The Billionaire Beast: A Billionaire Romance

The Billionaire Beast: A Billionaire Romance

by Jackie Ashenden

NOOK Book(eBook)

$3.99

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

An intensely sexy Billionaire Fairy Tales standalone novel by Jackie Ashenden that is billionaire romance meets Beauty and the Beast with a happily ever after.

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. His last handful of assistants have left his house in tears, but the prim redhead applying for the job now looks up to the task. 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. And yet he is the one person to look into her eyes and see her soul.

Nero can’t help but stake his claim on this woman who has shaken up his life. He wants to keep her. He wants to devour her. And Phoebe just might let him.

Jackie Ashenden’s novels have been described as “Dark, explosive, and gritty, with a splash of dominance.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review on In Bed with the Billionaire) and The Billionaire Beast is the ultimate combination of those unforgettable qualities.

Don’t miss the sexy Cinderella retelling: The Billionaire’s Virgin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250136770
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Series: The Billionaire Fairy Tales , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 35,864
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

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.


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 Billionaire Beast


By Jackie Ashenden

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 Jackie Ashenden
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-13677-0


CHAPTER 1

Nero de Santis sometimes wondered what made a man a man instead of a beast. After all, men ate and slept and fought and fucked just like all animals did. For himself, he was as beastly as they came, his only humanity his interest in computers and his taste for fine art.

Not that he cared particularly about being human. It was overrated in his opinion.

Then again, today he was rather glad of his humanity, especially given what was standing on his doorstep right this very second.

Nero leaned back in his huge black-leather chair and stared at the vast array of screens in front of him. Some of them displayed feeds from the national news with stock tickers unreeling under them, while others displayed feeds from security cameras located at various strategic points in New York. At least two screens had the spreadsheets he'd been working on open, and another was dedicated to his email. A couple more were devoted to social media — Twitter for the most part, though he was fond of Instagram, as well — and at least one had a movie playing on it.

But it wasn't any of those screens that had irrevocably grabbed his attention at this particular moment in time.

The screen he was most interested in now was the one that gave him the feed from the security camera on his front door.

And the woman standing in front of it.

She was neat as a pin in a plain charcoal skirt and crisp white shirt, her red hair pulled back in a tight bun. Very corporate looking, very secretary. Which was pretty much as expected considering she was here for a job interview.

As he watched, she smoothed her skirt and adjusted her matching charcoal jacket, glanced behind her once, then looked back at his front door.

She wasn't beautiful. Fuck, she wasn't even pretty, which wasn't ideal since he liked something nice to look at. Then again, that wasn't a deal-breaker — he'd stopped sleeping with his assistants after finding out their performances tended to drop once he'd taken them to bed. Her features were too sharp for beauty, but ... on second look they weren't all bad. She had a nicely full lower lip, a determined chin, and her eyes were pretty. Brown from what he could tell. Her skin was milky pale and even though her hair was red, she didn't seem to have any freckles.

He tilted his head, examining the rest of her.

Well, she might not have been beautiful, but she definitely had the kind of body he liked on a woman. Full breasts and rounded hips, and lots of soft curves. He wasn't a fan of muscles or skinniness, or any kind of hard edges — at least not physically. When it came to women, he liked softness, and she was definitely soft. Not unattractive in many ways.

Nero contemplated her a second longer, then hit a button, opening up another window alongside the image from the security feed, displaying her resume.

Phoebe Taylor. Twenty-eight. English. Currently residing in the East Village. Had worked as an assistant to various high-level executives in various Fortune 500 companies, and all positions accompanied by glowing references. Nice figure and she looked like she was competent. A good combination.

However, she'd left her last job two years ago, and there was nothing in the resume that indicated what she'd been doing for those two years.

He narrowed his gaze at the woman standing on his doorstep. Sometimes he didn't let potential job applicants in. Sometimes he didn't even open the door, depending on what he decided from the initial once-over he gave everyone who arrived at his house.

Then again, it wasn't as if he had a lot of choice.

In the last six months alone he'd gone through at least ten assistants and it was now getting to the point where it was impossible to find anyone good who would actually work with him. Word had gotten out about how difficult he was, and even upping the basic salary to six figures hadn't managed to tempt anyone decent to apply.

It was a problem. He preferred to hire the best, but when the best wouldn't even apply, no matter how much money he offered, then his only alternative to the best was the not-quite-so-good.

Or Phoebe Taylor with the two-year gap in her resume.

Making a decision, Nero reached out and pushed the button on the intercom that sat on his desk. "Show her into the sitting room, James," he ordered.

"Yes, Mr. de Santis," James, his butler, responded in his usual lugubrious tones.

Nero switched feeds to the entrance hallway, watching as James opened the door and greeted Miss Taylor before taking her into the sitting room where Nero liked to receive all the guests that came to the house — at least those he actually let inside.

Switching feeds again, to the sitting-room cameras; Nero studied her as James showed her to one of the couches then left the room, closing the door behind him.

She clasped her hands in her lap, her attention darting over the room.

It was the most normal room in Nero's vast house, and he'd purposefully had it decorated that way, making it as luxurious and as comfortable as possible so he could sit here in his control room and watch people's guards go down.

Phoebe Taylor certainly seemed to like it, her posture relaxing slightly as she settled back on the comfortable white couch and looked around at the art on the walls, the fireplace with the cheerful spray of fresh flowers on the mantelpiece above it, the thick red-and-blue silk hand-knotted rug on the floor, and the shelves with the horrifically expensive little knickknacks on them.

Normally, if people thought they were alone they would get up from the couch and go and explore. Pull a book off the shelf or pick up one of the knickknacks. Sometimes they'd go toward the mirror above the fireplace and fiddle around with their appearance, or head toward the window that looked out over his Upper East Side street, not far from the Met.

Yet Phoebe Taylor did none of these things.

She remained where she was, her hands lightly clasped. Occasionally her head would turn as she looked around her, but that was the only movement she made. She sat there, very, very still.

He frowned at the screen, caught despite himself.

There was something about her, maybe that stillness or the way she had her hands clasped together, or maybe it was simply the aura of reserve and containment she projected. Whatever it was, it intrigued him.

Pressing a couple of buttons on his keyboard, he zoomed the camera in on her so he could get a better look. Her attention had dropped to her hands, and she was now staring at them as if fascinated. Now that he looked closer, he could see the faint impression of freckles across her nose, hidden by her makeup, and that her lashes were long and thick. Her pretty mouth was moving ever so slightly, as if she was saying a prayer under her breath.

Nero leaned back in his chair and glanced at her resume once again.

On paper, she looked good, and certainly his first impression of her was that she seemed acceptable at least. A bit young maybe. Certainly, he'd had better luck with older assistants who didn't melt into a puddle of tears at the first hint of criticism or get incensed by his apparently "outrageous" needs. He'd had one woman — she'd been in her late fifties — who'd managed to stay with him a whole three months without complaint, eventually leaving because he'd asked her to order him a selection of women for the night and she'd refused, saying she hadn't been hired to be the "madam of a brothel."

Nero had fired her on the spot.

He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it, and if his assistants either couldn't or wouldn't do their jobs and assist him, then he got rid of them. No second chances.

Be interesting to see what Miss Phoebe Taylor would do with a request like that. Or, in fact, any of the other requests he made of his assistants, some of which had caused a number of them to leave within hours of being hired. Many only lasted a week; rarely did they last a month.

Hiring new people was starting to get old.

Of course, there was the option of being a nicer employer, as one of his earlier assistants had tried to tell him, but he really didn't understand what she meant by that. He suspected it had something to do with changing his behavior. Fuck, like that was ever going to happen. He was the way he was, and he wasn't about to change.

Getting rid of Phoebe's resume from the screen, Nero brought up another document — the list of other candidates for the position.

It was short.

He scowled at it, irritated. His options were getting narrower and narrower and he didn't like it one bit. Even the temping agencies wouldn't take him on as a client these days, not since he'd blown through five temps in one month, reducing every single one to tears within hours of being hired.

Christ. People were so weak and fragile these days, it was a constant annoyance to him. Still, if the worst came to the worst and this girl ended up only lasting hours or — if he was lucky — a week, he could up the salary again. Money tended to solve most problems in his experience, and it wasn't as if he didn't have plenty of it. Being the illegitimate son of Cesare de Santis, the owner of DS Corp, one of America's biggest and richest defense and protection companies, wasn't without its perks. Even if his father was one of the biggest pricks on the planet.

Up on the screen, Phoebe Taylor raised her head from her hands and took another look around the room. A small crease had appeared between her brows.

She was probably wondering how long he was going to keep her waiting.

The answer was as long as he fucking well felt like it.

Then again, maybe he should get this interview over and done with as soon as possible. Might as well see if she was as good in person as she looked on paper.

Nero pushed the button on the intercom again. "Take her into my office, James."

"Very good, Mr. de Santis."

Nero lounged back in his chair, watching as James entered the sitting room, going over to where Phoebe Taylor sat. She gave him a pleasant smile, betraying no sign of impatience, all calm self-possession, as if she could have quite happily sat there for another couple of hours.

Fuck. Maybe he should let her. Maybe he should have tested her further, the way he did sometimes with people who intrigued him.

Ah, but there was plenty of time for that.

In the privacy of his control room, Nero bared his teeth as Phoebe disappeared through the sitting-room doorway, on her way to his office.

Looked like his day was just about to get interesting.


* * *

There were two chairs in Nero de Santis's office. A huge black-leather executive chair that sat behind the dark oak monolith of his desk, and a much smaller, much more uncomfortable-looking one that sat in front of it.

Phoebe didn't need to guess which one was meant for her. She walked straight toward the uncomfortable-looking one as soon as de Santis's butler showed her into his office.

And, indeed, as she sat down, it was as uncomfortable as it looked.

Then again, she'd spent much of the last two years sitting around in many different sorts of uncomfortable chairs, so it wasn't anything she wasn't used to.

She was used to waiting, too.

The office was deathly silent, not even the noise from the city penetrating from outside.

Phoebe folded her hands in her lap, resolutely ignoring the flutter of nervousness in her stomach. Just like she resolutely ignored the doubt that was also sitting there.

Before she'd gotten the interview for the job, she'd asked around the few job contacts she had left, trying to get what information she could about New York's most reclusive billionaire and the position she'd seen advertised on an online job site. A position with a salary that seemed almost ... obscene.

And then her friends had told her why the money was obscene. Because Nero de Santis was the biggest bastard to walk the earth and no one wanted to work with him. "Run and run far, far away" had been the opinion of her contacts

Unfortunately, though, Phoebe was not in a position to run far, far away.

She needed money, and she needed obscene amounts of it. Fast. And the position of Nero de Santis's personal assistant seemed the best and easiest way of getting it. Certainly, much easier than stripping, which had been one brief thought that had occurred to her at 2 A.M. the previous night.

No, she didn't really want to do that, nor did she want to do any of the other seedy-sounding jobs that had also been on that same job website, offering the same kind of money and making Nero de Santis's job offer look like a ticket to paradise.

Phoebe gave a small inward sigh, resisting the urge to check her phone just in case there had been any updates on Charles. He'd contracted an infection recently, which was worrying since the immune systems of coma patients weren't exactly robust. Then again, the doctors had told her they'd contact her if there was any change in his condition, and they hadn't, so presumably everything was fine.

Didn't stop the worry though, which was not what she needed right now.

Ruthlessly pushing aside her anxiety, Phoebe looked around the room instead, trying to distract herself.

She'd tried to do some research on Nero de Santis, but surprisingly hadn't managed to find much. He was some kind of computer genius and managed the tech arm of DS Corp, one of the U.S.'s biggest weapons companies. He was also reputed to be a recluse, never leaving his Upper East Side mansion, and was infamous for treating his staff very, very poorly indeed.

He'd also clearly designed his office to intimidate anyone sitting in it.

The walls were dark green, half paneled in dark oak, and lined with heavy oak bookshelves, all stuffed full of officious looking leather bound tomes. There was a huge stag's head hung on the wall behind the desk, the antlers gleaming lethally in the dim light coming through the windows, the animal's glass eyes directed on the chair she was currently sitting in, which was unnerving.

The desk itself was massive, looking like it had been carved out of a single tree, the chair behind it as imposing as a throne. There was nothing on desk itself but a slim, black computer screen.

Phoebe frowned at the room in general. It definitely wasn't comfortable, like the sitting room she'd just left. There was a chill in the air and a dark heaviness to the atmosphere that was ... oppressive. And it might have gotten to her if she hadn't spent the last two years in different hospital waiting rooms, dealing with officious and self-important medical staff.

But she had. So she didn't feel either oppressed by the atmosphere or intimidated. She only felt irritated at being kept waiting. Though she was starting to think that might be intentional, too, and given what she'd already heard about Nero de Santis, she wouldn't be at all surprised.

To pass the time, she hummed under her breath, a song from Evita, one of her favorite musicals, and went over the last meeting she'd had with the manager of the private hospital Charles was currently staying in. The woman had given Phoebe a new fee schedule, which was pretty much going to bankrupt her if she wasn't careful. In order to pay for his care, she'd already used up the money she and Charles had saved to buy their own home, and if she wanted to keep him where he was, getting the best treatment he could, she was going to have to find another way to pay for it.

This job in other words.

At that moment, a door behind the desk opened, and she nearly jumped because it had been half-hidden by one of those enormous bookcases, and she hadn't noticed it before.

A man walked through it.

Phoebe blinked.

She hadn't been able to find any images of Nero de Santis, so she had no preconceived ideas of what he looked like. But in some dim region of her brain, she'd constructed the impression of a small, nasty little man, because in her experience the most difficult men were always small and nasty.

Apparently, Nero was neither.

Her first impression was that he was big. Actually, no, not just big, he was giant. He towered over that monolithic desk like Godzilla over a tiny Japanese skyscraper, and she hadn't missed the fact that his head had almost brushed the top of the doorframe as he'd walked through it.

And he wore a suit, which she found confusing since he wasn't built like any businessman she'd ever worked with. In fact, he was built more like a pro-wrestler or heavyweight boxer than some tech genius, the dark gray suit jacket pulling tight over massive shoulders, insanely muscled arms, and a hard, broad chest.

She swallowed, her gaze roving helplessly over his impressive physique, trying to reconcile her hazy idea of small nastiness with the massive, muscled reality, before finally settling on his face.

She felt something kick hard inside her.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Billionaire Beast by Jackie Ashenden. 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Billionaire Beast: A Billionaire Romance 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marvelous read. Story is interesting, characters are compelling, and the sex is off the charts. Well done. @
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But keep reading its gets better and better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story.
BookFidelity More than 1 year ago
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the second of Ashenden's books that I review. The first being The Billionaire's Virgin. Please take the time to look at that review as well as I think it may help in how I review. I am a true sucker for fairy tale retellings. Not just any fairy tale either; I have my favorites (e.g. Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid). So, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to read and review The Billionaire Beast. There were some great parts, and some less than stellar parts. First, what I liked. I loved that this big, powerful beast of a man cannot seem to leave his home. I will leave the reason why out of this conversation, but know that it was definitely one of my favorite touches on this story. The juxtaposition of being so powerful, but not being able to walk a step outside of your home was just so tragic in my eyes. I also quite enjoyed having Phoebe as the female protagonist as she is strong, and willing to put up with a less than gentle boss. Now, for what I didn't enjoy. I did not like that Phoebe had a fiancee, but I could have lived with that fact had it turned out a bit different. I felt that in order for Phoebe to enjoy Nero, the fiancee had to be portrayed a certain way to "make it okay". I really could have done without the whole "other man" business, to be honest. This book won't be for everyone, but I recommend it to those curious about retellings, and who love billionaire bad boy stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hot sex but it has a good story line as well
belllla More than 1 year ago
The Billionaire Beast is a unique Billionaire love story. It is about raw wild and demanding Billionaire Nero who always gets what he wants and this time he wants his new assistant Phoebe. But Phoebe has a lot of experiences with Nero’s type of character and she doesn’t break very easy, also she has a fiancé, who is in coma and because of him she must keep the job. The attraction between is everything but weak and mellow. Nero is difficult character, well develop but too hung on the past and although he is successful he has one big dark secret. Phoebe is weak when it comes to people who are broken and needs help. And she see the real Nero, although he try very best to hide it. And her wanting to help is also a reason that she finally agrees to have “relationship” with him. Unique for moment dark, emotionally story with great characters who have explosive chemistry. Something different but good. Worth your time. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for next one
lucy117 More than 1 year ago
I was given ARC copy for review and Loveswept. Phoebe Taylor is in need of a job to help pay the bills of her fiancee who is in a coma. Nero de Santis is broken inside and likes things done his way. This man is a beast to work for , but can Phoebe tame him. Jackie Ashenden at her best!! A must read!!!
PrincessFiona More than 1 year ago
With Ashenden you pretty much know what you are going to get. She has a penchant for breaking her heroes. The harder and tougher they are, the more she likes to bring them down. Nero has a pretty obvious problem. He doesn't go out, ever. For reasons. Phoebe is prepared for problems because Nero has a rep for sending his personal assistants running. Money is her motivation. She needs it for her fiancé's medical bills. It's only a matter of time for these two to explode. Phoebe has years of passion bottled up and Nero, well he is a man of experience, of everything except emotion. The ending was kind of predictable (this is romance after all) but the journey was edge of the seat. It made me all emotional so it earned the fifth star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
I liked this tale of Beauty and The Beast. I admit Nero was a bit hard to warm up to. However, the characters are interesting and the story is entertaining. I really liked it.
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
'The Billionaire Beast' by Jackie Ashenden is book Two in the "Billionaire Fairytales" series. This is the story of Nero and Phoebe. This is easily a standalone book. Phoebe has moved to America from London to be with the man she planed to marry. But he was in a car accident that left him in a coma and with no family she is the one taking care of the hospital bills. Which has taken all of her savings and now she has taken a job with Nero who is know as the 'Beast". Because no one stays long that works for him due to his temper. But he offers a price that she can't say no and will try to put up with him. Nero due to a traumatic childhood doesn't leave his house. In addition he has somewhat of a temper and doesn't really understand the basic part of caring. But when he sees Phoebe he is attracted to her and doesn't understand that she isn't going along with his demand at first to sleep with him. It was so interesting to watch these two come together and deal with their issues. Loved it!! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 5x6 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!
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
the billionaire beast continues jackie ashenden's fairy tale-themed billionaire stories. this one pretty closely mirroring the story of beauty & the beast. you would think that modernizing this story would prove to be challenging, but ashenden creates a realistic and believable backstory for her beast. nero de santis is a known recluse who has so much money at his disposal that he has forgotten what it is to need something and not have that need immediately fulfilled. he compensates his assistants handsomely, but all the money in the world isn't worth the humiliations that he puts them through. it is impossible to meet his exacting standards. he is too smart, too imposing, too everything. until he meets his match in phoebe taylor. she is desperate. the cost of her comatose fiancé's care facility has decimated her savings. she refuses to compromise on his care and despite all the horror stories she's heard about working for nero, she knows that if he offers her the job, she can't refuse it. but from the moment she starts working for him, he intrigues her even as she tries to maintain her composure around him. and the more she maintains her composure the more she intrigues him. he's not used to people resisting his wants. and even though phoebe takes his orders, he can sense that she's keeping him at a distance. but distance proves impossible for these two. from their first meeting there is tension. and it's not surprising when it boils over. the really great thing ashenden has done with this series is take some real social issues and explored them within the framework of a fairy tale. nero's reclusiveness isn't actually a matter of choice, he has some severe agoraphobia, a condition that stems from the fact that he was held captive in a tiny cell for much of his formative years. being with phoebe pushes him outside of his self-imposed boundaries. and in order to go farther afield he has to confront the past he's forgotten because what happened to him was so traumatic. as awful as nero is when we first meet him, the way he grows and sheds his rough exterior throughout the novel is totally swoonworthy. i love romance novels that can tackle hard subjects in a redemptive way, so this worked for me. **the billionaire beast will publish on march 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy coiurtesy of netgalley/st. martine's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--THE BILLIONAIRE BEAST is the second installment in Jackie Ashenden’s contemporary, adult BILLIONAIRE FAIRY TALES erotic, romance series focusing on the de Santis brothers-Xavier, Nero, Raphael and Lorenzo. This is billionaire IT specialist Nero de Santis, and personal assistant Phoebe Taylor’s story line. THE BILLIONAIRE BEAST 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 (Nero and Phoebe) THE BILLIONAIRE BEAST follows the building relationship between reclusive billionaire Nero de Santis, and his new PA Phoebe Taylor. For close to ten years Nero de Santis has kept himself hidden behind closed doors; locked in a sprawling mansion that potentially covers several city blocks with only his butler for social interaction. Ten personal assistances in 30 days precedes Nero’s introduction to his latest ‘temporary’ employee. Enter Phoebe Taylor, a young British woman struggling to survive the mean streets of New York, as well as the medical bills for her comatose fiancée. What ensues is the contemptuous relationship between Phoebe and Nero, and Phoebe’s struggle to remain distant from the mysterious man with a dark and lonely past. Nero de Santis is a broken man whose ability to interact with people is questionable; his actions and emotional behavior are dangerous; his demands beyond the requirements for a normal personal assistant aggressive and improper. Throughout the story line small snippets from memories of the past begin to outline a heartbreaking history for our story line hero. Phoebe Taylor followed her fiancée of three years to New York only to find herself alone, paying the ever increasing medical bills for a man who remains comatose closing in on two years. In desperate need of money, our heroine accepts the position of Nero’s personal assistant suspecting that she is expected to perform outside the range of her normal duties. The $ex scenes are seductive, intimate and intense. THE BILLIONAIRE BEAST is a dark romance about two people whose lives are pulled together by loneliness and need. Nero de Santis’s actions and demands are difficult to accept; his initial treatment of Phoebe Taylor borders on abusive and controlling. Some readers make take exception to Nero’s behavior; the reasons why will be all too clear at the end. The premise is dramatic; the characters are controversial and tenacious-our hero is tormented and lost; the romance is provocative yet heartbreaking. The ‘fairy tale’ aspect comes into play thinking about the behavior of Beast behind the walls built to protect him from the people outside.
JenniferSchultheisJS More than 1 year ago
The Billionaire Beast by Jackie Ashenden is a little on the dark side and contains a deeply, damaged hero and his uptight assistant who wants to fix him. Nero is a hard man. He’s also a man who can’t keep an assistant. Since he never leaves his house, hiring another assistant is a requirement. When Phoebe shows up to his house wanting the job, he gives it to her…and it’s not like he had other choices. Phoebe is a little overwhelmed in the beginning, but when Nero offers her six figures every six months to be his assistant for 24/7, she puts all her of effort into the job. She finds out quickly, that this isn’t a man to trifle with and when he says he wants something, she better bring it to him proto…including call girls. This was an emotional story with many layers to it. Readers find out why Nero is the way he is and once they do, his reactions make sense. We also see another side to Phoebe, thanks to her growing relationship with Nero. Even though this is book two in the series, you don’t have to read the first one. I will say that I enjoyed this story more than the previous and can’t wait to see what’s next.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
The Billionaire Beast by Jackie Ashenden is a fairly short read, a great choice for anyone with limited time for reading. Ms Ashenden has delivered a well-written book, a nice smooth read. Nero and Phoebe's story will have your emotions see-sawing like mad. Ms Ashenden's characters are phenomenal and my favorite part of the book. There's plenty of drama, humor and sizzle to keep readers turning pages as fast as they can. I totally enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from the talented Jackie Ashenden in the future. The Billionaire Beast is book 2 of the Billionaire Fairy Tales Series but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
JulieD2 More than 1 year ago
This was a great story, full of emotion and romance. Nero is a recluse who hasn't left his home for 10 years and needs an assistant. He's dreadfully difficult to work for though, he's cold and selfish and the last handful of assistants have left in tears, but he doesn't care. Except he needs to find a new now and the redhead might be o.k., we'll have to see. Phoebe is in a dilemma, she needs money for her fiancée's hospital bills, he's in a coma and there's always hope he'll awake. A job as Nero's personal assistant would be ideal, the money he's offering is obscene but he insists on a 24/7 assistants, can she do it?....Yes she can. Nero try's to push her away at first but she's tougher than he thought. Phoebe then finds she has two people to care for as her employer opens up and tells her more about his life and she tells him about hers. I shed a few tears with this one. A great story.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant, very adult, remake of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale this turned out to be – I loved it! It has all the elements of the classic tale but brought up to date with plenty of contemporary twists to keep the reader enthralled. It is the second book in the series but I haven’t read the first one – though I intend doing so asap – so I can confidently say that it works well as a standalone for anyone else who hasn’t read the earlier story. (I found out it is ‘The Billionaire’s Virgin’, just in case you’d also like to know). The Beast in the story is the reclusive billionaire Nero de Santis. He rules his home – which he never leaves – controlling, domineering, selfish, forthright and obstinate. What he says, goes. What he wants, he expects to get. Everything needs to be done his way or you’re out. He’s a very difficult employer for all these reasons and he’s quick to fire anyone who doesn’t meet his exacting expectations. He fired ten PAs in less than a month….. Phoebe is brilliant at appearing cool, calm and collected, regardless of what is said to her and what she is really feeling. She originally travelled from her home in London to be with her fiancee, Charles, but two years ago he was seriously injured in a car crash and has been in a coma ever since. She’s prepared to take on the impossible task of PA to Nero because of the high rate of pay – she needs all the money to help pay Charles’ medical bills. It is an enthralling story, one where the very caring nature of Phoebe has an impact on the traumatised Nero. As secrets from the past are revealed, both have experienced tragedies in their lives which impact on their attitudes and behaviour. It is not a typical romance but is a delightful story that I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into and have no hesitation in highly recommending! Many thanks to the publishers for gifting me a copy of this novel, via NetGalley, with no obligation. This is my honest review.
CrystalsBookWorld More than 1 year ago
Hmmm...so I was a little hesitant to read this book, since it was based off a "Billionaire Fairy Tales". It was a lot more than I expected. I knew Nero was damaged. Almost broken beyond repair. Phoebe was not broken, but needed experience. She is a care giver by nature. She always wanted to be there to "fix" anyone or anything. Then tragedy happens two years before and it seems to me that she has lived in a shell of herself. Nero has not really owned up to his past. He is a very high demand man in the business world. But due to unusual circumstances, he needs a live in assistant that would take care of business needs outside his home. He also had gone through too many employees and it would be a miracle one would last at least a month. Until Phoebe came aboard. He says she is not pretty, but he is attracted to her from the inside out. I still believe after reading this story that Phoebe is the most beautiful person in this story line. These two characters have issued within the past. But I was sad to find the truth in Nero's. The events that are place in the book had me anxious and sad. Then it turned into hope. By the end of the book I was rooting for these two. If you love Billionaire stories, this is a great read. It gives you much more that you would have imagined.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
This is a steamy, twisted take on The Beauty and the Beast and I loved it. Nero De Santis is truly beastly and a character that is difficult to like. That is until you hear his story. Never leaving his home he needs a personal assistant willing to live in his home and handle every request he has. Phoebe Taylor is efficient, appears cold, and desperate. Her fiance has been in a coma for two years and to continue his care she needs the outrageous salary Nero is offering for a personal assistant. Dealing with the churlish Mr. De Santis may be more than she can handle though. I wasn't too sure about this one when I first started reading it but as I got to know these characters the story pulled me in. I definitely recommend it!
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
The Billionaire Beast by Jackie Ashenden The Billionaire Fairy Tales #2 Phoebe Taylor needs money…a lot of money…and working as the personal assistant of billionaire recluse Nero de Santis might be the only way she can get the money she needs for the care of her comatose fiancé. Nero is not an easy boss but she believes she can put up with nearly anything for the right reason. Nero is intrigued by Phoebe. He wants to break through her English cool and see what lies beneath. Over time they are drawn closer and closer to one another and begin to care for one another. Their relationship bares them to one another in more ways than one until the story ends leaving them both better off than they were when the story began. The story is a well written modern version of Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed the first book in the series perhaps a bit more than this one but did enjoy spending the day with Nero and Phoebe and was happy they managed to get find happiness together before the book ended. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. This is my honest review. 3.5 Stars
onemused More than 1 year ago
“The Billionaire Beast” is a romance novel retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where the “beast” is a wealthy recluse. Nero spends all his time at home, within a few rooms, as he is still dealing with agoraphobia left over from when he was locked up as a child. He manages some companies from home and is looking for a personal assistant to help with business and personal life (since he doesn’t leave home). However, most applicants stay away from him due to his bad reputation as a boss. Phoebe is desperately in need of money to pay her fiancé’s medical bills at the hospital where he has been in a coma for two years. Despite the warnings she has been given, she’s willing to take the six figure assistant job to help pay the medical bills. Nero is intrigued by his new employee, who does her job admirably. However, it appears his interest could be something more. Overall, I liked the book- the earlier parts made me a bit squeamish, as he forces her to kiss him and steamrolls over her completely (dubious consent), but by the time anything further happened, she was a willing participant. However, it did have a few elements of sexual harassment (including that he threatens her job if she won’t). Regardless, you get these same elements in the original fairytale/Disney movie (it’s a little different watching it as an adult), so it was very “in line” with the fairytale it is retelling. Nero and Phoebe are both broken people in their own ways, and even though Phoebe acknowledges that she wants to fix him, I think he helps to fix her too. This was the strength of the fairytale which also comes out here. The book is told from both of their perspectives with key scenes being described from both people, and it was interesting to get inside their heads and see how they viewed it. The whole book was well written and flowed well- the storyline was strong and not just about the action (as romance novels sometimes are). It’s a good book with romance elements (not a romance book with a bit of story). This is a really intense, sexy read. Please note that I received an ARC from the publishers through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
MBurton More than 1 year ago
3.5 Beastly Stars! This story was more heartbreaking than I was expecting. We got a glimpse of Nero in the first book and I was really looking forward to his story. He came off as a moody, dominant man that was a bit mysterious. I wasn't really expecting him to be such a jerk. All he cared about was what he wanted and he expects everyone around him to comply. He's been through so many assistants that word has spread and no one wants to work for him despite the generous salary. Except Phoebe. Phoebe has a fiancé that has been in a coma for 2 years and she needs funds fast to keep up with his care. Phoebe has had a bit of a sad upbringing. Her mom had her to replace her dead sister. Her father never wanted her. She leaves them when Charles came into her life. She was hoping this was a chance for her to live a life with Charles when he gets into an accident putting him in a coma. Now she needs to make money fast and her chance comes when she interviews with Nero. As the story progresses, we start to learn why Nero is such a hard man. It's a heartbreaking tale and Phoebe is peeling back the layers one piece at a time. By the end of the book I loved Nero. I understood why he was such a hard man and I loved seeing Phoebe bring out the man he truly is. It wasn't what I was expecting and I didn't care for Nero in the beginning but it ended beautifully. ARC provided by NetGalley.