I totally loved the author's [b:A Hard Dazed Knight|13702212|A Hard Dazed Knight (Love is Always Write)|J.J. Cassidy|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339974878s/13702212.jpg|19334689] so I was delighted to discover this gem when I went looking for the prequel [b:Before the Knight|15714155|Before the Knight|J.J. Cassidy|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340198176s/15714155.jpg|21382799] and hopefully sequel. Alas, still no sequel.
Handsome Beast is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. Nic, a lawyer, has just discovered that not only has his boyfriend cheated on him with a woman but plans to marry her, too. Nic was not out to his family but the ex-boyfriend fixed that as well. With his father and uncle's disgust ringing in his ears, Nic takes a bus to upstate New York with the idea of letting himself freeze to death.
Falling into a near-frozen ditch changes his perspective and Nic fights his way through the rimy woods until he reaches a fin-de-siècle robber-baron castle and passes out. When he comes to, a handsome man, Gavin, is waiting for him. They begin a re-bound relationship, Nic is going to return to NYC and he's not looking for anything serious. While Nic comes to care for Gavin very much, Gavin mysteriously disappears every night. Nic is done with lies and deception and so he leaves. How does it end? It's a fairy-tale, of course there's magic to achieve a happily ever after.
I liked how the author tied up loose ends and avoided anachronisms, it's a perfectly sensible fairy-tale. Normally I deplore misogyny in m/m stories; I don't agree with other reviewers that that is the case here with the ex-wife. And as for Nic's 'plan,' his life doesn't suck as bad as he thought it did, maybe deep down he knew this along and that is why he didn't try harder to kill himself. Just re-read for the third time.