Thirty-eight year old Adam “The Beast” Littrell is a multiple-time heavyweight UFC champion. Adam never settles with a man for more than one encounter and maintains his fierce Beast fighting persona, keeping away any would-be friends or hangers-on. In virtual solitude, Adam’s preparing for what seems to be his final title defense and he’s kind of drifting, not sure what he will do with his life once he’s done battling in the octagon. Not wanting Adam to be so isolated, his manager and friend hires Beauregard Wilkins, an adorable, shy, bookish, 25-year-old waif of a man to be Adam’s personal assistant. The attraction is instantaneous, and their meet-cute is…revealing.
Bo is overwhelmed by Adam’s physical presence, but he’s not cowed by Adam’s demeanor—which isn’t all that beastly as he’s totally gaga for Bo from the start. Bo has spent the past seven years caring for his younger sister after they were orphaned. He wasn’t able to complete his high school diploma, but worked two and three jobs to provide for their two-person household. Now that his sister is off to college, Bo is ready to move into Adam’s house and manage his life—since rooming in was part of the job offer. Bo isn’t ready to fall hard and fast for the surprisingly genteel Adam, or his diverse and vast library. Both men resist their attraction, however, in the effort to maintain their professionalism. Bo’s ability to provide for his sister’s schooling depends upon him keeping his job, and he doesn’t feel comfortable being sexually active with his employer. Meanwhile, Adam doesn’t want Bo to feel pressured to provide sexual favors to keep his job. So, they’re both good guys caught in an uncomfortable haze of lust for one another.
So, you can bet this is a fun twist on Beauty and the Beast. There aren’t any jealous lovers, or (currently) dying family members, but there is a bit of drama that pulls Bo away from Adam just as they have finally begun to acknowledge their growing love. At times, Bo feels he must choose between loving Adam and caring for his sister, but the situation isn’t as dire as all that, as he eventually gets schooled. During the months they spend together, Adam demonstrates how he’s so gone for Bo, he’ll do anything Bo suggests to spend time together—even studying for their GED exams. Adam is also more than willing to help care for Bo’s sister, when needed, but Bo’s too proud to accept what he considers to be a handout.
This is a sweet story, with some sexy moments. I was rooting for both Adam and Bo to find peace and happiness with one another, and they do for a time. Their separation is amiable, but fraught, and it’s with great anticipation that they reconnect just when each man needs a shoulder to lean upon. I really enjoyed this one, though I also really would have liked a bit more sexy times.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.