Dante Bartholomew is a wealthy businessman who owns the local pottery factory. He’s also a philanthropist who, although he donates a lot of money, doesn’t enjoy coming to charity events…or any events. Everybody in the town calls him the Beast of St. Giles because, rumor has it, he killed his wife and got away with it. So, Dante whiles away at work and at home not having contact with anyone but his staff, doing anything he can to avoid being around other people.
One night, a benefit is being held for a new community center focusing on helping substance abusers and their families and Dante’s attorney insists he must attend. When he gets there, he’s uncomfortable, but he’s approached by a little boy called Bobby and is escorted to his table. It’s there he sets eyes on Beau Clarity, a counselor and administrator for the center. There’s immediate chemistry, and Beau is impressed with Dante’s generosity…even if it is a little odd.
Soon, the men begin a tentative relationship and everything seems to be going smoothly. However, not everyone in town is pleased to see Dante finally coming out of his self imposed exile and being happy, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Dante is ruined with everything he loves taken away from him.
I’m going to start off with a huge amount of praise for Andrew Grey. He’s an auto buy for me. I love his books and I love him as a person. When I saw this book was available, I jumped on it and I was in no way disappointed. In fact, my only real complaint about the book is I would have liked for it to have been longer because I loved it so much.
I’ve always been a fan of Beauty and the Beast type stories, and even though Dante is not physically ugly, he has closed off his heart and become hardened thanks to his father’s manipulation and the death of his wife. Of course, it doesn’t help that the whole town thinks he killed her. Being private and reclusive, he refuses to tell the truth about what happened and makes himself a prisoner in his own home.
Enter Beau. Beau is a lovely man who tries to see the best in everyone, and there is no way he can be convinced Dante did what he’s been accused of. He’s even able to convince Dante to come and volunteer at the community center…with children, no less. He’s the perfect foil for Dante. He’s sweet, trusting, and he wants nothing but to help people and save the world.
I’ve already mentioned the word chemistry, but I’ll say it again. The chemistry between Dante and Beau was beautiful. Even though Taming the Beast isn’t a particularly long story, their fall didn’t feel rushed. It was sexy, but it felt more sweet. I found myself wishing I was in the same room with them so I could watch them exchange glances and hear them talk to each other.
There are a few background characters important to the story. Simon Yates is Dante’s attorney. Roberts is Dante’s…personal assistant? He arranges everything for Dante and even lays out the tuxedo Dante will be wearing for the benefit for the community center. Harriet is Dante’s cook. She’s pretty awesome. Angie works with Beau at the center, and then there’s little Bobby. Also, there’s a bad guy, but I don’t really want to reveal who he is so as not to ruin the whodunit. All of these people fill their roles exactly as they should. I loved Bobby. In fact, I loved all the children. They were all so innocent and vulnerable and their interaction with Beau and Dante was heartwarming.
Speaking of the whodunit. I thought it was well written and had a satisfactory resolution. I was impressed with Grey’s writing because he kept me guessing before the big reveal. Also, I was pleased (although heartbroken) with the way Dante finally told Beau what happened with his wife. I cried as I felt his pain, and I wanted to reach through my Kindle and comfort him.
I am enthusiastically recommending you read Taming the Beast. It has everything a perfect story needs…excellent characters to feel passionate about, an interesting mystery that will hold your attention, and a good old fashioned fairy tale happily ever after. Just lovely.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.