UtopYA Countdown: M.R. Polish and Ashley Lavering


With a death starts a new beginning...

Eighteen-year-old Esmerelda thinks she’s just a normal girl, but all of that changes the day of her mom’s funeral, when a warlock, intent on using her special powers, kidnaps her. Powers she didn’t know existed. Thrown in the middle of a magical battle, Es struggles to learn her magic while fleeing both vampires and warlocks, at the same time, hunting for the witches that can help defeat her adversary. The only problem is that they are dead.

Thankfully, she has the help of Jarak—her Guardian—who quickly captures her heart, but she wonders if she can win his? Just when she thinks Jarak is the one for her, Ian appears with daggers drawn to save Es from a vampire attack. Ian is cocky and rude, but there is something magnetic about him—something that attracts her to him. With her heart torn between two men, she faces the foes that are out for her blood. Can Es do the unthinkable and awaken them from their graves before time runs out?
A dark shadow stalks the night, watching her—waiting to claim what is his.

Seventeen-year-old Tayla Jonas longs for a simple life, but after a traumatizing family loss, she is forced to be both mother and sister to her cousins while caring for her mentally unstable aunt. Moving to her grandma’s quiet town of Cody, Wyoming, Tayla finds some normalcy with her quirky green activist friend, Chel, who spends no time converting her to vegetarianism. 

A few weeks into her new school, Tayla catches the eye of Kyle Harrington—the high school quarterback and resident millionaire—who can seduce any girl with his charismatic charm, including Tayla. But Kyle is anything but what he seems.

Walking through City Park, Tayla is unaware that an ancient curse has her in its crosshairs. The silver moonlight illuminates the path to her van, sprinkling shadows like evil twinkling eyes. Tayla’s skin prickles, and she turns. Something—or someone—is watching her.

A powerful werewolf steps from the shadows. An iridescent blue cord shoots from him and slams into her stomach, dissolving instantly. Pain wracks her body, and she tries to scramble to safety, but his silver eyes freeze her in place as the curse binds them together. The cord settles deep inside her body, coiling with dread around her heart. 

Dismayed by the prospect of a werewolf for a shadow, Tayla fears for the safety of her friends and family. How will she keep the werewolf’s insatiable hunger in check? Her plans for a vegetarian lifestyle quickly dwindle away, and Tayla wrestles to fit her frazzled life back together—piece by piece. But what she didn’t expect was her attraction to the werewolf or the power of the full moon. 

Will Tayla be strong enough to survive the Curse of the Beast? Or will it consume her like so many before? Find out in the first installment of this unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Guest Post

Ashley and M.R. have an awesome Guest Post!  It is a conversation between the Beast from Ashley's Curse of the Beast and Ian from Wolf Spell!
Check it out!
MCCA – Otherwise known as, Misfortunate Characters Conflict Anonymous Group

Beast walks into a nearly empty room, and sits across from another guy. “Hey, my name’s Jameson.”

The man looks up with a calculating eye. Beast keeps talking, “Or you can call me Beast. Most people do.”

This gets a smirk out of the guy. “Beast, huh. I guess I can see why, no offence or anything.”
Beast leans back in his chair. “With a face like this,” he points to his hairy face, deformed nose and mouth, “it isn’t hard to see why the girls run.”
The other man finally relaxes. “Name’s Ian. So beside the obvious, what’s your misfortune?”
“Cursed. Not very original I’ll admit, but sucks just the same. The best thing to come out of it, is being bound to his amazing and feisty girl. If only Tayla wasn’t set on braking the curse and running as far away from me as possible, it would be near perfect. What about you?”
Ian chuckles. “Well, I can say that I’m not cursed, well not at least directly. I am however, in love with someone who is, and now I’m supposed to save her. Her name is Esmerelda, but most people call her Es. I can’t imagine my life without her. I’ve waited for her for so many years, then when I finally see her, my brother knowingly tried to make her his, even though he’s cursed to some witch and can’t even commit.” Ian takes a deep breath. “Sorry man, just been holding that in for a while.”
“That’s rough.” Beast rubs his chin. “At least this girl, Es, sounds like a keeper.”
Ian’s eyes brighten at her name. “Yeah, she is. I would fight everyday for her. What about you? Do you need to watch your back with a brother intent on stealing your girl?”
“No, don’t’ have to worry about Tayla falling for my brother. I guess I got lucky there. She doesn’t really go for the ninty-year-old grandpa look.” Beast chuckles and Ian joins in.
Ian looks around the room, rubbing the palm of his hands on his jeans. “So, this is fun. How long have you been curse?”
“Sixty-seven long years,” Beast answered glumly.
“Wow, that’s been awhile then that you’ve, uh, looked liked that.” Ian twitched his mouth to the side.
“My face is just the start. You have no idea how far my curse runs through my veins. I am a Beast.” Beast stares at Ian for a moment before smirking at some humorous thought. “At least I have hope that I won’t be stuck this way forever. You on the other hand will have to live with that ugly mug the rest of your life.”
“Hardy-har-har. Very funny.” Dregan, Ian’s wolf appears next to his chair as soon as Ian’s anxiety spiked.
“Woa, nice looking wolf, but did you really need backup? I really thought we were hitting it off.”
Ian nods. “So this is a little awkward.”
They both burst out laughing. Beast slapped his knee. “I’m glad I met you, maybe next meeting we can hang out after and do something fun.”
Ian grinned. “Yeah, I’d like that. It’s been kinda nice talking to someone who understands what it’s like to be cursed, in one way or another. I’ll definitely be here for the next meeting.”
A woman walks in the room and both men look at her and then each other. “Is she yours?” Ian whispers raising a brow.
Beast runs his hands over his face and lets out a growl. “Ashley, how’d you find me here?”
“I have my ways.” Ashley shrugs before getting back to business. “Come on, we need to get you back to your story. Tayla’s driving me nuts without you there.”
“Guess I better go.” Beast stood. “See you next time, Ian.”
Ian let out a snort. “Aw come on, you aren’t just going to do what she says are you?”
Ashley shot Ian a pointed look. “Watch it or I’ll send Misty for you. Or better yet, maybe I’ll send Es.”
Ian folded his arms, sitting there with pressed lips as he watched Beast and Ashley leave.
To Be Continued…

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