My book WOLF AROUND THE CORNER may seem on the surface to be a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast. But it’s actually more similar to the Loathly Lady of Arthurian legend.
Let me give you a little backstory in case you’ve never read this side story from the Knights of the Round Table tales. My favorite is The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle. She is described this way:
Her face was red, her nose snotid withalle,
Her mouithe wide, her teethe yallowe overe alle,
With blerid eyen gretter then a balle;
Her mouith was not to lak;
Her teethe hing overe her lippes.
Sir Gawain encounters her on a quest to determine “What do women desire most?” She offers to give the answer to him if he’ll marry her. Bound by an oath to the king, Sir Gawain brings the Lady Ragnelle back to court and they are married. At the court, she gives him the correct answer to the question “What do women desire most?” with the simple answer “sovereignty.” In other words, women would like to be given a choice in their own fate, to make decisions for themselves. Despite the ordeal now over, as Gawain is still married to the crone, he feels honor bound to consummate the marriage. But when he enters the bedroom he does not find a hag, but a beautiful woman. She tells him she was under a curse to be hideous and it is now partially broken to allow her to be beautiful part of the day. She asks him whether he would like for her to be beautiful in day but ugly by night or ugly in day and beautiful in night. Sir Gawain in his wisdom tells his wife that she should be beautiful when she chooses to be. And with that Ragnelle tells him that she chooses to be beautiful all the time. If you are interested in reading a version of the story, The Camelot Project has one online [here].
The Loathly Lady is another instance of the Monster Bridegroom motif, only with the genders changed. You may know other tales where women marry beasts such as in Beauty and the Beast, Hans My Hedgehog, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, or The Frog Prince. All of them involve a curse to keep them “beastly” but The Loathly Lady is the only one that presents the other partner with a choice.
And this choice was intrinsic to the romantic plot of WOLF AROUND THE CORNER.
While adapting the play version of Beauty and the Beast, my protagonist Frank inserts elements of the Loathly Lady into their theatrical version to give Beauty more to do than simply have dinner with a Beast every night where he harasses her to marry him. In Frank’s version, Beauty is beset by two lovers–one a Beast who woos her with seductive words and actions and a Prince who visits her in her dreams but is beautiful and awkward, sometimes too innocent for her tastes. At the end of the play, Beauty must choose between the lovers and instead, she realizes that the person she loves is both men. She allows her lover to be whichever man he chooses to be as she will love him as either.
The play inside the book is a mirror of the romance between the director, Tom, and the playwright/actor, Frank. Frank’s shifter abilities allow him to transform on stage from beast to man. And like the Beast in the play, Frank is both man and beast, delighting in his wolf running through the woods, and his human self tempting Tom into his bed. And inevitably, like the Beast in the play, Frank gives Tom a choice. He can stay human all the time, leave the small town where he’s made a home, if Tom wants him to go with him. And Tom’s decision, based on his need to succeed in New York at odds with his love for Frank make up the central dilemma to their romance.
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Frank’s family taught him that his wolf was dangerous, unwanted. Now his best friend’s brother wants him in bed and on stage. But giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart.
Settled in the small town of Waycroft Falls, Frank is content to be a lone wolf among the white picket fences and dollar book bins until he finds himself sniffing his best friend’s brother. Tom smells like hot apple pie and his Broadway smile has Frank lolling his tongue. But when the visiting actor learns Frank’s secret and plies him with hot kisses to get him to star in his play, Frank can’t help but wonder if Tom is only acting.
Tom ran away from family obligations to be a Broadway star. If he could make it there, he could make it anywhere…but he didn’t. Trudging home to Waycroft Falls to open his sister’s new performance space brings him face to face with a werewolf—a werewolf that would be perfect for Tom’s shoestring production of Beauty and the Beast. Staying in Tiny Town USA would be worth it if he can somehow convince the sexy wolf to expose his furry condition on stage and howl privately in Tom’s bed.
Wolf Around The Corner, a paranormal semi-finalist in Passionate Ink’s 2017 Sexy Scribbles Contest, is a full-length fairytale romance with a side of wolf shifter. If you like your romance with gorgeous men, humor, and small town magic, you’ll love Wolf Around the Corner! Buy your copy now and settle in to watch the drama unfold!