Title: Bookworm and the Beast Series: Eastport Bay Billionaires #1 Author: Tru Taylor
Genre: Small Town Romantic Comedy Release Date: July 27, 2021
I’ve been sent into the lair of the beast….
It should be a dream assignment—leave my boring day-to-day routine and travel to a seaside mansion to interview superstar author Jack R. R. Bestia. Who wouldn’t want that?
Me, that’s who.
He has a reputation for being reclusive and temperamental, but that’s not why I’m leery of the assignment. It’s because the first (and last) time I met Jack… well, let’s just say I didn’t make a good impression.
When I get to the mansion—which is more like a secluded castle—things don’t go much better. I’m sure he’s going to throw me out entirely. The only way I manage to squeak in is by signing a massive non-disclosure agreement. And I soon figure out why.
Jack has a secret—and it’s a big one.
Now that iron-clad contract I signed means I have to stay here until his long-overdue book is finished—and he’s not going to make it easy.
Jack acts every bit as beastly as the tabloids claimed, and I feel like a fairytale princess trapped in his tower. But every once in a while I get a glimpse of the charming (not to mention super sexy) man beneath the growly exterior and I wonder… could this beast be tamed?
Bookworm and the Beast is a full-length hot romantic comedy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a standalone enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, slow burn romance with no cheating or cliffhangers but plenty of humor and heart.
Jack towered over me—so much taller and larger than I’d realized when I’d seen him sitting down at the book signing. He was, in a word, intimidating. “Uh hi,” I blurted, sounding as foolish as I felt. Nervous, I unconsciously rubbed the tapered end of the sleek award. One of Jack’s brows lifted, and his gaze dropped pointedly to my hands. I glanced down at the distinctly phallic trophy I’d been caressing then turned again and quickly set the award back in its place. Spinning back to face Jack, I attempted to salvage the awkward caught-in-the-act moment by sticking my hand out. And babbling. “It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve really been looking forward to this, and I hope you have, too, because I think this is really going to be great. Our readers will be really excited to hear what you have to say about the new book—I mean, no pressure to say anything in particular. I know how you feel about spoilers, and I’d never ask you to divulge any. Oh, I’m Bonnie Hamelin. But I guess you already know that.” The good news was I’d managed actual speech this time. His arrival had been so sudden I hadn’t had time to work up quite as many nerves as the first time I’d seen him. The bad news was his answering expression could have incinerated me on the spot. He didn’t take my offered hand but continue to scowl at me. “Yes, I know who you are, Ms. Hamelin,” he sneered. “You’re the interviewer. Which I believe means your purpose here is to interview me, not to invade my home and… fondle my private possessions.” My nerves, combined with his use of the words “fondle” and “private” together made me giggle, which then made me blush in mortification. Oh, good Lord. This wasn’t starting well. I was just grateful there was no chai latte nearby this time. The thought caused my gaze to drop involuntarily to the front of Jack’s pants. I did hope he’d fully recovered from the hot-tea incident. It would be such a shame if such an obviously virile man were permanently— Jack cleared his throat loudly. Yanking my gaze away from his crotch and withdrawing my hand, I twisted it with the fingers of my other hand and forced a smile I hoped was both apologetic and charming. “I’m so sorry about that. I’ve just never seen one in person. Or one so big. And you have so many. Awards. Not possessions. I mean, you do have some nice possessions. I was just talking about… the… award.” Jack just kept staring, studying me as if I were a fascinating yet slightly repulsive bug. A dung beetle, perhaps. Mrs. Potts, whose existence I’d completely forgotten in the last minute and a half, spoke up. “Jack?” He shot her a heated side-glance then looked at me again. His scowl moderated into a more neutral expression. “Well?” “Oh—it’s… very beautiful. And heavy.” The scowl returned. “I wasn’t fishing for compliments about my award. Are you by any chance ready to begin the interview?” “The interview. Yes. Absolutely. I’m ready. Let’s do it.” He shook his head as if giving up on something. “Fine. Let’s get this over with.”
She was beautiful, and not just the regular kind. The made-exactly-for-Jack kind, the kind of gorgeous I’d only ever imagined when dreaming up a new character, a siren intent on luring my hero to his death in dark, cold waters, for instance. The kind of beauty who only existed in fiction. But here she was, the living, breathing version of my physical ideal. In my library. And the way she’d looked at me… I shuddered remembering it. She had the most intense brown eyes I’d ever seen. When she’d spun around and they’d met mine, I’d nearly stumbled backward. It was like she could see straight into my soul. And then her eyes had dropped. And zeroed in on my dick. While rubbing my dick-shaped writing award. Not gonna lie—I had movement. It had been a while since I’d spent time around a woman I didn’t employ or regard as a family member, but if memory served, that kind of behavior signaled interest. Not that I’d be interested in this reporter, no matter what she looked like. Wait—I wasn’t interested, was I? I was rocked by a sense of impending doom. This woman was dangerous. I needed to get her out of my house as soon as possible.
Bonnie was silent as she read, her face paling with each line she scanned. When she looked up at me, her expression was disbelieving and at the same time utterly defeated. A tide of satisfaction washed through me. “This is ludicrous,” she said at last. “You don’t really expect me to adhere to this, do you?” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Why wouldn’t I? You signed it.” “Yes but… this says I can’t see anyone, can’t talk to anyone outside of this house. It says you’ll confiscate my laptop and my phone.” “It sure does. Right there in black and white.” I gave her a wicked grin, enjoying her astonished indignation. Now she knew how it felt. She stared at me then looked back at the contract, as if the writing on the page might have magically changed in the past minute. When her gaze came back up to meet mine there were a million questions behind her eyes. There was also a new understanding. I owned her. “Are you going to have me… locked in my apartment?” “No.” Her shoulders relaxed but then tensed again when I elaborated. “You’ll be staying here. Where I can keep an eye on you and make sure you’re not spilling any secrets.” “Here?” Her eyes bulged. “At your house? For how long?” “Until I turn the book in.” “Your deadline is four weeks from now.” “That’s right.” Her mouth dropped open and she let out a gasp of shock. “I can’t stay here for a month.” It was a little bizarre to force a woman to stay in your home. But what choice did I have? I couldn’t risk the truth getting out. I’d be ruined. Bonnie had just proven she wasn’t trustworthy. And I refused to let those slivers of guilt go any deeper. This was her fault, not mine. She’d forced me into this. I didn’t like it any more than she did. After a lengthy pause, Bonnie uttered a begrudging, “Fine.” “Fine. So we have an agreement.” A sense of relief spread through me, enabling my tightly bunched muscles to relax a fraction. “I have your promise you won’t leave?” She rolled her eyes. “I wasn’t aware I had a choice.” “You don’t. And I’ll make you a promise in return. I won’t keep you a second longer than is absolutely necessary. Four weeks, and then you’re out of here on your nosy little ass.” Her expression grew more troubled as she appeared to accept her fate and began to understand what it all meant. “My things are still back at the Seacliff Inn—my laptop, my clothes—I only have two days’ worth with me. And where will I sleep?” she asked. “Harrison will go to the hotel and check you out, pack your things, and bring your bags here. Whatever else you need I can order and have delivered. If you’re worried about the potential awkwardness of living in the same house, don’t be. It’s a big place. I can assure you—we won’t be seeing much of each other. I have no desire to spend any further time with you.” I extended my hand, palm up. “I’ll take that phone now.” Her mouth dropped open, then closed again and her jaw hardened. “Do I at least get a call first?” “A call?” I barked an incredulous laugh. “What part of ‘no contact with the outside world’ did you not understand?” Her chin jutted out. “I believe one phone call is standard procedure for all prisoners.” “You’re not in a prison. You’re in a mansion.” “Am I allowed to leave?” “No.” “Then it’s a prison.”
#2 Bargain with the Bachelor – Releasing August 25
Award-winning romance author Tru Taylor writes romantic comedies to make you swoon, smile, and snort with laughter.
She runs on Coke Zero and dark chocolate, lives for lunches with her girlfriends, and drives to the town beach several times a week to watch the sun set over the water.
She loves LOVE and will attempt to turn any show or movie she’s watching into a romance whether it is one or not. Star Wars? A romance. Lord of the Rings? Clearly a romance. The Expendables? Okay, well not even Tru can redeem that one.
When she’s not writing, Tru enjoys watching movies and reading books with happy endings, spending time with her husband and two kids, and sneaking Hershey’s Kisses from the top shelf of the freezer throughout the day. (Top shelf because… two kids. Enough said.)
Tru is the author of the Eastport Bay small town rom com series and loves living in a small New England town where she’s surrounded every day by the beautiful coastal setting you see brought to life in her books.