Title: Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water: Book One)
Author: E.J. Russell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 303 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy, Action/Adventure
At a Glance: Entertaining, sweet, and action packed, this novel had it all, and was a delightful read from beginning to end.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.
Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.
But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.
Review: Dr. Alun Kendrick is not having the best century of his life. Living under a curse, which left him in constant pain and looking like a monster, Alun has tried his best to use his time in exile from the Seelie Court to help other supernatural beings at his psychiatric practice. The last thing he needed was to break in a temporary office manager while his own was out on pregnancy leave. Relying on the agency to supply him with a non-human substitute, Dr. Kendrick is furious when he discovers the young man sent to help him is most definitely human and completely unacceptable despite being deliciously cute.
David Evans wants to be a nurse some day, but right now he is trying his best to stay employed so that he can care for his ailing aunt. When he finds out that his next assignment is with the owner of the dreamiest voice he has ever heard, David is ecstatic—despite being worried that somehow he will manage to screw up this assignment as well. You see, disaster tends to follow David Evans like a plague, and he’s just hoping that this job will not end in calamity like all the others.
Dr. Kendrick is sure he can get rid of David just by frightening him with his appearance alone. But David takes one look and feels nothing but compassion for the man—well, that and a little lustful longing as well. With more than one secret to hide, Alun tries everything he can to get rid of David, who most definitely has other ideas, ones that include getting the good doctor alone in the supply closet as soon as possible. Despite his better judgment, the two begin a relationship, of sorts. When Alun must return to the Seelie Court to pledge his allegiance, he decides to take David with him, and that decision will end up putting both men in danger, revealing something about David that threatens his very life.
Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell is one of the best paranormal novels I have read in quite a while. With clever characters, witty dialogue and a fast moving plot, the story takes on the classic Beauty and the Beast fable and turns it on its ear. I instantly fell in love with David Evan. Quirky, compassionate and a tiny bit nerdish, he careens into Alun’s life, refusing to be cowed by the man’s hideous appearance and gruff demeanor. He is clever, well meaning and a true dork who simply refuses to let life beat him down. If there is a way to get around a problem, David will find it and be fairly adorable while doing so.
It is obvious from the start that Alun is attracted to David, but refuses to allow those feelings to take control. Our beast is a wounded man, determined not to repeat the tragedy he is certain he was responsible for with his former lover. Alun is haunted by what happened in his past, and accepts the fact that banishment from his faerie kingdom was an appropriate punishment, as was the physical curse he endures. But David is not so sure about that, and slowly breaks through the walls Alun has erected around his heart, loving his beast despite his grotesque appearance. The chemistry between the two men was spot on, and their attraction to each other was whimsical and sweet.
With a supporting cast that included Alun’s two brothers, as well as an array of other supernatural beings, Cutie and the Beast is a magical fairy tale come to life. Entertaining, sweet, and action packed, this novel had it all, and was a delightful read from beginning to end.
You can buy Cutie and the Beast here: