I received this book from author Jan Moran in exchange for this honest review.
We find ourselves back in Beverly Hills with a story about Scarlett Sandoval, intellectual property lawyer and friend of Verena Valent, who we met in the first book, FLAWLESS. Scarlett is preparing herself for the finalization of a huge deal between Fleur of London (who reminded me of Lady Gaga) and High Gloss cosmetics. She is expecting to be made partner in a few weeks and has devoted her entire life to the firm. First one thing goes bad, then another, and those who she thought were on her side are against her. Her only comfort is with her long term friend Johnny, who works at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Lance, Verena’s boyfriend. Scarlett is having trouble keeping platonic thoughts in her head, and things at her job are going from bad to worse. She has to make some serious decisions–but will they be the right ones?
Once again I was thrust into the world of the rich and famous. Luxury abounds on every page, from Gulfstream 550s to Louboutins. Moran’s vivid descriptions make me feel as if I’m enjoying each amenity, alongside Scarlett. The Spanish beauty is a smart and confident woman, full of class and sass, with no time in her life for romance, much to the despair of her mother. As things with her High Gloss (great name!) deal go bad, she realizes that there is more to life than work.
Scarlett seemed to be a stronger character than Verena Valent, and I enjoyed this story better. She is very independent and hot tempered (as evidenced in the scene on the plane in the beginning of the story) and thrives in a world dominated by men. The ending was more satisfactory to me than in FLAWLESS as well. I feel that Moran’s writing is showing more strength and depth, as she introduces us to the women in the Hostile Beauty world. The plot is something that is entirely believable, and there was drama and tension along the way, with enough plot twists that kept me reading and wondering how it would all end. Johnny and Scarlett are a very well matched couple, and Moran shows us that hard work may be rewarded, in the sub plot of Johnny and Lance trying to open their own restaurant.
BEAUTY MARK is a patent- leather- shiny winner of a story, and I found myself pulling for Scarlett the deeper I got into the book. There are many great scenes, such as Scarlett exacting a small bit of revenge on her boss using a pen, and I can tell that Moran had a lot of fun writing this book. I’m eagerly awaiting #3 in this series, for sure.
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