REVIEW: Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water #1) by EJ Russell
Book one in the new Fae Out of Water series Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission. Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult — in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face. But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.
Word count: 76,300; page count: 303
Dear EJ Russell,
I enjoy the retellings of fairy tales in m/m romance and “Beauty and the Beast” had always been one of my favorites. I, however, never read any of your books so I borrowed this one from a friend. For the most part I really liked it. The blurb describes the set up perfectly. Alun Kendrick is our “Beast,” an old and powerful faerie of Seelie court who was cursed a couple hundred years ago for reasons which would become clear to you if you decide to read the story. For a while now he had been working as a psychologist for the supernatural community, and he also counsels humans who had been diagnosed with PTSD from the encounters with the supernatural community which took place despite the Secrecy Pact. Alun has a problem, his office manager, who also happens to be a werewolf, went on maternity leave and it is unclear whether she would even return to her position.
In any event, Alun needs temporary coverage for now. He is working with the temporary agency whose owner is aware that Dr. Kendrick only wants supernatural candidates for the positions in his office. Too bad the owner is out with the flu that day and the other person decides to send David to cover that position. The problem with that decision was that David’s several previous placements hadn’t been successful – supposedly he tends to cause various conflicts in the work place. What kind of conflicts we never learned exactly but we definitely learned the reason and it was not David’s fault and I cannot tell you about the reason because it would be a pretty big spoiler. But the woman who was performing the owner’s duties liked David and wanted to give him another chance. She also was not informed that Dr. Kendrick did not want human candidates to be sent to him, so David went to start his new job.
When Alun met David, he was shocked because he realized that David was human and because he was attracted to David. David was attracted to him as well, but Alun tried very hard to replace David by leaving many messages with the owner of the agency who was still out sick.
David was adorable in the best sense of the way. Sweet, kind guy who wanted to make the doctor’s office if not an enjoyable then a comfortable place for his patients and who ended up helping more people than he expected. So the guys were attracted to each other very fast – if you are looking for a slow burn romance, I do not think this is a book for you. On the other hand Alun is trying very hard to fight his attraction because of what he went through in the past and just because he did not want to endanger David since allegedly human and faerie do not really mix in long term relationships for all kinds of reasons.
I am not sure if I should call their attraction Insta!Love . It probably was but because Alun was as I stated fighting it for a while, it did not read as rushed to me as it could have been, especially since his fears made total sense to me even if they did not make sense to David.
But David is a glass half full kind of person, somebody who wants to help people and see the best in them. I wondered why I have not interpreted him as an annoying Goodie two shoes kind of character and decided that his quirks were amusing and made him feel more real to me.
Basically I thought these two suited each other very well and it really worked as a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. However, it so happens that both men spent a lot of page time in Faerie land in the second part of the book. Faery Royalty wanted another loyalty oath from everybody apparently and Alun had to make an appearance as well. I won’t tell you how he managed to get back but got back he did.
I don’t know what I think of that part of the story. I mean it was still a good read, but as much as I understood that Alun needed to face his past, I was not quite sure why he could not do so in our world. It felt a little artificial to me.