Once upon a time, Mercedes ‘Mercy’ Hernandez had the most enormous crush on her best friend’s older brother, Seb Madison. Now, though, she can’t stand the beast. Forget that he’s as spine-tinglingly gorgeous as ever. He’s a lousy brother and a manipulative bastard, not that she ever thinks about that disastrous one night stand they once had…
Still riddled with guilt over the death of his parents, billionaire loner Seb Madison has spent so long emotionally shut off that when beautiful, fiery Mercy bursts into his life again, he doesn’t know what’s hit him. All he knows is that she confuses him and he doesn’t like it.
Yet their chemistry hasn’t faded and, when hostility turns to attraction, a no-strings affair seems the logical solution. Mercy’s taking a much needed break from her family’s Argentinian vineyard to study for an MBA and Seb doesn’t do relationships. Neither have either the time or inclination for anything other than weekends-only red-hot sex. Or do they…?
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
Stockholm Syndrome issues aside, Beauty and the Beast has always been my favourite fairy tale (though these days I prefer East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon ’cause it feels more complete), so I was delighted to get my hands on this third offering from the Fairy Tales of New York series. Especially as beastly Seb intrigued me in the last book.
Though a quick, satisfying read, I found this one a little more formulaic and predictable than the other two. It’s not a bad book, in fact I devoured it in a couple of hours, but it lacked that memorable something that delighted me in the previous stories. Part of this is down to the pacing. The story starts with a confrontation, jumps to a few days later, Seb and Mercy make their deal… then it’s several weeks later… then it’s several months… and then Christmas! I know this is a short book, but the big time jumps left things feeling empty at times.
As for Seb and Mercy, they’re okay. I liked Mercy – she’s feisty and passionate, as well as smart. I would have liked more about her studies, though, because there’s very little evidence of her MBA. As for Seb, well, he was all right, I suppose. Haunted, of course, but to be honest I didn’t find him that interesting. It would have been nice to have known just what he did for the foundation, but he’s spent so many years suppressing every emotion that there’s very little to him.
I also found it ridiculous that Zel (Seb’s sister) had never considered that he blamed himself for the accident, and was pushing her away because of it. Really? When he was driving the car? She never once thought, “Oh, I bet he blames himself. That must have been terrible!” Not that it excuses the way he treated her, because it doesn’t, but that sudden realisation from Zel surprised me.
Another thing that surprised me, because it never crosses the minds of any of the people involved, is where would they live together? Seb runs the foundation in New York, while Mercy loves her family’s vineyard in Argentina. Sure, they’re rich enough to sort it out, but no one ever even thought about what would happen when Mercy’s two year course is done?
On the whole this is a nice, easy read, featuring a tortured, brooding hero and the woman smart enough to drag him out of his wallowing. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d expected from this sub-genre and goes by quickly. A good addition to the series, if not my favourite. I can’t wait to read the last fairy tale – Cinderella/Faith is waiting!
Taming the Beast is out June 26th!
Visit Lucy King for more details.