Review: The Debt by Jackie Ashenden

debt

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Author: Jackie Ashenden
Release day:  September 1st 2019
Pages: 192

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Ruthless billionaire Ash Evans finds the sexiest way to collect on a debt in the first installment in The Billionaire’s Club quartet!

Notoriously ruthless property developer Ash Evans never forgives a debt. And I have two days to convince the former street fighter not to pull his investment in my father’s company. Taking a job as his chauffeur in Paris is the only way to get close enough to ask the bad-tempered billionaire for a favor.

With his sexy tattoo, scars and magnificently cut body, he’s as powerful, sleek and difficult to manage as the sports cars my family designs. And after meeting his electric-blue eyes in the rearview mirror all night, I’m more than happy to rev his engine and take the boss for a ride!

But now Ash thinks I’m just using him to get what I want. And he’ll give me what I need, but there is a price—posing as his girlfriend to help him exact vengeance on his half brother. Pretending to love Ash is the easiest job I’ve ever had…and soon my heart is racing into danger. Will a man so full of anger ever be capable of loving me back?

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have hit a bump on my reading journey lately. The last books I have picked are more in the forgettable side of the spectrum. I was aware that my quest to get rid of the NetGalley ARCs I requested would bring some less interesting stories, but the last one I reviewd totally killed my reading mood. I needed something unexpected and that is what I have got with the next ARC on the list. Simple, direct, entertaining… less flourishes and more sustancial bites.

We follow the adventures of Ellie, a supercar designer (I guess that’s a thing…) who works in her family business. A company that is going through tough times and it is about to lose one of the most important investors. So, the resourceful designer comes with the plan to become the chauffeur of the investor to get some alone time with him to smooth things over. The investor is not other than Ash, the arrogant and sexy billionaire who eats princesses for breakfast…Thankfully, Ellie is far from one!!

The story is nothing new in Romance (hard to invent new plots in such a crowded genre), but it is presented alomost perfectly. The heroes have a clear mission, one to save the investment and the other to buy some islands. Both quests are important to them, so I am very glad that the author didn’t forget about those plot threads as soon as they get naked. Too many times, the story just become an excuse to just tell the romance. Reading otherwise makes me grateful for picking the book. Even though it is a short book, I have read even shorter ones that get stuck and are incapable of going forward. In this case, every single chapters takes us one step further, so there are no dull moments tempting my skipping skills. Perfect pace for a light reading!

I enjoyed the exchanges between the main characters, but I must admit I was expecting more fire. Ash is a pretty rude guy, with no filter who just say whatever he pleases without worrying about the receptor’s feelings. Due to his position, noone is brave enough to tell him to be gentler. But Ellie doesn’t take his bullshit and fights him every step of the way (which is what made him attracted to her). Taking that into account, I would have expected more banter, more funny or absurd conversations to proof who is tougher. I think the book misses too many chances of making us laugh. I know is not sold as a Romantic Comedy book, but the setting was so good for one that I am a bit sad that we didn’t get at least a couple of funny moments.

The anojoyable story could have been easily ruined with badly handle characters. But it is not the case. Both of them are pretty cool, with enough dark corners to keep us engaged, but not too much to make them unrealistic. Ash is what in the Romance genre is called a bully: arrogant, rude, insensitive, bossy… A cold-hearted bastard. That kind of character can be a pain to read if you are not careful, but this billionaire with the fighter body and the sexy facial scars (yes, those can be hot too… haven’t you met Geralt de Rivia?) is pretty well balanced and we soon learn that there is a heart beating inside that hardened surface. Enough to be able to sympathtize with him, because, in my book, 100% bullies don’t get my support. It helps that opposite him he has a strong woman who doesn’t take any of his bullshit just because he poops dollars.

They are not perfect. Actually, since the beginning I just wanted to yell at them due to the stupidity both of them were sporting proudly. Ash because he thinks the world spins around him and has wasted half of his life trying to avenge his mother’s trust… Have you heard the expression “hug it out“? Seriously, bro… way cheaper. And Ellie… How can a character with such strong persoanlity belive that she was the one to blame for the current money problems of the company? I know family is important, but her dad is pure poison and she should know it… being a modern woman and all. I’m glad she found Ash and someone was honest with her. Sometimes brutish is better than soft mannered.

All in all, the romance was great. With small steps at a time and a hopeful ending. Not the copy/paste I’m always afraid of. Also, the sex scenes are really great. Sweet when they need to be and naughty when they call for it. With a very soft dominant undertone that is thousands of time hotter than going full steam with the BDSM concept that is sadly horribly used in too many cases.

I wasn’t expecting to like this book that much. It has replenished my energy to face the ARCs that I have yet to read. I will have to check more books written by this factor, because I have truly enjoyed her direct way of telling the story.

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2019 – Book Gallery

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