Monday, June 1, 2015

New Release: His Beauty (Scarred Hearts, 1)

His Beauty is a reissue of my short "Bringing Out the Beast", which came out in 2012. The reissue includes two scenes cut from the previous version. I'm also working on a sequel, which I had decided against when the original version came out. One of the deleted scenes makes a huge difference for all of the characters, so now that it has been restored, I'm very excited to finish the story of two very different brothers.

Sophia believes her godfather Dominic wants her as much as she wants him but is afraid to express his feelings. Scarred and burned in a car accident, Dominic remains private and reclusive and only lets his guard down with Sophia. She wants him to let it down completely and act on the desire she knows he feels. Sophia plans to tell him exactly how she feels and what she wants, when his twin brother shows up. She didn’t even know he had a twin, and the arrival of the handsome and unscarred man causes Dominic to become hostile and retreat away from her, spoiling her plans of revealing her heart to him.

As the reasons for their animosity unfold, Sophia vows that she will prove to Dominic once and for all that his looks mean nothing because his heart is what she truly desires.


Dominic walked into the library and came up behind Sophia as she slid the book back onto the shelf. “Looking for something?”
She jumped at the sound of his voice, but then she smiled when she turned around. “I was looking through these old travel narratives to get ideas. I’m still not sure where we ought to go.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Most of those are from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I’m not sure you want to visit many of those places.”
“Just for ideas. I want to go someplace different. This trip is going to be special.” She turned back to the bookshelf and began reading the spines.
“Is it?” he asked in a voice lower than he’d intended.
She turned and met his gaze, and then she nodded slowly. “It is. I promise.”
“Why?” He wanted to hear her repeat how much she wanted him along for the trip, and he even held his breath as she paused.
“We’ve never taken a trip together. The last time we traveled together was when we took a plane to come here ten years ago. I don’t know why I never suggested it before.” She shrugged and moved closer to him. “I guess I was always content to be here with you.”
Did she mean what he hoped she meant? Would she be happy anywhere as long as he was with her? “And you still are?”
“Of course! I love this house. When I was fourteen, it was like being in a castle. I could imagine I was an enchanted princess waiting for something magical to happen. Or a gothic heroine looking for floating candles and hidden doors behind black veils.”
Despite his disappointment that she was rhapsodizing about the house instead of him, he laughed. “Hmmm. Perhaps I shouldn’t have given you that Anne Radcliffe novel when you were thirteen. I’m obviously a bad influence.”
She smiled up at him, but then she rolled her eyes. “Hardly. My parents never bought books. I don’t know where I would have been if not for your gifts.” She turned in a circle and looked at the library, raising her hands to indicate all the books. “When I saw this room, I knew I would love it here. You know, like in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.”
His smile faded in an instant, and he lowered his eyes. “I’m glad it brings you so much pleasure.” He lifted his eyes again and tried to recompose his features.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing. I remembered something I need to do is all. It distracted me.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh holy shit! Dominic, that’s not what I meant and you know it! I was just talking about the library and how perfect it is!”
He feigned ignorance. “Not what you meant? I don’t understand.”
She crossed her arms as she looked at him. “Don’t give me that. Your face fell when I mentioned Beauty and the Beast. Don’t lie to me, Dominic.”
He cleared his throat. “It’s not a bad analogy. You are a beauty, and I did bring you to live here in my labyrinthine mansion.”
“But you aren’t a beast. You’re a wonderful man. I said I enjoyed living here, but I would still love it no matter what our home was like.”
Her use of the words “our home” brought him both pleasure and pain. He wanted to end this conversation before he said something he couldn’t take back. If he revealed his feelings, he wanted the moment to be perfect. “Forget it, Sophia. I know you didn’t mean anything by the comment. I’m oversensitive. You’ve always told me that.”
She moved much closer. Her breasts were only an inch away from his chest, and she had to tilt her head back to look up into his eyes. “Dominic,” she said as she lifted her hand to the scarred side of his face.
He had a choice. He didn’t want to hear any words of pity, not from her. Never from her. He could silence her by pulling her into his arms and kissing her, or he could get away from her as fast as possible. “I do have something I must do. I’ll see you later.” He moved away from her as quickly as he could without bumping into any furniture.