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Beauty with a bite, p.1

Beauty With a Bite, page 1

 part  #1 of  Foxy Fairy Tales Series

 

Beauty With a Bite
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Beauty With a Bite


  Beauty with a Bite

  Lacey Carter Andersen

  Copyright 2019

  Published by Lacey Carter Andersen

  Editing by Melissa

  This work of fiction is intended for mature audience only. All characters are over the age of eighteen. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either a product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the author.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Disclaimer

  Beauty with a Bite

  Want more from Lacey Carter Andersen?

  Author’s Note

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  A Note From The Author

  More by Lacey Carter Andersen

  About the Author

  To my readers—thanks for always being so wonderful.

  You have no idea how much I appreciate it!

  ~ Lacey Carter Andersen

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  Author’s Note

  This is not your classic tale of Sleeping Beauty. There’s blood, death, and lots of sex! So... don’t say I didn’t warn you

  Chapter One

  Beauty

  I’m wearing the most expensive dress my parents have ever had fashioned. It’s long, red, and cut low in the front. Normally, I’d love it, but not tonight.

  Because tonight I’m being sold.

  This dress is not for me. It’s for the men who will bid to possess me. Just the thought of it turns my stomach and makes my palms sweat. I’m not a thing to be owned.

  And yet, I will be.

  My stepmother comes up the stairs, her every movement filled with rage. Her anger is so powerful that it cuts through the fog of her innocent appearance. She fools many men, including my father, into believing she isn’t dangerous. She appears as a golden-haired angel wearing a strangely youthful pastel blue gown, but she is much more than that. She is a puppet master, and all men are her puppets.

  She turns in my direction, and I stiffen, preparing myself for the inevitable.

  “Beauty.” She says my name the way she always does, like it’s ironic, like I’m some ugly creature named Beauty as a joke to all. Secretly, I think she believes that if she says my name like this enough, that’s exactly what I’ll become.

  She forgets that she’s only been a cloud over my life for the last eight years. Before that, I had thirteen years of being spoken to as if I mattered. I remembered how my mother would say my name, even when she was dying, like I was her whole heart.

  Some things you never forget.

  "Beauty," she says again as her gaze crawls over my body. “What are you doing skulking here? We’re all waiting for you!”

  “I don’t want to do this,” I say, holding her gaze.

  She strides toward me and grabs my arm in a painful grip. “I know you always believed that you’d become one of us on your twenty-first birthday, that you would become a vampire of worth and that all your father’s wealth and properties would become yours.” Her smile is cruel as she gazes down at me. “But you didn’t take after your magnificent father. You took after your human mother. And you know what that means—you inherit nothing. You are nothing but a burden to your father and your people. So, today you will do what is expected of you, which is to make yourself useful in the only way you can. You will become the blood-wife to a vampire, just like we discussed. If you don’t make a good impression, instead of becoming the blood-wife to a wealthy lord of worth, you will become a thing... suckled upon by some moderately wealthy old man who will do things to you that you cannot even imagine.”

  Unfortunately, I can imagine it. I can imagine it so well that I feel a clammy hand closing around my throat. The faces of a dozen of my father’s creepy friends flash in my mind. I start to gag, and grab my mouth, willing my lunch to stay down.

  “Do not throw up!” she commands.

  I swallow down the bile that’s risen in the back of my throat and look toward the window. I could still run. I could—

  “You won’t make it,” she says, amusement in her voice. “The second you failed to Turn, you became a prisoner in our home. The many, many Undead that guard over these lands will simply find you and drag you back.”

  She’s right. The human cities are a good thirty miles from where I am. If I tried to run, they’d find me before I reached any place I could even hope to escape in. I already tried to steal a car, but the vehicles were guarded well, and I hadn't stood a chance.

  “Beauty... the truth is that I don’t care what happens to you. You’ve been a thorn in my side since the day I married your father. The fact that now my son will inherit your father’s lands, well, that’s all I ever hoped for. But your father will sleep more peacefully knowing that you were sold to a man of worth. So, suck it up, Beauty. Face your fears. For your father.”

  For the man who has agreed to this.

  I loved my father, but the minute he forced me into this old ritual, I lost faith in him. Our relationship was broken in a way that we’ll never heal from.

  Not that I’ll see him much after tonight.

  My stepmother’s grip tightens as she tugs me toward the stairs leading toward our ballroom. The Undead line this hall, animated because of the power of my family’s blood. They wear armor over their pale green flesh, and their white eyes stare as if unseeing, but I know better. The Undead see all, and they can overpower even a vampire.

  Despite all logic, my heart aches. On my twenty-first birthday they should’ve been mine to command. Mine to possess. Everything here should’ve been mine.

  It’s truly like I’ve been cursed.

  When we reach the top of the stairs, my stepmother releases me. She smooths down the front of her gown and stares out at the massive ballroom.

  “Don’t embarrass us. If we have to, we’ll drag you down.”

  With that, she starts down the stairs, not waiting to see if I’ll follow.

  I stand still, feeling vulnerable in a way I never have before. I’m not a virgin, not to the feel of man’s teeth sinking deeply inside of me, or the feeling of a man’s cock. But this is different... this is wrong.

  But maybe they’ll be here.

  The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. They won’t be here. Other than their letters, I haven’t heard from them in five long years. As half-breeds too, they despise other vampires. Yes, they rule their lands—triplets whose lands sealed them as rulers of a small manor and modest lands years ago—but that doesn’t change their anger at the way the others treat them.

  They won’t be back tonight or any other night, so better buck up and paint a smile on. As much as I hated my stepmother, she was right. I couldn’t escape this, but I could try to ensure my situation wasn’t too awful.

  I take a deep breath, grasp one side of my skirt, and start down the stairs. With each step, I can feel more and more eyes on me, like an unwelcome caress. By the time I reach the bottom of the stairs, the conversation in the room has died down.

  Relucta
ntly, I raise my gaze.

  I stiffen in shock as I realize that nearly every North American clan is represented and most of the clan members turned out. I see the younger men who rule their family’s lands, but also the older, childless lords. My heart races. All the men stare, their unabashed hunger making my queasiness return.

  Don’t puke, Beauty.

  I continue forward. Men smile as they take my hand. They lean down and kiss the back of my hand like I’m a lady they’re courting instead of a blood-slave they plan to bid on.

  With a forced smile, stiff words, and shaking legs, I slowly make my way to my chair beside my father. He avoids my gaze as I sink into the seat beside him. He starts to rise, to begin the auction for my life.

  I look up to the stairs, to my untouchable freedom, and my gaze connects with intense green eyes. The air rushes out of my chest. The possessiveness of those eyes is like nothing I’ve seen in my life. The man they belong to? He’s tall, broad, and muscular. A short beard almost manages to hide the strong lines of his face, but gives a dangerous allure that has everything inside of me tensing.

  Two men flank him. I tear my gaze from him and find a man with light blond hair at his side, pale blue eyes, and supermodel good looks. He wears classically tailored clothes, and I imagine he never has a hair out of place. He stares at me with something I don’t understand, a familiarity.

  At last, I look to the third man. He’s taller than the other two, with messy brown hair, brown eyes, and a smug face. It’s as if he knows that he’s beautiful, and he drinks in the attention.

  Immediately, I recognize him. Andrew?

  My gaze narrows, and I look back at the auburn-haired man with the beard, the man I thought was a stranger at first. Joshua has changed so much, I don’t think I’d recognize him beneath his beard if not for those green eyes... ones I remember staring into far too many times.

  The blond man, he can only be Kyle. He’s just as beautiful as he’s always been, but he looks like a man instead of a boy.

  The years have been good to these three. I can see that staying away from us was what was best for them. So what brought them here tonight?

  “What the fuck are they doing here?” My father hisses, and I realize he’s speaking about the Blackwater brothers.

  My stepmother pats his arm. “Not to worry. They can’t afford her.”

  Afford me? They couldn’t possibly be here to try to buy me. Can they?

  My heart races. Why else would they be here?

  Beside me, my father draws himself up taller. The brothers move down the stairs, walking past the people who whisper at their backs but don’t approach them. They move to stand in front of the other men, and just before my father.

  Suddenly, it’s hard to breathe. I think of the kisses we shared under the stars, and the letters we’ve penned to each other over the years. What I had with these men was special to me. And now... now they’re going to see me sold to another man.

  Because my stepmother is right, there’s no way they can afford to bid on me.

  And I hate that my treacherous heart is destroyed by the thought.

  Chapter Two

  Joshua

  I can’t take my eyes off Beauty. Over the years, she’s grown to be even lovelier than the girl I fell in love with long ago. Her long brown hair falls down her shoulders in waves that my hands itch to touch. Even from a distance, I can see how tall she is. And that she still has the face of a seductive angel.

  But then there’s her body—I bite down on a groan. Her curves beg to be touched. The low neckline of her gown is almost criminal, displaying the creamy skin of her flesh for all to see.

  Anger and arousal cause my fangs to lengthen. Beauty is mine. She belongs to no one but my brothers and me. We determined it years before. We had thought that when she gained possession of her lands and Undead army, she could choose us as her own. Every day since we realized she was the one for us, we have worked to be worthy of her.

  Never could we have expected this... our Beauty being sold off as a blood-whore.

  It sickens me. Everything inside me screams in rage.

  When I’d learned that she would be auctioned off, I’d smashed everything in my room. I pounded everything within sight until my hands flowed with blood. Then, and only then, a cold knowledge had flowed through me.

  We would buy her, and she would be ours forever, to hold and to protect.

  Her father’s gaze collides with mine. I can see it in his eyes—the same rage I’d seen the night he’d caught us kissing and commanded us never to return to his home, on penalty of death. He hated me, and he hated the mixed blood running through my veins.

  More than anything, he hated that I reminded him of his own mistake in falling in love with a human. He might be able to force everyone around him to treat his mixed-breed child with respect, but seeing how much our own people despised us made him have to face the truth, that his child was seen the same way.

  How could that man, the one who treasured his daughter too much to allow her to get mixed up with us, allow her to be auctioned off like this? He had options. What had driven him to this one?

  “Welcome, gentlemen!” He says, barely raising his voice.

  The room grows silent.

  “We all know why we’re here. My—my Beauty—has come of age and as you know, she failed to Turn. And so, we must accept her place in our community.” He freezes, and for a second I think he might not be able to force the words out. “She will be a blood-wife to one of you gentleman, the one who wins her tonight.”

  Everyone claps enthusiastically, and he sits on his throne. Maybe they didn’t notice the slight pallor to his skin, but I did.

  Fucking coward.

  His wife rises and the bidding begins.

  My gaze sweeps back to Beauty. She sits like a queen with her head held high. Her gaze is cold and emotionless, but I know her too well. She's terrified. That’s why her gaze lacks its usual warmth, why she isn’t smiling and laughing. She’s buried her emotions and fears deep down inside. She sits beside her stepmother like an ice queen.

  Our Beauty is too warm and kind to allow her heart to turn to ice. When she knows she’s safe with us again, she’ll show us her true self once more.

  The bidding increases higher and higher. Men grumble and move back, allowing the active bidders to continue. I can sense the anger of our peers. They wonder why we stand in front. Why we haven’t offer a single number, but soon they’ll see.

  Two men continue, back and forth. My gaze sweeps from Beauty to them. The bastards were old, childless vampires. One had already over-fed on three blood-wives, killing them without thought. I had heard the rumors that the other had a fondness for breaking beautiful things. These are the only men willing to bid a fair price for her, because despite how lovely she is, they see her human-half as a disadvantage.

  But soon every vampire in this room will learn the truth—that we half-breeds are far more dangerous than they could ever imagine.

  The two men continue to bid, and with each second our woman grows paler. It must have hit her that these two are her only options now. I can’t imagine the terror she must be feeling about her future.

  Don’t worry, Beauty. They will never touch you.

  The murderous old man scoffs and steps back, his face twisted in irritation.

  The brute grins and opens his mouth.

  “A million,” I say, my words ringing clearly through the room.

  All eyes turn to me.

  For one second my resolve wavers, I’m the eldest by mere seconds. But even so, my brothers look to me for guidance. I was the one who decided we had to come here tonight. If anything should happen to them, it will be on my conscious for the short time before we die.

  I glance at Beauty, and the moment vanishes. We all knew the risk of coming here tonight, but we also knew the reward. True love.

  “That’s—“ her stepmother begins, and I know what she wants to say, that my bid is more than we can
afford.

  I challenge her with my gaze. Say it, you witch.

  The brute’s chest flares out. He didn’t want me to outbid him, but he wouldn’t spend that much on something he only wants to break, even if it kills his pride to lose to us.

  “Sold, to the Darkwater brothers,” her father says, and there’s something in his tone that I don’t expect—shock, not anger.

  A few awkward claps ring through the room.

  “But, of course,” Beauty’s stepmother continues, “payment will be due tonight.”

  I force a smile. “Of course.”

  But that’s the thing. We’d determined we’d win Beauty tonight at any cost... but we never had a chance at actually winning her. She would’ve never gone for an amount we could afford.

  So while we intended on winning her at any cost, we’d always known we wouldn’t be playing fair. I want to feel bad about it, to feel this as a blow to my honor, but I can't. Beauty's gaze is locked onto us in relief, and honor means nothing. We’d give up anything for her. Even our honor.

  I glance at my brothers. They give the slightest nod.

  It’s now or never.

  Chapter Three

  Kyle

  I close my eyes and send a command to one of our Undeads. He appears at the top of the stairs and moves down them, his steps awkward and clunky like all Undeads. In his hand is the briefcase containing every penny we could gather—all three hundred thousand.

  As the men watch our Undead approaching, I feel the tension in the air. They don’t believe we have the money. Unfortunately for us, they’re right.

  But we have a plan. It's a stupid gamble based on a fairy tale, but it's a plan all the same.

  Turning, I don’t mean to catch Beauty’s gaze, but I do. Unable to help myself, I take the first step up the dais leading to her. Her stunning brown eyes widen in surprise, and her hand extends as if instinctually.

 
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