Genre: Fantasy Romance, Fairytale Retelling
Date of Publication: 27th August 2020
Number of pages: app. 380
Word Count: app. 90,000 words
Cover Artist: Sarah Paige from Opium House Designs
Tagline: You think you know their story . . .
My life is the envy of women everywhere. I live in a gorgeous mansion, wear expensive clothes, go to A-list parties, and attend a prestigious college.
It is a life of beauty and glamor . . . and all of it is a lie.
Behind closed doors, I am bullied by my cold and powerful father. With no money of my own, I have no choice but to obey him . . .
Until I am attacked, and a half man-half beast intervenes. Kit takes me to his home to heal, where I am immersed in his secret world. As we bond over unexpected experiences and shared interests, my gratitude changes into something that feels as old as time.
I was created for the darkness and, for a while, it controlled me. But I escaped that life and made a new home for myself.
Before Bella crossed my path, I didn’t think happiness was possible. But she not only accepts my differences, she offers friendship.
Her gentle and compassionate heart opens me up to those parts within me.
With her, I don’t feel like the beast I have always been labeled.
But the closer we get, the more I wonder if I am truly as human as she believes, and whether the mistakes of the beast can ever be forgiven . . .
When an old enemy resurfaces, Bella and Kit will need to stand firm in their love, face the brutalities of the past, and trust in the beauty that comes from within to make it out alive.
BEAUTIFUL is a sweet and dark, modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The themes of beauty, strength, redemption, and love shine through in an unforgettable tale that will make you question everything you think you know about beauty . . . and the beast.
My senses picked up new stimuli: leaves being trampled, three sets of racing feet . . . and traces of spilled human blood. Not enough to cause death, but enough to tease my nose.
I heard a rough male voice yell, “Stop her. She’s getting away again.”
A second male, younger sounding, added, “How the hell? She should be dead by now.”
That pricked my ears up. Literally. I paused, waiting for what else I could hear. One set of the footsteps were closing in on me. The woman. Her musky perfume was light, but feminine. If I stepped behind a tree and took advantage of the growing night-time shadows, I could hide. Yet, when I tried, I found I could not move from my spot. Frowning, I crouched into the darkness instead.
Satisfied I would be safe from easy observation, I narrowed my attention onto my hearing. Panicked breaths, a raised heartbeat, blood pounding in fear reached my ears. It was definitely the woman. The men were chasing her. She was terrified . . . and heading straight for me.
The next second, a woman stumbled to the ground a few feet away. My natural night vision allowed me to see her as clearly as if it were midday.
Fresh blood dripped from cuts above her top lip, both eyebrows, left cheek, and the bridge of her nose. Her palms held fresh, jagged cuts and her left leg had an uneven slice from the top of her ankle to the mid-shin. The latter injuries told me one thing. She scaled the eight-foot, barbed wire fence that keeps us closed off from the outside world. Whatever she was running from must have been serious for her to do that. In the process of either running from the men or scaling the fence, she’d lost her shoes. Her feet would be scraped and sore from the loose sticks and underbrush.
I continued to scan her body for visible damage. Blackening bruises marked her right eye, chin, and arms. Probably other places I couldn’t see. Her red dress had been torn in multiple places––from barbed wire, gripping twigs in the thick forest, or grabbing hands? I wouldn’t know for sure until I got a closer look.
She panted, desperate for both breath and relief. How had she run from her obvious attackers in this weakened state? She looked and sounded ready to collapse from exhaustion.
The way I must have looked to Josephine when she found me.
The woman tried to scramble to her feet but fell onto her back. The action made her cry out in pain. My heart squeezed. Compassion propelled me toward her. I stepped on a fallen branch. The ensuing cracking noise echoed through the surrounding trees.
The woman lifted her hands to cover her face and whimpered, “Please. Don’t,” before passing out.
A strange ache passed through me, like I had lost something important. I heard the beast in me roar for the first time in years.
The first male voice cut through the air, “Did you hear that?”
“Maybe a coyote has her?”
“Serves her right, but we’d better check. Mr. Chisholm will want to know. This way.”
Recognition flickered in the back of my mind. Where did I know that name?
Two flashlight beams bobbed in the distance, closing in on us. For the second time that night, I relied on the insistent urges within me. I scooped the woman into my arms and ran.
About the Author:
Leigh Hatchmann is a best-selling non-fiction author, international-selling romance author, identical triplet, writing coach, editor, and hot chocolate addict. She uses her postgraduate degree in counseling to create believable, three-dimensional characters. Her certificates in forensic science and forensic anthropology help her to create realistic crime elements in her stories. She is currently completing her master’s degree in writing and has also finished postgraduate study in editing.
When not writing, reading, coaching, studying, or enjoying nature, she can be found having fun in nature with her three gorgeous children (plus one laid back dog and one grumpy cat). She is active on social media and encourages readers to interact with her there. She also writes fiction under the pseudonym A.K. Leigh and non-fiction as Alicia Leigh.
*Fall in love . . . with Leigh!*