How Beauty Saved the BeastWhat was it like to meet for the first time face to face post sheet scene? Not when Jolie knew you as Hauk but when she realized you were the same man from behind the sheet.
(Tales of the Underlight, #2)
By: Jax Garren
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: Feb. 11, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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Jolie Benoit left her old life behind to become an agent of the Underlight. Training under Sergeant Wesley Haukon, she’s honing her combat skills, all the while coping with the intense sexual attraction she feels for Hauk. She keeps their friendship casual, but when his high school sweetheart transfers into their division, Jolie finds herself grappling with jealousy.
The Underlight gave Hauk a purpose, but he can’t escape his past completely. The physical and emotional scars from the fire that killed seven fellow Army Rangers will mark him forever. Jolie sends his protective instincts into overdrive, but he’s convinced he’ll never be worthy of her love.
Hauk is determined to keep Jolie from harm. But when the Order of Ananke ambushes them with a new weapon that neutralizes Hauk, making him vulnerable, it’s Jolie who must tap into her hidden strengths to rescue him—or risk losing him forever…
Hauk: Heh, you don’t start with the easy questions, do you? If I’m honest it was pretty damn cool. We were about to dance, which I don’t do much of and she’s, well, she’s a dancer. So I was sh—wait, can I use that word here?—I was crapping bricks. Then she accidentally said my name, and I knew she knew. It was like the balance changed or something. I don’t blame her for not wanting it to have been me that day. Hey, what woman looks at this [gestures to self] and says, “Yes. I want that”? None. But she knew, and she was okay with that. But then that’s Jolie. She’s…nothing fazes her. She’s fine with me the way I am.
Jolie: You know, it was a bit of a relief. I mean, I think my face matched my hair for a moment, but that was more because I’d been such a brat about it, unwilling to admit it was him. Hauk’s a great guy. And that’s so not like me to have done something like that—both because he was a stranger and then afterward with the not fessing up. The post-show rush had me really caught up, and I can’t explain it, there was something about his voice… By the time it accidentally came out that I knew it was him, I wasn’t embarrassed about what we’d done, I was embarrassed because I’d not copped to it already. I owed him that admission. So, yeah, it was actually a relief to have that out there. Yes. We did this crazy thing together. And it was awesome.
I don't mean to pry but I'm curious how the relationship is between the two of you now that Jolie has joined the Underlight.
Jolie: Hauk has been giving me self-defense classes in the morning, and he is a seriously awesome teacher.
Hauk: She’s a natural. You should see the woman move.
Jolie: You know it! But after what happened with those thugs, I wanted to be better prepared, in case it happened again. And so I asked Hauk for some lessons. Crazy boy here won’t let me pay for them even though we meet up nearly every morning—
Hauk: [grins] Sue me. I like working out with the hot girl.
Jolie: [laughs] Well, I’m still offering back pay whenever you realize you should have been taking it all along. [pokes him in the side.]
[He jumps, startled. Stares at her finger, unused to being poked. Smiles.]
Jolie: But now that I’m in the Underlight, I’m going to start going on missions.
Hauk: [frowns] Jolie, I told you—
Jolie: The Thing has already approved my participation, so I’ll be starting soon. And that training will come in handy.
Hauk: Fan-fu—I mean, flippin’—tastic.
Jolie: I’ll go on missions with you or without you. Pick.
Hauk: Fine. I’ve got one next week that we could use a driver for.
Jolie: A driver? I’m not wait-in-the-car girl.
Hauk: It’s your first mission. You don’t need to throw yourself in the middle of danger.
Jolie: Fine. For the first one. But only if you agree to teach me something funky in training.
Jolie: Yeah. Like a spin-y kick or something. I’ve been blocking and jabbing and break-holding for two months. I want something with hang time.
Hauk: [grins again] That I can do.
Jolie, what are your thoughts on the Underlight? What's it been like since you joined?
Jolie: It’s amazing. I’ve never been around people so…authentic before. Everyone down there says what they actually mean. It’s weird and a little unsetling, but cool. There’s still some tension with me being the daughter of the almighty Reginald Benoit and all, but I’ll win them over. Eventually. But I love the work that they do. That we do now.
So, Wesley of the Divine Tongue, has the nickname caught on yet with your friends?
Hauk: Nobody, uh, knows about that one. Please keep it that way.
Jolie: Aww… I think it’d catch on like crazy-pants.
Hauk: And crazy pants should never catch on.
Hauk, I know that you can sense danger when something’s currently or going to happen. Has your pain-dar been going off lately?
Hauk: It’s gone off on a couple of missions. Saved my skin last week. Or, at least, probably saved me from a blackout. But nothing out of the ordinary.
Jolie, when Hauk first met you, you were debuting at a burlesque club, do you miss it?
Jolie: Oh, I’m still dancing with Pussy Will-Oh! Catrina, our troupe manager, is in the Underlight, so she’s totally down with my dual membership. We do a bi-monthly spot at the old electric company if you want to come see us. [elbows Hauk] If you’re feeling cheap, you can sneak up to the catwalk above the audience floor where this moocher watches all the shows for free.
Hauk: And a delightful show it is. Although I’m still waiting for Red Hots here to do spinning tassels, but so far she hasn’t gone there. *cough*chicken*cough*
Jolie: That’s Mercy’s specialty. I’d hate to show her up. She might get miffed. [pauses] And yes, I’m kidding, for those who don’t know me.
Alright guys it was fun having you here to chat with us. Do you have any parting words for your readers?
Jolie: I’m looking forward to more adventures with Hauk. If you want to follow along, I recommend starting at the beginning, How Beauty Met the Beast.
Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She's always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.