Beauty & the Beast, Julie Miller-style
by Julie Miller, author of Kansas City Secrets
I love a romantic Beauty & the Beast story. From the childhood fairy tale I read over and over to Disney’s classic movie to several of my favorite romance novels—there’s something about that hero who is scarred inside and out and who believes he’s incapable or unworthy of love, and that brave, loyal, savvy heroine who sees the real heart inside him, that I’m drawn to time and again.
The allure of discovering the true person behind the façade, falling in love and rescuing that good heart when no one else can, is timeless. I think that’s the real appeal—the idea that there’s only one right person who can not only love the beast, but save him from a lonely, horrible fate—and help him become a better version of himself on the outside, too. That’s true love. A strong, healing kind of love. And I think readers often relate to those stories because they either feel like the world doesn’t see them for who they truly are, or they want to be part of that fantasy where there is only one person who can break the spell and embrace a perfect match with another person.
I love to read Beauty & the Beast storylines—and I love to write them. My August 2015 release, Kansas City Secrets, puts a modern, suspenseful twist on that classic love story. My hero, Detective Max Krolikowski, is a former Army sergeant turned Kansas City cop. He’s big and tough, isn’t averse to drinking a beer, and needs to work on his polite vocabulary and social skills. Inside, he’s dealing with post-traumatic stress from his military career and a tragedy on the home front. This guy is barely keeping it together. He is suspicious of most people, and trained to be a protective fighting machine, qualities that make him an excellent soldier and a good detective. In other words, Max is a “beast”. Not an easy man to love.
Following the setup of the classic tale, I needed to pair him with a heroine who could see beneath his harsh exterior and discover the heart and honor that lies within him. Enter reclusive Rosemary March, the prime suspect in her abusive fiancé’s murder. Rosie is a fragile, fair-skinned beauty who dresses a little on the prim side and demands proper manners and decorum—certainly not the type of woman Max would be attracted to. And boy, oh boy, the scary detective isn’t what she’s looking for in a man. She’s as damaged emotionally as Max is, which, perhaps, gives her a unique understanding of him, allowing her to see the hero beneath his gruff facade. The storyline also requires that Beauty and her Beast be forced to spend time together. Max’s murder investigation quickly takes a personal turn when he finds out that Rosie has been targeted by a stalker. More than anything, Rosie wants to feel safe. And that’s one thing the beastly Max can do—protect a woman from a dangerous threat. He moves in and becomes her round-the-clock protector. Together, they uncover old secrets that lead to the identity of the stalker and her late fiancé’s killer. Not only is Beauty brave enough to approach the Beast to get what she needs, but she’s smart enough to see the hero inside. Her faith in him—her love—will end up saving them both.
Kansas City Secrets is my latest romantic, suspenseful take on a Beauty & the Beast story. What are some of your favorite Beauty & the Beast books?
Other Beauty & the Beast romantic suspense books I’ve written:
Some of my favorites by other authors:
Imminent Thunder by Rachel Lee
Solitary Soldier by Debra Webb
Land of Dreams by Cheryl St. John
Miss Emmaline and the Archangel by Rachel Lee
About Kansas City Secrets:
Six years ago Rosie March’s fiancé was murdered. Now someone is stalking her, intent on stopping her memories of the murder from being revealed. And Detective Max Krolikowski, her protector, only wants her alive for the truth she might be hiding.
But Max is hiding his own secrets, such as the acute PTSD the ex-solder lives with. As part of Kansas City’s Cold Case Squad, the officer’s work should have been simply investigative. But with his potential key witness’s life jeopardized, he must keep her safe at any cost. And keep himself from falling for a woman who could be a true innocent…or a killer waiting to strike again.