My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Official book description:
"They agreed on three months...but their love knew no boundaries.
Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.
It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he's ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.
Not recommended for younger readers due to sexual content and language."
Kindle Price: $1.99 (special limited price) $3.99 (regular price)
Genre(s): Contemporary Erotic Romance
*language, sexual content, and minor(?) spoilers contained herein*
Sitting here with my fingers poised over the keys staring out the window hoping for…those perfect words and phrases to adequately express my thoughts. How about I start with stupefied? I do feel like I’m in a kind of daze. In this instance it comes from reading Beauty From Pain, which I started without really being aware of its premise and being totally unfamiliar with its author. I had read the synopsis, but it had been awhile. Strangely enough, I rarely read full reviews until after I've read the book, even when it’s by an author I've never read. Also, I was a wee bit concerned over the title – I saw the word PAIN and cringed a little. I was clueless to the fact that it is a song title the author was inspired to name the book after. Let me just say that the stupefied I’m feeling is the positive one because I am “overwhelmed with amazement; astounded; astonished.” I was also up until 2:30 a.m. because there was no freaking way I was getting any sleep until I finished it! Is “finish” even the right word when there’s a “cliffie” involved? Oh-oh! The author did give us a sneak preview of Beauty From Surrender, which is set for a May 30th release. Okay, so need to breathe, be patient, and keep distracted until then. Aargh!
Immediately in chapter one it was made obvious that Beauty From Pain was written from alternating points-of-view as the heroine’s name is captioned at the beginning. However, the first impression I got of Laurelyn was that she was whiny and impatient. Now, I did say “first” impression, it soon changed (YAY) because I certainly don’t want to read an entire book about a whiny heroine. She and her best friend, Addison, have been on a plane for ages getting to Australia from the states, so I thought her grouchiness was warranted. I had my editing note-taking mindset ready to find a plethora of mistakes, misspellings, and other grammatical boo-boos, but instead found only a whole lot of passages I just had to highlight. Score a big HURRAY for the author!
Once arrived at Wagga Wagga Airport we were introduced to Addison’s brother, Ben, and his Aussie friend, Zac. Ben was attending college to learn more about wine-making, their family’s business, and his small apartment is where Laurelyn and Addison were supposed to be staying for the three months they were in Australia. Of course, there is an instant mutual attraction between Addison and Zac, but there is only a one-sided fascination between Ben and Laurelyn. While Ben’s obviously taken with Laurelyn, she’s seeing red flags – he’s her best friend’s brother and she’s trying to ease her broken heart over a guy back in the states. She does not need this complication.
When Jack Henry McLachlan first appears in chapter two, he’s sitting in a dark corner of a karaoke bar looking for his next “relationship.” Let me just say that being privy to his inner observations and critiquing of the women available in the bar did not put him in a favorable light. I mean, yuck! However, when he had pretty much conceded that his hunt for just the right woman had been unsuccessful, he saw Laurelyn for the first time. Now, this first impression was the one that counted! She may have been reassessing her music career, but her musical talent was obvious - as was her beauty. Jack was bewitched by her. He had made his choice: it was time to go about convincing her to accept his proposition, but first he needed answers to some questions.
Instead of his usual three or four weeks, he wanted to try a three month relationship. Nice how that worked out, eh? He wanted three months and Laurelyn was there for three months. It’s fate I tell ya. That anything-wonderful-can-happen-in-fiction kind of fate! I could partially accept Jack’s reason for wanting to remain innominate in these short relationships – he required uncomplicated, fun, sexual relationships without these partners aiming to land themselves (trap) a rich husband. I really felt like it wasn't made obvious enough how he kept his real name completely unspoken for so much of the book though. Yes, Wagga Wagga was a small town, and he was fairly new to the area, but he was supposedly a well-known, “hot commodity.” Fortunately, he recognized that Laurelyn was different from the first twelve women. One of the things he found “different” about her was a small thing – her accent, which was supposed to be Southern. Her character lived in Nashville, but if you’re looking for regional dialects, you won’t find them here. I admit, I missed having any trace of Aussie or Southern dialect written for me to “hear.” There was a touch of Aussie slang here-and-there, but it and the country were not made key components of the story. Of course, I wasn't reading this book to read about Australia. This book was about Jack and Laurelyn, and the author created a dynamic chemistry between them that was addictive!
Enough of the chronological events though; those are for you to read for yourself. I soon found myself truly liking both the hero and heroine very much. We know she accepts his proposition and in doing so they must work out the details, which include what names to call each other – she combines her middle name and the surname of her “sperm donor” father for Paige Beckett. He chooses to use the suffix of his last name and his middle name for Lachlan Henry. His use of just part of his name was another exception to his “usual” modus operandi. Right away Jack was aware of how special Laurelyn was and without making a big deal he made allowances to keep her with him. I LOVED that! I totally got how they would make exceptions for each other. Sure, he was after a sexual relationship, but he wanted conversation and companionship too. Laurelyn was absolutely remarkable in all three areas because of her openness, honesty, intelligence, confidence, humor, talent, and general acceptance of his “rules.” Given their unconventional relationship Jack treated her respectfully and with concern. Rather soon, he demonstrated a protective and even possessive behavior towards her that she just couldn't comprehend.
Laurelyn used several slang descriptions that I had not heard of before in all my reading of contemporary romance books. I’ll not be listing them, but I sure chuckled over them as they appeared sporadically throughout the book. Yep, I enjoyed her inner voice as much as her spoken words! I love when music is a part of the lives of the characters too, especially when the author mentions specific songs and artists. Georgia Cates went above and beyond just mentioning songs, she added a detailed playlist at the end of the book! Currently, she also has a Spotify Playlist embedded on her blog. It sure makes adding to my Literary Playlist much easier!
With each favorable thing they discovered about the other, their mutual appreciation grew: Jack realized Laurelyn wasn't ruled by the almighty dollar, he put spending time with Laurelyn ahead of work, she was genuinely appreciative of the gifts her gave her, but remained uncomfortable with his largess, and he thoroughly enjoyed her sole method of exercise – POLE DANCING!
There were a few unpleasant situations that needed to be dealt with: some vandalism at a couple of his vineyards, his troublesome ex “number three,” Ben’s unrequited feelings for Laurelyn, phone calls from Laurelyn’s mother and ex-boyfriend/producer, a health scare for Jack’s father, and that looming three month deadline for Laurelyn’s return to the states.
In the end I found much more beauty than pain in this book – the beauty in their being together was evident in chapter after chapter, but some of the pain - the pain that Laurelyn felt - was very eloquently expressed with these words at the close:
“I've known pain my whole life, but this is a new kind for me. It isn't born of something wrong or ugly. This pain is conceived out of beauty—my love for Jack Henry McLachlan. I embrace it. I clutch it as tightly as I can with both fists because I never want to forget the love I have for him. Loving him will forever be my Beauty from Pain."
“Listen to me, Laurelyn. The best way to get over somebody is to get under someone else” ~ Addison
"Lachlan": "I do too, but I'd like it much better if you were singing to me instead of Poison."
"Paige": "I've been known to take requests."
"Lachlan": "Me too. I can talk dirty by request anytime."
"Always go right and you'll never go wrong." ~ Laurelyn
"I find my voice and whisper, 'Caveman.' That's going to be my nickname for him. He throws his head back laughing and I join in soon after. He's so beautiful when he smiles." ~ Laurelyn (after Jack gives her her first "O" in a wine cave)
"I can't wait to have a naughty with you. You know it's only a matter of time, and when I do, I'm going to make you come so hard." ~ Jack Henry
"Music is what feelings sound like out loud. I sing songs that speak from my heart. They tell my story, how I feel." ~ Laurelyn
"Baby, you've fucked my mind without touching my body." ~ Jack Henry
"Very much, Mr. Henry. I like your late-night instigations. And your morning ones. And your midday ones. Hell, I like all of your instigating." ~ Laurelyn
"'My heart wants you to be happy, and I believe that girl is the one to do it. you have four weeks to convince her to stay.' She lifts her brows at me. 'I suggest you get on that right away, son.'" ~ Margaret McLachlan
*Special thanks to my daughter who graciously helped me with editing.
04/12/2013 - An interview with Jack Henry at THESUBCLUB