Review: "Mine to Take" by Jackie Ashenden (Nine Circles #1)

Gabriel Woolf wants revenge. He wants to make the man who raped his mother to suffer for what he did and he doesn't care what he needs to do and who he has to use to get what he wants. Upon his mother's death, he learns of a name that he believes belongs to the man he's looking for. It doesn't matter that he happens to be the stepfather of his best friend, who has had no contact with his family for many years. If it means getting close to Honor St. James, his best friend's estranged sister, to gather information, then so be it. The fact that they're drawn to one another should simply work in his favor...shouldn't it?

Honor St. James doesn't know if Gabriel Woolf is the kind of man she should trust. His reputation precedes him and if she wasn't so desperate to line up an investor in her stepfather's hotel business in order to save it from bankruptcy, she would tell him to take a hike. But she can't deny that she's intrigued by the successful billionaire businessman who looks more comfortable in jeans, motorcycle boots, and a t-shirt than in a  three-piece suit. She knows there's more to him than meets the eye and gets glimpses of the man behind the hard exterior but is she prepared to learn all his secrets and still be with him?

Mine to Take is the first novel in the Nine Circles series by Jackie Ashenden and is a romantic suspense story about a man named Gabriel Woolf bent on vengeance and the woman, Honor St. James, who starts off as a mere pawn in his plans but soon becomes much more. As much as both Gabriel and Honor try to prevent anything deeper to develop between the two of them, they begin to see more than the facades they're used to showing other people, and when their feelings begin to evolve, Gabriel's plans for revenge turn more complicated, especially if the his true motives are laid bare to Honor and his friends.

I liked the dynamic between Gabriel and Honor, especially since they seemed like such opposites--he with his rough and tough exterior but with billions of dollars that he's worked hard for and she with her prim and proper upbringing but needing the influx of money to help her stepfather with his finances. They're both highly intelligent but have had their share of painful experiences growing up. They appear to be testing one another in the beginning, pushing each other's buttons, but as the story progresses, they begin to try and earn each other's trust and then realize they're falling for the person they once hated.

There's a twist in the story that I kind of saw coming but the way it connects to yet another twist closer to the end of the book caught me off-guard. Aside from Gabriel and Honor's love story, there's also the story of the Nine Circles (aka the Fucked-Up Billionaires Club) and its four main members: Gabriel Woolf, Alex St. James, Zac Rutherford, and Eva King. They're a very interesting bunch of friends who have each other's backs but don't appear to know everything about one another. Their involvement in Gabriel's plan is quite intriguing, especially since a lot of the stuff that goes on appears to be interconnected.

Gabriel and Honor's story doesn't end on a cliffhanger, though we don't get all the answers that we want regarding what was going on with them, but the one about the Nine Circles as a group and the need to learn the secrets of the Seven Devils, a sinister group of men that Alex and Honor's father and stepfather belonged to, certainly isn't over. I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series because my curiosity has gotten the best of me and I need to know what the heck is going on, plus learn more about Alex, Zac, and Eva. Mine to Take has steam, romance, suspense, and thrills and deserves to get 4.5 stars. ♥

On a side note, the cover looks a tad strange because the pair of jeans appear to be on top of the guy's body and not actually worn. I'm not one to judge a book by its cover but I just needed to put that out there because I only noticed it when I had to put the cover image here on my review. I actually ended up staring and squinting at it for much longer than what would be considered normal because I had to make sure I wasn't seeing things. And yes, I went ahead and asked other people if it was just me or if they noticed the same thing. So there you go. The cover, though, has no bearing on my overall rating whatsoever. ^.^

Date Read: 03 May 2015

Learn more about Jackie Ashenden here.

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