BEAUTY IN WINTER
Reid Gold has been cursed. He’s the alpha shifter, but he’s unable to change into his wolf and lead his pack. But one scent of his mate and everything changes.
Warning: This beauty and the beast-inspired story is quick, filthy, and over-the-top alpha. Hold on to your Kindles because Reid’s inner beast finally gets to come out and play.
I look up at the woman who has been watching me from the corner of her eye since I walked into Blackden Law Firm thirty minutes ago. I don’t blame her. I’m a mess and out of place against the elegant interior of the law firm. I know this, but I just can’t find the will to care. All I want is for this to be finished. I need to take the next step in my life and try to move on, if not for myself then for my grandma.
I told her I’d be okay and that I wouldn’t let my grief drag me down.
My grandma was buried yesterday, but final decisions on her estate had to be made. I’m here for one thing, and one thing alone. I pray there’s enough money from the sale of our home and antiques my grandma left me to cover the bill from the hospital. There is only one thing I want from all of this, and that’s the rose ring.
I want it more than anything. My grandma never took the ring off her finger since my grandpa put it there when he asked her to marry him. When I was little she’d tell me about their love as a bedtime story. Then when she got sick it was my turn to tell her the story as she lay in bed fighting for her life.
Even then I knew she was only fighting to stay with me. She didn’t want to leave me all alone in the world. I don’t remember my parents. The only family I had ever known were my grandma and grandpa, but in my eyes, they were my parents. They raised me, kept me safe, and made me feel loved. She and my grandpa were the only people I had and we’d lost him five years ago. Then it was just the two of us. But now she’s gone and I’m all alone.
I swallow the lump in my throat and stand. Reaching down, I grab my oversized bag that I’ve been carrying around since the auction. It’s all I have left. Everything else is gone.
The woman turns, heading down the long hallway, with her heels clicking on the marble with each step. She leads me to a set of double doors, the dark, carved wood gleaming. She grabs the handle and pulls one open for me. She motions for me to go in and nods as I pass.
“Thank you,” I mumble as I step through.
I hear the click of the door closing behind me as a man behind the desk on the other side of the room stands. I can see a small smile pull at his lips, but I can’t find it in me to smile back.
“Miss Lamb,” he says.
“Was there enough?” The words fall from my lips before I have a chance to think about it. And I’m not sure I care. That’s the only thing I need to know.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” He motions to one of the chairs in front of his desk, not answering my question.
I step forward, getting a better look at him. He doesn’t look like I thought he would. We talked on the phone a few times over the past weeks. His deep voice made me think he’d be a heavy-set man, but he isn’t. He’s thin and tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He gives me a bright smile, this time flashing his teeth. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Against my better judgment I do as he asks, even though I still want my answer more than anything. Something is wrong though. I can feel it.
I drop my bag next to the chair beside me, drawing Mr. Blackden’s eyes. I swear he smiles even more at the sight, and I want to shout at how unfair this all is. It’s nothing to smile at.
“We had to sell all of it, Miss Lamb.”
I close my eyes at his words and try to fight the tears. I nod, then begin to stand. What else is there to say? I don’t want to go over all the odds and ends of how everything was auctioned off. I want out of here. I want to find a cheap hotel for the night and let myself have a good cry.
Tomorrow I’ll pick myself up and see if I can get my old job back. I had to quit to be at my grandma’s side for the last few months, but I have to find something quick.
“But I can get it for you.” His deep voice penetrates my fog of sadness.
I freeze, my eyes snapping to his. He leans back in his chair, seemingly without a care in the world. He doesn’t go on. I feel as if he wants me to beg him, and to be honest, I will. I’m not above anything right now.
“How?” I ask, and he motions for me to sit back down. I drop down into the seat, but scoot to the edge.
“The ring was valued at $200,000,” he informs me. I gasp. “It had to be sold to cover the rest of the debts. Your grandmother had taken out a second mortgage on her home, and she also stated in her will to clear up any debt you had as well.”
I hang my head, my dark brown hair falling forward and shielding my face. I didn’t know she knew. I had run up some credit cards trying to make ends meet for us. I didn’t want her to know about them. I was going to take care of them later. It wasn’t something she needed to worry about.
“That I can get you the ring,” he finishes, sitting up in his chair. He grabs a folder and opens it. A large stack of papers sits inside it, clipped together.
“I have a job proposal for you. It’s a live-in job. You’d stay on the estate and assist the owner in anything he needs.”
“I’ll do it.” I stand up, grabbing a pen off the table. He turns the folder toward me, and I flip through the contract quickly to get to the last page. I see a place I need to sign, so I scratch my name on it quickly and toss the pen down.
When I look back up at Mr. Blackden, I watch as he grabs the papers from me, sliding them back into the folder.
“You smell fertile. Mr. Gold is going to be very pleased.”
I glance at the folder he has in his hand and wrinkle my brow in confusion. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but his words and the look on his face make me think that maybe I should have read that contract…
Beauty in Winter by Alexa Riley is a twist on the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. Just as promised, “it is quick, dirty, and over the top” In fact, it’s one of the quickest reads I’ve read from Alexa Riley. I would have liked just a little bit lead in at the beginning for the story. Fiona is sent to live with the reclusive billionaire, Reid Gold, in order to pay her debt. This was a fun twist on Beauty and the Beast, and I liked the paranormal twist to it. The steam is there as usual. This was a quick, fun read.