Beautiful Bastard

Beautiful Bastard is not a book I ran out and bought… rather I was wandering the hall at San Diego’s Comic-Con International and someone asked if I’d like to get a free autographed book.

I devour books.  I love discovering authors I’ve never read before.  There are so many out there, so many I know I should have already read, according to my friends who also devour books, that I just love setting aside a night or two — a portion of my weekend, and getting lost in the pages of a book.

I honestly did not know what to expect from this novel.  The genre is listed as erotic romance, and I quickly figured out why.  That aspect alone is never enough to keep me reading for countless hours, to keep me from setting the book aside and returning to my own life after a few chapters.  There needs to be more content, more story, and something interesting going on.

What I found interesting in this book was two main characters who worked together as a productive team in the workplace, and yet pushed one another’s ‘I Hate You’ buttons constantly.  There was an antagonism between the characters that appeared to have been there from the moment they met, and set off a chain reaction of encounters that left them unable to say a civil word to one another.

Had they not been so good at their jobs their workplace relationship would also have been a disaster.

The character who gave the book it’s title, Bennett Ryan, is great looking, the kind of guy who fuels the dreams of the girls in the proverbial secretarial pool, and yet he can be so demanding, a perfectionist with a temper, that no one understands how Chloe Mills puts up with him.  It helps she demands just as much of herself.

From the outside looking in they seem like two people who ought to be able to respect one another, and find a way to get along — and yet he particularly is always antagonizing her and purposely trying to force her, emotionally, ten feet away, as if he is afraid she will burn him if she gets too close.  And that was where my interest came from.

I had worked with people that for the life of me I could never understand why they were always bickering.  Why they were always picking fights with one another.  They had no relationship beyond what we could see, and it was as if they were purposely trying to guarantee the other person would never get close enough to truly see and know them.

Hidden beneath the snipping and anger, are fears and complexities of emotion.  In a book that is a fast enjoyable read, two characters explore what it is to risk their heart, after avoiding it in every way imaginable, and a few most consider unimaginable.

This may not be the great American novel, but it is several good hours of light entertainment.  Two million people read it BEFORE it went into print for a reason… because there have been times when we have seen irrational behavior among perfectly rational adults and had no idea what was going on under the surface, and behind the scenes.   This novel offers one possibility.

No, I regret nothing 
Neither the good I have done, nor the bad