Chapter One

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(A/N): This begins the second book in my Mark of Thorn series. You should probably read Book of Scars first, if you haven't already. The rating for this one is like the other, R for sexual content, violence, language and so on. Also, this book is longer than the first, so most of you will probably be happy for that. Enjoy.

The cover was made for me by sir_dyllan. Be sure to check out his page if you need any cover help. =) 

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Text copyright Lani Lenore

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be produced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Once, there was a beautiful young girl.

She was so beautiful that the sun, and the moon, and the stars held no glory in comparison.

She was chaste.  She was innocent.

Then, came the beast.

The beautiful girl was introduced to a world she had never known – one that hardly had any room for beauty.  But she was stuck in a dark place with a creature she feared, and there was not a day that her lovely face was not stained with tears.

The girl was cold, abused, naked, and terrified that each day might be her last.  Days and nights passed, but the walls around her always looked the same. 

But then, something happened within the girl.  Her mind changed.  She became stronger, and she grew into a woman. 

She looked into the eyes of the beast, and she showed him no fear.  The beast bowed down before her.  He wanted her more than ever, but respect kept him from misdeeds, and shortly after, the woman that the girl had become decided that she would be good enough to love him.

After that, something occurred that she had not expected.  Unbeknownst, she had lifted a curse, and the hideous beast before her became a beautiful man.

There was so much to life after that.  The man, who was still a monster in so many ways, never acted evilly toward the beautiful woman, loving her with all his heart.  Everything that he had was hers.

And everything was happy.

Everything was roses.

The Mark of Thorn

Book of Beauty

Chapter One

1

                Rivenon was a city that never slept.  The streets were lined with lamps, and public buildings were aglow with warm fire.  All through the night, there were pleasures to be obtained for those who cared to seek them, and ventures did not take a man far.  Openly advertised on the main streets, there was drink to be had, shared, and passed.  There was a sort of woman to satisfy any man who came along the road – and then a few more.  But one should not confuse Rivenon with some haven for villains and god-forsaken scoundrels.  There were, of course, more substantial neighborhoods where nobles and military men had built fine homes – but when night fell, they too found themselves slipping off into the darker places of the city.  Beneath a sheet of shadows, there was no code of morals, and whatever happened in the night remained in the night.

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