"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Review of "Petals and Thorns" by Jennifer Paris

Petals and Thorns
RWI More Than Magic Finalist
Genre: BDSM Fantasy 
Blurb:
In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.
If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play, BDSM theme and elements, dubious consent. 

My Review:
I have always held a personal grudge against the Grimm Brothers myself. I never understood why, even as a child, the witch, the character who caused the whole story of the Beauty and the Beast, never got more than her one line mention in the beginning of the tale. So, of course, I tried my hand at writing my own version, and have jumped at the chance to read others. So I was thrilled to be able to review Petals and Thorns. Oh, let me tell you, I was not disappointed. In fact, this would have to be the most unique story line I have ever read of this re-told fairy tale. So imagine not only a beast with a beauty, but a lesson in trust, and love, through the aspects of BDSM. And we are not talking light BDSM either by the end. The story was bold, daring, and it worked. Well written, the reader finds themselves pulling for both the beauty and the beast. Of course, I won’t tell you how it ends, but it is a fairy tale, you won’t be disappointed  *winks*

Excerpt from Petals and Thorns:

The wedding ceremony took place deep in the woods.

The chapel looked innocent in its white prettiness, as if a normal wedding took place there instead of this monstrous farce.

At first Amarantha had wept. When her father had arrived home on the magnificent stallion, his arms overflowing with luscious red roses and saddlebags full of gold coins, and told the wild tale of the Beast who wanted Amarantha and only her, she’d been at first astonished, then enraged. She’d thought of running away, but her father and sisters had talked Amarantha around. The Beast had promised wealth to restore her father’s fortunes and more. They assured her that the Beast wouldn’t kill her.

“He saw your portrait and finds you beautiful,” her father crooned. “It will be a marriage in name only. You need not lie with him” — he snickered — “if the creature is even able to perform as a man. Likely he is too deformed and wants only a pretty wife to look upon.

“Remember” — the merchant took his youngest daughter’s slender hands in his as they stepped down from the carriage — “if the marriage is not consummated within one week, then he has agreed to have it annulled and to settle upon you half of his fortune! All you must do is retain your chastity for one measly week, and any ninny can keep her legs closed that long. Remember it every day, and the week will fly by. Soon you’ll be at home again with us, our fortunes forever secured.”

“He only has to take her by force,” Anastasia scoffed.

“No,” a deep voice rumbled behind them. They started like finches when a hawk flies over. No one had heard the Beast arrive.

He stood back, tall and broad shouldered as her father had said, watching from the depths of his cloak. The winter wind caught the black folds, whipping them tight against his massive body, but never stirred around his face. Amarantha couldn’t make out his features, though she thought perhaps she caught the gleam of a white tooth. And was that the shadow of a muzzle?

She shuddered, looking away quickly.

“No, Amarantha,” the Beast said, “I will never take you by force. I will only take you when you ask me to. That one choice, at least, will always be yours.”

Amarantha stirred uneasily inside the confines of her corset. Something about his words seemed…unwholesome somehow.

Angelica laughed brightly and clapped her jeweled fingers together in a graceful flutter. “Then we are saved! For, Sir Beast, though we cannot see you clearly, we understand that you are so hideous that no woman would willingly have you. Perhaps your beastly exterior reflects a similarly feral and corrupt heart?” She waved a languid hand at Amarantha. “Else why resort to blackmail to obtain a bride?”

“Indeed” — the voice sank into a near growl — “sister of my bride. You are undoubtedly correct. But since blackmail has, in fact, won me a bride, I’m anxious to take possession of her. Shall we?”

Amarantha gasped and stepped back when the Beast moved toward her, dark and sinuous. But he only offered her his arm to escort her into the chapel. She took a deep breath, as deep as her tight corset allowed.

After the short ceremony, Amarantha kissed her father and sisters good-bye. She couldn’t seem to hear what they were saying to her, only that she had promised to obey this man. This monster.

“Do you take this man, Sir Beast… Do you promise to love, honor, and obey?” the chaplain had asked.

The word seemed to reverberate in her skull. Obey. Chased by the image of how his eyes had glowed at her sparking amber from the depths of his hood. Love and honor seemed to pale before the other word. Amarantha possessed enough cleverness to avoid shaming him, and she could pretend to love him. Obedience might not be so simple. She almost felt his sigh of satisfaction at her promise, as if something that had pained him suddenly eased.

Amarantha wished she could feel the same.

In his carriage, they rode facing each other, though Amarantha gazed steadfastly out the window as the forest deepened and thickened. The trees grew more gnarled, the roots thrusting up from the soil only to twist away again, diving into the moist ferns covering the soil. Still, it was easier to keep her eyes on the strange landscape than look at her husband’s shrouded form and wonder what horrors it might contain.

“Am I ever to see you?” she asked.

“Do you wish to?”

Amarantha glanced at his black silhouette. Looked away again.

“It occurs to me it might be easier to see you and” — get it over with — “learn to become accustomed to you.”

“Consider that I might be so frightening to you that you would be unable to bear coming near me again.”

Amarantha trembled.

“No” — the Beast chuckled darkly — “these things are best done in stages. I intend to win you over, lovely Amarantha.”

“I don’t see how that’s possible.”

“Because you are innocent,” the Beast said, his voice nearly a growl. “And you have not discovered how I can make you feel.”

“I have. You make me feel fear. And revulsion.” She looked out the window. “Despair, perhaps.”

“None of those are real, Amarantha.”

She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don’t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to — ”

“To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?”

The shock drained Amarantha’s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her.

“Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.”

“It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.” He settled back in a very masculine satisfaction. “If you intend to keep the bargain that saved your father’s life, that is.”

Amarantha bit her lip. Her father had wept even as he handed her into the Beast’s carriage. Had he realized? Her virginity wouldn’t matter at the end of the week if she was dead.

“Amarantha.” The Beast leaned forward. She shrank back, but he only laid a gloved hand over hers. “I swear I will not injure you. Your beauty is precious to me. I would not see it marred in any way.”

She restlessly moved her hands out from under the black leather of his glove. A mistake, since his hand fell to her knee instead, a heavy weight through the thin cloth.

“I will wish to see it, however,” the Beast said, gravel in his voice.

Amarantha’s heart stuttered. “See it?”

“You, in your naked glory. When we reach the house. In exchange, I will not touch you just yet.” He leaned back again. “I mention it now so that you might mull the idea over.”

Amarantha drew in a breath. “I do not think I shall become peaceful with the idea in that space of time.”

“You mistake me, my bride. Peaceful is not how I want you.”

If he’d intended her to think about it, to imagine herself naked and vulnerable in front of his black-cloaked figure, then he succeeded.


About the Author:

Jeffe (pronounced Jeff- ee) took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow (2001), was a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, when she lived in Wyoming, and received the state’s 2005 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award for a woman writer of exceptional talent in any creative writing genre and the 2007 Fellowship for Poetry. Jeffe has contributed to several anthologies, Drive: Women’s True Stories of the Open Road. (2002), Hard Ground (2003), Bombshells (2007) and Going Green (2009). Her first book, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.

Who Is Jennifer Paris?

I was doing the “Jeffe Kennedy writing as Jennifer Paris” thing, but Angela James, my editor at Carina, said no, no, no. Since I really don’t want to “flesh out” Jennifer Paris and tweet or blog as her (she was only a cardboard cut-out anyway), I decided to retire her. However, I have one book “Petals and Thorns” that is by Jennifer Paris.





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