Cover Design: Robin Harper, Wicked by Design
OMG!!! LOVED this book! It is one of my top 10 reads of 2020. JL Mac completely pulled me into The Beast’s dark underworld. I was mesmerized!!!!
As you might imagine, there are elements of the fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, but this is nothing like the Disney movie. The beast in this version is much scarier. He is ruthless and intimidating. Beauty isn’t the shy little bookworm either. She is strong and can be pretty intimidating herself and has a taste for vengeance.
Ena’s sister, Lan, has gone missing. She has every intention of bringing her home no matter the personal cost to herself. That is how she finds herself lying to her mother and applying for a job as an exotic dancer at the club, Eden, which is run by The Beast of Boston. He is second in command to Orin McCrae, one of the most notorious crime bosses in the country. She is sure there is a connection.
Can I just say that Ena is my hero? This woman is incredible. At her first meeting with him, she is mentally shaking in her boots. However, she never gives anything away. She learned to do this the hard way. Her childhood was tragic until she became part of a wonderful family who showed her what love was, yet she couldn’t completely shed all that trauma she experienced. That comes in handy when dealing with Beast. She has prepared for every instance except the attraction she has for him. As time passes, she will have to face the battle between her mind and her heart because they are telling her two very different things.
Oh, Beast, who knew a monster could so sexy and appealing?
“How funny that this monster–this Beast of Boston–is also gargantuan and happens to sport one lifelike red rose of his one. He too has thorns, just not the type you can see. His are hidden, and they’re that much more dangerous for it. He’s a pretty monster. That’s not quite accurate though. He’s not pretty. He’s beautiful.”
He is such a complex and tormented human. Mac did such a magnificent job of peeling back his layers. She does this through the chapters that are told from his point of view. I saw the ruthlessness and the need to punish those that wronged him. However, I also saw glimpses of tenderness and loyalty. He had very few people he was really close to and trusted, but if you were lucky enough to have him in your corner, you had nothing to fear from him, except his overprotectiveness. That was kind of endearing!
The chemistry between these two both inside and outside of the bedroom was INTENSE!!!! Both were so stubborn and neither would give in easily. Two people were never better matched!!
The romance and suspense were blended together flawlessly. I’m not sure what kept me flying through the pages more…would these two finally give into their desire, or what other twist and secret did Mac have in store for me.
I cannot leave this review without expressing how much I LOVE Mac’s writing. Yes, this is a dark read, but her writing is beautiful, I would almost say magical. It really connected me on an emotional level.
“Ignoring her disappearance, not bringing up her existence? Are we both too cowardice to stir the sediment of the shipwreck, knowing the murk would blind both of us from finding our way back to the surface?”
In this passage, it clearly illustrates the devastating pain Ena and her mother feel about Lan’s disappearance. It was just beautiful!!!! I also loved Mac’s story of how she came up with the idea of this book. It began with a rosebush, and she turned it into such a beautiful and emotional read!!!!