I decided to give this one a go simple because of the fact that it was based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, which hands down is my favorite of them all. I hadn’t read the first book in the series, nor anything by the author, so I went in blind and was hooked from the first page and found that I had very difficult time putting it down. I was absolutely intrigued by both Nero and Phoebe and enjoyed watching as they got under each others skins, stripped each other bare and forced the other to take a good, hard look at what their truths really were.
The description of Nero in the synopsis is perfect Damaged. Bastard. Beast. and I absolutely adored the bastard that Nero was. I did. I know most hated him instantly, but not me. Nope. That was the hook. I loved how he owned the asshat he was and didn’t apologize for it. But I also loved watching as his well construction kevlar armor started to crumble and revealed the heart that he so desperately wanted to believe was dead, only to find that it wasn’t as black as he thought it was. And to find out what formed him into the beast was heartbreaking.
Phoebe Uptight. Misunderstood. Engaged and all three descriptions were of her own making. This is how she describes herself and yet there is so much more to her. I loved how controlled she was, the facade she presented to the world was amazing. Her strength of will was insane, some may have seen a doormat, I didn’t. I saw a woman who had a goal and worked it. But the fire that lay underneath, once unleashed, only made her that much stronger and I loved how she embraced it.
Nero and Phoebe’s journey was erotic romance with a bit of dark rolled in it and it just worked for me because they were so evenly matched. While Nero was big, bold and in your face, Phoebe was slow, subtle and a hit you when you least expected it. The force of their personalities made it so neither one could be ignored and that lead to so many truths being exposed and dealt with, sometimes painfully, but dealt with.
This can be read as a standalone since it’s a character driven story and while there are references to Nero’s family, they don’t play a major role in anything that happens. This retelling was a fun, quick and smexy read that hooked me from the start and I found the ending more than satisfying.
~ Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley ~
Dark, tortured, and intimidating, these dominant billionaires will steal their innocent heroines' breath away. Overwhelmed by their desire to control their world, they push their heroines to explore their deepest desires. But even the most unworldly of heroines can unlock these billionaires' secrets.
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.
Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who've just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.
She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.