I love a Beauty & the Beast story, but one written by an author as talented as PC is bound to be extraordinary. You know what book just went into my cart at B&N.com, no don't you?
GODDESS OF THE ROSE by PC Cast
(Berkeley, February 7, 2006)
GODDESS OF THE ROSE is a magical, sensuous retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a modern slant. Our Beauty, Micki (named after the Mikado Rose), and all the women in her family have a special affinity for roses their blood, diluted in water and applied during the night of a new moon, makes roses grow spectacularly. What the women dont know is that they have this ability because they are descendants of a High Priestess of the Goddess Hecate. Hecate is Goddess of Night, Magick, the Crossroads of Man, and of Beasts. She is also the proctrectess of The Realm of the Rose the place wherein all dreams and magick originate. This realm is guarded diligently by The Guardian, a creature on which the myth of the Minotaur was based. The Guardian swore himself into Hecates service for eternity, and in return the Goddess gifted him with the heart and soul of a man, even though he has the body of a beast. But all is not well in The Realm of the Rose. The Guardian made a terrible mistake, arousing the Goddesss wrath to such an extent that she bespelled him and the realm, and Hecate swore that they would sleep eternally unless the Beast was awakened by a woman who carried the magickal blood of Hecates priestess, and was wise enough to see the truth, and compassionate enough to act upon it.
Micki does awaken the Guardian and he abducts her to The Realm of the Rose, thinking that she would automatically break the curse placed on the realm and set things to right, but modern woman Micki is a very unexpected kind of High Priestess, and there are forces at work within the realm, both of love and of hatred that might change the shape of dreams and magick for all of eternity unless Micki is brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice