Review: Make you Mine (Nine Circles #2) by Jackie Ashenden

Title: Make you Mine
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 5/5/15
Length:   278 Pages
Series:  Nine Circles #2

Overview

In the Nine Circles Club, one lucky man gets more than his share of money, power, and women—until he meets a beautiful opponent who plays in the name of love…in Make You Mine by Jackie Ashenden.
He’s raising the stakes.
International playboy Alex St. James always plays to win. Whether it’s betting on a high-stakes card game—or bedding a high-class socialite—the gorgeous world-class gambler knows how to beat the odds using his brains, his body, and a whole lot of charm. But there’s one woman who’s immune to Alex’s bag of tricks—which makes her the perfect challenge…and the ultimate prize.
She’s going all in.
Once a special operative in her native Russia, Katya Ivanov knows what kind of man Alex is. As his personal bodyguard, she’s seen him seduce the richest women, place the riskiest bets, and break the hardest players. But to even a score from her past, she’s willing to take a gamble on her reckless boss. Even if she has to pretend to be his lover. Even if he drives her mad with desire. And then she never wants this dangerous game to end…

My Thoughts

I’m really enjoying this series – i think the fact that there’s this bigger story that seems to be woven throughout each installment so far makes it that much more engaging.

So we had the first book with Gabriel and Honor – and we saw how their relationship had the potential to make Gabe’s world explode since Honor is his best friend Alex’s sister – yet we see that maybe it’s ok right?

So in this 2nd book, it’s about Alex, and his quest to find out the link of who Gabriel’s father is since it’s not their stepfather, while fighting demons of his own.  The journey that we go on shows us quite about of what happened to Alex nineteen years ago, and a lot about who he is now and why.

As expected, things get interesting when we learn more about his bodyguard – a woman who appeared in the first book – an attractive Russian woman who was special forces and has the ability to disarm Alex with a look.  You know it’ll inevitably lead to chemistry right?

When Alex has to go to Monaco to play in an exclusive poker tournament that’s run by Conrad – the demon from his past and potentially a link to his father  – we see things get interesting.  There’s clearly more to the game than meets the eye since Alex realizes that it’s not Poker exactly that folks are there for.  They aren’t the best players and there are hints of other things that are of interest outside of cards.

All the while, Katya, his bodyguard and the other guys, Gabriel, Zac and Eva try to uncover the links and information – which still seems elusive even at the end of the story.  What’s not escaping us is the chemistry and tension between Alex and Katya and once they start to scratch the surface – everything erupts.

Katya plays the role of girlfriend and lover when she’s had no experience at all in that.  She learns a lot about herself and is forced to admit to herself why she’s been so stoic and hard through out her entire life – all because of the emotions  that Alex brings out.  What it leads to is uncharted territory for the two of them, and it’s only when one is shot and ends up on the edge of death that things are finally realized.

The great continuation that we are taken with this story is that there’s a video that’s being used as blackmail against Alex and while he uses a facade of not caring, we know there’s more to it than that, and it’s Eva that we learn who may be able to decipher it all.

So true to Jackie Ashenden’s style, we not only get a book with a compelling plot, but one that’s so hot and steamy that you can’t help but to get engrossed in.  The way that she writes the need for control and ownership, dominance etc from Alex is incredibly hot.  The way that we see Katya fight giving up control and letting Alex lead is also really compelling.  I can’t wait to see what’s next since there’s clearly something between Eva and Zac and it has to come out in the next book.  Enjoy!

Review: Mine To Take (Nine Circles #1) by Jackie Ashenden

Title: Mine to Take
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 11/25/14
Length:   384 Pages
Series:  Nine Circles #1

Overview

First in a brand new series by Jackie Ashenden featuring the members of the Nine Circles Club—friends bound together by power, secrets, need…and the love they will find and stop at nothing to keep.
Passion always comes at a price.
Gabriel Woolf is unstoppable. A ruthless businessman, he has perfected the art of revenge. Ever since his mother’s death, Gabriel has harbored only one wish: To take down the man who ruined their lives. But all bets are off when he meets his father’s step daughter, Honor St. James. Beautiful and innocent, she is everything Gabriel never knew he wanted—and now there’s no turning back…

Is her desire worth the risk?
Honor wasn’t born yesterday. She knows that Gabriel is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, willing to cross any line to get what he wants…herself included. But Gabriel’s passion for Honor—in spite of her connection to the man he hates the most—cannot be denied…and the feeling is utterly mutual. Can Gabriel be trusted? The only thing she knows for sure is how he makes her feel. And she can’t keep herself from coming back to him, over and over again…in Mine to Take.

My Thoughts

As you can tell, lately Jackie Ashenden has become a favorite of mine since i’ve read a bunch of her series (thank you Netgalley for the intro).  So i tracked down this series that’s been around for a while just not on my radar.  And it’s good.

What we have here is the first installment to a new series around the premise of a group of Billionaires that consider themselves more family than just friends, and what brings them together is not just business, but similar backgrounds, pasts that haunt them and a need to do right in the world.

This book takes us on the journey of Gabriel who’s out for vengeance on the man who raped his mother and is therefore his father.  He’s got information leading him to the man, and now he’s going to not only take him down, but make him regret his whole life.  The challenge of course is that the man is his friend Alex’s step father and Alex has a sister who’s tied up in the business that Gabe wants to ruin.  meaning, collateral damage.

The sister – Honor – well she of course makes things more complicated.  We all know from the way that all stories are told is that when there’s a girl in the mix, well you know that there will be manipulation from Gabriel to get what he wants but of course there will be feelings and emotion since she’ll get under his skin – making the end game more compelling.

Honor fights him every step of the way – she wants to save her step father’s business and she wants to save her own business since she’s invested in him.  And when Gabe offers a solution, she’s willing to jump through hoops to secure his investment, even if it means pushing herself to places and points that are uncomfortable.

The way that Ms Ashenden writes this story is really compelling.  (yes i’ve used that word already).  The relationship and dynamic between Honor and Gabe is intense and we see how his need to control takes Honor to places she can’t imagine.  There’s also the challenge of the point that Honor is Alex’s sister and so the secrets that develop making for so much more anxiety.

Where this story takes us is a point of real confusion since there are so many more secrets that we couldn’t even expect – that we couldn’t put together already that even though we get resolution of sorts to things, there are so many more surprises that just carry us to the need to read the next book.  which i’m about to do.

So all in all, lots of great intrigue in the story itself and the sceneing between Gabriel and Honor make the heat and passion leap off the pages.  Definitely a great introduction to the series and i can’t wait to see where we go from there. There are 3 others in the Circle and i know that their stories have to be as exciting.  enjoy!

Review: The Dangerous Billionaire (The Tate Brothers #1) by Jackie Ashenden

Title: Dangerous Billionaire
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 5/2/17
Length:   368 Pages
Series:  The Tate Brothers #1

Overview

Money doesn’t always change the man in The Dangerous Billionaire, a new standalone romance from Jackie Ashenden.

Navy SEAL Sullivan “Van” Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.

“Sinfully sexy.”–Opal Carew on Mine to Take

Nothing about Sullivan “Van” Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van’s most dangerous desires.

Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company. Tall, dark, and muscled, he’s the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?

Money doesn’t always change the man in The Dangerous Billionaire, a new standalone romance from Jackie Ashenden.

Navy SEAL Sullivan “Van” Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.

“Sinfully sexy.”–Opal Carew on Mine to Take

Nothing about Sullivan “Van” Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van’s most dangerous desires.

Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company. Tall, dark, and muscled, he’s the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?

My Thoughts

This first introduction to our new series is a great one.  We knew of the De Santis family from another of Ms Ashenden’s series and it’s all coming full circle so that we can see how another family is tied to them and it’s interesting.  It’s just following the death of Noah Tate, the patriarch of the Tate family and we’re learning more and more about how he grew his business and what it means for his kids now that he’s died.

This story is really based in trying to understand what this family really is made of since the 3 sons are adopted and there’s one daughter who’s got more secrets that she’s not even in on – than anyone else.  When the sons get letters from the father detailing various things that’s personal to each, we see that there’s shock and awe.  Van is left all of the Tate fortune as he is the heir – left to run the business and the ranch that his sister has come to live on and love.  She’s always thought that the ranch would be hers and when she learns that it’s not the case – things get tricky.

Then there’s the sister Chloe – she’s had it tough.  the only girl in a family of foster sons.  A girl who’s grown up being overly protected since her father’s business brings along enemies.  She’s also got this tough relationship with her father that means that she was constantly let down by him and his broken promises so she’s in a tough place when he dies.

When Van learns the secrets about Chloe that she doesn’t even know, that Noah isn’t her true father be Cesare De Santis is, he’s asked to protect her and keep her alive since we know that Cesare will come after her for all that she’s potentially worth.

The journey of this story is trying to outrun Cesare since he seems very motivated to get to Chloe for reasons not fully known.  We also see that in this story, the childhood crush that Chloe had on Van still lingers, and Van protecting her makes that relationship change into something that could be interesting yet so so bad.

True to the nature of Ms Ashenden, we have a really sweet story of protection since that’s kind of the lingering theme across all her stories.  There’s so much machismo since the brothers are all military, and while 2 of them really don’t seem to thaw even around their sister, it’s Van’s ability to open up that makes is even more interesting.  The way that their relationship shapes and changes is such a natural progression even with the necessary bonehead moves by Van in the midst of things.

We’re left in a place where we know that someone’s going to be broken hearted and perhaps even more threats will be waged.  At least we know that the story continues since Lucas and Wolf have their stories as well.  maybe we’ll learn how Noah died since i think there’s more to the story than we know.  Enjoy!

ARC Review: The Billionaire Beast (Billionaire Fairytales #2) by Jackie Ashenden

no-brainer

Title: The Billionaire Beaste
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 3/7/17
Length:   198 Pages
Series:  Billionaire Fairytales #2

Overview

Nero de Santis: Damaged. Bastard. Beast.

Nero hasn’t left his house in ten years. He demands the world come to him, and the world is only too happy to bend to the strong-willed billionaire.

Ruthless, cold, and selfish, Nero wants for nothing and takes care of no one but himself. His last handful of assistants have left his house in tears, but the prim redhead applying for the job looks up to the task. Nero has spent his life shut within the walls he built, with no care to have more than a window to the outside world. But the fiery passion he senses beneath his reserved assistant’s exterior makes him want to break down the barriers he lives behind, and unleash the beast within.

Phoebe Taylor: Uptight. Misunderstood. Engaged.

Phoebe needs the obscene amount of money that comes with being Nero’s personal assistant for one thing, and one thing only—to pay for the mounting hospital costs that her fiancee’s two-year coma continues to incur. She’s heard rumors that the de Santis beast is a force that cannot be tamed—but even she isn’t prepared to handle the smoldering intensity simmering beneath his hard shell of feral dominance.

Nero is hiding something, something he is fighting with every step he takes. Yet he can’t help but stake his claim on this woman who has shaken up his life, and Phoebe can’t believe this animal of a man is the one person to ever look into her eyes and see her soul. Nero wants to keep her. He wants to devour her. And Phoebe just might let him.

My Thoughts

First off i should thank the folks at Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for sending me this advance copy since i’m really a fan both of this author and a lot of what comes from the publisher.  Anyhow, you’ll remember that we began our journey with this family – the de Santis when we met Laurent in the first book – when he saved a girl Cinderella style from being homeless and bringing her into a life of stability, wealth and love.  This 2nd book gives us more of the Beauty and the Beast aspect as the title suggests.

So we have Nero, the son that no one knew about for a while – or did they?  He had a very interesting life up until he was about 15, and that’s shaped the man that we know now.  He lived in a 5×6 room for 10 years, his mother hid him from his violent stepfather (or did she), and because of that, he’s got this insane fear of being outside and in the public.  He’s therefore closed himself off in 2-3 rooms in his HUGE house in new york city, and it’s turned him into a demanding person/employer and that’s where Phoebe comes in.

Phoebe is a Brit who’s moved to new york with her fiance, a man who we learn is in a coma as a result of a car accident 2 years prior.  Caring for him has become her life as she’s devoted all her time and money to ensuring that he’s got the best care in the hopes that perhaps he’ll wake up.  this is what leads her to Nero and that’s where our story goes.

Throughout this story we see two really broken people come together in a way that’s expected but sweet.  Aside from what Phoebe’s going through now, her past isn’t that great either as we learn about her sister and parents, so it’s not surprising that she and Nero find that they’ve got something complex together.

Nero’s demanding ways shows us that he’s going to have some type of controlling passion that will be unleashed, and Phoebe’s insane calm and innocence means that we’re going to see Nero’s alpha dominance bring out a side of her that’s so sexual that she never expected it.

What we get is Phoebe learning more and more about herself and how to pleasure not only Nero but herself too.  Nero as a result starts to come out of his shell a bit and not just open up to things that he’s terrified of, but to her too.  It’s sweet and hot all at the same time.

It’s when secrets of his past are finally uncovered and Phoebe’s forced to face a change in the situation with her fiance that we finally get resolution here and all in all it’s nicely sorted out.  It’s such a sweet and intense story all that the same time and i can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.  Have a great day all!