(The Pennymaker Tales #3)
by Tara Lain
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.
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“Looking for someone?”
“Yes. Judy. My friend. I thought she was coming here.”
“Oh yes. She has her apartment on the ground floor. Mr. Strong thought it would be best if she didn’t have to climb too many stairs while she’s being treated.”
Belle just stared. He felt the tears welling in his eyes but couldn’t stop them. Limb by limb, he collapsed to the floor like an old plastic bag. His own father hadn’t even paid attention, and Magnus Strong put Judy on the ground floor to keep her from having to climb stairs.
Mr. P closed the door and flopped down beside him. “So, my dear, what seems to be the trouble?”
Belle shook his head and snuffled.
“I did a really bad thing.”
“What might that have been, my dear?”
He sniffed. “I humped my boss.”
“Hmm. Humped. I’m failing to get a mental image.”
Belle sighed. “It’s probably just as well. I got overzealous and threw myself on Magnus Strong. That might have been okay, but then I—” He dropped his face in his hand. “Oh God.”
“I’m starting to get an image. Continue.”
He popped his head up. “I kissed him, okay? And then, as if that wasn’t the stupidest thing ever done since W said “mission accomplished,” I managed to get my penis in contact with his and—humped. Now do you get the picture?”
Mr. P clapped his hands. “Perfect.”
“Oh, so far from perfect.” He fell back against the large Asian throw rug. “Why did I do it? Why?”
“Excellent question. Why did you do it?”
“He turns me on.”
Belle sat up, in his best Frankenstein’s monster imitation. “He turns me on like a large neon light.”
“Because he helped your friend?”
“Way before he helped Judy. Before he helped me, in fact.”
Mr. P smiled. “So you acknowledge that he’s helped you?”
“Oh hell, Mr. P, I’m so confused. I mean, getting won in a poker game doesn’t exactly kick a relationship off on a sterling foot. Plus, that was after he seemed to be stalking me. I assumed he was trying to get me here to—you know—screw me instead of my father.”
“Ah, I see. And now you’ve thrown at him the very thing you assumed he wanted—and he refused it.”
“In a word—yes. I don’t know what to think.”
“There’s only one answer, my dear. Outside the box.”
4.5 out of 5 stars
Beauty, Inc is the third book in Tara Lain's The Pennymaker Tales. While this is a series the books can actually be read as standalones. So this story gets high marks to start with for this reader because it's a contemporary version of Beauty and the Beast, which happens to be my all time favorite fairy tale.
Belle is a extremely gifted chemist working for his father's cosmetic/beauty company. He's developed a fantastic new product which his father wants to capitalize on. However Belle's family kind of reminds me of Cinderella's step-mom and step-sisters, they use Belle to their best advantage and don't really care, or seem to care, what effect it has on Belle. Dragging Belle to Vegas for the trade show would be a perfect example. Belle thrives best when he can recharge himself surrounded by flowers and green growing things, and he loves his family and best friend Judy. He just sees that his family is flawed and wants to make things better for them. Until his father decides to wager way too much in a poker game and ends up losing his share of their company and trading the shares for Belle that almost breaks Belle.
Magnus Strong is the man who wins the shares of Belleterre and asks for Belle instead. Can I just say when I see the name Magnus Strong... I see him as this big bold Viking Warrior who goes a-Viking and steals Belle for his own, which is so very Beast-like. Magnus, though, owns a rival cosmetics company with very altruistic pursuits. While he wants Belle for his own, he also believes that Belle's talents would be used to his full potential at Beauty, Inc. But for Belle this is too much like being sent off like the fatted calf to the gods for a tribute. He's sad that his family could do this to him, and is immediately out of place being in a large city where he can't find his solace in his plants.
I have to say that this is probably my favorite of the Pennymaker Tales at this point. Both Belle and Magnus were very compatible characters, who showed growth and the ability to change throughout the story. The story itself, while slightly predictible because of what it's based on, is still fresh, with sweet, funny moments, and seriously hot sexy moments. Then we have the two men, both lonely and alone, who learn to build a family from those around them. The secondary characters were lively, and fun, and I would have loved to have seen more of them throughout the story. Then of course we have Belle's bond with his best friend Judy, and what this friendship means to both of them. When things get bad for Judy, we have Magnus stepping up to help her because he wants Belle to be happy. She adds another layer to what Magnus and Belle had already started developing.
All in all this was a very enjoyable story with dynamic characters and a contemporary twist on a beloved childhood favorite. I'll even admit that I started singing some of the songs from the Disney version in my head every time Magnus and Belle were together. So this story worked very well for me and I highly recommend it for a feel good read from a favorite author.
The Pennymaker Tales Series
Sinders and Ash
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
by Tara Lain
Available for order at
(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain
Available for purchase at
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at
Thank you so much fro having Beauty on the blog!! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! : )ReplyDelete