Author: Jane Matisse
Title: Belleza and the Brute
Release Date: April 28, 2018
When two lost souls are brought together in an unlikely circumstance, it’ll take more to scare this feisty beauty away from a domineering beast. A story of love, loss, and learning to accept when life gives you a second chance.
Elena Salazar has taken care of her gambling-addicted brother since her parents’ death. When he calls her late one night asking for help, she’s thrown into Tristan Mercier’s life and is at his mercy. Unable to pay her brother’s debt, a contract is signed: she will live and work for Tristan for six months while her brother is sent to rehab.
Tristan Mercier is scarred, both physically and emotionally. He lost his happily ever after five years earlier in a fire that nearly took his life. He’s broken and bitter, but with Elena’s arrival, things are changing, and the feelings he thought long buried begin to resurface.
Can this brute open his heart to give his belleza a chance?
Something about the way her plump lips stayed open in wonder held him mesmerized. He cleared his throat. “Yes, it is. You know John William Waterhouse’s work?”
Elena answered without taking her eyes off the painting. “Not really. It’s just his rendition of La Belle Dame Sans Merci is my favorite.”
“So, you’re an art aficionado?”
“No, I just like to read. A lot. Keats is my favorite poet, and La Belle is my favorite poem of his. The paintings are just a plus.”
Tristan nodded. If he thought he was a little curious about Elena before, now he wanted to know her life story. Clearing his throat, he pushed a packet before her.
“This contract pretty much states that while your brother is off in rehab, you will be living and working with me. Now, this is only temporary, but if after the time frame you would like to continue to work for me, it could be arranged. Six months is the initial requirement. This work doesn’t in any way, shape, or form signify… sexual services.” Heat rose to his face. Why he felt like a green boy, he didn’t know. It wasn’t like he was a monk for Christ’s sake. When he was in the mood, there was always a woman available for his pleasure. Did he feel empty afterward? Yes, but that didn’t stop him. He was a red-blooded man after all.
“This says a period of six months,” Elena replied, her face slightly flushed.
“Yes. Six months, granted that your brother recuperates within that time frame.”
“That seems a bit long doesn’t it?”
“It gives both you and Adam time to get your life on track.”
There was a silence long enough that Tristan began to think she would reject the offer. And there was a little part of him that wished she wouldn’t. “I accept.”
Tristan handed her a pen, and she tentatively reached for it, her hand brushing against his in the process. He found himself marveling at the electric current running through his veins in response to the touch. She signed her name on the dotted line. “Very well, then. We are in agreement. Now, you may go get yourself comfortable in your new bedroom. Paola will show you,” he said, standing from his chair and walking toward the door.
“When will I start working?” Elena asked as she followed him.
“Monday. In the meantime, get settled in, take a couple days to familiarize yourself with the house. You will be here for six months.”
Tristan waited next to the entrance as Elena took her leave. He caught the scent of lavender as she passed him, and it took all his willpower not to plant his nose in her hair and inhale her scent.
He swallowed a few times before speaking. “Breakfast will be served in the dining room within the hour if you care to eat,” he said gruffly. “If you need anything from me, I’ll be here in the office.”
“You’re not eating?” she asked, turning to look at him.
He shook his head. “Too much work I need to take care of. You enjoy.”
Elena nodded and left without another word.
Tristan watched her as she climbed up the steps with Paola following right behind. Her beautiful long brown hair swayed with each step she took. He was planted in one spot, unable to tear his eyes away. Then Paola turned to look at him and winked!
Jane Matisse is a professional introvert who began reading romance novels at the age of thirteen. She graduated with a BA in English Literature in 2014 and has been working hard ever since to put her degree to good use. Although it took her two years to finally finish her very first rough draft, she is thrilled to be releasing her debut The Blogger and the Hunk soon.
Matisse loves all things Jane Austen, will choose tea over coffee any day, is a Phantom of the Opera aficionado, and has been an avid book blogger since 2013. She currently lives in SoCal with her family and three fur babies: Max, Thumper, and Percy.
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