A Beast’s Belle is a fairy tale retold – echoing the ground-breaking BDSM Beauty books by Anne Rice.
The novel offers a twist on a classic story; Isabel is the daughter of a widowed inventor and tinkerer, but leaves home to join the indentured staff of a manor. Upon arriving, she explores the rigid structure of domestic servitude and discipline in the manor, and eventually grows fascinated with the Master of the house, a feral man with curious proclivities and voracious appetites. Isabel tries to find her way in a new life at the manor, but quickly finds herself bound up with the Master of the house and engrossed in the lifestyle and ritual the manor’s occupants share.
“What is the arrangement?”
The question was blunt, more than she had intended, but Isabel could not contain her curiosity, and as she expressed the thought, it became clear that the question was one that had to be asked bluntly. There was no short and easy way to acknowledge that she had been eavesdropping and expected a straightforward answer to the question. She did not want to give time for a dodge, or even the space to temper an answer.
“What arrangement?” The question was nearly rhetorical, an attempt to buy the space to come up with a tolerable answer, making Isabel all the more grateful that she hadn’t given him any extra. He had done something similar when she asked him, at a very young age, about her vagina, why is was different than his penis, and how it was supposed to work.
“The one that you were discussing with the patron. What is it?”
Like in that awkward moment of her early childhood, the question caught him unprepared and, as he steadied himself a bit from the peculiar shift, he settled his voice into the machinist’s tone. It was a tone that she had come to know well, explanatory and without any frills. “Many years ago, members of the patrons family made a deal with a few families in the community that they might send their eldest children to serve in the castle, in exchange for the cost of the room and board of the children and a generous stipend for the family. For a number of years, that stipend was paid directly to the family, and when a certain period of service was completed, a larger lump sum would also be paid. When you were born, the patron’s father extended that offer to us, when you reached a certain age. Your mother and I had expressed interest at the time, and the patron wanted to clarify whether or not I was still interested.”