Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 121 Pages
Category: Fairy Tale Romance
At a Glance: A lovely modern take on one of my favorite fairytales.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby:” the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father, who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc., the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion, only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
Review: This is the third book in the Pennymaker Tale Series and, so far, my personal favorite. Each book is a modern version of a fairytale, and this one (which I am sure most probably pieced together from the blurb already) is based on Beauty and The Beast.
First we have Belle: talented chemist and honorable man. Belle is a true-blue friend and a man who loves his family—despite their faults (and boy do they have some pretty significant faults). He loves his family so much that when his craptastic father basically gambles his employment away in a high stakes poker game, he goes along with it. Otherwise, his father and brothers would lose everything. The problem is he was gambled away to Beauty, Inc.—the competition—and thrust into an unthinkable situation. How can he stay loyal to his family’s business and the product that he spent so much time perfecting, and work for a competitor? He makes the choice that he will work at Beauty, Inc. but only on tasks he has been given and no more. While he is there he will not spy on the company or perform work for his father’s company behind Beauty, Inc.’s back. Like I said, an honorable man.
Magnus Strong is the CEO of Beauty, Inc. and also a man of integrity. Though he appears aloof and (because of severe scarring on his face) looks scary, he is actually a very smart and, dare I say, sweet guy. His past haunts him and he is forever trying to make up for what he perceives are mistakes he made. A chance meeting in Las Vegas at a convention, and Magnus finds himself smitten with Belle. When an opportunity lands in his lap to acquire Belle as an employee, he takes it. Even so, he recognizes the difficulty of the situation he has placed Belle in and attempts to make Belle’s transition into Beauty, Inc. as painless as possible. He jumps through hoops to ensure Belle finds comfort in his new environment. Of course Magnus does all this behind the scenes.
As the story progresses, Belle’s situation becomes more challenging. He finds himself admiring Beauty, Inc. and its CEO. He finds inspiration within the company and is intrigued by the man. It becomes harder and harder to keep his loyalties with his father, and stick with his original plan.
Mr. Pennymaker is right there in the middle, along with some amazing secondary characters, as our two MCs struggle with their own misconceptions. He knows just the right questions to ask as he guides them along with words of wisdom and his charming self. I love that little elfin man with his dapper outfits and comforting personality.
All the books in this series are mostly light reads and highly enjoyable. This one has been no different. I am enchanted by both of the main characters in the newest Pennymaker Tale, as well as all the secondary characters, and cannot wait for the next installment and what new fairytale Mr. Pennymaker will show up in!
You can buy Beauty, Inc. here: