Page One

Shh, this is a sneak peek!

It’s the first page of my latest completed young adult novel, A Beastly Beauty. I’m excited to share a bit of it with you!


My night of freedom had arrived, and I wasn’t wasting a moment. The gate clicked behind me. At last I was on the right side of our estate walls again—the side where the rest of the world awaited. I nudged my horse’s flanks, and he snorted.

“All right, Domino,” I whispered. “Let’s go.” My heart leaped as he broke into a gallop. We were going to town.

If I could kiss the full moon with gratitude, I would. Once each month, the curse I had lived with since birth was contained. Between moonrise this morning and moonset tonight, I looked like a human instead of a nightmare.

The wind whistled through my hair as I urged Domino on. He was likely as sick as I was of trotting in sedate circles around the courtyard like a tethered pony.

He leapt over a log, bouncing me in the saddle. My stomach flipped at the feeling, but this wasn’t a night for nerves. It was a night for dancing and billiards and… Maybe this night would be the night. The night I had grown up dreaming of.

The night I’d find a way to break the curse.

We rode off the crest of the hill, leaving our estate behind. Inside the stone wall, the castle’s upper windows were dark. In a few minutes my father, the frosty Marquis of Molinas, would settle into his bed for the night. But his secret daughter, the invisible Isabella, was already gone.


A Beastly Beauty is a gender-swapped, Stockholm-syndrome-free retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” (featuring a villainous fairy godmother and her glass-slippered underling).

Published by Joy Givens

Joy Givens is a pun-slinging, hymn-singing storyteller and the lucky mother of two small superheroes. Raised in a big Midwestern family, Joy now lives in the blossoming literary community of Pittsburgh. She has written several award-winning short stories and writes middle grade and YA fiction to celebrate the fresh, fierce, fantastic side of life. Joy also enjoys singing and listening to most genres of music, cooking for family and friends, volunteering in her church and neighborhood, and curling up with a good book and good coffee.

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