Title: Beau and the Beast
Author: Rick R. Reed
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Buy Link: Beau And The Beast
Genre: M/M fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Love sees the beauty of the soul within.
Blurb: Inspired by the timeless tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Rick R. Reed has crafted a new fairy tale for our times that manages to be ethereal, romantic and ripped-from-the-headlines realistic.
Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle, drawing portraits of tourists to make enough money to live hand-to-mouth. He has a knack for capturing his subjects’ “very souls” on paper. 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 beautiful bedroom, his head bandaged and with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.
Beau’s tale grows even more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing the injured 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 wolf mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love—or tear them apart? The answers lie in Rick R. Reed’s haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
Review: “Pure unadulterated fantasy–the sweetest of love stories not weighed down by angst but handled with the lightest of touch by a master storyteller, author Rick R. Reed.” This is how the blurb for what Beau and the Beast should read–most assuredly.
Tucked away outside the city, Jeanne-Marie lives deliberately cut off form the rest of society. On a supply run, he hears and then sees Beau being attacked at the mouth of an alleyway right off a busy street and goes to his rescue. Bringing him home to recuperate, the two men find themselves drawn to each other–but Jeanne-Marie hides a terrible secret and Beau’s very presence threatens to unmask it as every day passes.
The story is a classic. The beast rescues Beau from the harsh and brutal hands of robbing bigots intent on maiming, if not killing the fledgling homeless street artist. But in this tender and compelling retelling of the classic, the beast turns out to be a victim of violent bigotry himself who was left and, subsequently, abandoned by the man he thought he knew and loved.
Mr. Reed deviates from his normal fare to give us a fairytale that exists simply to delight us. No big rambling plot here, just enough angst and tension to compel us to read further, and the truest of loves–that which says I will look beneath the surface to see the real you inside and that is what I will choose to love.
Truly, I just sighed with delighted happiness as I read. I happen to believe that we all need a sweet ending at times–an uncomplicated love story–a meeting of souls if you will and Beau and the Beast delivers it all with a well written tale of love and compassion.
So, dear reader, when you are in the mood for a happy story–a sweet little snippet, then I do encourage you to turn to this clever little fantasy by Rick R. Reed. It is just the best thing to curl up to on a cold winter’s night.