Series: Billionaire Fairytales #2
Published by St. Martin's Press Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Dark, Erotica, Millionaire/Billionaire Hero, Romance, Workplace Romance
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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. Ruthless, cold, and selfish, Nero wants for nothing and takes care of no one but himself. His last handful of assistants have left his house in tears, but the prim redhead applying for the job looks up to the task. Nero has spent his life shut within the walls he built, with no care to have more than a window to the outside world. But 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. Nero is hiding something, something he is fighting with every step he takes. Yet he can’t help but stake his claim on this woman who has shaken up his life, and Phoebe can’t believe this animal of a man is the one person to ever look into her eyes and see her soul. Nero wants to keep her. He wants to devour her. And Phoebe just might let him.
So clearly this book is a retelling of a fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, it’s also very timely given the movie just came out, but nevertheless I was looking forward to reading this book because I love modern retellings of fairytales. Obviously in the fairytale the Beast is actually, you know a beast, whereas Nero in this book is just a man, but a man who has some serious baggage that seems to have resulted in some pretty serious agoraphobia. But he does have a similar temperament I would say.
So the book starts with Phoebe going to Nero as a job applicant, he has a lot of money, and is super difficult to work for and can’t keep an assistant, so he’s offering a ton of money, and Phoebe needs the cash. First off I noticed the mind games that Nero seems to like to play on anyone who comes into his domain. I wonder almost if he plays the games because it’s really the only contact he has with people, and he doesn’t seem to be very good with people. I didn’t really like how kind of stalkery he is, I mean he watches everyone all the time, from this like secret control room, where of course it turns out the whole house is outfitted with camera, it’s a little creepy. Also for me, Nero was hard to like. I mean I liked Beast in the fairytale, he had moments of being sweet or kind, his shell was broken slowly and you could see that there was more to him then just the hard exterior. Nero on the other hand, is largely clueless, he operates on like base instincts, he would almost remind me of Tarzan more the Beast because he does not in any way know how to interact in society. He’s pushy, he takes what he wants, he’s demanding, he’s rude, he’s a lot of things. I kept looking for the sweet moment, the moment where you see more to him, but he really is just kind of clueless, he doesn’t really make any effort until the very end, so I didn’t really like him.
Phoebe is okay, I liked her okay. She’s good at her job, she is driven to take care of her fiancee who is in a coma, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he gets the care he needs. Which means working for the man-child-jerk Nero. I was kind of impressed with her ability to handle him, to almost compartmentalize the situation. She’s also just a good person who wants to help people, so that’s hard not to like, but her biggest issue is that she doesn’t seem to be able to put herself first.
I don’t know, this book was okay. There were part that were enjoyable, and parts that just didn’t do much for me (i.e. Nero a lot). There is definitely some heat in the book, but I kind of felt like the chemistry didn’t really work in the beginning. I did like the character backstories, that worked for me a lot, it didn’t just explain why the characters were the way they were, but it also made Nero a little bit more likable for me. I didn’t love it, but it was still okay.