The Billionaire's Club: New York by Jackie Ashenden: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world's wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim...and keep.
Jax Morrow is a dangerously handsome, spectacularly wealthy entrepreneur whose world is turned upside down when Pandora Garret walks into a dark, smoky bar one night-a stunning combination of sex and innocence. He knows she's trouble at first sight, but Jax can't let her leave...unless she's leaving with him.
Pandora has had enough. Kept under lock and key by her powerful, controlling father, she aches for freedom. When she briefly escapes and meets Jax she knows he is just what she has been looking for: forbidden, unforgettable passion. After one night in Jax's arms, Pandora knows she can never go back to living under one man's domination. Determined to control her own life she tries to resist Jax, but a dangerous desire rises between them-one that threatens to destroy them. But both Pandora and Jax discover that they just can't be pulled away... in The Billion Dollar Bachelor.
Don't miss Donovan's story in The Billion Dollar Bad Boy coming in March 2014 and Sean's story in The Billionaire Biker coming in April 2014.
About the Author
Jackie 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.
Jackie writes dark, sexy contemporary romance for St Martin's Press, including the New York Billionaires Club series of novellas, the first due out in 2014.
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
The Billion Dollar Bachelor
By Jackie Ashenden
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Jackie Ashenden
All rights reserved.
"Stay in the car."
Pandora Garret didn't even bother protesting. There wasn't any point. Thing One—aka Jimmy, one of her bodyguards—was already getting out of the armored limo to investigate the crowd clustered outside her Manhattan apartment, and besides, even if she had protested, he never listened to her anyway.
Normally she'd also have Thing Two—Dan, her other bodyguard—with her. But tonight her father had some big deal going down and he'd needed Dan with him. Pandora hadn't asked what kind of big deal it was. She never did. It paid not to know these things since most of what Nick Garret did—what his whole empire was based on, in fact—was illegal.
"Fire alarm," Pandora said to no one in particular. Pretty obvious given the wail coming from the building and the people assembling around outside.
The limo's chauffeur let out a sigh and bent his head, his attention on something he held in his hands. A phone probably.
Pandora leaned back against the soft leather of the seats, stretching her toes inside the hideous stilettos she wore. Her feet hurt after hours of standing around at the gallery opening her father had insisted she attend with him, ostensibly to show her some "culture."
But it hadn't been "culture" her father had been interested in.
As soon as she'd been introduced to one of Nick's "colleagues" and the conversation had turned to "closer ties" and a more solid "business relationship," she'd known: her father had finally decided to marry her off and this was her introduction to her new husband-to-be.
A small dart of panic slipped through her but she swallowed it down. Just as there was no point protesting the order to stay in the car, there was no point panicking about being married off to some stranger. She couldn't do anything about it.
Nick Garret was one of New York's biggest crime lords, ruling his patch of the city like a medieval king, and she was his princess daughter, the one he kept locked up in a tower. And if he wanted to marry her off to anyone whom he thought might increase his power base, then he would.
Lucky fucking her.
The crowd outside the window was growing restive. More sirens had joined the cry of the fire alarm: fire engines at last.
Thing One still hadn't returned to the car.
And Pandora slowly became aware of something.
She was alone. Oh, there was the chauffeur, but he wasn't paying attention, busy texting his girlfriend or whoever. Thing One was somewhere in the crowd. For once in her life she wasn't being tailed. Or watched. Or "kept safe" as her father liked to term it.
Maybe you can do something about it after all ...
It would be so easy to open the door of the limo and slip out into the night. Let the crowd and the confusion of the fire alarms hide her. Get lost in the streets. Escape.
Her mouth dried. She looked down at her hands curled in her lap, her fingers clutching the stupid little purse that went with the slinky red silk dress she wore. No wonder her father had made her wear it. Sergei, his Russian "colleague" and her likely fiancé, preferred red and she'd been beautifully displayed like a jewel in a setting. But it meant she had nothing with her, only a lipstick and a wallet with the credit card her father had given her when she was eighteen. Financial independence, he'd told her with a smile.
Another of her father's excellent pieces of bullshit. Because how could it be financial independence when he controlled the money?
Pandora gripped the purse. Over the years there had been other opportunities like this one. Rare opportunities where she could have slipped away, finally getting out from under Nick Garret's thumb. But she'd never taken them. Mainly because she had no money and nowhere to go. She didn't have any friends except her online buddies and they didn't even know who she was. And she couldn't ask them for help. Even if she escaped her father's tower, anyone helping her would be taken down.
Yeah, she'd pretty much come to terms with the fact that she'd probably never escape her father permanently, but that was before she'd been introduced to Sergei. A man twice her age, with eyes just as cold as her father's. Just as hard.
If you don't leave now, that'll be your future. You'll go from one cage to another ...
Her heart began to race. It was her birthday tomorrow. She'd be twenty-five. Nick had a party planned and had told her he had a very special announcement to make. No prizes for guessing what that was. Her engagement no doubt. And once that was in place, there would definitely be no more opportunities like this one. Not ever again.
You have to try. You have to.
Pandora didn't think, merely reached for the door handle. The chauffeur, too busy looking at his phone, didn't turn as the door on the street side opened. As she slid over the soft leather and got out of the car.
Her heart in her mouth, skin crawling with the expectation of a hard hand on her arm at any moment, she crossed the road.
Her feet hurt and the tight dress prevented her from walking very fast, but she didn't stop.
And she didn't look back.
* * *
Jax Morrow leaned his elbow on the bar and raised a finger at the bartender. The guy didn't ask questions, just grabbed the bottle of whiskey Jax had chosen an hour or two earlier and poured. Good man, Tony. Morrow Incorporated could use a guy who knew what he was doing and didn't ask questions. Perhaps he should hire him.
Jax scowled at his whiskey tumbler. That was the problem. He wasn't drunk enough.
All he wanted was a couple of hours of forgetfulness. Where he didn't have to think about the fucking article that had splashed the Morrow family's criminal past all through the media, causing the company's stocks to fall and investors to make noises about pulling their money.
His first true test as CEO since taking up the reins after his father got too sick to manage. A test he was failing miserably since the resulting scandal was pretty much his fault to begin with.
He'd intended to quietly get rid of Morrow's last tie to their past, a piece of abandoned docklands real estate that had housed the Morrow family's old headquarters. But some damn journalist had found out about it, conducting an in-depth "investigation" into the land and its "notorious" history. The fallout being the Morrow family's name and criminal past once more in the headlines. A past his father and grandfather had spent blood, sweat, tears, and shitloads of money trying to put behind them.
Jax took a sip of his whiskey, staring moodily at nothing, the warmth of the alcohol doing its best to loosen his tight muscles.
He'd done his best to limit the damage, getting Donovan onto it as soon as possible. But his younger brother, who handled all of Morrow Incorporated's PR, hadn't been in the job long and had a reputation for not being able to keep it in his pants—his latest escapade, involving a socialite and a certain risqué YouTube video, hadn't made Jax's task any easier, either. Or increased investor confidence.
Christ, it was all going to hell in a handcart and for some reason his usual cool, logical approach wasn't working as well as it should. Which meant he definitely needed a couple of hours off.
Time off? Jesus, you ARE drunk.
And about damn time.
At that point his phone went off.
Jax dug it out of his jacket pocket and glanced down at the screen. Donovan. What the hell was he doing ringing him again? Couldn't a guy even get a couple of hours off?
Of course you can't. You're CEO. You can't fuck off whenever you feel like it.
Growling, Jax hit the Accept button. "What now? Someone else uploaded their sex tape on YouTube?"
"You sound pissed. Is this a bad time?"
"Anytime you have something to tell me is always a bad time."
"I can hear a jukebox playing. Please tell me you're in a bar picking up hot chicks because if anyone could use getting laid, it's you."
"None of your fucking business."
Donovan gave a theatrical sigh. "No need to get feisty. I only want what's best for you."
Not in the mood for his brother's teasing, Jax said tersely, "Get to the point."
"I have news about Sean." Donovan hesitated. "Not good news."
Jax gritted his teeth. As part of his damage-control plan, he'd been trying to track down his missing youngest brother, last seen riding with a motorcycle gang. Not a good look for the Morrow name at this point in time, not with their historic links to organized crime splashed all over the city's papers. "What is it? Is he dead? In jail?"
"No. He left the gang six months ago and no one's seen him since."
"Shit." This wasn't exactly helpful. "Do we have any leads?"
"A few. They're vague but I can follow them up."
"Do it. I want him found and I want him home."
"Loving the family spirit. Walmart got any of that lying around?"
Typical Donovan. He never took anything seriously.
"Just find him," Jax snapped before cuting the call, and stuffing his phone back into his jacket.
Just like he'd brought Donovan back into the fold after his brother had gone off to start up his own PR company, Jax would get Sean back, too. Then, once they were all together again, they'd put the past back firmly where it belonged.
With his father, Patrick Morrow, in the hospital, the responsibility for both the company and the family fell to Jax. And he would do what needed to be done in order to keep control of both. He just had to keep a cool head and not let his emotions get in the way.
Sipping his whiskey, he let his gaze drift over the rest of the bar. He liked this place. It was unpretentious—which was just about impossible in his neck of the woods—and so was its clientele. He especially liked the fact that even though they must know who he was—being one of New York's richest and most successful businessmen made anonymity next to impossible—they left him alone.
There was a stir near the doorway, a brief ripple of interest flickering through the people huddled nearby. Automatically he looked, curious to see what had caught their attention since apparently even he was old news.
It was a woman. She was tall and long-limbed, wearing an expensive red silk cocktail dress that molded to slight yet by no means uninteresting curves. Her black hair was coiled in a glossy, elegant chignon at the back of her head, exposing a long, elegant neck.
Jesus. He could imagine slipping his fingers around that neck. Taking her in a firm grip. Not enough to choke or hurt her, never that. But enough to feel the texture of her skin and her heartbeat underneath his fingers as he pushed her up against a wall. Had her hard and fast and ...
Fuck. Where had that thought come from?
Jax rubbed a hand over his eyes. He must be really drunk if he was having fantasies about up against a wall sex with a stranger. Especially since one-night stands had never been his thing.
The woman was still standing there, looking around with a smile curving her luscious, red-painted mouth. Like she'd found Nirvana or something. Which was odd since a beautiful, sophisticated woman like her didn't belong in a place like this, she really didn't.
Heads turned as she moved into the bar, watching her progress. She seemed oblivious to the stares, her dark eyes taking everything in as if she'd never been in a bar in all her life. The stained ceiling, the scuffed wooden floor, the dim lighting, the sound of blues coming from the jukebox in the corner.
And as she looked at everything else, Jax looked at her. He couldn't seem to take his eyes off her and he didn't know why. In his world, beautiful women were a dime a dozen and he had his pick—power was their aphrodisiac and he had it in spades. So really, this girl with her black hair and her red dress that spoke of sex and sin, was just one more.
Yet there was something about her that caught at him like a fish hook. For all her sophistication, she moved with a hint of uncertainty, as if she wasn't quite sure of her high red heels. And the way she looked at her surroundings ... He was sure he'd caught both wonder and satisfaction crossing her delicately carved features. Like she was amazed at where she was and pleased with herself for finding it.
She stopped just short of the bar, a flash of that uncertainty lingering on her face. Then she turned her head and those interested dark eyes met his.
And he felt the impact like a blow. Like he'd been plugged into a wall socket and the switch thrown.
The whiskey haze vanished, all the alcohol burned through by the fire that suddenly ignited inside him.
He'd always been cool and calm and logical, keeping all his passions locked away. Because decisions made in the heat of moment were seldom good ones—he'd learned that years ago, the day his father had brought Sean home to live with them. And certainly, leading Morrow Incorporated had only confirmed it.
But the moment his gaze locked with hers, all his cool, calm logic vanished. The company ceased to exist. The scandal currently rocking it utterly forgotten, his family gone along with it.
The only thing he was aware of was the fact that for the first time in his life, he wanted.
And what he wanted was her.
* * *
The guy sitting at the bar in the corner held her frozen to the spot. She couldn't have said what he was wearing or even if he was handsome or not; the only thing in the world was the fire that burned in his intense blue eyes. The kind of fire that lurked in the heart of a blaze, so intense it didn't burn orange but a bright, clear blue.
The kind of fire that burned you to ash.
Pandora tore her gaze away, her heart racing even more madly than it had done when she'd escaped the limo. Men looked at her a lot and she was used to it. But what she wasn't used to was having a response that wasn't a shiver of repugnance.
Because it definitely wasn't repugnance she was feeling right now. It was more a dizzying kind of excitement that made her breathless. Like the rush she got when she hacked into a really complicated firewall with her laptop, which would earn her major punishment if she was ever caught.
Kind of like what she was doing now, out by herself in the streets of Manhattan. Having escaped her bodyguards. Alone.
They would be looking for her already. She'd shut down her phone the moment she'd turned the corner and left her apartment behind because she had no doubt her father would be tracking her through it. Then she'd walked and walked, not too fast because the damn shoes were killing her, but steadily and without looking back.
It had been so good to be alone. To not have someone trailing at her elbow.
"It's for your own protection," her father had told her whenever she'd protested about Thing One and Thing Two's presence in her life. "You know I have enemies. I want you to be safe."
She didn't bother to point out that he was the one who'd created those enemies. That if he didn't do what he did then he wouldn't have any. She'd accepted it because really, her choices had always been limited at best.
But not now. Now, for the first time in her life, the choices were all hers to make.
Probably she should have kept walking, not headed into a bar, but she'd wanted to get off the streets and find somewhere quiet where she could plan her next move. Whatever that was going to be. Without friends or money, she was pretty much screwed.
As Pandora stepped up to the bar, her heartbeat loud in her ears, the pressure of the man's gaze on her was like a hand resting on her skin. She was next to him but didn't look at him. Couldn't look at him. Not yet. Not until she was ready.
"Don't you know it's rude to stare?" she finally said, keeping her gaze on the bartender as he got another customer a drink.
"You want me to stop looking?" The man's voice was deep, with an edge of iron to it and a shiver chased down her spine. He sounded like a man used to giving orders. Used to being obeyed. Like Sergei.
Pandora gripped her purse. Shit, she wasn't going to stand here, voiceless like a stupid teenage girl. Being silent was all she'd been doing for the past twenty-four years, like a good girl while everyone talked around her. As if she wasn't even there.
Well, that wasn't happening tonight.
She turned her head and met that blue gaze head-on.
Looking at him still knocked the breath from her body, but this time she was able to take in the man with the gaze and voice. A tall man, extremely tall. She could tell even though he was sitting on a bar stool. His coal black hair was short and he was wearing a dark charcoal suit, no tie, his white business shirt open at the throat, like your average businessman out for an after-work round of drinks.
Excerpted from The Billion Dollar Bachelor by Jackie Ashenden. Copyright © 2014 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
One thing I always enjoy when reading a book is when the smuttiness of the book doesn’t overtake the rest of the story. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with this book. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of smut in there for you, but that wasn’t the only thing that was happening throughout the book. Pandora’s character, I almost felt sorry for her to an extent because of what she had been though in her life. But once she had gained her freedom, I started to lose respect for her just because of her actions and almost temper tantrums she would throw. There was also the issue I had with her talking about her “online friends” who were brought up a couple times, yet we don’t really know anything about them. To me, with her character it just felt like she was playing a game with everyone hoping to win. Jax’s character, I felt sorry for him in the beginning of the story (when you read you will understand why that is) but as the story progressed, I started to not like him at all. I thought that he turned from a really great guy to a complete jerk. The story is short yes, but at the same time there was a lot of information given to you and you were left wondering what was going to happen next. I think that the author could have extended the story just a bit so that we could have found out what was going to happen to the couple. When it came to background on the different characters, there really wasn’t that much given on Jax’s. Granted, we did learn a bit about his past, but not a lot. I was left with a few questions concerning that. I do understand that this is the first book in a new series, so I will give the series another try. Hopefully the next book will help answer some questions I still have. Reviewed by Crystal for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy provided for honest review*
Once upon a time there was a young princess, cloistered and sheltered from the wicked world by a loving father. Only the king was more like a benevolent dictator and when it came to the rest of the world, not so much of the benevolence. Pandora is the daughter of Nick Garrett, crime lord with the seedy side of New York in his pocket. And now he has plans for Pandora, a union that will bring him more power. She has one last chance to escape. Only she runs into Jax Morrow. The Morrows used to have more in common with Mr. Garrett than Jax liked to be reminded about, but he's running a tight ship now. An uptight ship in the case of his personal life. Control is king in Jax's life because bad things happen when you are out of control. The connection between Pandora and Jax is more a conflagration than a simple meeting between two representatives of New York's most influencial families. But there is more to what is going on between them than heat. Forced into each others company, they get to know each other and that's when trouble really starts. Pandora likes to push Jax's buttons but when she unleashed what he's holding back, she doesn't know what to do with it. This is a short and very intense read. Loved Pandora and Jax and look forward to seeing Donovan and Sean's stories in the rest of the series.
Short but good no cliffhanger
This seductive romance is the story of Jax and Pandora. Meeting as two strangers in a bar, they let go of their identities to share a night of passion. But reality catches up with them and dealing with the fallout turns into more than either bargained for. Jax is the epitome of the alpha male and his attraction to Pandora is overwhelming for her at first, coming from a very sheltered background. But she is no match for him, or the desire he radiates for her. The sexual tension in the story was sizzling and the love scenes were hot and steamy! I liked how Pandora grew bolder as she became more comfortable with Jax. It was a fast and entertaining read, with a great back story and secondary characters that were equally interesting. 4 stars!
I really enjoyed this story. It felt pretty natural and everything made sense. I liked the characters, though I didn’t like Jax’s neuroses. All the love scenes were pretty hot, even if they did dominate the story. While the ending was good, it felt a little too easily wrapped up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is room for another book, so I’m looking forward to that! The Billion Dollar Bachelor is a quick, sexy read that will leave you happy and wanting more.
Okay read. Short (111pgs). Is good if you want a quick, tame story.
Ok not great.
It's a quick read but still a great romantic and erotic story
Thoroughly enjoyed this fun sexy read! He's a powerful CEO, she's the daughter of a crime boss. For one night the both want to forget! Very well written, great fasting moving story, and lots of sexy fun. Highly recommended read.
A lot packed into a short novella. Good for a quick read.
Pandora has only ever been a bargaining tool for her dad's shady business deals. She was always guarded, presumably for her own safety, but Pandora always felt trapped. The one chance she has to get away is an opportunity she can't resist and she makes a run for it. Jax Morrow is stressed out after taking over the business for his dad. After work he stops at the bar to get a drink and relax. When Pandora bursts through the door, he's immediately attracted to her and offers to buy her a drink. Within a few minutes, he's ready to take her home. Since she's already attracted to Jax and wants to stay "lost", she takes him up on his offer. Will Jax be able to handle it when he finds out who Pandora really is? The Billion Dollar Bachelor is an adorable, smoking hot romance that will spike your temperature and tickle your funny bone at the same time. The hero and heroine's interaction is mostly turbulent, but is always steamy, in one way or another. Pandora is comical at times and gets under Jax's skin on a regular basis which makes the pages fly right by. I really like a romance mixed with humor and sensuality and you'll find that here. The author gives us the perfect hero to love and protect the tortured heroine. You're gonna love it! I look forward to reading more from Ms. Ashenden in the near future!
Billionaire romances are not my favorites. This is sexy cupcake of a novella with some of the trends of this genre without most of the annoyances. There are some here but the banter is fast and its a fun read quick read. I like Ashenden's writing style a lot and this isn't my first nice read by her. My favorite part of this book is that Pandora is a hacker. Love it. I wish we had more time with this fun part of her personality but I am hoping it will come up in the rest of the series. So, if you want to eat the candy parts off the top of the cupcake (and don't we all from time to time), enjoy! I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.
Good Book! I am always drawn to all books and novellas that have some form of the word "Billionaire" in their title. So after reading the book blurb, I just had to read The Billion Dollar Bachelor by Jackie Ashenden. I seem to devour ANYTHING written by Ms. Ashenden, so I was super excited to hear about her new series, The Billionaire's Club. The Billion Dollar Bachelor is the first novella in the series and it is well-written, hot and sexy. Jax Morrow is CEO of the largest company in New York City. Many years ago, his company used to be tied to the mob, but he as well as his father and grandfather have worked diligently to transform their business into complete legitimacy. He doesn't date much because he is always working. He has a dangerous foreboding about him that most women find fascinating. Twenty-five year old Pandora Garret is the beautiful daughter of one of the primary mob bosses in NYC. She has led a sheltered life, in order to remain safe from her father's enemies. When she finally escapes from all things mob related, she steps into a bar where Jax is drowning his sorrows. Their eyes meet and from that moment on they are each others soul-mates. The Billion Dollar Bachelor is a steamy, fast-paced novella. The characters are well-defined, likeable and exciting. I am truly looking forward to the next book in the series that is due out next month. I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.