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Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.
I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.
That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.
A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.
Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.
Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.
My old friend, Mr. Fortier.
But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.
When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.
Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
You can have all my money, Ms. Grey. Have it all. Even my soul. Your books feed it anyway; you might as well have it. Reading The Beau and the Belle brought butterflies to my stomach and a perma-smile on my face! The hero made me swoon, and the heroine made me laugh so much. Plus, it's set in New Orleans, a place I've always wanted to visit.
Remember when we were in high school and we daydreamed about crushes? The popular upperclassman, the best friend's older brother, the guy next door, all the seemingly unreachable men. How about when we made questionable decisions—decisions we cringe over when we're reminiscing about it—over those men?
Lauren LeBlanc was a senior in high school when Beau Fortier, a man in his last year of law school, rented the apartment in her family's property. She was previously focused on Preston, the most popular guy in her school's partner all-male school, but there was something so alluring about Beau. He was mature, hard-working, incredibly good-looking, and kind to her. It was inevitable she'd become infatuated with him.
While he felt a connection, Beau Fortier knew better than to encourage her feelings for him. He was eight years older, and he needed to focus on finishing law school so he could give his mother her dreams of restoring the Fortier family's prestige. Plus, he respected Lauren's parents too much.
When an event forced them to leave New Orleans and part ways, Lauren ended up with a broken heart. They didn't see each other again until ten years later when she came back to start a business and open an art gallery.
To Lauren's surprise, Beau wants her and is not subtle in wanting to pursue her. Now older, she is more cautious when it comes to Beau and won't give in easily. But Beau is nothing if not determined. He won't stop until he proves to her he's serious about her.
"This is how I wanted to be touched all those years ago, and it's making me lightheaded to feel it now. Maybe's it's better this way. At 27, I can barely handle this feeling. At 17, I'd have gone comatose."
Before I wax poetic about Beau, let me just say that I adored Lauren and her POV! There was a subtle but significant change in her past to present POV that shows her growth. She's still the same in essence—funny, a little bit dorky, charming—but there's an air of maturity that didn't exist before. I also love her friendship with her best friend, Rose. Their conversations are hilarious yet so genuine and realistic; it feels like Rose is my best friend, too!
Now, off to Beau. My dear Beau. He's hard-working, thoughtful, a family man, and a complete gentleman. And he's perfected the art of slow seduction. His relationship with his mother is heartwarming, and you just know his feelings for Lauren are genuine. Gah, I love him!
R.S. Grey never fails to make me laugh out loud. You can bet that this book made me look like a complete fool in public for giggling and laughing so much. The humor is effortless, the romantic spark between Lauren and Beau sizzling, and the build-up was fantastic. I haven't read all of the author's works, but from all of the books I've read, this is her most slow-burn to date. No complaints from me. I'm a sucker for slow-burn romance!
The Beau and the Belle is a feel-good, slow-burn, second chance romance that will make you laugh and fall in love. What to expect from TB&TB: New Orleans. A gentleman hero who works hard, loves his mother, and has perfected the art of the slow seduction. A strong and relatable heroine. Sexual and non-sexual touching. Feels.
Tropes: Age Gap, Childhood Friends, Second Chance
POV: First Person, Dual POV