Bargain With the Beast by Naima Simone
Series: Breathlessly Ever After (# 2)
Release Date: April 5, 2013
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
Source: book provided by the publisher for review
In a last-ditch attempt to save her beloved community center, Gwendolyn Sinclair corners childhood friend Xavier St. James, brother of her dead fiancé…and the man who secretly owns her heart. Surely his wealth and contacts can save the run-down building from ruin. The arrangement he proposes confirms what she’s long suspected. He’s become a beast, and he offers a beast’s bargain, one that offends her pride even as it stirs her every desire and titillating fantasy—submit her body to his whim for seven days and the community center remains open.
Losing both his father and brother has left Xavier scarred in more ways than one, but forbidden lust overrules conscience when Gwendolyn appears, asking for help. He’s craved her for years. At last he’ll discover if the passion in her eyes blazes just as hot between the sheets. Her fiery surrender leaves him hungering for more, but their bargain is only for seven days and, ultimately, she could never truly love a beast.
Review: In order to receive the grant funding she needs to save the community center, Gwendolyn Sinclair agrees to spend a week with Xavier St. James. Author Naima Simone introduces an adult version of a beloved fairy tale in Bargain With the Beast. Above all, it is a love story featuring a proud, wounded hero whose emotional scars are directly tied to his physical scars.
Paired with Xavier is Gwendolyn, a strong female character who fights to reach the man deep inside the outer layer of protection. Xavier hides behind power and money, which makes him incredibly appealing as a fix-up project for Gwen.
The story line integrates plenty of humor as the author explores the limits of a relationship between the two characters. What starts as a business deal gets rather complicated when feelings become involved.
Because the two characters have such a strong connection, their encounters are spicy hot. Although some of the descriptions caused me to have some doubts (comparing apportion of the male anatomy to a plum), I found the writing style to be engaging.
A familiar story line coupled with adult themes makes this appealing for any reader needing a short escape from reality.
Favorite Quote: “Don’t misunderstand, Xavier. I’ll lie on my back for you because the other choice sucks worse. But when the week is over, know you’ll have taken more than my body. You’ll have stolen my memories of the man you were.”