Author: Chasity Bowlin
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Chasity Bowlin
Lord Victor Mayhew, Viscount Norcross, lives in the shadows, hiding his scarred face from those who would fear him...or worse, pity him. He's become accustomed to the dark, and to the aching loneliness that is his only and constant companion. But while traversing the city in the dark of night, he encounters a beautiful woman who is running for her life.
Lady Thessaly Shade has discovered that the prettiest of faces can hide the ugliest of hearts. While Lord Norcross keeps his face carefully concealed from her, he cannot hide the fact that he is a man of honor, a man for whom the word gentleman is a way of life and not merely an honorary title.
With no way to repay him for his kindness, for his courage in aiding her at great risk to himself, Thessaly bargains with the only thing she possesses of value...herself. Can she convince him to trust her, to believe that she can see beyond the scars he bears to the man he is? Or will he push her away out of fear and retreat into the loneliness that he knows so well?
They meet on a night-shrouded street in Bath as he saves her from running from her stepfather who wants to sell her to a brothel. She'd rather have a choice who to give her body to, and she decides, since her virtue is the only thing to her name she has, to give it to him as payment. But he won't settle merely on her virtue, proposing a bargain that would offer her utter protection and security, and his title an heir...Even if she'll leave him afterward.
This was a wonderful retelling of The Beauty and the Beast story. I loved Thessaly in all her gumption-filled, resilient, smart, and stubborn glory. Because she needed that stubbornness to chip away at her hero's defenses. Damn, the guy was thick, and I could even say shallow with all his thinking himself the beast because of what happened to him. But as Thessaly informed him upon their first meeting, beauty comes from within, and she slowly taught him that lesson throughout the story.
The villain was a nicely-added touch, much needed to create the breakthrough between the hero and heroine, but also to keep the story flowing nicely and add some mystery and intrigue.
Well-written, well-paced, with wonderful characters, and even better message.