The Billionaire’s Beauty by Ava Ryan

This Beauty and the Beast adaptation presents us with perhaps the best reaction of our female lead being presented with the most exquisite library in existence. Pushing that surly hunk of a hero up against the library wall for some sexy fun times.

What’s it About?

They call him The Beast for good reason. Now this billionaire boss wants his beautiful–and off-limits–assistant…

Griffin: They call me The Beast. Some people think I’m a bully. I’m not here to make friends. I ruthlessly clawed my way to the top of the real estate market in NYC. No friends needed.

She’s my feisty executive assistant. My right hand… woman. We have an unspoken arrangement: she pretends I’m smarter than she is while I pretend not to notice how sexy she is.

That was before she gave me her notice while wearing that dress.

I can do a lot. Run my family empire. Ignore the loneliness the top brings. Punch anyone who looks twice at her. But letting her go without a fight? Over my dead body…

Quick Review

This second novel in the Fairy Tale Billionaires series is very loosely inspired by that most classic of fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast. While there were certain elements we could all clearly recognize from the original, from a surly male lead with a soft side to the intelligent woman who isn’t afraid to stand up to him. There’s the traditional presentation of an expansive library, a west wing with a troubled past, the beloved father of our heroine, and last but not least a mention of a rose garden. That being said, this reiteration still manages to stand on it’s own two feet without relying too heavily on the progression of events from the original source material, which was quite refreshing. Some of these secondary elements get just the briefest of mentions, whereas others take upon a life of their own with a twist or two on what we might expect. There might not be an enchantress who put a spell on our hero to make him a Beast in appearance, but instead we focus on a difficult man who has been significantly influenced by the trauma of his past, the beauty who frustrates him in one moment while calming him in another, and finally the ever present reminder that their time together has an end date.

There was an interesting contradiction at play to constantly see Griffin argue with himself that he’s not prepared to be the partner Bellamy would need in a relationship, yet also seeing his alpha side break to loose by insisting he’ll be the one to protect and care for her in every way possible. As for Bellamy, she has all the spunk and toughness you could possibly want in a female lead. When Griffin was at his beastiest, or insistent on treating her like his possession, she would turn from sultry romantic interest to a vocal and determined adversary who wasn’t afraid to point out how he was being a total ass. That being said, as they proceed to take their relationship from one level to the next, she was also insightful enough to notice when his shitty behavior was being influenced by the fear and vulnerability borne of his troubled past. Bellamy knew how to navigate the fine line of pushing Griffin to explore the emotional turmoil of his childhood, while also giving him the space needed to come to certain realizations on his own rather than at her constant prodding. We ultimately see that the deep-rooted fear of Griffin being abandoned leads him to try and push away the only woman he’s ever truly cared for so that he can be the one to end things rather than being left behind once again. I wasn’t quite expecting for something that initially started as a light-hearted, sexy office romp to slowly evolve into a heartbreaking examination of loss and the healing power of love.

Series: Fairy Tale Billionaires, book 2. I didn’t read book one in this series before giving this one a go, but I must say I’m now intrigued to finish the rest of the series in its entirety. The love stories for these brothers are clearly taking place at the same time, so the small glimpse I’ve had of Griffin’s brothers and their respective love interests has tickled me pink.

Final Impressions: This was a fun and sexy read that successfully managed to avoid using the classic Beauty and the Beast tale as a crutch to lean upon. Griffin’s traumatic past played a key role in shaping him into the bastard he’s become today, and I appreciated the focus on this troubled history while simultaneously exploring how the progression of his relationship with Bellamy might be the force needed to break through the walls he’s built around him all these years. Bellamy was certainly a force to be reckoned with in her own right, and never allowed Griffin to have the upper-hand in intimidating her into submission. If anything, he was like putty in her hands, even when their bickering was somewhat over-the-top. I will say I wish we had seen Bellamy’s father incorporated a more fully into the story, and not just because the father figure was such a key character of the original fairy tale. He clearly plays a crucial role in Bellamy’s life, but his presence is solely limited to phone calls, which was rather disappointing. A perfectly pleasant read overall though.

Smut Level: This book adds significantly more steam and raunchiness to the classic fairy tale romance we’re all familiar with, which was just positively wonderful. I will say though, the several references to Bellamy’s…nether region as smelling/tasting of fresh oysters was…unexpected.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. I got this book for free on Amazon not too long ago, and it looks as though the other books in the series alternate between being available for free. 208 Pages.

Sinful Surrender by Erika Wilde

You can’t help but say “sign me up” when a billionaire beast wants to tie you up to his bed with the sole intent of doing things to your body that apparently Batman wouldn’t even do to Catwoman.

What’s it About?

A debt repaid . . . in the form of her surrender. Rich and powerful, Maddux Wilder has built his empire with one thought in mind . . . exacting revenge against the man who killed his parents. But he never planned for his enemy’s daughter, Arabella Cole, to offer herself in exchange for her father’s debt. Innocent and captivating, Maddux can’t resist her allure, or the lust she stirs within him.

When Arabella sacrifices her life to save her father’s, she does so with the intention of hating the man who now owns her. But beneath Maddux’s gruff, boorish exterior she discovers a compelling man. One who makes her burn with need and awakens deep, forbidden desires she can’t deny. Soon she’s surrendering more than just her body to Maddux.

What starts as an act of vengeance becomes something far more consuming. Can this beauty tame the beast, or will revenge cost them both everything that matters most?

First Impressions

Overall I’d have to say this is a delightful beach read. It has a good amount of heat, a bit of drama involving the mafia to hold your interest, and references to one of the best fairy-tales of all time: Beauty and the Beast. I appreciated that while this modern adaptation had a bookish beauty falling for a tough and grumbly beast, it wasn’t simply a scene-by-scene retelling of the story we all know and love. There was enough personality to distinguish this from the standard story-line. For example, while Arabella stands in to pay off her father’s debt to this beast, it’s because he has a criminal history of which she is totally unaware. Her father is certainly a far cry from the bumbling and lovable father figure we may have been expecting. Although some details are unique to this version, two things clearly remained the same: we have a surly male lead who manages to ooze sex appeal in spite of his beastly demeanor, and we have a feisty female lead who is far from a wallflower when it comes to interacting with this alpha billionaire.

She Knows What She Wants

Arabella’s admirable independence was clearly evident when she chose to stand up for her father, but it was even more visible in her sexual relationship with Maddux. At first, it almost seemed like Arabella would be a timid and delicate princess when it came to her sexual appetites. When we first met her she seemed like a bit of a loner living under the oppressive thumb of her overbearing father and his villainous sidekick, Gavin. Even though we see she’s initially quiet upon first meeting, it doesn’t take long before her voice is heard in every sense.

This is true not only in her declaration that she’ll do anything Maddux asks of her while living under his roof to pay off her father’s debt to him, but also when she makes it clear how much she wants Maddux to introduce her to all manner of erotic sexcapades. I was worried at first if this read would present us with a situation where Arabella was beholden and trapped to obey any sexual whim that entered Maddux’s head. Instead, what we see is Arabella is the one demanding that Maddux not treat her like a fragile ornament that might break at the slightest touch. She might be a virgin, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some downright sultry desires that she’ll beg Maddux to help her fulfill. It definitely makes you wonder who is wearing the pants, or more willing to rip them off, in this relationship.

Series: The Sinful Series, book 1. I’ll be continuing with this series, as we see a hint of a Cinderella story involving Maddux’s brother.

Final Impressions: Again, this is a fun beach read to explore this summer. I probably would have appreciated a bit more exploration of the dynamic between Arabella and her father, but it also wasn’t 100% necessary to the plot. The interactions of Maddux with his siblings and their seeking of vengeance for the death of their parents more than fulfilled the required familial dynamic for the plot to move forward.

Smut Level: It takes some time before we get to the ultimate climax, but we get plenty of teasing dirty talk before then to keep us satisfied.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. 286 Pages.

Royal Date by Sariah Wilson

For all of you grown ups out there who aren’t afraid to admit that you still love fairy tales, believe in happily ever afters, and think that watching Beauty and the Beast on a Saturday night is the idea of a good time, then you should definitely give this contemporary romance a shot.

What’s it About? 

royal dateThis Cinderella didn’t plan on a prince. Kat MacTaggart is a girl who has a plan for everything—including her holiday ski trip to Monterra with her best friend. Everything is going according to plan until she finds herself careening out of control down a mountainside and being rescued by a guy who looks like Superman’s hotter Italian cousin. HRH Prince Nico is intrigued by the woman he saved on the slopes and her refusal to date him. He offers Kat a deal—let him show her his country and he’ll pay her to write articles that will help Monterra’s tourism industry. Kat agrees, but given her past and lingering distrust of men, she has one condition—absolutely no kissing. Thanks to the claims of a jealous British noblewoman and the schemes of a meddling paparazzo, Kat’s rule doesn’t seem to be a problem at first. But the more Kat gets to know Nico and the people around him, the harder it is to remember her keep-your-distance plan. Should she stick to it or risk everything for a chance at happily ever after?

First Impressions

Proof yet again that skiing is the devil’s sport. What we have here is the perfect epitome of a modern-day fairy tale. Yes, it is an unrealistic and cheesy storyline which ends with a happily ever after at Christmastime, but by God I wouldn’t change a thing! What better way to feel like a kid again than to read a tale about a common young lady falling in love with an actual Prince Charming? Honestly, it kind of made me want to stop reading for a bit so I could play dress up. I mean, who says you can’t play dress up when you’re 25 years old? Seriously! I want to know so that I can tell ’em to shush up when I dance around in a ball gown and tiara.

ball gownOnce Upon a Time…

…there was a unicorn who met a prince. Kat is the unicorn in this instance, as she’s something you hear about, but rarely ever see: a 24-year-old virgin. After experiencing a traumatic event in her childhood, Kat has decided to save herself for marriage. But then we have a handsome prince who is temptation incarnate. They’re both clearly attracted to each other, and Kat has agreed to go on a few dates with Nico in order to create some buzz to help his country’s tourism. Kat’s main condition is that Nico isn’t allowed to kiss her. I’m sorry, but if I were in her shoes my requirement would have been that he provide at least 5 kisses a day! Nay, an hour! He’s just so perfect!!

kissesThe Prince and His Princess

Nico is the ideal prince. Suave and slightly cocky, but in a humorous way rather than a “you’re asking for a slap upside the head” way. He also respects Kat’s vow to not have sex until marriage. In this day and age the guy deserves a freakin’ medal for patience. Nico is definitely a gentleman, but he also has some mini-alpha tendencies of jealousy and possessiveness. I say mini because he isn’t overbearing in his infatuation towards her, you can just tell that he struggles at times to keep his attraction in check.

I also loved Kat as our princess. Several of her personality traits reminded me of myself. Shy at first, can really only communicate with men by making sarcastic comments, but if you push us too far you’ll come to regret it. There is one point in the story where a noblewoman named Claire humiliates Kat in a fit of jealousy, thinking Kat is too nice to ever retaliate. Think again biotch! Kat isn’t afraid to tell her off, and mock her ridiculous fake boobs in the process.

So Refreshing

princessAs you can tell, I loved the romantic aspect of this story, but there was also an underlying tension which I enjoyed as well. Kat involuntarily gets mixed up with a sleazy paparazzo, and she has trouble getting him off her back. Knowing that Nico would never forgive her, it’s imperative that he never find out her involvement in this misunderstanding. Which of course means it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. When he does, I was expecting a Real Housewives kind of argument to take place, where Nico would refuse to listen to reason and stalk off in a huff. You know, just like every other romance novel that has a misunderstanding of some kind. But alas, the situation is handled rationally, and calmly. It was shocking to have someone act like a mature adult for once. So refreshing!!

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Possibly. I would be in full support of a sequel. 

Should you read it? It is such a fun and adorable read! You should go into it knowing that as a fairy tale it will undoubtedly have some cheesy aspects, but just embrace them!!

Smut Level: Pretty clean read, but some sexy aspects too.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.49 Kindle Price. Kindle Press. 254 Pages