I was provided with an advance reader copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.
Series: Nine Circles #1
Published by St Martin's Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
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First in a brand new series by Jackie Ashenden featuring the members of the Nine Circles Club—friends bound together by power, secrets, need…and the love they will find and stop at nothing to keep.
Passion always comes at a price.
Gabriel Woolf is unstoppable. A ruthless businessman, he has perfected the art of revenge. Ever since his mother’s death, Gabriel has harbored only one wish: To take down the man who ruined their lives. But all bets are off when he meets his father’s step daughter, Honor St. James. Beautiful and innocent, she is everything Gabriel never knew he wanted—and now there’s no turning back...
Is her desire worth the risk?
Honor wasn’t born yesterday. She knows that Gabriel is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, willing to cross any line to get what he wants…herself included. But Gabriel’s passion for Honor—in spite of her connection to the man he hates the most—cannot be denied…and the feeling is utterly mutual. Can Gabriel be trusted? The only thing she knows for sure is how he makes her feel. And she can’t keep herself from coming back to him, over and over again…
I shall open this review of Jackie Ashenden’s new St Martin’s release, Mine to Take, by summarizing my thoughts after I had finished the book…but in picture form:
Holy sh*t, my people, this was SO, SO GOOD!!!!
Now, for my more considered and in-depth thoughts on Mine to Take:
Mine to Take is the first in the Nine Circles series. I love the name of the place from which the series takes its name – the Nine Circles Club – it gives it a devilish, Dante-esque vibe.
What I loved so much about this (and this is something I love in general about Jackie Ashenden’s work) is that no matter the darkness and the gravity of their situation, there is always an undeniable humanity and believability about Gabriel and Honor. You can believe in them discovering a way to break through the façade that they hide behind.
Gabriel’s need for revenge, and desire to exact that vengeance, has driven him for so long. His early life, spent in poverty and living with the fear that he is the outward reminder to his mother of past horrors, has shaped him into someone who believes himself incapable of feeling. He is unapologetic, hard-shelled, brutally charismatic man. There are no obvious signs of softness in this Ashenden hero, but he is such that you want him to discover that he has a heart that beats with something other than unhappiness.
Honor has always been the good girl, the dutiful and obedient daughter, forever toeing the line in the interest of family harmony – even doing so to the point of denying things to and about herself.
From the moment these two meet, BOOM!! The chemistry between Gabriel & Honor is incendiary, burning hot and bright from the word go. The sexytimes are hot (boy, Jackie writes the good sexytimes) and they are plentiful, but they are never gratuitous. Watching their connection develop from the purely physical to something much deeper was amazing. Each discovers something in the other that they have surpressed in themselves – Gabriel’s dark to Honor’s light – and while things get messy, you understand why it does.
The transition from Gabriel & Honor’s world into Alex’s story is done so freakin’ well. I love that there are no neat little bows tying up the threads in the story, and I cannot wait to see how it all works itself out.
I’m not entirely sure what it is that Jackie Ashenden does to make me keep coming back for more – there is so much to love about her voice, the worlds and characters she creates, that it is nigh-on impossible to pick just one thing. All I do know is that if Jackie keeps writing books like these, I will turn to my book retailer, hand over my wallet and say “TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY”.