lord Charles David Willington, the most perfect man in existence.
She hopped from the bed, her black braid swaying with her. Within minutes, she had washed in the hand basin and, without waiting for her maid, dressed in a pretty white morning frock with a lavender sash and adornments. Whirling around like a little girl, she watched the dress fan out above her stockings and smiled.
The world was a wonderful place. And she, Miss Hammerstein-Smythe, was very grateful indeed to be a part of it.
With a curtsy to no one in particular and a jaunty half-minuet step, she made her way to the wardrobe and fetched her lavender slippers before heading lightly down the stairs into her mother’s breakfast parlor to greet Sanford’s impassive countenance.
“Good morning to you too!” she trilled out as she brushed past the butler into the waiting room. “Cook has outdone herself this morning, has she not?” The platters loaded on the sideboard were all of her most favorite breakfast foods, and when she turned, she saw a huge bowl upon the middle of the table. “Look at that fruit! How could I ever eat half so much food?”
“Well, you know how Mrs. Parnel dotes on you. We’re all fortunate she hadn’t the time to go shopping, or we would be looking at twice as much food.” The butler grinned at his mild humor before schooling his features into a more appropriate look and announcing rather grandly, “I have received word from Jenkins that we are to expect your special visitor around two this afternoon, when he would like to take you driving in his carriage, if you are so inclined.”
Cecelia eyed over the plate she was filling from the sideboard. “I am very much inclined, as you well know.”
“I will be sure to see that your reply of acceptance is sent immediately.” Sanford poured her a cup of tea and set it upon the saucer on the table while a young footman held a chair for her and pushed it in as she sat down.
It only took her a few minutes to eat, but another half hour to decide on the very best outfit to be seen wearing in the open carriage with Lord Willington. After she had seen her maid lay out the dress to be worn later, Cecelia grabbed her pelisse, buttoned it over her white-and-lavender morning gown, and made her way outside before her mother or William, her stuffy older brother, could persuade her otherwise. She was just tying the bow to her bonnet at a rakish angle as she entered the pathway that led to the cheerful brook not quite a mile from the great house.
She loved the water, and any time she had a few minutes free, she would find herself sneaking off to enjoy a cool moment of refreshing solitude where no one would bother her.
Once she had made it to the brook, it was no time at all before her slippers and stockings were off and stuffed safely into the crook of a tree branch. Her bonnet and pelisse were soon to follow, hanging from the stub just below her shoes.
With a sigh, Cecelia sank onto her favorite rock and carelessly trailed her bare feet and ankles in the water. She made sure her gown was tucked away from the water’s edge or there would be no excuse for the scolding she would receive from her mother for ruining yet another frock.
She took a deep breath and leaned back against the large angled stone, enjoying the peaceful smell of grass and wildflowers, her ears rejoicing over the soft babble of the little stream beneath her. This was exactly what an ideal day should be. There was no need for anything more enjoyable than such faultlessness. In fact, she was positive that with the soon-to-be proposal from Lord Willington and the glorious peace-filled morning before her, there had never been a more perfect day during the whole of her existence.
And nothing, absolutely nothing, could ruin it.
Prince Alexander halted in his tracks at the lovely girl before him. He could just make out her profile with her back to the rock like that. Her hair was in wild abandon, with its long curls escaping the bun that was now quite forgotten and rather disheveled-looking. His eyes skimmed past her pert nose down her sweet lips, then on to the hand that was softly trailing over the grass beneath it. Her legs moved then and he quickly looked away when he noticed they were uncovered.
His heart began to beat fast.
What if he were caught?
Prince Alexander knew it would be highly uncomfortable for them both—she in her state of undress and he, the chosen prince of the land, escaping his castle. He had been roaming farther and wider from the palace than normal as of late. Escaping the confines of the monstrous place, he needed to be outdoors. Just last night, transformed into the beast, he had come across this exact brook and had been eager to see what it looked like in the daylight. He came as soon as he had awakened from his adventures and become his usual self again. What had seemed like a good idea earlier now all of a sudden seemed very bad indeed.
Beauty and the Beast has long since been a favorite fairytale of mine. Jenni James’ retelling is an excellent adaption. The story is about a sweet young women, Cecilia. She loathes the prince, who continually makes her life miserable. Prince Alexander has been cursed as a werewolf and has been given one year to have a young women fall in love with him to break the curse. Cecilia and Werewolf Prince strike up an unlikely friendship, but will it be enough to turn Prince Alexander back to his former, but now better self? This retelling is a fun, quick, light read that fairytale lovers will thoroughly enjoy!
Series: Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection
Genre: fiction, fantasy, fairytale, romance, young adult
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Publication date: June 4, 2012
Number of pages: 142
Category: Middle School +
Content Rating: G
Book Rating: 5 stars
Other books in the series:
5-Hansel and Gretel
6-Jack and the Beanstalk
8-The Frog Prince
9-The Twelve Dancing Princesses
11-The Little Mermaid
13-Return to Netherland
16-Princess with the Golden Touch
17-Princess and the Pea
20-The Ugly Princess
21-Diamonds and Toads
22-The Ice Queen
23-The Forgotten Princess
25-The Swan Princess
26-The Goose Girl
27-The Light Princesses
29-The Princess Who Never Laughed
30-The Disenchanted Queen
A review copy of this novel was provided by SLB Tours.
April 18--Beauty & the Beast--Singing Librarian Books
April 19--Sleeping Beauty--Bookworm Lisa
April 20--Rumplestiltskin--26 Countless Possibilities
April 21--Cinderella--Reading Is My SuperPower
April 22--Hansel & Gretel--Katie's Clean Book Collection
April 23--Jack & the Beanstalk--Wishful Endings
April 25--Snow White--Katie's Clean Book Collection
April 26--The Frog Prince--Smiling Book Reviews
April 27--The Twelve Dancing Princesses--Mel's Shelves
April 28--Rapunzel--Reading Is My SuperPower
April 29--The Little Mermaid--Wishful Endings
April 30--Peter Pan--Singing Librarian Books
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