Publisher: Udumbara Publishing
Release Date: February 2017
Light Paranormal Romance
THE PSYCHIC’S BEAST by Jax Cassidy
A modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast…
Psychic Arabella Winterborne is forced to move into a mysterious fairytale-like mansion when her stepfather is caught embezzling from a powerful billionaire known for his beastly demeanor.
What started out as a life sentence to repay a debt by serving as Lux Beastly’s personal oracle soon turns into a magical adventure that heals two scarred souls.
When Lux’s own freedom is at stake, he must choose between the future of his company or losing Arabella forever.
Read an Excerpt
A thick layer of snow blanketed the landscape, covering most of the enormous steel and glass mansion that seemed to dominate the forest. Arabella had plenty of time to observe the elaborate place. It resembled a slick, modern-day enchanted castle, tucked far away in the middle of nowhere. The impressive construction painted a mysterious yet magical air that piqued her curiosity.
Snow flurries landed on her eyelashes, returning her attention back to the current situation. Still seething over the fact that her stepfather Randall Kramer had dragged her out of bed in the early morning hours, practically dumping her right in front of the iron gates without so much as a backward glance. Heck, she’d heard the tires squeal in his haste to flee. She’d prayed her visions were wrong, but her intuition had always been accurate. Today, it was confirmed.
Arabella let out an irritated breath, “The Farmer’s Almanac never mentioned a freaking blizzard!” She hugged herself beneath the wool cloak to hold in the warmth. If not for the heavy fabric, she was severely underdressed for the weather.
What am I in for?
In truth, she had premonitions days ago.
She knew the snow storm was just kicking up, literally and figuratively.
What had the man done now?
Randall had his fair share of vices long before her mother passed away. She learned to live with them, for her mother’s sake, even if she didn’t like it. Somehow, things felt different this time. She had a sinking suspicion this wasn’t going to be something she was able to bail him out of…again.
She raised her hands and created an arc around her mouth for a megaphone effect, in hopes of cutting through the wind. “IS ANYONE THERE?”
It only stirred a group of birds hidden in a nearby tree. Their sudden movement ruffled the snow from its branches and the huge clumps pummeled her unexpectedly. OOMPH! She slipped and fell on her butt. She dropped back and laughed as she started to make a snow angel to release the building tension.
After a few minutes, she got up and decided to try the gate buzzard again. She’d hoped that someone—anyone, would answer the security monitor. Any minute now.
Maybe making snow angels without proper attire wasn’t the best idea. She felt the cold seep through her clothes as it clung and froze against the fabric. What time was it now? How long had she been there already? She could use a hot cup of tea and a butter croissant right about now. Her stomach rumbled in agreement. She’d left her cell phone behind, so she didn’t know the time or was able to call for assistance.
Arabella blew hot air into her hands, then rubbed them together to bring back some sensation to the numb areas. Not only did she miss breakfast, she didn’t have a chance to adequately pack her belongings. Luckily she’d grabbed a bag and tossed in whatever her foggy brain could come up with.
The snow started coming down full force and she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. She closed her eyes and focused. Within seconds, a series of numbers emerged from the dark recesses of her mind. The correct digits soon lit up in a row and floated across her mind’s eye to extract the information she needed. She clapped her hands and happily punched in the code.
Presto! It slid open.
Arabella let out an excited laugh. “Let’s see if they’ll ignore me now.”
Lux watched the woman through the window, completely intrigued by what he’d seen. No one knew the manual code except for his trusted staff. Yet, this woman seemed to know exactly what they were.
She’s a witch! She can give you all the answers. Predict the future even before it happens. Randall’s words echoed in his head.
“Impossible!” He dismissed them, especially coming from a desperate man.
Lux still wondered why he’d accepted Randall’s plea. What man in his right mind would offer up his daughter in exchange for his freedom? That was the worst kind of atrocity. Lux should put the lying scumbag in prison for embezzling from his company, yet he was entertained by the idea of playing host to a…
“Psychic,” he scoffed.
Even as he said the word, it seemed ridiculous.
He couldn’t fathom why this woman would willingly give up her own freedom for her stepfather’s. He’d had his team thoroughly investigate her and it bothered him that she chose to stay even after everything she’d gone through. The files were just as he’d imagined; Randall was a complete and total bastard toward his stepdaughter after her mother’s passing. Why did she choose to come to the Beastly Estates, even so?
Lux was determined to find out the truth. He needed to know her motives. He also wanted to prove Randall’s claims were lies to release him from a horrible fate.
His eyes riveted on the woman below. Her long cloak dragged the snow as she walked, clearing the path to the main steps. A clump of snow stood in her path and she playfully kicked it around with childish delight. What he hadn’t expected was the musical laughter that bubbled out of her. The woman was genuinely in her own world.
The image of such confidence and innocent wonder burned in his mind.
Lux growled. Not liking the idea that the woman was already bewitching him. BAH! He never believed in psychics, nor paid much attention to metaphysical mumbo jumbo. He’d met quite a few quacks in the past who tried to con him, but they’d failed miserably in their attempts. Perhaps he had only agreed to house her out of boredom.
The opportunity presented itself, and he hated to admit that the past few months he’d yearned for company. Human interaction. He’d take any conversation other than work related at this point. His staff was well trained and respected his need for privacy. However, he never made an effort to get to know them. With the exception of Mrs. Potter, who had been in his family’s employ since his youth. She was in charge of the staff and they had an unspoken understanding. In truth, she was perhaps the closest thing to family that he had. Even his parents had been mostly out of the picture, until their death.
At least he’d have some semblance of company if nothing else. He rubbed his jaw and flinched. The familiar scar that ran from his eyelid to the edge of his mouth was a constant reminder of the accident years ago. He let out an angry breath. He’d never forgotten what had happened. Never would.
Lux was perfectly happy running his multi-billion dollar corporation from the confines of his estate. Technology had made it way too easy to exist without needing to step foot outside. He enjoyed the privacy when cloaked in mystery.
His lips curled into a sneer.
Money. There was nothing it couldn’t buy.
Companies. Luxuries. People.
He glanced back at the petite woman who now approached the front door. He wasn’t sure what to do with her now that she was actually here. As if she sensed that he was watching her, she glanced up toward the window, and he immediately released the curtain with his fingertips.
“Let the games begin,” he announced dryly.
He headed back to the desk to continue working. There was a mountain of email to go through with the new acquisition. If he didn’t keep up with them, he’d be up all night. As he glanced at the first email, his mood shifted. He blew out an irritated breath knowing that it was already going to be a long day.
Time got away from him. He’d been so absorbed in his work he barely noticed the firm knock. The door opened and his butler Kingsley gave a curt nod. “May I present your guest, Miss Arabella Winterborne.”