Beauty and the Beast–with a twist!
Unmated werewolves don’t normally live past three hundred years old…and billionaire Jack MacGrath is cutting it close. Sure, he has almost everything—the respect of his peers, a mansion in San Francisco, a private jet, and fast cars. But without a mate, Jack’s in trouble. Then he sees her. Gorgeous, proud…and his enemy.
Isabelle Connelly is good at hiding things from her father. Like her success as a painter, or the incredibly intense attraction she has to Jack MacGrath. After all, she’s royalty and falling for anyone lesser—to say nothing of a rival pack—would be, er, unseemly. Now she must choose between her duty to her family and her pack…or her perfect fated mate.
“Tell Mr. MacGrath that Isabelle Connelly is here to see him.” She spoke loudly into the intercom. “I’d like to make an offer on his newest piece of acquired art: Werewolf in Venice.”
Silence followed after a deafeningly loud crackling sound.
Five minutes dragged by. She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel and refused to move. Stared at the intricate ironwork on the gate.
“I’m not leaving,” she mumbled to herself. “Not until I get my painting.”
Nothing else mattered.
Billionaire or not, everything had a price.
She’d simply have to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Hell if she knew what that was, though.
Without warning, the gates let out a groan, startling her. She jumped in her seat and watched them open slowly, revealing a winding stone-paved driveway. She put the Camry in gear and drove toward a towering fountain erected in the middle of the driveway.
But the closer she got to the fountain, the slower she drove.
She gawked, mouth hanging open in disbelief.
Good God, the fountain was hideously phallic. Like a giant penis standing ramrod-straight in the middle of a gravel bed. Water bubbled up from the tip, making her throw up a little in her mouth.
Craning her neck around, Isabelle shook her head and scoffed.
It was a disgustingly perfect fountain for a guy like Jack MacGrath.
As she turned, veering away from the fountain—out of pure instinct—she realized she was now parked facing the stairs to his mansion. And took up the width of the driveway, hood to rear end.
She should’ve just parked next to the damn thing.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, she reversed carefully. As she inched closer to the penis monolith, the unmistakable whop-whop-whop of a helicopter sounded in the distance. The racket increased.
Was a helicopter landing on the damn house?
She bent, craning to look beneath the doorframe. She searched the sky. One way, and then the other.
There it was.
A freaking helicopter swooped over his house, making a low dive over her car.
She squealed, ducking low in her seat.
The thunderous flac-flac-flac of the blades drowned out everything—the rumble of the Camry’s engine and the drumming of her own heart—as it dropped out of the sky and hovered above the large lawn on the opposite end of the estate. The chopper was massive. Menacing. A door on the side slid open. A rope was flung out, hitting the grass.
What the hell?
With a jolt, the tires of her car ran over something crackly. Her car bumbled. Shook. And then backed into something solid.
“Oh, shit!” Isabelle gripped the wheel tight and slammed on the brakes. Whipping around, she glared out the back window…and caught the breath in her throat. She must’ve been inching back without realizing it. She’d rear-ended the giant penis. It wobbled, shook. The tip seemed loose, teetering on the thick base. “No, no, no, don’t—”
And then it fell. Dropped right to the ground with a thud.
Beauty and the Beast meets Romeo and Juliet–all with a modern twist!
I really enjoyed this retelling of the classic tale, and not only because it featured werewolves, my favorite paranormal creatures. Ms. Miller did a fantastic job of ramping up the urgency of Belle and Jack being together in the end, making his eventual sacrifice that much more significant–two elements so important in the original story but often lacking in modern versions.
On top of that, it was just a whole lot of fun to read (the phallic fountain scene! Too funny)–even if there wasn’t a library to be seen. The art gallery/collection was a nice substitute, but, you know, it’s not a library. 😉
I loved Jack as a hero–he really was everything you could want and more. Gorgeous, sexy, a werewolf and a guy who uses his power and wealth to benefit others, and…dying. He’s already gone two decades past where he should have without finding his mate, and is pretty much surviving now on adrenaline rushes, which have to get progressively more daring the longer he lives without finding his Luminary. Even though he’s desperate to find his mate and bring fulfillment to his life, he still puts Belle’s happiness and well being before his own.
Isabelle, though I liked her, wasn’t quite up to his caliber of protagonist. She’s supposed to be taking over for her father as Alpha eventually, but she doesn’t really act like future alpha material. She’s a little too dependent on approval from dad (yes, I know, he’s the Alpha. But she should still show a certain degree of leadership and backbone) and listens a bit too much to her pack BFF, Neil. She doesn’t shift at all in the book–yes, it was a short read, but still? And I really didn’t get how she justified taking back the painting she’d given Jack when she returned to Ireland to see her dying father–after telling him he could keep it until she got back, and especially after he let her take ten other paintings…
Essentially, she’s the reason for the loss of a star here. She makes up for it in the end, but before that point she had me shaking my head quite a bit in a WTF? kind of way.
Still, Jack’s awesomeness–and the re-imagining of a classic tale–were strong enough to keep me eagerly turning the pages. As Jack stays fairly aloof from the San Francisco pack, Beauty and the Werewolf works fine as a standalone read even though it’s #2 in the series.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Also in the San Francisco Wolf Pack series…
Melina Rosenthal worships at the altar of all things fashion. Her dream is to work for the crème de la crème fashion magazine, Eclipse, and she’ll do much anything to get there. Even fixing up the image of a gorgeous, sexy public figure who’s all playboy, all the time. Even if he’s the guy who broke her heart a year ago…
Even if Hayden Dean is a werewolf.
Since his father’s death, Hayden’s the heir apparent to the San Francisco Wolf Pack—well, once he settles down. Hayden isn’t interested in giving up his partying ways, except he’s pretty sure he’s found his fated mate, and the fact that she’s a non-shifter is bad news. Now he must find a compromise between the traditions of his wolf world and his certainty that Melina is his…before fate (or another werewolf) bites them both in the butt.
About Kristin Miller:
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Kristin Miller writes sweet and sassy contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance of all varieties. Kristin has degrees in psychology, English, and education, and taught high school and middle school English before crossing over to a career in writing. She lives in Northern California with her alpha male husband and their two children. She loves chocolate way more than she should and the gym less. You can usually find her in the corner of a coffee shop, laptop in front of her and mocha in hand, using the guests around her as fuel for her next book.