Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Genre: MM Contemporary
Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle. One rainy night, he is accosted by a group of fag-bashing thugs, intent on robbing him of his art supplies and humiliating Beau for who he is. Beau is beaten into unconsciousness …
… And awakens in a bedroom, head bandaged, with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.
Beau’s tale grows more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing Beau his food. The man says nothing — and wears a wolf mask. When he finally does speak, it’s only to tell Beau to call him “Beast.”
What secrets does the mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love — or rip them apart? Inspired by the timeless fairy tale, this is a haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
First and foremost, I wanted more! This is a great short story, and I could have basked in the warmth this brought to my heart a bit longer. I’ve enjoyed so many of this author’s books, and this one is no exception. Not everyone can modernize a fairy tale and still keep it contemporary. And not everyone can tell a complete story, painting a picture of pain and sorrow, hope, and happiness in so few words.
Beau is a street artist in Seattle, sketching pictures for those who stop to pay his small fee and using those funds for food and a night’s shelter—if he gets enough. On the night the story opens, he’s only made enough for his favorite pho soup and darkness is descending as he cuts through an alley to get some warmth in his belly before he finds a place to rest. But he’s set upon by thieves who are also gay bashers and left unconscious.
When he awakens in a soft, comfy bed, his head is bandaged and his face and body bruised, and he has no memory of the night before. When his savior comes to bring him breakfast, he’s almost more frightened by the big, muscular man wearing a wolf mask than he is of his loss of memory and sorry physical state. And later, when the man finally removes his mask, he’s shocked and horrified at what he sees.
The “Beast”, Jeanne-Marie, was burned during a gay bashing and severely emotionally damaged as the result of the fallout from that incident, so he’s hurt even more when Beau turns away in revulsion.
What he doesn’t know is that Beau was only shocked at first, but Beau sees beyond the outward appearance as a result of his abilities as an artist. He’s always prided himself in seeing into a person and bringing out the qualities he sees, and he’s disappointed in himself because of his initial reaction. Thankfully, Beau is able to break down some of the barrios, Jeanne-Marie has built to protect his heart, and Beau falls in love with the beauty of the inner man.
Is there hope for any future between the two? This is, after all, a fairy tale romance, but you’ll just have to pick this one up and read for yourself. Seriously, this is one that should be a must read for those who enjoy a simple, sweet, and short romance with two MCs who deserve a chance at happiness.