The Big, Bad Billionaire: A Billionaire Romance

The Big, Bad Billionaire: A Billionaire Romance

by Jackie Ashenden

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250136787
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/21/2017
Series: The Billionaire Fairy Tales , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 14,260
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids and two cats. 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. Her books include Hollywood Blackmail, In Bed with the Billionaire, Kidnapped by the Billionaire, and Make you Mine.

Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr. Jax, and their two kids and two cats. 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.

Jackie writes dark, sexy contemporary romance for St Martin’s Press, the titles Mine To Take, Make You Mine, and You Are Mine.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Rafael de Santis had never been a good man. On the outside he was the perfect son, managing the PR side of DS Corp, the biggest weapons and security company in the States, with a light, deft touch. Charming to all who met him. Handsome and smiling and polite.

Yes, on the outside he was the perfect de Santis prince.

But he knew what he was on the inside, and on the inside he was a wolf. Dark and hungry, the perfect predator.

It amused him that no one seemed to see the wolf behind all that perfection, though that had turned out to be a very good thing. Because if they had, he wouldn't have been able to take over as CEO of DS Corp after secretly engineering his rich and powerful father's downfall. No, they would have seen Rafe for what he was and would have tried to protect the old bastard from him.

Yet no one had. Not his older brother Lorenzo, who'd taken the bait Rafe had helpfully fed him and had had his father investigated on suspicions that the old prick was embezzling funds. Not Nero, his half-brother, whose tech genius had helped track down and get the evidence they needed to bring their bastard father down. Certainly not Xavier, his youngest brother, who was now living in blissful ignorance along with his wife on a ranch in Wyoming.

No one.

It had been the coup of the century, or at least the coup he'd been planning for a good five years. Taking back from his father everything that he'd been denied.

Except, not quite everything.

There was one thing he still wanted. One thing he'd been promised a long time ago, only to have it be taken away from him. Because he was "dangerous," they said. "Too volatile," they said. "A risk to everyone and everything."

Fucking idiots. As if he'd forget that they'd sent him away, his mother and father who couldn't be bothered to deal with him. Who'd banished him to his paternal grandfather's for five years in order to "learn some discipline."

Well, he'd learned. He'd learned a lot. All about what had been denied him and what he was owed. All the things he was going to take back.

Starting right now.

"Stop here, Clive," he murmured to his driver.

"Yes, Mr. de Santis." His chauffeur obediently pulled the limo up to the curb and parked.

"Keep the engine running." He didn't want this particular quarry getting away from him if she chose to run. Not that she could get far. Physically sure, but that wouldn't last long. Not when she found out that he was now in control of just about every aspect of her life.

Really, it had worked out perfectly. Like all his plans did.

Outside the car, it was late winter and snowing miserably, little flakes settling on the dirty Hell's Kitchen sidewalk. The building he'd had Clive park in front of was just as dirty and as unkempt, paint peeling from the walls, a couple of windows cracked. There were some homeless people huddling against Dumpsters on the curb, trying to get a little more shelter.

Rafe grimaced. This wasn't the most salubrious of neighborhoods. Clearly he was going to have to have a word with her about visiting it. Get her some bodyguards. Or better yet, she really didn't have to come here at all.

Yes, that was a better idea. She'd see the wisdom of it, he had no doubt. Most people understood and agreed when he explained things to them. Very rarely did they argue with him, and when they did, he soon made them see the error of their ways. Pleasantly and with a smile, of course. Always with a smile.

The door of the building opened abruptly and a woman came out.

She was very small, very slender. Very delicate. She was swathed in a heavy black wool coat, her legs covered in blue denim, a red scarf wound around her neck. Her blonde hair was coiled tightly in a neat little bun, a rich gold against the red of her scarf, bright as coins. Lying across one arm was another splash of vivid red, a cloak of some sort by the looks of things.

Rafe smiled.

Ella Hart, the daughter of one of his father's oldest friends. Twenty years old and a dancer with a minor New York dance company, she was small and precise and utterly lovely.

She was also the second thing he wanted most in the entire world.

His parents and hers had been good friends once, and when the Harts visited the de Santis household, Rafe often found himself being followed around by a bright, inquisitive two-year-old girl. In fact, it happened so frequently his father often jokingly told him to watch out when she grew up, because that was his future wife.

Rafe had never minded. He thought she was sweet. Ella had never thought of him as the middle child and not as interesting as his oldest brother, or as immediately charming as his youngest. For some reason she just liked him, holding out her chubby arms whenever she saw him.

Until his fourteenth birthday. When the emotions he could never seem to control got the better of it him and he lost it, punching a hole in the wall of the dining room. He couldn't even remember what he'd been so angry about, only that he'd been brightly, incandescently full of rage and it had to come out somehow. Ella had been there and had burst into tears, and everyone had come running, thinking that he'd hurt her somehow.

He hadn't, of course, but Ella had been stopped from visiting him after that and he'd been sent to his grandfather's. He hadn't returned to New York until he was nineteen, and by then he'd learned how to control those overwhelming emotional storms. How to smile and be polite. How to sit still and do what he was told. How to wait and to plan and to manipulate. He knew who his enemies were now, and like his grandfather had drummed into him, all he had to do was be patient and it would come to him. Everything he wanted would all come to him.

Except Ella hadn't. When her parents came to visit, she was never with them, and when he'd asked her mother why, she'd merely replied with some such bullshit about Ella being too young for social gatherings. Or she was tired. Or she had schoolwork to do. There was always some excuse.

No one ever told him the truth, though he knew the real reason all the same. They didn't want her to see him because they thought he was dangerous.

For years he'd accepted that, because he had no choice. Tried to forget about the only person who'd ever liked him for who he was, even though she was only a little girl. But even so, she'd lodged in his brain and he couldn't seem to get rid of her.

Then things changed after her parents died unexpectedly within weeks of each other, and his own father had been appointed her guardian. And although she didn't come to live in the de Santis household since she had a grandmother who was looking after her, she did make the odd social visit.

Except, she wasn't the same bright, sparky little girl that he remembered. At thirteen, she was pale and anxious-looking, wouldn't look at him when he tried to talk to her, wouldn't respond to any of his questions. In fact she seemed to be hugely uncomfortable in his presence, as if she couldn't wait to get away from him.

He'd tried to connect with her a number of times after that, tried to be charming, using all his newfound people skills to get her to open up, but she never did. It only seemed to make her more uncomfortable, which unfortunately only made him want to push harder, and so for both their sakes, he'd left her alone.

At least until his father had attended one of her recitals and he'd gone along as the dutiful son, expecting to be bored of his mind since he'd never much like ballet.

Yet he hadn't been bored. In fact, from the moment she'd stepped out on stage, he'd been captivated. She wasn't anxious or pale or quiet, the way she always was around him. No, she was passionate and intense. Joyful and free. Powerful and strong, and at the same time, precise, graceful, and perfectly controlled.

He hadn't been able to look away.

He'd gone to every one of her performances after that. Every single one. He'd always hated sitting still and he always had to make a conscious effort to do so, but when he watched her dance it was as if the thing inside him that was always in constant motion, always turning, always moving, finally stopped. Finally rested. He never had to work at sitting still when he watched her dance. It came naturally. More, he wanted to.

It had been when she was eighteen and he was watching her perform in Romeo and Juliet that things changed. The male dancer who'd been Romeo had taken her in his arms and there had been passion in every single one of his movements, in her too. There had also been a bed, and a kiss and ... something inside of Rafe had suddenly become aware.

Aware of her lithe, slender body. Her long legs and graceful arms. Her small, high breasts. The supple muscularity of her.

She wasn't a girl. She was a woman.

He'd always felt drawn to her, even when she'd been a little kid. She'd been the only person who never been afraid of him, who'd simply liked being with him, and when he watched her dance, she stilled the restlessness inside. Made him feel at peace.

But it was in that moment, where he saw her as the woman she was, not the child he'd once known, where everything had crystallized for him.

He wanted her. He wanted her to be his.

He'd gone to his father that night to ask permission to court her, because as her guardian his father had the power to make things difficult for both of them.

Yet his father had refused. Ella's own father's dying wish was that Rafe stay away from her, and Cesare was determined to make sure that happened. Nothing Rafe said could make the old prick change his mind. Cesare had even gone so far as to say that if Rafe came anywhere near her, it wouldn't be Rafe who would suffer, it would be Ella.

He'd had to keep his distance from her after that. Had to bury his fury, pretend it didn't matter.

He continued to attend her performances however, and as time passed, he did what his grandfather told him to do. He watched. He waited. And he planned.

Ella would be his. She would not be denied him. All he had to do was wait for his moment.

In the meantime he saw her at family gatherings, trying every so often to draw her into conversation. But it didn't work. For some reason she avoided him like the plague. Which only made him more determined since it was clear to him that they'd turned her against him somehow.

He would change that. He'd turn her back. He had to.

Perhaps even today, if he was lucky.

Ella didn't see the car — or if she did, she paid it no attention — as she turned and began to walk down the street.

"Slowly beside her, please Clive," Rafe murmured.

His driver nodded and the limo began to glide along the curb, keeping pace with her steps.

Rafe leaned forward and pressed a button. The window lowered. "Miss Ella Hart," he said conversationally as she walked. "Fancy meeting you here."

She flicked a glance at him, gray eyes like quicksilver in the winter light, but she didn't stop. "No, thank you."

"Really? You're going to pretend you don't know me? I'm wounded."

"You're not wounded." She didn't even glance this time, her attention resolutely ahead, continuing to walk as if there wasn't a long black limo keeping pace with her like a shark swimming close to the shoreline.

He laughed, a thrill shooting down his spine. She was treating him with the same distance she always did, cautious little thing that she was, but unluckily for her, it wasn't going to work this time. He was done with distance. The time for that was at an end, and the sooner she knew that the better. Though, if he was honest with himself, he wouldn't mind if she continued to resist. He'd always rather liked the chase.

"I am. Seriously. Especially when we've known each other ... what? Eighteen years?"

Ella stopped, straight-backed and slim like the dancer she was, and turned to face the limo. Clive, who was very, very good at what he did, braked right on cue.

"What do you want, Rafael?" Her porcelain doll features were arranged in an expression of polite, if slightly exasperated, enquiry.

She never called him Rafe, the way everyone else did. She always called him Rafael. So scrupulously polite and reserved, keeping that very measured distance between them.

He almost smiled. She wasn't going to be happy when he showed her he wasn't going to allow her to do that anymore, that was for sure.

"'Rafael,'" he echoed, mimicking her. "So formal. You used to call me Wafe when you were two. I liked Wafe."

She glanced away, obviously not liking the reminder. "Like I said, what do you want?"

"What makes you think I want anything?" He leaned one elbow on the window frame, watching her. "Maybe I just want to observe you leaving your dance rehearsal."

If she was surprised that he'd known where she'd been, she didn't show it. "That would make you creepy."

He let his mouth curve. "I'm already creepy."

"Hey, I didn't say it." She began to turn away.

"Ella." He didn't raise his voice, but he said her name like he was tasting it, watching the way she stilled in response. Which was interesting.

"What?" She had her back to him, her shoulders gone tight.

Well, he'd always known she was uncomfortable around him. Sadly for her she was about to get a whole lot more uncomfortable.

"I need to talk to you," he said. "Now is good."

She didn't turn. "About what?"

"Not here on the street. It's too cold." He pulled the door handle and pushed open the limo door. "Get in the car, where it's warmer." Not that warmth was going to make what he had to say any easier, but hey, it was the thought that counted.

Her shoulders remained stiff. "I have to get home, sorry."

Of course she was wary. And she should be. He wasn't here to be her friend the way he had been when she'd been a child. No, he had a plan he'd put into motion and now that plan had come to fruition, and it definitely wasn't friendship he wanted from her. Not anymore.

"Hmmm," he murmured. "Are you sure you need to get home? I guess you do if you're worried about all those emails you sent my father." He sighed. "So many emails and not a single reply. ..."

She'd gone motionless. Like a deer scenting the presence of a predator. How very apt.

"Now, I could tell you what happened to all those emails," he went on, because he had her and they both knew it, "but only if you get into the car. Of course, if you have something better to do ..."

Slowly, Ella turned around. There was a crease between her brows, suspicion glittering in her eyes. "What do you know about those emails?" He shook his head. "Oh no. Get in the car and I'll tell you."

"No." She lifted her chin in a sudden show of defiance. "Tell me now."

But it was too late for that. Far, far too late.

Rafe reached for the door handle and took hold of it. "I know what you want, Ella. I know about Paris. I know about the summer intensive at the Paris Conservatory of Dance." He paused, holding her gaze. "I know you want to go. Desperately."

She'd gone pale. "But ... I sent those to your father. How do you know about them?"

Poor thing. This was going to come as a hell of a shock. He almost felt sorry for her. Or at least if sympathy was an emotion he allowed himself, and since it wasn't, he didn't.

"As I'm sure you're aware, my father had to step down as CEO of DS Corp for ... health reasons. I'm afraid he's also had to step down from a number of other responsibilities as well. Namely, being your guardian."

Her eyes went wide. "No, that can't be right. My lawyers would have said something to me and I haven't —"

"They would have said something to you if I'd let them. But I didn't let them. I thought you'd rather hear the news from me personally."

Her pale, elegant throat moved. "Wh-What news?"

Red Riding Hood? It was time to meet the Big Bad Wolf.

"What news?" he echoed, and this time when he smiled, he allowed himself to show a little teeth. "The news that I'm your new guardian, of course."

*
Ella stared into the mesmerizing silver blue gaze of the man in the limo, and felt her blood run cold.

It couldn't be true. It couldn't possibly be true. Rafael de Santis could not be her guardian. It was ridiculous. When her father had discovered that he had terminal cancer when she was only thirteen, he'd entrusted her guardianship to Cesare de Santis, not to Cesare's son. Not to Rafael, whom her parents had told her to stay away from because he was so volatile and dangerous, and definitely not to be trusted.

"No," she said, because she could think of nothing else. "That's not possible."

Rafael merely gave her that white, wolfish smile. "I'm afraid it is. So, do you still have somewhere else to go? Or perhaps you're ready to get into the car and talk now."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Big Bad Billionaire"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jackie Ashenden.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Big, Bad Billionaire: A Billionaire Romance 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I liked it this story its different from what I thought it would be. I enjoyed it and recommend it for a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Not good. I didn't care for this book. First of all, the heroine is 20 years old and lives with her grandma. I really like my heroines to be older than that. One minute she's acting like a brat, the next she's doling out life advice. Her personality was all over the place. Then, the 'hero' blackmailing her to be with him didn't ring true for me. She gets full control over her money when she's 21. Less than a year, yet she caves in to him? She could've gone to Paris the following year. Also, the hero wants the heroine because she was the only person who was never afraid of him (when she was 2 incidentally). However, he keeps saying "Good, I want her afraid". Well, which is it? It didn't make sense to me. And lastly, the scene when he took her virginity wasn't good for me. That had dubious consent written all over it.
JulieD2 More than 1 year ago
An ok story, I felt it a little rushed though, especially Red's acceptance of Wolf's hot treatment of her seeing as he's her guardian. But apart from that, the story becomes quite an interesting character book and has a good storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story line
belllla More than 1 year ago
3.5stars Familly de Saints has another broken, possessive and domineering hero this time Rafale is going after family friend daughter Ella. This book was for me a drama whit some intense sex and in the end with HEA. But story holds a lot of pain, fear, and tragedy. I didn't understand Ella because in one moment she was so against Rafael but in another, she just surrendered and leave him to control her life. Rafael is an interesting character he did everything to have Ella but in the end, let her go and I think because he was ashamed of himself and wouldn't admit that he needed someone to care about him because until Ella no one truly did.I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
The Big, Bad Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden Billionaire Fairy Tales #4 A book you will love or hate…and so say the reviews. At first I felt that Rafe was a manipulative jerk that wanted what he wanted and would do anything to get it…no matter what. Setting his eyes on Ella and pushing her into spending time with him seemed wrong in many ways BUT as I got to know Rafe and how he had been raised his behavior did make more sense. There was an age gap between Rafe and Ella of about twelve years. I don’t find that so great except that Ella at twenty was rather naïve, sheltered and anxious so a stronger more dominant older male might not have been the best partner for her…though the book does work and the two do bring peace to one another once they get things worked out. I felt so sorry for both Rafe and Ella. There were traumas in their lives neither really deserved. There are no doubt people who live such lives but reading about them is not always easy. The issues that might bother some are not easily shared without giving away a significant portion of at least one backstory so…just be warned this is dark and there might be issues for some of you considering reading this book. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Swerve for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
The Big, Bad Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden Billionaire Fairy Tales #4 A book you will love or hate…and so say the reviews. At first I felt that Rafe was a manipulative jerk that wanted what he wanted and would do anything to get it…no matter what. Setting his eyes on Ella and pushing her into spending time with him seemed wrong in many ways BUT as I got to know Rafe and how he had been raised his behavior did make more sense. There was an age gap between Rafe and Ella of about twelve years. I don’t find that so great except that Ella at twenty was rather naïve, sheltered and anxious so a stronger more dominant older male might not have been the best partner for her…though the book does work and the two do bring peace to one another once they get things worked out. I felt so sorry for both Rafe and Ella. There were traumas in their lives neither really deserved. There are no doubt people who live such lives but reading about them is not always easy. The issues that might bother some are not easily shared without giving away a significant portion of at least one backstory so…just be warned this is dark and there might be issues for some of you considering reading this book. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Swerve for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars
Pinky1979 Reviews More than 1 year ago
Another De Santis brother, another fairy tale. This time we meet Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. We even have the sick grandmother to make the fairy tale complete. Unlike the fairy tale from our childhood , this one has a Little Red Riding Hood who discovers that maybe being caught by the Big Bad Wolf isn't as bad as she feared and that he may not be as bad as he wants her to believe. All in all, this is a fairy tale that will leave you blushing ;) Rafe De Santis is the middle De Santis brother. After anxiously waiting and planning for many years he has finally gained control of his father's company and is now the CEO of De Santis Co. He may be charming and carefree on the outside, but he is manipulative and dark on the inside. He has had a painful childhood that has shaped him to be the man he is today. A childhood filled with suffering and abuse. And even though he believes that his suffering made him the powerful man that he is, the multitude of scars covering his body tell a different story. He has two goals. One is to gain control of his father's company and the other is to have the woman that he has been told to stay away from. The only person who seemed to never be afraid of him. And even though Ella Hart is no longer that two year old toddler who dogged his every step, Rafe is determined to make her fall in love with him and make her his own. Ella Hart lost both parents one after the other when she was only a teenager. The only person she has now is her old and sick grandmother. A grandmother whom she takes care of. Like her late mother, she is also a ballerina. Her dream is to go to Paris and spend a summer there studying at a dance school. All she has to do now is convince her guardian, Cesare De Santis to give her the funds for the trip. Unbeknownst to her, along with the running of the company, her guardianship has also been transferred to Rafe De Santis. A man that she finds absolutely intimidating. But Rafe has his terms for sending her to Paris. Terms that are beyond her comfort zone. And even though she would be the last to admit it, she is more than a little intrigued by the Big Bad Wolf. Like all of Jackie Ashenden's heroes Rafe is complex, dark but absolutely magnetic. And even though you want to hate him and run away from him as far as possible, you can't help but be drawn to him. His pain is palpable and heart wrenching, but his love and obsession for Ella make him the perfect hero. A perfect read for any romance fan who loves a twist on a classic fairy tale that is a little dark yet highly seductive ;) Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
CrystalsBookWorld More than 1 year ago
I have never really been interested before reading "Naughty Fairytales" until I took a chance and dove right into Jackie Ashenden's Billionaire Fairy Tales series. The Big, Bad Billionaire is a dark and sexy version of Little Red Riding Hood and Rafe is our big bad wolf. Now he has BAD down to the T! It was hard for me to open my heart to him. I know by any means it was not his fault of how he was treated growing into the man he is today. What he needed to do was learn how to let go and move on. But his scars ran deeper than I have seen. This story goes to a dark place and the only light in this story is Red, our lovely Ella. Ella has so many issues to work on her own. Her only escape is to dance. She has bargain with the wolf to get the funds to make her dreams come true. Is it a deal she is willing to give up her soul for? The Big, Bad Billionaire is amazing and had me biting my nails. I have never been so engrossed in a story and captured by the intensity these characters bring. These series exceed my expectations
Jennann3 More than 1 year ago
As a child, Rafe DeSantis had anger issues. He scared most people, but not Ella. Ella was only two years old, but she liked Rafe for who he was. She always had a smile for him and always wanted to be around him, until Rafe lost his temper. Rafe would NEVER hurt Ella, but her family thought he had. So they kept Ella away from Rafe and spoke badly of him. Rafe's punishment....he was shipped off to live with his grandpa. Under his grandpa's care, Rafe learned to control his anger, but it came at a cost. Rafe's grandpa was very abusive. He locked him in a dark cellar, didn't feed him for days, and scarred him with a belt and cigarette burns. Although Rafe attributes his control and success to his grandpa's "teachings", the abuse he suffered truly affected his relationships. Ella, having lost her parents as a teen, also suffered greatly. The only family Ella had left was her grandma, only her grandma wasn't her guardian. Rafe blackmailed his way into Ella's life by becoming her guardian. When Rafe informs her of his new "role" in her life, she's outraged and scared. Her parent's past influence concerning Rafe is all she knows and remembers. So she's scared of him. Rafe realizes this, but vows to change her mind and make her his. While I truly enjoyed this novel, it was a little hard to read topic wise. It's a wonderfully written story, but the abuse Rafe endured was almost too much for me. While I know child abuse occurs, I don't find it entertaining to read. That being said, I did enjoy the story. I received a gifted copy and all opinions stated are my own.
KaliMcQuillen More than 1 year ago
Rafe who is the big, bad wolf who is ruthless in most everything until it comes to Ella. Ella, who is little red riding hood and has the ability to tame the wolf but she doesn't know the power that she actually has over him. Ella quiets the rage inside Rafe and Rafe helps Ella be a stronger person than she thought she was. She thinks Rafe is everything she doesn't want or need in her life and he does everything to show her that he's everything she does need. I loved that Rafe was a little bit ruthless, he made things happen, he was damaged. Ella may have seemed weak but she was a fighter and she was strong. She knew what she wanted, she just had to step up and make it happen. These two complete each other but will they be able to overcome their pasts to make their future hold the love that they could share?
kgagnon More than 1 year ago
This modern twist to the little Red Riding Hood fairy tale was very moving and passionate. Rafe and Ella have had a connection since they were young. When Rafe was sent away because of his emotional issues, Ellas family turned her against him. Now years later, Ella is alone with her guilt over her parents death, taking care of her ailing grandmother. Rafe has learned to live with his faults and is determined to win back the only person who cared for his true self. Ella doesn't remember the good times with Rafe but can't deny the thrill and attraction of this dangerous man pursuing her. I loved the back and forth between both Rafe and Ella. Their banter was their foreplay and their chemistry was explosive. Their history is heartbreaking but they help heal each other and become stronger together. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh, hot & steamy modern fairy tale.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
Rafe’s coup against his rich and powerful father means he’s now in charge of DS Corp. It also means that he’s become the new guardian to Ella Hart, the daughter of one of his father’s oldest friends. Though several years older than 21 year old Ella, she’d been unafraid of him as a toddler when their families would get together until one day his emotional outburst had scared her and he’d been sent away to live with his abusive grandfather. Ella has no memory of Rafe from those early days, just ones later on as a teenager when her parents had died and Rafe’s father had been given guardianship. The brooding and silent Rafe had made her nervous and she’d avoided him when she could. On one occasion Rafe had accompanied his father to see Ella in a ballet recital, and he’d been captivated by the young woman and her talent. Then when she’d been 18, he’d started to see her as a woman, and not just a pretty child. He’d wanted to court her, but his father had refused. Now though, as her guardian, he has a say in her future. Ella wants to go to Paris for a summer intensive, and she needs the permission of her guardian to go. To her shock, Ella finds out that Rafe is now in charge of her future, the one man who both fascinates and scares her. The things he wants from her seem simple – dinner, a night out – but Ella doesn’t trust him, or the intense attraction she feels for him either. Rafe has plans for her future that include him. But will Ella let herself see the real, wounded man behind the wolf’s mask? And can it lead to a happy ever after for them both? The author likes to skirt the edge of dangerous desire in her stories and this one certainly balances on a razor thin margin for a time. Rafe blackmails Ella into doing his bidding with the thing she wants most, the trip to Paris. She can only get it by acquiescing to his demands, which, while not sexual in nature at first, are definitely heading in that direction. Still, even though Rafe is arrogant and sometimes overbearing, he doesn’t push Ella into anything without her full consent, despite his desire to have her in his bed. The result is some exquisite sexual tension that eventually leads to some very steamy scenes. Rafe forces Ella to face some of her fears, and to realize that he can be the antidote to them. He also makes her realize that she has a lot of inner strength and the ability to bring Rafe to his knees if she so desires. A lot of their relationship is give and take as Rafe opens up to Ella and reveals some of his vulnerabilities in return. Rafe has his own deep dark secrets, ways he uses to maintain control for all the times that it was taken away from him as a teenager. The dark side of his personality is something he has to own up to in order to envision a real future with Ella. I really enjoyed how the story unfolded, the revelations that come up one by one, and the searing intensity of the sex scenes. Rafe’s relationship with his three brothers (who all have earlier stories in the series) is complex and there are several scenes that delve into their complicated family dynamics too. The conflict that comes up is one that drives them apart, but they fight their way back to each other to get their well deserved happy ending. I recommend the whole series for those who enjoy romances with blazing sexual tension and dramatic intensity.
gigiluvsbooks2 More than 1 year ago
An intensely sexy Billionaire Fairy Tales standalone novel by Jackie Ashenden that is billionaire romance meets Little Red Riding Hood with a happily ever after. Wicked. Ruthless. Obsessed. Sent away from his family as a boy because he couldn’t be controlled, Rafe DeSantis’s new guardian turned him into a monster. One who wants only two things out of life: To get revenge on the father who destroyed his life. And to possess the woman who was kept from him. Ella Hart has been his obsession for years, and now that he’s her guardian he’s finally in position to black mail her into his bed. And once he has her there? He’s going to eat her up. Innocent. Alone. Hunted. Ella has been living with her grandmother since the death of her parents when she was a child. She’s learned to pour her grief and pain into dance, and it’s become her escape. Her passion. Now she’s set her sights on a prestigious dance school in Paris. But there’s one problem. Ella was so young when her parents died, her money was left in the hands of the DeSantis family…and it’s now controlled by Rafe. A man she’s always found compelling and terrifying at the same time. Rafe offers her an ultimatum: Give herself to him, body and soul, and she’ll get the money she needs. Ella isn’t in a position to refuse, though she tries to resist the sexy billionaire. It feels good, until her heart becomes involved. Does the big bad billionaire want to capture her heart? Or does he only want to own her body? Review: Rafe is definitely the big, bad wolf! Rafe is also definitely a much darker and tortured character compared to his brothers in the other books in the series. He is a "little" obsessed with Ella who he has known since she was not much more than a baby. She is also the only one who seems to be able to calm the beast within Rafe. If you are not into over-the-top alpha males, you might not like this story. I liked it, even with him being high-handed and a little stalker-ish. I think the Author did a good job of explaining his back story and making him more human and likeable. Ella was interesting too, but Rafe is a much more complex character in my opinion. Their overall love story is very compelling and super sexy. The ending was well done and wrapped them up very nicely. If you love a dark, tortured hero in an intense romance, this is a must read. 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
The big bad wolf in this novel is Rafe! Little Red is Ella. Shattered childhoods of Rafe and Ella lead to insecurity, mistrust and fear. Both characters are dark and their joining only amplifies their trigger to run. Revealing the past is the only answer to healing. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirement for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
A twisted and sexy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Rafe DeSantis is definitely a big bad wolf so when he goes to see Ella Hart she knows she should run far and fast. Rafe's obsession with Ella has been going on for years. Now he's in a position as her guardian to demand her attention and show her exactly how he feels about her. Will she see the good in him or will she she the bad he's always known he is?? This may be based on a Fairy Tale but Ella and Rafe's story is no childhood story. It's dark, obsessive, and dirty yet for these two a happily ever afteris within their reach. Definitely a book I recommend.
nelriv More than 1 year ago
Rcvd an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. So we all loce our fairyrales and this one is thewith The big bad wolf (Rafe) and then we have the Little Red who Ella.. which shaped them to who they are today, insecure, mistrustful people. How will they cope, withnit, will they deal with the past? Well you Ned to read, its pretty good.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--THE BIG, BAD BILLIONAIRE is the fourth instalment in Jackie Ashenden’s contemporary adult BILLONAIRE FAIRY TALE erotic, romance series focusing on the DeSantis’s siblings-Xavier, Nero, Raphael, Lorenzo and their sister Olivia. This is thirty two year old CES of DS Corporation Raphael DeSantis, and twenty year old ballerina Ella Hart’s story line. THE BIG, BAD BILLIONAIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual third person perspectives (Rafe and Ella) THE BIG, BAD BILLIONAIRE focuses on the building by acrimonious relationship between twenty year old ballerina Ella Hart, and her guardian, billionaire CEO Raphael ‘Rafe’ Desantis. Eighteen years earlier, a then two year old Ella, adored the man she has now come to hate- a man whose once violent temper forced his father to send Raphael away to teach the young teen a lesson-a lesson that came back with a vengeance as Raphael took control and possession of DS Corp’s CEO. Throughout the years, Rafe never forgot about the young girl who would one day grow into the woman that stole his heart but a series of painful losses found our heroine the soul keeper of her elderly grandmother, as she herself struggled between her head and her heart, and the prospect of dancing in Paris France. When our heroine is accepted into the prestigious European ballet school she is forced to confront the man who now controls all of her money. Enter Rafe DeSantis, Ella’s new guardian and financial controller, and the man with whom Ella will fall in love. What ensues are Rafe’s terms (an manipulation) for funding Ella’s European adventure; the building romance between Ella and Rafe; and the potential fall out as Rafe has yet to come to terms with the demons from his past. THE BIG, BAD BILLIONAIRE is a modern retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD with all of the fairy tale markings including Ella’ bedridden, elderly grandmother, a ballet production of Red Riding Hood, and a hero who considers himself more wolf-like than human. Raphael DeSantis’s brutal and abusive childhood formed the man who would one day take down the father who all but gave up on our story line hero but childhood memories that now control every aspect of his adult life. Rafe and Ella’s fathers were best friends, and as such Rafe was a part of Ella’s early life but our heroine does not remember the good times with the man she would grow to love. The relationship between Ella and Rafe is enemies to lovers; a second chance, or sorts, for two people whose earlier years were destroyed by heartbreak and sorrow, abuse and suffering, loss and revenge. We learn of Rafe’s overwhelming need to rekindle his friendship and relationship with the woman who has now become the focus of his fantasies and dreams; and of Ella’s unresolved and indeterminate hatred for the man she once loved and adored. The $ex scenes are erotic, seductive and intense. The sexual attraction is palpable. THE BIG, BAD BILLIONAIRE is a story of betrayal and trust; redemption and fractured family dynamics; second chances and falling in love. The premise is enchanting and imaginative; the characters are broken and tragic; the romance is dramatic and passionate.
Timitra More than 1 year ago
The Big, Bad Billionaire is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling that follows two characters, Rafe and Ella who are each broken in their own way. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I loved the banter between these two characters as well as the sexual tension. I think the author did a good job creating it, it kept you wanting more but not to the point where it became frustrating. It was done just right. I definitely recommend it to fans of fairytale retellings that are hot dirty. ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley
PennieM More than 1 year ago
Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? This is the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood but in a twisty, sexy, dark and obsessive way. Rafe has wanted Ella for...well for as long as he can remember, and now he has her in his clutches and he is her guardian. Will this allow them their happy ever after or create more problems? This was so good and twisty and dark and yummy! **Received this ARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
AmyBosica More than 1 year ago
“Red Riding Hood? It was time to meet the Big Bad Wolf.” “She understood that there would be nothing “fine” about a kiss. It had ravaged her, destroyed her. Made her realize how unprepared she was for a man like him.” The Big, Bad Billionaire was a lot of fun. I really enjoy modern re-tellings of classic novels & fairy-tales and this one really took me by surprise. I love that this author decided to go a different route and gave us a re-telling that we don’t see too often; Little Red Riding Hood. I was totally intrigued from the moment I read the synopsis and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. The Big, Bad Billionaire is seductive and intriguing. This story sucks you in from page one and keeps you begging for more. I loved the plot and the modern take on this story. I couldn’t have asked for a better wolf in Rafe. He was sexy, broken and determined. He let nothing stay in the way of what he wanted. At the same time, he was complex and complicated. He didn’t let many in and didn’t know how to handle his emotions. Ella was a great partner for him. She was his total opposite and brought out a new side to Rafe. Rafe took Ella’s inhibitions away and in turn, Ella opened Rafe’s heart… Overall, I thought this book was a really enjoyable read. I found this story to be well written and entertaining. This book had just the right amount of sexiness and drama; a total guilty pleasure read. It is easily the kind of book that you can spend the day getting lost in. I look forward to checking out more books in this series in the future.
caroldh4 More than 1 year ago
The Big, Bad Billionaire is book four in the Billionaire Fairy Tales series by Jackie Ashenden. This is a re-telling of the Red Riding Hood Fairy Tale. In this re-telling, Little Red Riding Hood is a sweet, innocent ballerina and the big bad wolf, Rafael de Santis, is most definitely to be feared. Rafael or Rafe as he prefers to be called, is thirty-two years old. As a young child, he had trouble controlling his emotions and easily fell into temper tantrums or rages. His parents could not be troubled with a “broken” child, so they sent him off to his grandfather. His grandfather told him he would “fix” him. And he did. But his methods were barbaric and horrible. And Rafe bears the scars as proof. He knows that he is still broken, can never really be fixed. But he has learned through pain to control his emotions. To only let others see what he wants them to see. “He was a chameleon, who showed people only what they wanted to see or what he wanted them to see, all the while keeping his real self hidden. Who was the real Rafael de Santis? Did he himself even know?” When Rafe was returned to his parents, he vowed he would get his revenge on his father. Over the years he slowly planed the takeover of his father’s corporation, DS Corp, the biggest weapons and security company in the States. He has succeeded in this endeavor and now he wants the woman he has yearned for, obsessed over since he was a boy and she a toddler. The only person that seemed to accept him, like him even, as he was, until she was turned against him. He would have her no matter what, his Ella Hart. Ella was the daughter of one of Rafe’s father’s oldest friends. She was twenty years old and a ballerina with a minor New York dance company. Rafe had known her since she was two years old. But since his return to his parents, had only occasionally seen her. Ella lost both her parents years ago and Rafe’s father was guardian of her inheritance. Now Rafe has assumed guardianship. Ella desperately wants to attend a summer dance program in Paris and needs the funds approved and Rafe is the only one that can approve it. Rafe has very specific terms for what he wants in exchange for this approval. Ever since the first time Rafe saw Ella dance, it calmed the beast within him. He couldn’t explain it but it was the only time he was completely quiet, calm. Ella suffers from anxiety. Her parents were so quickly taken from her. All she has left is her grandmother. The only time her fears are quiet is when she dances. But somehow, when she is near to Rafe, she forgets her fears. She feels so many other things instead. Things that are equally terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Rafe and Ella do butt heads from the beginning. But Rafe likes it when he sees her straighten her spine in anger, sees the fire in her eyes. It takes away that wary look, the fear he saw there before. “Run, little Red,” Rafe murmured, watching her walk fast up the steps to her front door. “Run while you can. But one day I’ll catch you, make no mistake. And you’re going to love it when I do.” This is a pretty dark story. Rafe is a man who is powered by revenge for the wrongs he has suffered. Ella is frightened and lonely. Together these two fill in the missing pieces each of them need. But can they truly accept each other, open themselves the way they need to in order to make the relationship work? Can they truly love each other?
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Love in all it's tragic glory turns into an empowering tale of happily ever after. Ms. Ashenden breaks down barriers and tunnels deep into the soul of her readers. The Big Bad Billionaire is a haunting story of obsession, romance and so much pain. Ella and Rafe share a bond that has remained embedded in their souls. It borders on manic, but it seems almost ethereal. The misunderstood little boy has now become an embittered adult with a multitude of agendas and an obsession to gain back all he's lost. Including the angel that has flitted through his mind and held a claim on his heart for years. Can the broken man find redemption in the scared young woman that has yet to discover her own strength? There were so many moments that I could barely breath from all the emotions. Part Phantom of the Opera, part Little Red Riding Hood, Ella and Rafe dance to the beat of their own drum and the melody is one not easily ignored.