Seventeen-year-old Tayla will never forget Beast’s fiery-venom spreading through her body like an infection. Now, with her best friend Chel’s help, she must find a human true love before the last petal falls from her enchanted rose or the full moon will transform her into a wolf forever.
But Tayla never expected that her biggest obstacle would come from inside—a wolf presence threatening to take her very soul. At every turn, the she-wolf exploits Tayla’s weaknesses and gains enough control to sabotage her dates. Tayla struggles to control her unruly wolf and her forbidden attraction to Beast. But can she resist his southern charm, the she-wolf’s attraction to his alluring scent, and still fall in love with a human?
Tangled in a web of wills, Tayla must risk everything to break the Curse of the Beast. With failure and possible death looming overhead, Tayla will do anything to find true love. But will one moon cycle be long enough to conquer her wolf and remain human? Or will she become a permanent member of Beast’s pack? Find out in the second installment in the Curse of the Beast series.
First, before you read Star Cursed, you should start with Curse of the Beast (Book 1) of the two part series. These books are so wonderful!! Very imaginative take on two very popular ideas: Werewolves and Beauty and the Beast. It was not at all what I expected. At first I didn't even realize that this was a twist on the ever popular (and my personal favorite) fairy tale.
You have your villain, who is also a senator's son. You have our heroine, Tayla, who most of you would know as Bell. And of course, "Beast."
I read both books in a total of two days. They were very easy to read, very few errors in formatting/grammar. They were written so well that I couldn't put them down. I could literally smell the things that Tayla smelled and feel everything she felt.
Do not let the fact that you think you know the story of Beauty and the Beast keep you from this book. It is a completely different idea that was only stemmed from the original. It really was quite remarkable and I could read both books again and still have a hard time tearing myself away from them!
Art and science have always been my yin and yang. Throughout my college career, I shifted between the two, but in the end I graduated with a Bachelors of Mathematics and Science from the University of Wyoming.
Charging into adventures and discovering something new has always been a passion of mine, but as a teenager I used to run screaming from a reading or writing assignment. Looking back, the irony isn’t lost on me. Now you can’t catch me without a book in hand or without an open word document. Every time a new idea pops into my mind my heart races and my hand twitch to write it. In that moment, I have my writer's high and pray it will sustain me through thousands of hours of revision.
“Are you okay?” Brayden’s hand rested lightly on my lower back.
“Umm.” I shook the bad memories and turned a smile on him. “Yeah. Sorry. It’s been awhile since I was here last.” Like months. He looked confused, so I lied, “It just looks different. That’s all. Why don’t we get our tickets?”
“All right.” He still looked unconvinced, but let it go.
We arrived at the ticket booth and both spoke at the same time, “Two for Lights and Brimfire.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” I looked off to the side of him. “I just thought, that well, since I asked you and all…”
He chuckled. “Tayla, it’s okay.” I looked up at him and the smile on his face tugged mine back into place. He continued, “And I always pay, even if the girl asked me.” He winked at me and my knees wobbled from the fuzzy warmth creeping into my stomach. A rumble of agitation pushed through from my wolf, but it only gave me more confidence that this guy was it.
We picked the seats right in the very middle. To me they were the best seats in the house. I wasn’t sure about the movie. It was some war movie. I felt bad that Beast had to be subjected to it. At least he hadn’t had to run here. He had insisted on drive his own truck.
I felt Beast slink in behind us. He was a few rows up, wearing his trademark black trench coat and kept his head low. As people filled into the theater, they gave him a wide berth. I didn’t blame them. Honestly, he looked like the grim reaper or something.
The lights dimmed in the theater and the previews started. I offered Brayden a licorice. He smiled, and my heart stuttered. Even in the dark, his smile lit the world.
“Thanks for coming,” I whispered.
“No problem.” He grabbed another licorice. “Thanks for the invite.”
“Hey.” I shouldered him. “That’s my licorice,” I teased.
He shoulder knocked me back. “Then you shouldn’t have given me the first one. Now I’ll eat the whole bag.”
I made a great show of hiding them in my jacket and we both chuckled. He was easy that way. I didn’t feel like I had to be someone else. Not like with Kyle.
Why am I thinking of him?
I mentally scolded myself and relaxed back in my chair, leaning close to Brayden. He didn’t scoot away and hope warmed my chest. I was careful to only breathe through my mouth and had practiced clamping down on my wolf senses, not wanting a repeat of the gym scene. The heat of his arm against mine was comforting, and the way he periodically gave me sideways glances made my heart flutter.
The movie started but I was too focused on Brayden to watch. That was until the battle scenes demanded my attention. My wolf was riveted to the carnage on the screen and, to my horror, was licking her lips. I almost dry heaved right then. I shrunk from the movie and from her. I covered my eyes with my hands, praying it would stop her blood lust and my rolling stomach. I’m sure I whimpered or something equally as embarrassing, because Brayden lifted the armrest and pulled me close. I snuggled into his chest.
“We can leave,” he whispered, tickling my ear.
“I don’t want you to miss your movie,” I responded, trying not to breathe as I was happily surrounded by his strong arms.
He squeezed me close. “All right.”
My nose pressed up against his shoulder, a potential happy place for me if it wasn’t for my wolf. I was too close and could taste the tang of animal blood on my tongue. I quickly closed my mouth. When I was forced to breathe, the smell of farm animals was strong, but not as strong as the metallic smell of blood. It all reminded me of the first time I met him.
The smell overwhelmed my senses and I felt my control slip. I closed my eyes, focusing on restraining the wolf struggling against her cage. She wasn’t going to ruin this for me. I refused to pull away, but the thought of dead animals was too disturbing, and the smell was stronger than that day in the gym. My mind wandered from its task. Had he killed an animal today? But the horror that should have washed over me was replaced with a heady need. I breathed deeply and pressed my body closer, quickly losing control. The smell was delightfully tantalizing and my stomach grumbled, transporting me to a childhood memory of Aunt Lily’s jello cake.
My mouth watered, as I pictured the cake. It smelled so real that I could almost taste it. I opened my mouth and skimmed the cake with my lips, biting down softly. My teeth met more resistance than I was expecting. I was about to bite down harder when large fingers slid between my teeth preventing me from my dessert. I growled and threw my head back, only to have Beast’s strong arms capture me in a vice grip around my torso.
Brayden’s voice snapped me out of my delusion of a childhood dessert. My eyes flew open and I took in his disgusted expression as he rubbed his neck. His hand came away wet with my saliva. His gaze darted to his left shoulder where his shirt was several shades darker, thanks to my drool. Horror washed through me, but before I could utter a word of apology, Beast tugged me out of my seat and hauled me out of the theater. I could still hear Chel and Brayden.
“Oh,” Chel said. “Eww. I’m so sorry. Maybe her blood sugar was low.”
“What?” Brayden’s disbelieving voice sliced me. How would he love me now?
“You know people do all sorts of weird stuff when their blood sugar is low,” Chel explained.
“Oh, like biting me?”
I could imagine his eyes narrowing in anger.
“Umm,” Chel hesitated, obviously surprised I had actually bit him. “Was it just a nip? I don’t see any broken skin.”
That news sent a trickle of relief over me. At least, I hadn’t drawn blood.
“That isn’t the point. She bit and slobbered all over me. My animals don’t even get me this bad!” he hissed back. His voice sounded like he had stood and was walking out of the theater as well. Chel didn’t respond. I’m sure she was trying to process the whole thing.
“And who was that guy?” Brayden asked.
“Oh, just a friend.”
“She has some stalker friend to pull her from dates when she starts biting them?”
“No.” She giggled nervously. “I guess you smell so good she just wanted a taste.”
I cringed, mortified even more than I already was. Way to go, Chel, now I really want to hide. The night air hit my face as we exited the theater house. Beast strode a few yards more before depositing me against the wall, where I slumped down to the ground and hugged my knees.
Almost too low for me to hear, Chel’s date, Dalyn, responded, “You can take a taste of me anytime you like, Chel.”
“You’re all nuts,” Brayden said.
“Wait, I’ll drive you home,” Chel called after him, her voice getting louder as they neared.
“Don’t bother. I’m safer walking.” He pushed open the door. Our eyes met for a moment before he stormed off.
I hung my head. “Oh, Beast,” I whispered. “What have I done?”
To my surprise, he chuckled. “So you nipped him?” He shrugged his shoulders but the mirth was still there.
I glowered at him. “Then why did you swoop down and carry me off if you didn’t think it was a big deal?”
“The nip wasn’t what I was worried about, but the real bite you were going to give him next would’ve drawn blood, and then it was unlikely you’d be able to stop.” His lips hitched upward. “That would have really made your wolf crazy.”
“That meddlesome she-devil!” I ground out between my teeth. “She ruins everything.”
“If you’d learned to control her better, you would’ve smelled the animals on him and stayed far away from him in the first place.” His eyes twinkled as if laughing at an inside joke.
Before I could retort, Chel came out of the doors, her date trailing behind her. “Dalyn, will you start the car for me and bring it around?” She tossed him her keys before he responded.
“Sure.” He eyed me with a mischievous glint. I felt Beast vibrate with an inaudible growl. I agreed. Dalyn’s look sent chills up my spine, like he was assessing a hooker or something. Yuck! I was definitely telling Chel to stay away from that one.
With Dalyn in the SUV and out of hearing, Chel demanded answers. “What just happened?”
I scowled at my knees. “He must’ve slaughtered a cow or something yesterday because his stench was so much stronger today, and my wolf got the better of me.”
“But you bit him?”
“It’s her! I would never do that. Eww. He must think I’m a freak.” I groaned, placing my head in my hands. “He was so perfect, too.”
Chel patted my shoulder, but it wasn’t soothing; nothing was, with this wolf in my head.
“You know what the worst part is?” I ask, looking up to see Chel raise her eyebrow. “She tricked me. She used my memory of Aunt Lily’s jello cake to convince me to bite him. I didn’t even know she could do that!”
“Jello?” Chel asked.
Beast cleared his voice.
“What?” I demanded.
“That isn’t exactly true,” he said. I lifted a disbelieving eyebrow at him. “Just hear me out. The smell, it was delicious to you?”
“Only after she tricked me into thinking it was cake. If I had consciously thought of it as blood, animal, whatever, I never…” I couldn’t say the rest.
“That is where you are wrong.” Beast paused until I looked up at him. “To your wolf, animal scent and blood are delicious, and so the best way you could understand those feelings was to relate it to cake.” His voice lost its teacher tone when he got to the last word and turned more playful. “It must’ve been some delectable cake. Maybe my blood lust would curb a bit if you made it for me.” He winked.
“Shut up.” I smacked him in the leg, but couldn’t resist the smile that spread across my lips. I had my wolfish friend back and was determined to side-step as many rift-creating topics as possible.
Chel bit her bottom lip. “I’m not sure I can fix this, Tay. A little drool I could explain away, but…”
My frown was back. I’d lost Brayden. “Thanks for trying. I guess we should stay away from cowboys.” I gave Chel a rueful grin.
Chel puffed out air and rubbed her temples. “Friday night is a cancel then.”
“Oh?” Why did things always go to crap?
“Yeah, one of Brayden’s roping buddies. But after he hears Brayden’s story, he’ll be canceling before I get a chance to do it.” She gave my shoulder a squeeze. “I’ll find a replacement.”
“Ah!” I buried my face in my hands. “Why did she have to bite him? Stupid wolf.” She growled at me and nipped at my mind, causing a throbbing headache.
Beast crouched down to my level and tucked a finger under my chin. His touch held soothing warmth, but I fought it. I deserved to feel the crushing weight of my actions. The pressure on my chin increased until I could no longer resist his strength. My face tilted up to him, but I refused to look him in the eyes. At least, in that I still had the power to defy.
“Stupid is the last word I’d use to describe you.” As if by its own accord, my gaze lifted and was met by the warmth coming from his eyes. His thumb grazed my jaw, and both my wolf and I trembled ever so slightly. He noticed my reaction, and his eyes lit with mischief. “And if he had been a werewolf, I guarantee you would’ve gotten a different response.”
I couldn’t breathe. What he implied was too direct to misinterpret. A horn blasted, and I jerked, breaking the spell. Beast lifted his head to look at Dalyn, giving me the needed release to breathe.
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