A one-armed, practical girl. A rude lord hiding a curse. A dark secret with the town’s fate hanging in the balance.
A Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Austrian twist and a new breed of curse.
When Rosen moves to Freudendorf—a secluded town in the Alps—with her dad, he vanishes on her and the debt collectors come to call: taking her into slave labor. As if that wasn't bad enough, just when all her hopes and dreams for a normal life are ruined, a frail zombie-like butler purchases her: taking her to serve Lord Varick, who currently resides in the forbidden castle near the salt mines, where the Beast of the Night is said to roam. Varick is handsome, with an attitude that’s the exact opposite. The servants aren’t human, and the castle itself is an ugly wreck. But if Rosen cannot solve the dark secret spreading beneath Freudendorf, and the curse holding Varick's cold heart, then both they and the town will fall prey to a waiting evil—and worse, even lose their memory of it.
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E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.
She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.
Excerpt: Beast of the Night
“What is Lord Varick like?” Rosen found herself asking, wanting to fill the silent void while navigating the eerie, dim castle.
Licht and Butler Sterbetod shared a look.
“You didn’t tell her?”
The aged butler’s neck creaked as his head slowly shook.
“Well then.” Licht brushed the sides of his vest, mouth working. “Varick is…is… How should I put it?” The nymiad made an effort to think.
“Difficult,” Sterbetod wheezed.
“Ja. Extremely difficult.” Licht nodded. “Try not to take anything he says to heart,” he advised in a quiet tone.
Rosen glanced between them, her palm getting sweaty.
“It’ll be fine, I’m sure,” Licht whispered, which didn’t make her feel any better, then tapped on the door. “Master Varick? The butler has arrived with the new worker you requested.”
Several seconds of silence passed, and then faint footsteps could be heard drawing near, and the ornate door swung inward.
Dim light from the room beyond combined with Licht’s flames to illuminate a figure standing tall in the doorframe.
Rosen’s breath caught in her throat.
If a human could embody the words “royal beauty,” this was him. Perfect sharp nose and symmetrical features. Cat-like eyes and thick eyelashes black as night. Hair a dark waterfall cascading down in wavy layers brushing the tops of firm shoulders; his skin alabaster white. Lord Varick stared down at her, his irises catching the lamplight.
“Master Varick, may I introduce Miss Rosenrot.” Licht bowed with a wave of an arm.
Rosen made her best attempt at a curtsy, trying to halt the rapid beating in her chest. He was gorgeous. She didn’t know a man could be called gorgeous.
His perfect lips parted to speak.
She held her breath, waiting for his elegant words.
“A human girl?” he said.
Rosen paused mid-curtsy. His tone didn’t sound quite so pleasant as his appearance promised.
“I tell you to bring me a new nymiad servant—a male servant. A nymiad male servant. And instead, you bring me a human girl? A—human—girl?” His princely features distorted into a rude frown. “What is wrong with you, Sterbetod? Why can’t you ever do things right!”
Rosen’s jaw dangled, flabbergasted.
“But, Master…” Butler Sterbetod wheezed, one hand over his chest. “A feminine touch will…do this castle good. She is a…hard worker, and…this place needs serious care or…else it will fall apart.”
Varick’s expression remained sourly unchanged.
“And I already…paid for her service…”
“You threw my money away on that?” The young lord pointed a long finger at her, no doubt taking in her half-missing arm.
Rosen snapped out of her daze. “Did you just refer to me as a that? Excuse me, but I am not a that.”
“Shut up! Go away!” he shouted.
The door slammed in her face before she could finish.
She blinked at the polished wood, then turned her neck to look at Licht and the butler. “Did he just—? Did he really—?”
“…Difficult,” the butler concluded.
Rosen ranted and raved. How could a lord behave in such a way?
“Even street children have better manners! I won’t stand for being treated like this—debts to be paid or not. They’re not my debts, anyway. I’ll run away and become a nun!” She huffed and puffed.
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