If you want to get my attention, tell me about a book with the Beauty and the Beast trope. It is my absolute favorite, and I’ll read pretty much anything based on it. When I heard about this one, I was all over it. It originally went on my Book Rewards list, but I got lucky and found a paperback copy of the first two books in the series at a bookstore in Tulsa while visiting a friend. I couldn’t resist picking them up, and I’m so glad I did.
A lonely, scarred recluse sets up an elaborate scheme to get the ghost writer he’s attracted to into his home, not expecting to have anything more than friendship with her…if that. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
This book was everything I wanted and more. Hunter is such a good “beast.” He’s nervous and angry and lonely and even when he’s yelling, you can’t help but love him. And…wait for it…he’s a virgin! I love a virgin hero! Gretchen is adorable. She’s quirky but not annoyingly so, and she’s perfect for bringing him out of his shell.
There are some funny moments between the two of them. The first time she sees him, he’s completely naked and he’s mortified because he had this idea he’d give it time before he showed her his face (that plan went down the tubes pretty fast). But she feels bad about embarrassing him, goes to apologize when she sees him outside, and somehow thinks that saying “I saw your penis!” will help break the ice. I don’t think that ploy ever works.
The Romance Factor
No question, this is a 5/5 on the romance scale. Hunter’s shyness melted me. Even when he was being slightly underhanded in finding ways to keep Gretchen at his mansion, I adored him. When they had their standard romance novel falling out, it actually broke my heart. Even knowing they’d get their HEA, I was still so sad for them. Also, bonus love to the Phantom of the Opera reference in the story.
The Steam Factor
Like the first book in the series, this one has so many sexy times. Once again, though, they fit well with the story. I loved that Gretchen’s “job” involved a trunk full of erotic letters that she used in her seduction attempt. And did I mention the virgin hero? So hot! 5/5.
The minute I finished this book, I wanted to start over and read it again, and I almost did. I didn’t want this story to end. Like the first one, this one brings in characters and alludes to pairings in the rest of the books in the series. Instead of reading it again, I shelved it with the plan of picking it up at the beginning of next year for a re-read. Now I just have to get the third in the series to continue my journey through all the billionaire feels.