Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Interview with Jackie Ashendon - The Dangerous Billionaire

It's my pleasure to bring my interview with Jackie Ashendon about her new novel, The Dangerous Billionaire, book one in her Tate Brothers series.
ISBN-13: 9781250122797
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 05-02-2017
Length: 368pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound

Navy SEAL Sullivan "Van" Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.
"Sinfully sexy."--Opal Carew on Mine to Take

Nothing about Sullivan "Van" Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van's most dangerous desires.

Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company. Tall, dark, and muscled, he's the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?

Read an excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press:


Commander Sullivan “Van” Tate hated a lot of things about New York, but Leo’s Alehouse in the East Village was not one of them. Most especially not after an afternoon spent scattering all that remained of his father from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Leo’s had been serving military men for over a century and a half, and from the dark, smoke-stained, low-hanging ceiling to the walls covered in military photographs to the dusty, grimy wooden floor, it reeked of stale beer, sweat, decades-old cigarette smoke, and long nights spent getting absolutely shit-faced.
No, Van might have hated New York, but he fucking loved Leo’s.
His father would have approved too. Noah Tate had never despised his Wyoming roots, no matter how rich an oil tycoon he’d become in the end, and his three foster sons holding a wake in his honor in a military dive bar would have appealed to the rebel in him.
Besides, where else were three Navy SEALs supposed to go to raise a glass to their father in this shitty city?
“Cocksuckers,” Wolf muttered, glowering at the bunch of drunken marines currently propping up the bar. Van’s youngest brother was built like a tank and moved like one too—he just rolled right over people who got in his way and if you were one of those people, then too bad. Wolf had had a boilermaker or four and was spoiling for a fight. Then again, Wolf was always spoiling for a fight. Drinking, fucking, and fighting were Wolf’s three favorite pastimes and if he could combine all three, then he was in heaven.
Sadly for Wolf, the bar was full of men, which left him with only drinking and fighting, and since he’d taken their father’s death pretty hard, he was jonesing for both.
Also sadly for him, Van wasn’t having any of that shit, not when the media had been hounding them pretty solidly for the past week. The unexpected death of an oil billionaire was big news however you looked at it, especially when that death had occurred in “mysterious circumstances” if the press could be believed. Which they couldn’t.
Van wasn’t having any of that particular shit either. Their father’s body had been found way up on the side of Shadow Peak, the mountain behind the Tate family’s Wyoming ranch, with a broken neck. His horse had also been found nearby, which made it pretty clear to Van at least, and the local coroner, that the whole thing had been an accident. Nothing mysterious about it.
Still, the press loved a story and they loved the Tate brothers’ story in particular. Van could see why: three orphaned boys adopted by an oil tycoon was the stuff of Hallmark fantasies, especially when all three boys were promptly sent into the military at the age of eighteen. And now their father had died? Well, interest was at an all-time high and, quite frankly, Wolf getting into a bar-room brawl and bringing down that media on their heads was the last thing Van wanted.
Van was the head of the Tate family now and getting all that shit on lockdown until the situation had been handled was his job.
“No,” he said flatly to Wolf, meeting his little brother’s gaze, making it clear he knew exactly what Wolf was thinking. “We’re not here to fight. We’re here to give Dad a send-off.”
Wolf scowled. “Don’t recall you being my commanding officer, bro.”
Van gave him a grin that had only a little bit of teeth in it. “No, but I’m head of the goddamn family now and that makes me the next best thing.”
“Here’s what I think of that.” Wolf tipped his chair back and raised his hand as if to run it through his dark Mohawk only to fold down all his fingers except the middle one.
“Expressive as always,” Lucas murmured dryly. “You have such a way with words, Wolf. I’m impressed.”
Lucas, Van’s middle brother, was a sniper and one of the most controlled people Van had ever met—which, considering he included himself in that statement, was saying something. Lucas was the very definition of patience, but even he didn’t have much of it when it came to Wolf’s particular method of dealing with his emotions, not when Lucas preferred to have no emotions at all—which was okay with Van because it meant he had one less person to worry about.
“Yeah and fuck you too.” Wolf gave Lucas a belligerent look, baring his teeth in a grin that was just a hair short of feral.
“Lock it down,” Van said flatly, injecting all his authority—which was considerable—into the order. “Or do you really want the world’s media watching you beat up a couple of jarheads?”
Wolf glowered at him for a long moment, his weird eyes—one blue, one green—full of banked aggression. Then he glanced sourly back at the Marines for another moment before letting out an explosive breath, his chair landing on all four legs with a thump. “Fuck it. I’ll go get laid instead.”
Thank Christ for that. The last thing they all needed was Wolf going apeshit in a bar. Especially after a mother of a day like today.
Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge in the rain, emptying Noah Tate’s ashes into the East River, the icy rain soaking their dress blues, hadn’t been physically demanding—that shit they all had no problem with. It was the emotional toll that was the issue—especially for Wolf, who’d been closest of all to their dad.
Noah Tate had been the man who’d given them a proper home, the first that any of them had ever had. He hadn’t been a particularly loving father, at least not to Van, but he had been a father to them. And even if what he’d wanted from Van had been more than Van had ever been able to give, his death had been a blow that none of them had seen coming.
Wolf’s expression cleared and he grinned in one of his usual quicksilver changes of mood. “Hey, we could take the jet to Vegas. Go play some poker, spend a little quality time with the ladies. Shit like that.” He raised his beer and took a swallow. “Fuck knows I could do with some shore leave before I go back to Virginia.”
Lucas shook his head. “I’ll pass. I’ve got a few things I need to do in New York.”
Wolf raised his eyebrows in sudden interest. “What things?”
“None of your damn business, asshole,” Lucas said pleasantly.
Van eyed him. His middle brother had been a cagey bastard since they’d all arrived back at the Tate ranch two weeks ago to prepare for their father’s funeral. Van had tried to find out what was going on with him, but it had been like trying to open an oyster with a piece of wet spaghetti—pointless.
Then again, maybe it was the falling back into his old role as big brother and protector that was the pointless thing. None of them were boys anymore. They were fucking SEALs and each had been in the military for over ten years. No one needed protecting, not these days.
Still, Van had always been the one who’d looked out for the other two ever since they’d all been in the St. Mary’s Home for Boys together, and old habits died hard.
“Got anything you want to tell us?” Van gave Lucas a meaningful look. “Or rather me. Ignore the little bastard in the corner.”
“Fuck you,” Wolf muttered, offended.
“No.” Lucas’s silver-blue eyes gave Van back absolutely nothing.
Irritated, Van put his beer on the table with a thump. He couldn’t make his brother tell him anything if the guy didn’t want to, but that didn’t make Van any less pissed. Especially not with that damn envelope burning a hole in the pocket of his jacket.
His father’s lawyer had handed it to him just before he’d stepped on the plane to New York, after the funeral, and then turned around and walked away without any kind of explanation. It was only when Van had opened it as the plane climbed into the sky that he’d realized what it was.
The last will and testament of Noah Tate.
And that wasn’t all. There were three more envelopes inside, each one addressed to one of Noah’s sons.
Van hadn’t given those envelopes out yet and he hadn’t read the one addressed to him either. He was still trying to get his head around the fact that his father had left the entirety of his massive fortune to Van, including the huge oil and gas empire he’d founded.
He’d had to read the damn thing three times before it sunk in and then, once it had, he’d spent the remainder of the flight trying to master his towering rage, because yet again—as he always seemed to do—his goddamn father had managed to get in the last word.
Ever since his father had adopted him at the age of eight, Noah had been very clear what Van’s purpose was, what the purpose of all the boys were: they were to protect the Tate legacy.
Van, as the oldest, had been earmarked as Noah’s heir, and for years, that’s all Van wanted to be. He wanted to work hard, show the old man how grateful he was for everything Noah had given him. Be the kind of son Noah would be proud of.
Then Columbia had happened. On a mission to smash a sex-trafficking ring, he’d fucked up, lost a woman he was supposed to protect, and suddenly being Noah’s heir hadn’t looked so shit hot after all. What was money compared to woman’s life? Compared to all the lives he could save as a SEAL that he couldn’t save as some dick in a suit?
So he’d stayed with the SEALs instead of joining Noah at the helm of Tate Oil, something that had pissed Noah off no end, and something they’d argued endlessly and bitterly about.
Now, though, it was Noah getting his own back and Van’s turn to be pissed off. And the worst part was, there was nothing he could do about it.
He hated the damn city. Hated the suits and the fucking skyscrapers. And he hated being stuck behind a desk, no matter that said desk was in a corner office in a historic old building that housed Tate Oil and Gas in Downtown Manhattan.
He preferred the military. Loved the danger and the thrill of armed service, the comradeship and the loyalty of his team. He was a protector at heart, and protecting people in general and his country in particular were more important to him than protecting the Tate bank account.
Apparently his father hadn’t agreed.
Yeah, even though a day had passed since Jeffrey Taylor, the lawyer, had handed Van the will, Van was still as furious about it as he had been on the plane. So furious in fact that he’d been tempted to drop-kick Noah Tate’s urn into the East River instead of reverently scattering the ashes.
“Problem?” One of Lucas’s dark blond brows rose.
Shit. Van was pretty good at keeping his emotions hidden—as a commander he had to—but the fact that Lucas had picked up on his anger meant he wasn’t keeping it quite as under control as he thought. Always a worry.
Then again, being almost preternaturally observant was what made Lucas one of the best snipers in the forces, so maybe it was just his brother being a giant pain in the ass.
“No,” Van said, mimicking Lucas’s earlier flat denial. “But no one’s going anywhere or making decisions about anything until we finish dealing with stuff in New York.”
“Seriously?” Wolf was back to glowering. “You two can do whatever the hell you want with the rest of your leave, but if we’re not going to Vegas then I’m catching the next flight back to base.”
This was unsurprising. Joining the Navy had been all Wolf had wanted to do since he’d watched his older brothers enlist and he didn’t have many interests outside it. Unfortunately for him, now that their father was dead, things had changed.
Van gave Wolf a hard look, the look that had always had the men of his team shitting themselves whenever it was directed at them. “You’re not going anywhere. Not today.” Van shifted his gaze to Lucas. “That includes you too.”
Wolf gave a short laugh. “Christ, you’re so fucking full of it. Who died and made you God?”
“Dad, apparently,” Van said, deadpan.
Lucas ignored this, his icy gaze focused and intent as a laser. “For once I agree with the little bastard. We’re not your men, Van. We’re your brothers. Which means, with respect, that you can go to hell.”
Van didn’t even flinch. He stared down harder men than Lucas every damn day and he wasn’t about to put up with insubordination. Especially given that they now had other responsibilities. Because it wasn’t only him who’d been named in their father’s will.
“Yeah,” Van said, staring hard at both Wolf and Lucas. “You are my brothers. And just because Dad’s dead, it doesn’t mean we stop being Tates. We’re a team, and you know what that means.”
“Jesus,” Wolf muttered. “Next you’ll be telling us we even have a mission.”
“We do.” Van reached into the pocket of his jacket, brought out the envelope and slapped it down on the table in front of them.
He’d debated about when was the best time to deliver the happy news to his brothers. Looked like that time was now.
“What the fuck is that?” Wolf demanded. “A lottery ticket? Hate to break it to you, Van, but we kind of don’t need lottery tickets.”
Lucas narrowed his gaze at Van for a long moment. Then he glanced down at the envelope. “Quiet, Wolf,” he murmured, reaching out to pick it up and open it. “Little boys should be seen and not heard.”
Wolf muttered something incomprehensible and very rude, but Lucas ignored him, sliding out the paper inside the envelope and unfolding it.
Van said nothing. The shit was about to hit the fan any second … now.
“Jesus Christ.” Lucas looked up abruptly from the letter and met Van’s gaze. “That old prick.”
“Yeah,” Van agreed. “That was pretty much my response too.”
“What?” Wolf snapped.
Lucas handed him the paper. “Dad’s will. Looks like no one is going to Vegas any time soon.”
Wolf scowled and took the letter. As he began to read, his rough-hewn features hardened. “This is bullshit,” he said eventually, looking up from the letter, his unusual eyes glittering. “This is just fucking bullshit.”
Not an unexpected response from his brother, it had to be said.
Van lifted a shoulder. “It is what it is.”
“No, fuck that.” Wolf slapped the letter down on the table. “I mean, is it even legal?”
“Of course. Jeffrey Taylor gave it to me.”
Wolf glowered. “Who the fuck is Jeffrey Taylor?”
“Dad’s lawyer.” Van tightened his grip on his patience. “Old-school New York firm, the best of the best. Jeffrey drew up the will himself, so it’s as watertight as they come.” Of course, Van could get it checked out by another firm, which he’d considered on the flight to New York but then discarded the idea. Noah had been very particular about his legal dealings, and since Taylor and Associates had been handling his business since he’d first started in the oil industry, Van was pretty certain it would all be totally legit.
“I don’t care how watertight it is.” Wolf sat back in his chair and folded his arms across his massively muscled chest, dark eyebrows pulling down. “I’m not sitting on any board of fucking directors.”
Van knew how Wolf felt. He didn’t want to sit on the board of fucking directors either. He didn’t want to be his old man’s heir. What he wanted was to lead his team in defense of his country, to protect civilians caught in the line of fire, something a thousand times more important than the petty concerns of the goddamn oil industry.
However, the will was clear. Noah wanted his three sons on the board to look after the Tate legacy, and Van found he couldn’t dismiss that however much it interfered with his own interests. This was their purpose. The whole reason Noah had adopted them in the first place, and they owed him. He’d brought them all up to put family first, and no matter how distant and fraught Van’s relationship with Noah had become, Van had always been the example the others had followed. He’d always been the leader. He couldn’t shirk that responsibility now, no matter his personal opinions.
“Yeah, well, I don’t want to be on the board of fucking directors either,” he said flatly, giving voice to his thoughts. “But like it or not, that’s the situation. We’re Tates and we stick together.”
Wolf’s jaw was tight with denial. He glanced at Lucas. “What about you? You okay with this shit?”
Lucas leaned forward, his elbows on the table. “No,” he said slowly, his unsettlingly intense gaze focusing on Van. “No, I am not okay with it.”
So they wanted to get into a pissing contest? Fine. He’d play. He’d always been better at it than these two cocksuckers.
He stared back at Lucas, hard. “I’m sorry,” he murmured, before switching to stare at Wolf, “I thought you guys were supposed to be SEALs. Guess not.”
“You prick—” Wolf began hotly.
But Van didn’t let him finish. “Our father is dead. The man who took us from that shitty boys home and gave us the lives we have now. The man who gave us everything.” He kept his voice quiet but with enough of an edge to show the other two he meant business. “And now he’s asking for something from us, you’re whining about it?”
Wolf’s mouth went tight again, a muscle leaping in the side of his jaw, while Lucas’s pretty-boy features were absolutely expressionless. Neither spoke, which was good. It meant they got what Van was saying.
“So,” he went on, “here’s what we’re going to do. No, we don’t like it, but we’re fucking SEALs and so we’re going to step up. We’re going to do what Dad has asked us to do and we’re going to do it with maximum effort. Got it?”
Van gave a curt nod as he reached into the pocket of his jacket and extracted the three individually addressed envelopes that had accompanied the will.
As good a time as any to see what other bombshells their father had in store for them.
He put them down on the table so the others could see their names written on the fronts.
“What the hell are these?” Wolf growled.
“These were with the will,” Van explained, picking up the envelope addressed to him. “I don’t know what’s inside. I haven’t looked at mine yet. I figured we should all do this together.” And part of him still didn’t want to, if he was honest with himself.
Christ, if that will had been a grenade, he was certain these envelopes contained enough plastic explosive to level a city.
For a second none of them said anything, all of them looking at the envelopes as if they were IEDs ready to go off at the slightest touch.
“Fuck this,” Wolf muttered, grabbing his, ripping it open, unfolding the paper inside. Then he went absolutely white.
Van frowned, unease turning over inside him. “What’s up?”
His brother looked up, glancing first at him then Lucas, his eyes brilliant spots of sapphire and emerald. Then quite suddenly he stood, shoving his chair back so hard it hit the wall behind him, the expression on his face full of savagely suppressed emotion.
“Wolf?” Van’s unease tightened further. “What the fuck is the problem?”
But Wolf didn’t answer. Instead he turned without a word and shouldered his way out of the bar.
Van half-rose to go after him, but Lucas said quietly, “Let him go.”
Cursing under his breath, yet knowing his brother was right, Van sat back down in his seat. Wolf had always needed time to cool off when he was pissed, except Van didn’t think Wolf had been angry. More like … shocked or even devastated.
“You have any idea what that was about?” he asked, looking at Lucas.
His brother shrugged. “No. Doesn’t make me want to open my fucking envelope though.”
No shit.
Van shoved the envelope addressed to Lucas in his brother’s direction. “You first.”
Lucas eyed him. “Who was talking about us being SEALs again? Oh yes, that was you.”
Ah, Christ.
“Then I guess I’ll fucking open it,” Van growled, reaching for his own envelope.
But Lucas had already picked his up and had torn it open, sliding out the piece of paper and looking down at it. There was no discernible change in his expression. A moment later, he folded up the paper into small squares and then, in a series of small, precise movements, he calmly ripped those squares into tiny little pieces.
Holy shit.
Van stared at him. “Good news then?”
Lucas’s eyes had gone very gray, the blue leeched from them and glittering with ice. “You can count me in as a director. And if Wolf’s letter was along the same lines as mine, you can count him in too.”
The unease already churning in Van’s gut got deeper, wider. “You going to tell me what Dad wrote?”
“Open your envelope, then ask me that question again.”
“That good, huh?”
Lucas said nothing, just stared at him. There was a tension around his brother now, a tension that hadn’t been there before, a kind of brittle edge. As if all it would take was a tap and he’d shatter.
Van gritted his teeth and looked down at the letter in his hands for a long moment. Finally, he ripped it open.
Sullivan, his father had written, I don’t trust anyone with this information but you. There’s something I want you to do for me, something you must not tell anyone else about. It’s about Chloe …

Copyright © 2017 by Jackie Ashenden

Hi Jackie welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell my readers and me a bit about your new novel The Dangerous Billionaire.

Hi and thanks for having me! Okay, so The Dangerous Billionaire is all about a hot Navy SEAL who inherits his father's billion dollar oil company and an old family feud along with it. He also inherits a new mission, which is to protect his foster sister. Unfortunately, she does NOT want to be protected! Shenanigans with guns and dog tags ensue. ;-)
Amazon calls it a new Stand Alone novel but it also says book one of two in the Tate Brothers series.
What’s the deal?

It's actually the first in a three book series called The Tate Brothers. They're all Navy SEALs and they're foster brothers, and all of them have been given missions by their extremely sketchy father.  The first book is the oldest brother's book and it can be read as a stand alone. The others too have stand alone romances in them.
So Jackie tell me about the wall paper on your website. It says Dirty, Sexy Love.            
What is the heat scale for your novels?

Hehe. Well, like it says on the tin, the scale goes from hot to eleven. ;-) In other words, the bedroom door in all my books is wiiiiide open. Some are hotter than others, though. I have a couple of series that are erotic romance and those ones tend to be the most scorching.
Your bio says that you were a SF/Fantasy/pseudo/literary writer by day before you devoted all your time to writing romance.
Do you write strictly contemporary romance or has your SF/Fantasy love trickled into your romance too?

That's a great question! Well, that part of my bio came from when I was first starting off writing (when I was 12!) and I loved reading Fantasy and SF, so that's what I started to write. Not these days though. My books are strictly contemporary so far, but I wouldn't say never to writing SF/Fantasy romance. Just have to wait for the right idea…
Has your muse ever whispered sweet literary nothings in your ear since you turned all romance all the time?
Nope. I'm all about the happy ending and LitFic can be so depressing. Also, I like writing sexy times and emotions and I'm not sure they're big hits with the literary market. Though again, never say never…
Jackie we know what you like to write but what’s your reading shelf like. Do you enjoy many genres or just one or two?
I read a whole lot of things. Not so much LitFic as I used to because reading has always meant escapism for me and I like my happy endings. So as to romance genres, I prefer dark, angsty, sexy reads so anything paranormal, historical, dark romance, and contemporary I love. Plus I read SF and fantasy, historical fiction, and I really like psychological thrillers. I don't read nonfiction.
You have several novels releasing relatively close together.
Do you finish one novel before you work on another or is there some overlapping of tales?

I usually finish one thing before I work on another, though I do have a few 'play' projects that I put words down on when I need a break. These aren't contracted books, but just ideas that I want to explore
Jackie thanks for taking the time to answer my nosey questions J
Good luck with the new novel.
Do you ever travel to the states to meet your US fans?

Thanks for having me! And yes, I usually try and make it to the States once a year to the Romance Writers of America conference. I have met a couple of fans at the signing there, but I'd love to come over to meet some more at some stage.

Tate Brother #2 coming in October


Praise for The Dangerous Billionaire

"With a distinct voice and fresh, complex characters, Mine To Take is a sexy, emotional read that gripped me from page one. I can't wait to see what Ashenden brings us next."–Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author

"Dark, explosive, and gritty, with a splash of dominance...tremendously satisfying." - PW Starred Review on In Bed with the Billionaire

"Utterly captivating...with searing sensuality...Ashenden has once again provided series fans with a book to savor and remember.” - RT Book Reviews Top Pick on In Bed with the Billionaire

"Dances on a dark edge and frolics in naughtiness." - Kirkus on In Bed with the Billionaire

Steamy, gritty, and explosive. - PW on Kidnapped by the Billionaire

Connect with Jackie - Website - Facebook - Twitter
Meet Jackie:
Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr. Jax, and their two kids and two cats. When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.

Today's Gonereading item is:
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  1. Great interview and I love the cover! I love that Jackie is all about the happy ending.

    1. I know Cindy I love that too. When my husband was going through cancer treatment I could only read books with HEAs which is why I OD'd on Harlequin because I was astounded at all the lying authors out there who professed to be romance authors but their novels did NOT have an HEA.

  2. I love series that can be read as stand alone reads because I don't always have time for all the books and sometimes it is nice to have a story completed and not carry over into another one. Great interview!

  3. Another really interesting interview, I was aware of her books but think they might be a bit hot for my taste although I do love the Navy SEAL aspect! Yes to happy endings.

    1. Yeah they may be a tad too much for you Kathryn :-)

  4. Oh man. I almost did this one for review but got behind on things. I'll have to add it to my fun pile :)