How Beauty Met the Beast
Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley “Hauk” Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He’s starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.
Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn’t see. After she’s kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.
Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?
How Beauty Saved the Beast
Jolie Benoit left her old life behind to become an agent of the Underlight. Training under Sergeant Wesley Haukon, she’s honing her combat skills, all the while coping with the intense sexual attraction she feels for Hauk. She keeps their friendship casual, but when his high school sweetheart transfers into their division, Jolie finds herself grappling with jealousy.
The Underlight gave Hauk a purpose, but he can’t escape his past completely. The physical and emotional scars from the fire that killed seven fellow Army Rangers will mark him forever. Jolie sends his protective instincts into overdrive, but he’s convinced he’ll never be worthy of her love.
Hauk is determined to keep Jolie from harm. But when the Order of Ananke ambushes them with a new weapon that neutralizes Hauk, making him vulnerable, it’s Jolie who must tap into her hidden strengths to rescue him—or risk losing him forever…
I had three ARCs to read that were being released today, all of which are fantastical in nature and by Carina Press. Normally this would’ve been tops for me, but after reading Final Resort and… err… some other titles (don’t look at my Goodreads please) I really just wanted to read some contemporary romance.
So I pouted.
Then I grumbled because I actually had an ARC for “How Beauty Saved the Beast” which was book two and a direct sequel to “How Beauty Met the Beast” and I was going to be lost but effe it, it’s only 100 pages so I’ll just buy that and read it first and… seriously, I just wanted something light and fluffy where the biggest problem is that a dog puked in her shoes and then he caught her talking to her ex.
And then I started reading.
HOLY CANNOLIS GUYS! THIS SERIES IS AWESOME.
I’m telling you, right now, that you are going to want books 1 and 2. I mean, they’re both separate and unique stories, but I would’ve been a might bit ticked off with the way things wrapped up for Jolie and Hauk if I didn’t have another 200 pages already waiting for me.
Now let’s get down to the actual reviews. (200ish words in, that’s actually not bad for me.)
How Beauty Met the Beast:
The book starts off with a motorcycle chase AND a burlesque show. Now I have mixed feelings about burlesque, but that’s probably better left for another time. For now, let me just give you this public service announcement:
Burlesque is not stripping… not really, but it also isn’t innately feminist and empowering. Like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
*the more you know*
And that as well…
Okay… NOW that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way… no more clever jingles or allusions? Good.
Basically the book starts off with a bang. And I don’t mean the chase or the dancing. (That’s an orgasm joke. And it makes me giggle because I’m a 13 year old boy apparently.) Jolie gets almost kidnapped and raped, but Hauk senses the attack (because he has pain-dar which might be the best super power ever, if only for the name) and comes to her rescue.
It was at this point that I fell madly in love with this book.
See, Hauk blacks out before he Hulks out, and at that point I realized a fact that’s not spelled out until near the end of book two. But that’s neither here nor there, because after Jolie passes out and Hauk blacks out and then tears the attackers and their van to shreds, he picks up the girl and absconds with her to his underground lair. Where they have the most awkward morning after ever.
But Jolie wasn’t the only intended target, and despite loads of mistrust and some incredibly complicated feelings, she and Hauk end up working together to save the day.
5 stars. Straight up. It’s a sweet, funny story with a rich cast of characters that I desperately wanted more of and hey I’m in luck because I’ve got…
How Beauty Saved the Beast:
As much as I enjoyed Met, Saved is just that much more. Well except for the cover. I mean, come on, Haul doesn’t even like taking off his sweatshirt around Jolie, who he gave a screaming O once upon a time, is he really going to walk around mostly topless?
But I digress.
Which should be the name of my auto-biography, note to self.
Oh Jolie and Hauk. My poor precious darlings. Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong for these two who are obviously so right for each other, and yet still can’t manage to… you know… bump and grind. I MEAN ADMIT THEY HAVE FEELINGS FOR EACH OTHER! Not anything less classy. Because really these are two classy… okay I meant bump nasties.
I know you don’t believe me when I say everything gets in their way, but seriously, the only thing that did not happen was Jolie waking up with a penis. Like to the point where Jax Garren got several “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS” messages on Facebook. She’s a lovely lady by the way. Except, you know, when she laughed at my pain.
I can say even less about the plot of this book than I could about “Met” but that’s okay. The story was solid. As solid as Hauk in fact. And the cast of characters is still awesome. Except for Ashley. Who I immediately dislike because of my natural dislike of ex-girlfriends. You can blame my husband’s string of shitty ass ex-girlfriend’s for that Ashley and Jax.
I think I was going somewhere with the above paragraph, but instead I sent a bag of flaming dog poop to my least favorite ex…
5 stars. Again.
To sum up: Monsters, magic, PTSD, burlesque, an unlikely hero, an even more unlikely villain, and the Greek pantheon versus the Norse. Fuck yes.
READ THIS SERIES.
I received a complimentary copy of Saved from Netgalley for review, but I totes paid the $1.99 for Met.