Author: Jax Garren
Series: Tales of the Underlight #1
Published by: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2012
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?
Yes, I requested How Beauty Met the Beast largely because of the cover. So sue me. I love burlesque and I love Beauty and the Beast, so of course I jumped on this novella! Plus, I was in need of something a little more adult, and I knew it would be a quick read since it’s just over 100 pages.
Jolie is a 24-year-old burlesque dancer by night, and a doctorate student by day. She’s smart and sexy! Jolie was a character I found easy to like. She’s logical and knows what is right, but sometimes it just feels good to let go and be a little naughty. Then there is Hauk, a former Army Ranger who was severely disfigured in an explosion while in Afghanistan. Hauk is part of a group that fights corruption of the government and media, but he’s basically the muscle of the operation. Oh but don’t worry, he’s not a big dumb blockhead; he likes his Norse mythology and poetry. –swoon–
In addition to Jolie and Hauk, there are a couple of other characters I really liked. Catrina, the owner of the burlesque club, is so much more than just a pretty woman. A whooole lot more. And Whitney, Jolie’s 12-year-old niece is a riot. She’s one of those kids that are kind of rude and immature, but it’s totally funny. I hope there is more of both of these ladies in the next book.
When Jolie is thrown into a whole new world when a group of men attempt to kidnap her, she discovers that people she thought she knew, turned out to be hiding a lot and weren’t exactly what they seemed. The plot is interesting, and has a tiny bit of magic added in. As much as I enjoyed it, I do wish things were fleshed out a little more. Honestly, this would have been a really great full length novel if it had. I know this is part of a trilogy, but dammit, I still want more!
The romance in How Beauty Met the Beast is a little backwards, and there is good reason. Hauk and Jolie’s relationship starts out with a bang (pun intended), but it doesn’t stay heated. I don’t want to say too much about why, but I really liked how it played out. Also, Garren did a good job at keeping it fresh in the readers mind that Hauk is … well… not so pleasant to look at. I think this is important, because a lot of times it’s easy for a reader to start envisioning a more handsome version of a character when they become so likable. At the same time, the reader is getting to really know right along with Jolie what a great guy he is regardless of his looks.
Overall, I enjoyed How Beauty Met the Beast a lot, and I’m most definitely looking forward to the second book, How Beauty Saved the Beast.