(The Pennymaker Tales #3)
by Tara Lain
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
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Belle is Grateful
Magnus stared at the photo he kept in the top drawer. Quit being sappy. Still, helping Judy Brancoli brought it all back. He sighed. A good reason to stick with other philanthropies.
Is someone here?
He looked up just as Belle stepped into his doorway. His heart skipped. What did Belle’s expression mean? Confusion? Anger? Hope? “Hello.”
Belle swallowed hard. “Are you the one who called Judy last night?”
Okay, what had he done now? “Uh, yes. I—I thought—it was so late, and no one else was here.”
“You had a ticket waiting for her at the airport and got Leroy to meet her?”
“And gave her a job and insurance?”
“I talked to HR, yes.”
Some huge storm battled behind Belle’s midnight blue eyes. He didn’t seem to be able to catch his breath. He just gasped and clutched his chest. Magnus stood. “Are you okay? Can I get you water?”
Suddenly Belle took off like a gazelle that had spotted a lion—except he ran to the lion. In three bounding steps, he crossed the office and hurled himself at Magnus. Before Magnus could prepare, a tall, slim body hit him full force, arms wrapping around his neck. “Thank you. Thank you. Oh my God, how can I ever thank you?”
Magnus lost his balance and staggered, arms coming around Belle, falling until his butt hit the office chair, which rolled back. They smacked the wall with Belle sprawled on his lap. He gasped for breath, and the exhale came out as a laugh. It was like having the world’s cutest dalmatian on his lap—a dalmatian he’d like to kiss and embrace and otherwise manhandle. Dream on.
Belle kept hugging and muttering, “Thank you. Thank you.”
Magnus adjusted Belle a little so he was actually sitting on Magnus’s lap but didn’t make a big enough thing out of it to scare him off. Hell, this was a moment to savor and prolong.
Finally Belle stopped wiggling, which was good, since the vibration was getting to Magnus’s cock. Belle stilled and seemed to hesitate. Reluctance or embarrassment? He sat back and looked into Magnus’s face. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Magnus couldn’t help smiling, even though the effect wasn’t really friendly. “I’m very glad you’re happy.”
“No one’s ever done such a wonderful thing for me before.”
Magnus tried to be corporate and fatherly—very challenging in his current position. “It’s the mission of this company to help women.”
“Yes, but this was very personal. I’ll be grateful all my life.”
“I’m glad.” His heart beat so hard they both should have been able to hear it.
Belle looked down at where he was firmly planted on Magnus’s lap. “I guess I was a bit more enthusiastic than I planned.”
“You don’t hear me complaining.”
Belle slowly looked up at Magnus’s face, which made Magnus want to cringe or hide. Too close. Belle cocked his head and inspected every inch of Magnus’s ruined landscape of a face. Slowly, he leaned forward and kissed the scar across the bridge of Magnus’s nose. He whispered, “In for a penny—” and his mouth moved south until he kissed the distorted corner of Magnus’s mouth.
The Pennymaker Tales Series
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
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(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain
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About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!