That was the thing about the beast from fairy tales; he didn't want to be a beast. He didn't want to be alone.
Ugh. If I had an impressionable, just becoming aware of gender issues, dynamics, etc. teenage daughter, would I want her to read this? Probably no. Then why do I find myself giving it three stars?!
"I'd rather have an honest madman than a sane liar."
I don't want to spoil anything but let's just say the hero has issues, deep heartwrenching ones that involve abuse and other ones I'm afraid get excused away because of the sympathy you feel for him, his wealth, looks, and the way the heroine rationalizes it all.
"What do you want from me now?"
"I want the wedding ring you bought for me that you think is hidden, the one I've tried on daily since its arrival."
It's a compelling story because told exclusively from the heroine's point of view, you sort of become her and internalize her fears and hopes; waiting for the other shoe to drop and wanting to believe it won't. Our heroine's tough, in control attitude was an illusion and I didn't get enough real felt emotion between the two. The hero is a bit like a blank screen, not in regards to his backstory or stated components but in that he never felt real to me. Giving characters abusive pasts doesn't automatically provide depth. It's a basic money focused rescue (there's some emotions but let's be honest with ourselves, his billionaire status is the main draw) story that I hate falling for.
This was definitely a beauty and the beast story, I'll beat myself up over liking it, but liked it I did. I don't know, I was completely absorbed as I was reading, less towards the end with some revelations that made me uncomfortable and snapped me out of my fairy tale daze, but when I finished, I'm not sure I felt good about what I read.