Title: The Beast
Author: Jaden Wilkes
Genre: Dark Erotica
Release Date: March 2014
Dimitri Sokolov is a man scarred, physically and emotionally. From the rough streets of Moscow to the highest ranks in the Solntsevskaya Bratva, he has seen it all.
An attack four years ago left him disfigured and in seclusion, hiding from reactions to his appearance and in safety from those who failed to kill him the first time.
Comfortable in his penthouse, managing his billion dollar businesses, he's resigned himself to be alone, simply called The Beast among those who've dealt with him in the past.
Columbia Grey is a pseudo-activist trying to save her neighbourhood from a developer intent on levelling it to build apartment towers. She goes along with a plan to confront the CEO of the company on his own turf, to force him to listen to her demands...all in a pathetic attempt to impress a man she barely likes.
Little does she know, she's taken herself into the mouth of the beast, a man familiar with death and destruction, sex and seduction, a man used to getting exactly what he wants and a man with nothing left to lose.
She's a beauty, but will that be enough to tame the beast and save her life?
Reviewer’s Note: This is a standalone dark erotica novel with issues of dubious consent and it does contain scenes that some readers may find disturbing.
The Beast really is a modern day retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story but, be warned, this is no fairy-tale. In the fairy-tale Belle’s goodness healed the Beast and he became a charming and handsome man. In this story, it’s far more a case of our heroine discovering the darkness in her Beast and finding that she really rather likes it and deciding to stay there with him.
Dimitri is our Beast and he’s a Russian criminal underlord whose mentor has turned on him and attempted to kill him and has disfigured him in the process. Now, fearing for his life and knowing his scars making him instantly recognisable, he is hiding out under a false name in a penthouse in Vancouver living an incredibly reclusive lifestyle constantly trying to stay one step ahead of his nemesis.
Dimitri really is not one of the good guys – he’s a cold-blooded killer, a career criminal and likes to take his frustrations out on well-paid whores who he pushes to their limits and to within an inch of their lives. There’s very few redeeming features in our beast – he’s been betrayed by a man who is every inch as bad as he is and he’s so incredibly wrapped up in himself, he cares for no one.
Columbia, our Beauty,is an abused young woman who is trying to protect her younger sister from her depraved father and the only outlet for all her emotional turmoil is self-harm – cutting herself. She’s a damaged soul but she still finds time to be a social activist and sneaks into Dimitri’s penthouse with the intention of confronting his fake persona about a building project in the city.
Talk about your case of mistaken identity!
Of course, our huge Beast of a sociopath, finds his Belle and takes her captive and tells her he will either have to kill her or keep her forever and so the story really begins and is told by both Columbia and Dimitri with alternating POV’s which helps to understand what they’re both thinking and understand their thought processes.
I did enjoy this and I loved to see how much they affected one another – Dimitri I think brought out the darkness in Columbia and she found the light in him and, rather than heal one another, I think they just found their perfect match. The sex is pretty hot although really rather brutal and, as I said earlier, this consent, at least at first, is rather dubious and this is a man with very dark sexual proclivities so be warned.
I’m giving this one a 3.5 although it was almost 4 stars because they went from captor and captive to desperately in love far too quickly for me and I began to lose the connection I’d originally had with the story. It just seemed to happen in one screaming orgasm with no real build up – I think I would have much preferred to see their feelings change more gradually especially given that both of them have strong and deep reasons to mistrust other people. I do, however, think fans of dark erotica will love this one.