Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy is an erotic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’m a sucker for reimagined fairy tales, so I had to give it a try.
Amarantha is convinced by her family to marry the Beast. The Beast has agreed to divorce her and give her family a fortune if she doesn’t agree to consummate the marriage in a week’s time. While he can’t take her virginity, nothing else is off-limits. The Beast introduces Amarantha to BDSM, while at the same time emphasizing the fact that he’d never cause her real harm, and that he cares about her well-being.
At first, Amarantha is terrified, but she quickly realizes that she finds the Beast exciting. She also realizes how empty her life with her family was, and that they care more about money than they do about people. As she falls in love with the Beast, she realizes that her new life is far more fulfilling. Meanwhile, the Beast is portrayed as a multifaceted creature. He’s intelligent, caring, and has interests and personality outside of the bedroom.
I first became familiar with Kennedy’s work after winning a copy of Ruby during Armchair BEA. Conveniently, it lined up with a project I was doing for a genre fiction class at the time. Even though I don’t read much erotica, I realized that I had misjudged the genre as a whole. As in Ruby, I was blown away by the character development present in Kennedy’s books. They aren’t just about the sex, but rather use it as a way of showing how a character grows over time.
I’m quite impressed with Jeffe Kennedy’s stories. Clocking in at a little under a hundred pages a piece, they’re good for a relaxing bedtime read when you want a book with a happy ending. Petals and Thorns was no exception, and I would highly recommend it.