Title: A Cruel Kind of Beautiful

Author: Michelle Hazen

Release Date: December 4, 2017

Publisher: Self-published

Series: Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Page Count: 344


If you can’t get to the Big O, can you get to the happily ever after? 

Jera McKnight loves music, swoons for hot guys, but sucks at sex. Jacob Tate is her perfect storm: a pun-loving nude model with a heart as big as his record collection.

When a newspaper-delivery accident lands him in her living room, he’s almost tempting enough to make her forget she’s never been able to please a man—in bed or out of it. Sure, he laughs at her obscure jokes, and he’ll even accept a PG-rating if it means he gets time with her, but he’s also hiding something. And it has everything to do with the off-limits room in his apartment.

Jera pours all her confusion and longing into her drum kit, which pays off when her band lands the record deal of their dreams. Except just like Jacob, it might be too good to come without a catch.

She doesn’t know if her music is good enough to attract a better contract, or if she’s enough to tempt a man like Jacob to give up his secrets, even if they could fix her problems between the sheets. But if this rocker girl is too afraid to bet on herself, she might just end up playing to an empty house.

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Copyright © 2017 Michelle Hazen

This is the playlist I created for the optimal listening experience while reading A Cruel Kind of Beautiful. Most of these songs I chose because they fit the mood of the chapter. If there’s something special about them, I added a little note to share the behind-the-scenes fun with you. Not every chapter has a song, sorry!

Ch 5: The Compliment of Gluten-Free Soup: Friend is a Four Letter Word by Cake

Ch 10: Ice Cream Sundays: Norwegian Wood by The Beatles. Something by The Beatles = These are the songs Jera and Jacob listen to in this chapter.

Ch 12: Ten Thousand Hours (The Red Letters concert) 10,000 Hands by Macklemore, On the Move by The Record Company and then On the Ground by The Record Company. = This is as close as you can get to the energy of a The Red Letters show without me actually breathing them into life. Plus, the Macklemore song is the one Jax listens to on Jera’s earbuds before the show. Macklemore is a fellow indie musician from the Pacific Northwest so he’s a favorite of theirs.

Ch 13 Cruel Kind of Beautiful: Calvin Harris “I feel so close to you right now” =I had this song on repeat when I was writing the dancing in this scene.

“Rosie’s Lullaby” by Norah Jones = This captures the exact feeling of ummmm…a special something that happens between Jacob and Jera in this chapter.

Ch 14 Raccoon Gnawed Romance: Thinking About You by Norah Jones

Ch 15 Buying Local: Have a Cigar by Pink Floyd, Jimmy Iovine by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis = Both these songs heavily influenced the professional dynamics of this chapter.

Ch 16 – Surprise: Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.

Ch 17 Terrible Brilliance: Slow it Down by the Lumineers, because it captures the mood just right.

Ch 19 Forbidden Fruit: I’m Too Sexy for My Shirt by Right Said Fred. I feel, with Jacob in the picture, this song requires no explanation.

Ch 21 Making My List – The Ballad of Larry Webb, JJ Gray and Mofro For the line, “You know it’s not a shame. To be loved in this life. Any love in this life.”

Ch 22 Leaping Blind- Soulfight, by The Revivalists. Because in this chapter, Jera’s “taking care of soulfight” which I interpret to mean standing up for the truth of what you’re passionate about.

Ch 23 Permanent Ink- 10 Lovers by The Black Keys = For the line, “We might break instead of bend.”

Ch 25 Running Backwards: Say something by Sam Smith. For the line “Say something, I’m giving up on you.”

Ch 30 Happy Endings: Seeing is Believing by Blind Pilot. It’s a song all about the strange ways life brings you exactly what you need. “This life is going to make you believe…” Yes. For Jera, it really, really did.

“If this is about sex, here’s the thing: I like sex. Every kind of sex. And I can make it unbelievably good for you.” He says it without a hint of a blush, and no trace of arrogance. The temperature of my skin rockets up.

I swallow to combat my suddenly dry mouth. I really, really want to roll him on top of me and forget that no matter how hot he makes me, I’ll be left panting and straining and unfulfilled at the end.

I want to pretend I don’t know better.

“This isn’t a romance novel,” I tell Jacob. “It doesn’t work like that. You can’t just put on some Barry Manilow and call it making love, and be so gentle with me that my head explodes into a rain of fireworks. I tried all that, and it sucked.”

I push up to sitting, my eyes darting away from him as I rub one hand down my opposite arm. I hate how ugly it makes me feel to talk about this stuff.

“No matter how excited I get, I can’t finish. My ex tried to help me get over it, and it only made the whole thing worse for both of us.”

“Look, I get that. I listened to that shitty voicemail he left you. But it doesn’t have to go that way, Jera. Did you know that seventy-five percent of women have trouble experiencing orgasm through vaginal sex? Only fifteen percent of women have the same trouble once additional stimulation is provided.” He sits up too. “Have you tried toys? Even just a little booster like a vibrating cock ring? What about fetishes?”

I blink, at a loss.

“Fetishes can be really unique, and they are often biologically based,” he explains. “Not linked to trauma or anything weird. They’re incredibly powerful. You could have an insane gummy bear fetish or something and just have no idea that’s what you need to get excited. Have you read much erotica?”

My cheeks burn and if my mouth isn’t hanging open, it’s only because I’m too shocked to move.

“I might have done some research,” he admits.

“Oh really? I thought I accidentally hit play on my Sexual Dysfunction for Dummies audiobook. How are you not blushing right now?”

“I like talking about sex.” He shrugs. “And it’s important to you. Of course I want to know as much as I can. Besides, I’m an engineering major. Taking things apart and figuring out how they work is kind of what we do.”

That pulls a reluctant smile from me, because that is insanely nerdy but also sweet, and more than a little embarrassing. I don’t even want to see all the ways I’ve besmirched his browser history.

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About Michelle Hazen:

Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. As a result, she wrote most of her books with solar power in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, a golf cart in a sandstorm, and a beach in Honduras. Currently, she’s addicted to The Walking Dead, hiking, and Tillamook cheese.

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