Author: Holley Trent
Genre: Paranormal (Werewolves), Romance, Contemporary, Erotica, Novella
Rating: 4 Stars
Christina Stilton has waited all her life to become a wolf’s bride. Becoming mate to a stranger in a faraway pack is the only chance she has to escape her Appalachian life of poverty and abuse. She wants safety, but trusts The Fates to steer her toward love, too.
Love is the last thing on Anton Denis’s mind. He doesn’t want to saddle some hopeful woman to him. A brutal fight left him scarred and half blind. He’s a mercenary who can’t drive, can’t shoot straight, and on most days, can’t even crack a smile. He fully intends to send his mate away—to give her a chance at being matched to some stronger wolf—but stubborn Christina is intent on staying.
She might have been treated as a useless female back in Virginia, but her role in Anton’s small pack is clear. He needs to be loved and loved hard, and she’s just the woman for the job. She just needs to convince him to get out of her way and let her do it.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I’m going to give Beast by Holley Trent the benefit of the doubt. I’m not generally a fan of novellas; I prefer to sink deeply into my novels and not come up for air for several hours, and that just isn’t something I can do with shorter books. They tend to feel rushed and incomplete. That wasn’t so with Beast, however.
Despite being a novella, the pacing was spot on. I never felt like I was missing part of the story, that the details were being skimmed over, or that I was being rushed. The writing too was clear and easy to follow, and with the exception of one typo, well-written. The world building was a fresh take on the werewolf lore, and a welcome change in a theme that’s been recycled over and over in the past few years.
I liked Christina and Anton as a couple. They contrasted and complimented each other in a way that I found endearing and fun to follow along. My only major point of contention was that neither were very strong characters. Anton was plagued with self-doubt that lead him to verbally put himself down on a regular basis—and it wasn’t a very attractive feature of his. I almost would have preferred that he be standoffish or outright mean. Christina, on the other hand, despite purportedly being regularly abused throughout her life, ended up being the stronger, more domineering of the couple. She was a bit of a spitfire (which I love in my female protagonists)—but it didn’t seem to fit with her backstory, which lead to her earlier abuse seeming to be more of a needless plot device to drum up sympathy for the diminutive girl.
Overall, I liked the novella. It wasn’t typical of what I normally read, but the chemistry was steamy, the character were interesting, and despite a few weak points where the characters were involved, I can genuinely say that I liked it. If you’re looking for a short, fun erotic/romance read that isn’t too vulgar, this would be a good pick for you.