Title: Beauty Dates the Beast
Author: Jessica Sims
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: paranormal romance, first in a series
Copy for review was purchased by me
Single human female to join charming, wealthy, single male were-cougar for a night of romantic fun—and maybe more.
Me: The tall, sensuous, open-minded leader of my clan.
You: A deliciously curvy virgin who’s intimately familiar with what goes bump in the night. Must not be afraid of a little tail. Prefer a woman who’s open to exploring her animal nature. Interest in nighttime walks through the woods a plus.
My turn-ons include protecting you from the worst the supernatural world has to offer. Ready for an adventure? Give me a call.
Vampires and doppelgangers need not apply.
This book appeared on my radar after lots of glowing reviews from other bloggers, and I decided to get in on the fun myself. This was definitely a fun book, on the lighter side of the paranormal romance spectrum (still a spicy read though!) The characters were fun and engaging, and while the book wasn't without its flaws, I'm totally on board for book two when it comes out next year.
Our intrepid heroine is Bathsheba Ward, whose life revolves primarily around two things- her job at Midnight Liaisons, a dating agency that caters to an exclusively supernatural clientele, and protecting her younger sister Sara from discovery, as Sara was turned into a werewolf by a douche of an ex-boyfriend and would definitely be assumed into one of the werewolf packs if her existence was ever discovered.
These two projects mean that she doesn't really have much of a love life, or any life to speak of, until Beau Russell, leader of the local werecougar clan, walks into the office after a scheduling snafu leaves him high and dry for a date. Beau likes what he sees in Bathsheba and immediately volunteers her for the job of stand-in date. This kind of an arrangement is a big no no but when no other options present themselves, Bathsheba figures she'll go on the date, keep it on the down low, and everyone will leave happy at the end of the night and her boss will remain blissfully ignorant of the whole situation.
Suffice it to say, that doesn't happen; Beau decides that he's in this situation for the long haul and Bathsheba is falling hard for him right back. Add in the constant fear of someone discovering Sara's true nature and the creepy nonsense that's injecting itself into their lives from other sources and there are bad guys on all sides just waiting to be discovered.
I really enjoyed the humor in this book as well as Bathsheba's down to earth personality. She's a loyal, honest, and true person who protects those who are most dear to her, and it was really sweet when Beau decided he wanted to be one of those people and started courting her in earnest. We get a brief introduction to other characters who are going to play more central roles in future books, and we also get a chance to see that all may not be as it seems with the werewolf packs (meaning they may not all be abusive, chauvinistic assholes.) It's an avenue that I hope gets explored more fully in future books.
This is definitely a story where you have to buy into the circumstances of the plot; you have to be willing to accept that even though working in an office that's frequented exclusively by people who could discover her, Sara chooses to work there as opposed to in a bank or some other thoroughly non-supernatural environment. You also have to be willing to accept that there wouldn't be an option of seeking out a non-psychotic werewolf pack to help guide Sara through the challenges of being newly turned and that somehow Bathsheba and Sara have been lucky so far and not been discovered. I will say that reading the excerpt of the second book in this series sheds a lot of light on why approaching the werewolves for help wasn't an option, but I feel like that information would have been helpful to include in this installment as well.
Overall this was a fun opening to a new series and a great way to unwind after a long day. Sara and Ramsey's book is next in the series, and I personally am super excited and will be reading it when it comes out next year.
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