Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on November 3rd 2015
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Bella Jones' father, Sir Seymour Jones, was an explorer/adventurer who revealed to her on his deathbed that the late Duke of Aylwin, whom he helped inquire antiquities in Egypt, had promised him half of a pharaoh's treasure. However, Bella must find the map to the hidden trove to prevent her and her brother and sister from living in poverty.
Bella takes a job as a curator working for the late duke's son to help him catalogue his father's artifacts in London. She doesn't reveal who she is or what her motives are, but when the attraction between them because impossible to ignore, the issue of the hidden treasure becomes a more complicated secret than either of them could ever imagine.
¬¬Reviewed by AnnMarie¬¬
Bella and the Beast is the fourth book in the ‘Cinderella Sisterhood’ series by Olivia Drake. I haven’t read any of the other books, so can safely say this book can be read as a stand alone book with no problem.
The story is about Bella Jones, and Miles Grayson, the Duke of Aylwin. Bella has been living with her father and two young siblings abroad. On his death bed his father tells Bella that she must return to England, to look for Aylwin. Apparently he has the other half to a treasure map which she possesses. The treasure being that of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. They barely have enough money to travel back to England, and to keep residence in a small cottage that belonged to her father. But it would serve as a base when she went in search of Aylwin. If she could find his half of the treasure map, they could split whatever the treasure was and she would have enough money to bring up her siblings without financial worry. Of course Bella doesn’t want to let on to Miles what she is up to. As far as he is concerned she wants to work with him purely because of her interest in Egypt and because she would thoroughly fascinated cataloguing his late father’s finds.
Miles Grayson is known as the beast because he’s been a hardened man since his father was murdered. He’s locked himself in his house, brought as many of his father’s finds from abroad. His only focus being on cataloguing them, studying them, and perhaps lending some out to museums. He has no time for relationships, not even knowing his horrid cousin will be heir to the dukedom and the wealth that entails if he doesn’t marry and produce an heir. He is too bitter though, because not only did he lose his father to murder, another man whom he looked up to as a father ran away the same day he found his father dead. He can’t help but feel betrayed.
So of course when Bella turns up at his house, saying that she wants /needs a job with him, to be a curator of sorts with him, helping him catalogue all the antiquities, he is none too happy. Bella tells him who she is. Which happens to be the daughter of the man who ran away and left him to fend for himself in Egypt after his father died. He doesn’t remember Bella, after all they were only children when he knew her. There was one way to be certain of her identity though. After a fascinating way of proving Bella is who she says she is, Miles decides to take her on. He does need help with the work, but more to the point he needs to know why the man he thought of as a dear man, a friend, a father figure, ran away. He hopes spending time with Bella will help answer his questions, and maybe help him dissolve the anger that has burned through him over the years.
The more time Bella and Miles spend together, the more attracted they are to each other. Neither is happy about it, and each of them are keeping secrets from each other, which is never a good thing. Miles can be a true arse, there is no other word for it, particularly in one part of the story where he has been to a brothel, had sex with a prostitute and then when he got home he tried to get intimate with Bella!! Ugh, hello, NO. I think that was a perfect way for the author to show what a beast Miles was, making sure that the readers were horrified at his antics.
I really enjoyed this book because not only was there the possible romance, and of course the passion between our couple, there was also the mystery of the treasure map, and the treasure. Also we had the story of Miles’ cousin and the man’s wife, both horrid characters who want nothing more than to make Bella leave. They don’t want any romantic relationship to form, and definitely don’t want Miles and Bella to marry and have a child because that would ruin their chances of becoming the next Duke and Duchess of Aylwin. How far will they go to get rid of Bella, and what dangers lurk for her and Miles either from them, or interested parties who also know of a certain treasure map?
I love how the author truly gets you to despise Miles, especially in the beginning of the book, she truly makes him a beast. I also love how Bella finds out about the possible job working for him in the first place. The crimson slippers, the story behind them, and the woman who gives them to her gives a lovely added extra to the story too. If you don’t mind feeling at times that you want to kill the hero of the story, or shake the heroine occasionally, then you will definitely enjoy this book.
For me, the only negative, which is why I have only given a 4 star rating, is that at times the book did seem a bit slow. I never lost interest in the plot, but at the same time, a 5 star rated book for me is one that I can’t put down until I reach the very end, or one where my kindle ends up dropping on my nose because I have fought sleep in order to get to the end, and lost! This book didn’t have that need to finish ASAP pull, but was still well worth the read.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.