Review – Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath

About the Book:

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

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My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Althea Stanwick, as the daughter of a duke, had every privilege and was engaged to an earl.  Her world fell apart when her father was found to be a traitor and executed, leaving Althea and her two brothers homeless, penniless, and outcasts from society.  Althea now works as a server in a tavern, living in a rundown set of rooms with one brother, who now has become a dockworker.  Her oldest brother, the former heir, is now undercover, trying to find out who his late father’s accomplices are.  Since her former fiancé jilted her, Althea begins to think that she’ll become a courtesan.  If she’s not respectable enough to marry, at least she’ll be provided for on her own terms.

Benedict Trewlove is known as Beast because of his large size and a very unique physical imperfection.  Ben was left with Lottie Trewlove shortly after his birth by his mother, who promised to return for him soon.  As Ben is now thirty-three, that never happened.  Ben has never known about his birth family, but grew up with plenty of love from his adopted mother and siblings.  Ben has always been protective of women, and somehow came to be responsible for a brothel he never wanted.  His goal has been to have the women trained for respectable careers, and now there are just six ladies left for him to place.  When Ben sees Thea at the tavern, he immediately can tell that she’s “quality” and doesn’t belong working as a barmaid.  He offers her a position of teaching his remaining women how to behave more like proper ladies, at a salary too good for Thea to resist.  However, she has her own request – she wants Ben to teach her about seduction, so that she’s prepared for her own future career.

Ben is reluctant because he believes that Thea can still make a good match.  However, he didn’t see her fiancé give her the cut direct, or the snubs from all her former friends.  Ben finally agrees, but won’t take the final step of taking her innocence, believing that Thea may still change her mind.  As you can imagine, the more Thea observes the kind of man Ben is, the more infatuated she becomes.  Ben has already been intrigued with Thea from the first time he saw her.  Their seductive encounters soon become much more, and this couple falls in love.  Ben proposes, and Thea joyfully accepts.  Happy ever after?  Not so fast!  Ben’s about to learn of his birth family, and the story is shocking, so much so, that Thea says she can no longer marry Ben.

Ben is truly like a knight, protecting the defenseless, and trying to make life better for those he cares for.  He’s so intelligent and strong and loving, yet he’s crushed when he and Thea part.  While I didn’t applaud Thea’s original choice for her future, I did appreciate that she picked herself up and forged ahead.  She felt that leaving Ben was in his own best interest, though her heart was breaking, as well.  Thank goodness that it turns out there is a way for them to rescue each other.  BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST is another emotional story from Lorraine Heath, something she does so well.  Ben and Thea’s passionate journey is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for this couple to find a way to build a future together.  A beautifully written epilogue, which goes far into the future, wraps up this series absolutely perfectly.    ~Rose

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