Celeste is a low born serf working in her Lord’s Castle. She is physically and mentally abused by her Lord’s aunts. She dreams only of living peacefully with Sebastian.
Sebastian is Lord of Castle Kilskeagh. He rules his Clan with honor but he can never be happy, his love for Celeste can never be returned. His passion flares brightly but with it comes the Beast, for he is cursed to never find true love.
The three witches of Kilskeagh have made sure that the line will die with Sebastian for each time that he feels pleasure, he is cursed to turn into a Beast. Never will another male rule Castle Kilskeagh for the witches have made sure that someday their daughters will have that which should have been theirs.
Celeste walked carefully around the Laird’s table. Her head bowed, she watched her feet as she shuffled across the room. The men talked loudly, belching and laughing as they broke their morning fast. Margaret stood at Sebastian’s right shoulder as he sat at the head of the table. “Get moving you lazy serf.” She spat the words with hatred. No one spoke a word and all laughter stopped as the men waited to see what Margaret would do to the young lass whom was always the brunt of her wrath.
“Leave off, Aunt.” Sebastian raised his hand palm out. “The Lass is completing her assigned chores.”
“Do you show favor to this serf over your own flesh and blood?” she seethed.
“I have more important things to do than worry about petty scuffles between you and the women who work in this castle.” Sebastian pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. “If you’ve finished your meal, you have duties to perform.” He dismissed the men and watched worriedly to see what his aunt would do.
A pitiful cry came from the corner. Celeste walked slowly toward the sound. A castle dog had given birth some weeks before and she was anxious to get a look at the pups now that their eyes would be open. She squatted down as to not startle the little family. Something was not right, the cry was weak. She wrinkled her nose at the unpleasant odor.
“What are you doing there?” Margaret grabbed Celeste’s shoulder where she knelt over the bitch dog and her litter of pups.
“Poor wee one.” Celeste whispered. She laid her hand gently on the mother dog whose body was cold and lifeless, only one small body showed any sign of life. The Irish wolfhound pup struggled gallantly to live where as his litter mates had failed. She cradled the small body close to her bosom.
“Give the cur to me.” Margaret grabbed for the pup. “The bitch died yesterday, this one has not had the sense to follow the rest of the litter. I’ll just slam it against the stones there and we’ll hear no more of its pitiful cries.”
“Nay! You cannot have him.” Celeste turned her back on the mad woman. She would pay dearly for this small act of defiance but could not let the small warrior be harmed.
The flat of Margaret’s hand caught her soundly on the cheek. Her scar stood out vibrantly against the mark now left by the witch’s hand. “You forget yourself.” Margaret snarled.
“Enough!” Sebastian’s fist slammed against the table. “Leave off!!” He stomped angrily across the floor. The rushes crackled beneath his feet.
“Lass, take the pup and leave. Your duties are finished for the day.” He showed no other sign of the turmoil he was going through on seeing his lady treated so cruelly, but he must not alert anyone of his true feelings for his beautiful Celeste.
“Yes, M’Lord.” Celeste curtsied and bobbed her head. She never raised her eyes to look at either Sebastian or the Witch Margaret. Slowly, she turned and made a wide arc around the table and out the castle doors.
“You show much affection for such a low born bitch, nephew. Have you forgotten the curse? Or maybe the Clan whore cares not if she sleeps with dogs. I should rid us all of the problem before she breeds more of the same.” Margaret sneered.
Sebastian grabbed her arm as she turned to walk away. He stepped closer and looked down on her from his massive height. “Do you forget whom you are talking with, Aunt? I am laird here and curse or no curse, neither you nor your witch sisters will rule me or mine. The lass means nothing more to me than any other member of the clan. I protect what is mine.” The lie tasted bitter on his lips, but if anyone guessed his true feelings for Celeste, he feared for her safety.
Margaret jerked her arm from his fierce grip. “Never treat me thusly. Forget you the power that I wield and the pain I can inflict without effort?” She turned and walked toward the small room located behind the buttery. The sisters must be told of the rebellion taking place in their home. But first she had better tend to important matters; must not cause suspicion. She stopped and turned. “I’m sorry, nephew, for speaking to you thusly. I look out only for your welfare. You must be ever vigilant of the curse and never forget the evil it may cause. I am here to serve you and I hope to one day free you so that you may live happily. But until that time arises, you must remember what you are.” She turned her head so no one could see her evil smile as she passed through the buttery.
“I’ll never forget,” he whispered. “I’m living the hell of it daily.” He glanced toward the castle doors. Celeste was safe for now but her rebellion was sure to cost her. He shuddered to think of the pain his sweet lass was sure to go through because the aunts would not let this slight go unpunished. He must be vigilant to protect his love.