A Billionaire Fairytale
by Jackie Ashenden
Dark, tortured, and intimidating, these dominant billionaires will steal their innocent heroines' breath away. Overwhelmed by their desire to control their world, they push their heroines to explore their deepest desires. But even the most unworldly of heroines can unlock these billionaires' secrets.
Xavier De Santis: Disgraced. Ruinous. Playboy.
The headlines are always shouting about Xavier’s various excesses, and he’s everything they say he is. But now he’s gone too far, and the black sheep of the De Santis family has been ordered to clean up his image. Volunteering at a homeless shelter, he sees a bright light amidst all the bleakness. An angel whose luminous face and tragic beauty call to him in ways he can’t explain.
Mia: Vulnerable. Homeless. Virgin.
When the shelter Mia calls home closes, she is left with nowhere to go - nowhere except for the luxurious, glorious palace of a home that Xavier De Santis has invited her to stay. This too-handsome billionaire is dark, dangerous - and also too good to be true. But surely Mia can indulge in her fantasies and escape the drudges of her daily life for just one night?
As one night turns into two, Mia knows that eventually, the magic will end and she will have to return to her life of hardship. She can't keep the beautiful clothes. She can't keep the soft bed. And most of all, she can't keep the hard, handsome, brutal man who makes her crave his touch with every breath she takes. Mia doesn't belong in his world. But as Xavier tempts his rags-to-riches heroine with exquisite pleasure and heady desire, Mia doesn't stand a chance but to surrender completely to him.
Caution - this may be a bit spoilery.
I'm at a little bit of a loss for this story, readers. On the one hand, I enjoyed Ashenden's writing, and felt she was able to adapt a fairy tale into modern times while also giving a voice to a population we don't get to hear about often, the homeless. On the other hand, as much as I appreciated that Xavier was supportive of Mia, I didn't enjoy the whole "virgin" aspect of the situation.
In so many stories, especially romance, The Virgin is this almost-holy being that is innocent, untouchable, and therefore still able to be saved. I found this a difficult contrast with what we had been shown already - Mia as a homeless young woman who had made decisions she thought best for herself. That is something to be appreciated, and I felt the introduction of her being a virgin made everything trickle down to that. It seemed that all of a sudden it didn't matter that Mia was a fighter, and a survivor - no, it mattered that she had never been sexually touched and oh, isn't that special.
I truly commend the author for introducing a new population to her readers. It is definitely the first time I see it in romance fiction. But I want romance authors (all authors, really) to remember is that we are shaped by our experiences, the good and the bad, and I don't mind my heroines having a background. I don't mind them knowing what they like or don't like. Don't get me wrong, I do love a good virgin trope. But when you're already doing something special (and yes, I think introducing the homeless population as ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE with WANTS, NEEDS, ETC. is special) , just go for it.