(The Pennymaker Tales #3)
by Tara Lain
Writing an Ugly Beautiful Boy of Romance
Hi. I’m Tara Lain and I’m delighted to be here today to help launch my new fairy tale romance, BEAUTY, INC. I often say i write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. My readers feed that back to me by talking about my beautiful boys. So who are these guys? Tara Lain’s Beautiful Boys are a little hard to describe, but people say they know them when they see them. Are they really “boys”? Not truly. Yes, my heroes are generally young, most under 30, max 35, but they’re still men, even the college students. They’re boys in the sense that we think of them affectionately, want to give them hugs — or more than that if they weren’t all gay! LOL. Are they beautiful? YES! On the inside, at the very least. Even my quirky, funny heroes have beautiful qualities that make them memorable and lovable. Frequently, they’re also physically beautiful, sometimes almost supernaturally so.
So boys in the sense of huggable, beautiful on many levels — what else? Charismatic. Even in my ménage series in which heroines play key roles, my heroes stand out for their uniqueness and memorability. Readers say there are no other guys quite like them. They almost always have faults and quirks that make them human and relatable. They also have great strengths that they sometimes only come to realize in the course of the stories.
Famously, many of my beautiful boys are flamboyant. When i started writing at the beginning of 2011, it was rare to see gay male characters that acted –well, gay. Gay heroes at the time tended to be “straight guys who happened to have sex with men”. Not that all gay men are flamboyant or over the top, but some are. It’s a quality I happen to value and love to write, so I’d say close to a third of my heroes have a queenly edge.
Quite important, almost all my heroes are driven to live an authentic life — sometimes from the beginning of the book, or at least before the end. Authenticity appears to be my underlying theme that drives most of my stories.
In my new book, BEAUTY, INC., which is a contemporary romance based on a Beauty and the Beast theme, I introduce my first ugly Beautiful Boy. Magnus Strong is seriously scarred and, for reasons no one knows at the beginning of the book, he’s never attempted to get his scars fixed. Just as in the original story, it was my challenge to make this ugly, scarred man worthy of the love of my beautiful Belle Belleterre – and the beta readers of my books say it’s a success. They love Magnus and consider him one of the most beautiful of my Beautiful Boys of Romance. I hope you’ll love him too.
Do you have any thoughts on the Beautiful Boys of Romance? Who do you think they are?
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
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BELLE HELD his breath and released a small amount of cream from the new container into his gloved hand. It just looked like a pretty bottle, but its airtight cap and unique double-walled design reduced oxygen impact on the contents—he hoped! His family’s future depended on a hunk of plastic.
Two weeks his cream formulation had been stored in this new packaging—enough time for it to degrade and discolor like so many high-end cosmetics did, the kiss of death with discriminating buyers. He stared at the cream under the brilliant light on the laboratory table. No change of tint. No yellowing. His heart pounded. He sniffed. Fresh as the day it was packaged. Finally he dabbed a finger into the cream and slicked it between thumb and middle finger. No alteration of texture. Silky, smooth, and rich. The smile spread across his face like the cream itself. Rich. Just like this new product would make his father.
“Tell me it works!”
Dr. Robert Belleterre—Belle—stared up at Colin, the head of the chemistry lab at Bella Terra Cosmetics, and suppressed the urge to jump up and down. “All the tests indicate it works perfectly. You’ll have samples of the formulation in the new containers by the end of the week. I want to put this under the microscope to be sure there’s been no change of chemical structure, but it sure as shit looks good!” He laughed.
Colin smiled. “In time for Cosmetique?”
Belle nodded. “They can take a few samples to Las Vegas to show to select customers.”
“Jesus, man, you did it!” He grabbed Belle in a tight, one-armed guy hug and held up his fingers as he ticked off the benefits. “Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, no parabens or artificial preservatives, and the cream holds up in the packaging. This is going to set a new standard, and no other company will be able to meet it. Not even Beauty, Inc.”
Belle extricated himself gently. “I wish we could afford to do the testing to prove the product claims. It would go to market faster.”
Colin shrugged. “Your dad swears we can’t afford it. But seriously, when women try it, they’ll love it and we’ll have the best evidence in the world. Right on their faces. I can’t believe what you’ve done in less than a year.”
“Thanks, Colin.” He’d quit sleeping and meals had become optional, but he’d given everything to keep Bella Terra, his father’s company, viable—tough duty for a small manufacturer in a field of giants. But now he had a cream so beyond just a mere cosmetic that it could change the face of the industry—literally.
Belle glanced over his shoulder toward the door to the lab, where his father peeked in. That was usually the only body part of his father’s that ever made it into the laboratories these days. Since Belle had finished his PhD the previous summer, Ron Belleterre hadn’t looked at a color or emollient. Just a lot of poker chips and booze. “Yes, Father?”
“Can I speak to you, please?”
Belle turned to Colin. “Take a look under the microscope. I’ll do the same when I get back.” He pulled off his lab coat, hung it on the hook by the door, and followed his father into the hall.
Tall, fair, and handsome, Rondell Belleterre radiated energy, most of it nervous. His moments of rest and peace seemed to get fewer and fewer. Hard not to worry about him. “Yes, sir?”
“Come to the office.” His father took off at a good clip, and Belle fell in beside him. Ron glanced at him. “How’s the new packaging?”
“It’s testing well. I think we’ve got it this time.”
“I’ll be frank, Belle. You have to have it this time, because this whole project is costing me a fucking fortune. Expensive ingredients, bank-busting antioxidants, and now these damned containers that make Fort Knox look like easy access. Shit, I’m not made of money.”
Belle controlled his sigh. “It will open a whole new market to us. There are a lot of women who simply won’t use a cream on their face that contains parabens. With the new product, they’ll flock to Bella Terra.”
His father scowled. “They’d better. I’d like to see some red on the competitor’s sales radar for a change.” He sighed. “I doubt Beauty, Inc. is worried about us.” He powered through his office door and stopped in front of Hester, the secretary he still insisted he needed. “Would you have Rusty and Rick come in, please?”
“I think they went to lunch, sir.”
Ron frowned. “It’s ten forty-five.”
She gazed at him, but deep down her eyes said, “Duh.”
“Forget it.” Inside his inner office, Ron sat in his giant desk chair and pointed at one of the leather guest chairs. “Sit.”
A drawing of the Bella Terra booth at the upcoming Cosmetique Conference in Las Vegas lay on his father’s desk. Belle nodded toward the graphic. “Are you ready for the conference?”
“That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
“We can have a limited amount of demonstration units for your private showings.” He had to gulp a breath to contain his excitement. “This is it, Father. We’ll outstrip any single product Magnus Strong at Beauty, Inc. has got.”
“If the ugly bastard even notices.”
“I’m sure Strong didn’t get to the top of the beauty industry by ignoring highly successful competitors. We’re not going to top Beauty, Inc. They’re huge. But we can replace them as the number one wrinkle cream.”
His father’s eyes lit up. Belle softly sighed. Ron hadn’t always been so greedy. The addictions took their toll. Poor Father.
“I want you to come to Cosmetique.”
“What?” Belle shook his head. “No, sir. You know I hate those big events. I’m needed here in the lab.”
“We’re unveiling your new product to our best customers. No one knows it like you do.”
Belle frowned. “Rusty’s in charge of marketing. It’s his job to understand our products.”
“He’s not you. Plus you have the passion. We need you. Colin can handle the lab. It’s settled.” His father shoved a copy of Forbes across his desk, featuring a close-up photo of Magnus Strong—the face the cosmetics magnate wore like a badge of honor. A deep scar ran across his eyebrow, missed his eye, but still distorted the lid so it drooped slightly. Another dissecting slash had marred his cheek, deformed his top lip into a permanent sneer, and left a stripe across the bottom lip, while his scarred, broken nose gave him the look of a has-been prizefighter. Ugliness that created beauty. His father laughed. “If anybody can tame the beast, it’s you.”
The Pennymaker Tales Series
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
Available for order at
(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain
Available for purchase at
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at