Read Online Books/Novels:
Beauty’s Beast (Beauty and the Rose #1)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
A Dark Romance
She’ll pay her family’s debt one way or another…
A wallflower blossoming into the belle of the ball.
Years ago her father stole from me and it’s time for my revenge. I’m the monster in the darkness. The Minotaur in the labyrinth. The evil her father warned her about.
I’ll steal her away to my castle. Lock her in my tower. Make her mine in every way.
She’ll atone for her family’s sins… forever.
Note: This is a dark romance. It is the first in a trilogy.
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I scrub my eyes as I jog up the stairs after another exhaustive session down in the lab. Still no breakthroughs.
I circle around to my desk. Maybe if I just resequence the—
But then I freeze.
A single red rose is waiting for me on my computer keyboard. I approach my desk carefully, looking around.
But there’s no one in this part of the building. No secretary or gatekeeper to witness a random rose delivery. Nothing but the normal hum of machines from the offices down the hall.
Except for the rose.
My desk looks the same—stacks of paper, lab reports in white binders, budget reports in green ones. My stomach gives a growl. I haven’t eaten anything but a granola bar at some point during the night. What time is it? I’ve been down in the lab for who knows how long. It’s easy to lose track of time down there.
My hunger can wait. I circle my desk and settle into my chair, leaning down to study the rose as if it’s something other than a pretty blossom—something dangerous, like a bomb.
But it’s just a rose. There’s no note, no hint of who sent it.
Just like last year, and the year before, and every year since my eighteenth birthday.
I roll the stem between my thumb and forefinger. When I can’t wait any longer, I bring the bright red bloom to my face and drink in the sweet perfume.
Most store-bought roses have no scent. They’ve been bred over the years for appearance instead of fragrance. But this rose is different.
This rose grew in a garden.
“Rosa x hybrida,” I murmur the Latin name. The thick rosette petals are like a fancy lady’s ball gown and petticoats. Definitely a hybrid bloom.
“Daphne?” my assistant Rachel calls.
“In here,” I call, without pulling the rose from my face.
“How did I know I’d find you here or down in your hermit hole?” Rachel walks in, her eyes glued to her tablet. In her white skirt suit with her blonde hair in an elegant chignon, she looks more like a CEO than I do. The pen tucked behind her ear only makes her more official.
“Okay, because I know you won’t let it rest till I update you, I sent the board the updated merger packet, but I still need—” She finally looks up and stops talking when she sees me pressing the rose to my face. “Is that…?”
Her posture softens, her face registering sympathy. She’s one of the few people who knows about the mysterious yearly rose delivery and the event it marks. “Oh, Daphne. Is it today? I thought it was last week.”
“No, you’re right, it was Wednesday. You arranged the bouquet to be delivered, right?” I must look ridiculous, sitting at my desk in my lab coat, sniffing a rose. I briskly stack a few papers on my desk.
Rachel nods. “A dozen white roses. I had them delivered directly to Thornhill. Are you going to visit?”
“Not this year.” It hurts to even say it. Who doesn’t have time to go visit their own mother’s grave? I tap the desk, my fingers itching to pick up the rose again. I grab a tiny origami swan off my desk instead—a gift from one of the many Battleman’s patients who are counting on my research.
“I don’t have time. I would’ve gone Wednesday, but I had to prepare for the meeting with the board. I’m already on thin ice with them.”
Not that the meeting went well.
“What time is it?” I change the subject. My eyes are too tired to check a clock.
“Three in the afternoon. On Saturday.”
“What?” I whip off my glasses and grind the heel of my free hand into my eye socket, trying to get rid of the gritty feeling. “Really? When did that happen?”
“It’s a result of the earth rotating combined with its position relative to the sun.” Her tone is perfectly dry. “Happens approximately every twenty-four hours.” She crosses her arms over her chest. “You promised me you would stop working through the night.”
“I wanted to put the results of my latest experiment into a report for the board. Show them how much progress we’ve made…”
“Daphne, you can’t keep doing this. I know you’re a genius and all, but you’re not Super Woman.”
“I slept a little. I think.” I stretch my neck to the side and rotate my shoulder. My muscles creak and crunch in protest. Pretty sad for a twenty-six year, almost twenty-seven year old. “And I’m not a genius.”
I narrow my eyes at her. “Wait, if it’s Saturday, why are you here?”
“To get you ready.”
I yawn and stretch my arms above my head. “Ready for what?”
She raises a brow. “The Autumn Gala.”
I groan and let my head fall back on my chair. “Oh shit, that’s tonight. I completely forgot.”
“You’re going through a lot.” She picks up an old newspaper off my desk and makes a face at it before tossing it into the trash. “I wouldn’t bug you about this but—”