Review: Naked (#1, The Blackstone Affair) and All In (#2, The Blackstone Affair) by Raine Miller

My Thoughts

Sinfully seductive, passionate, intense and full of romance.
I fell in love with Ethan Blackstone! Make room Gideon Cross and Christian Grey, we have a new alpha to swoon over!

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Synopsis

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Brynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work. When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her. But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both…

 

My Review

Hot and steamy! Romantic and real!!! These pages are filled with moments that made me blush, that made my heart ache and that had me grinning widely. I LOVED them!  I couldn’t put these books down.

From all the buzz already out there, I definitely expected Ethan Blackstone to be a swoon-worthy alpha male, but I did not realize how passionate and loving he would be and how much I would love him for that. This is a story of love and romance, but also one that is shaped by dark and tragic pasts. I didn’t want these books to end. They are quick reads and I went from Naked (book #1) to All In (book #2) immediately, reading both in the span of 24 hours.

So what’s the story? Naked begins with CEO Ethan Blackstone receiving a call from an old friend asking him to watch his daughter due to some concerns he had about her safety. Ethan is a bad ass…ex Special Forces and owns an incredibly successful security business who is in charge of protecting the royals and other important people in London. He’s in the middle of organizing VIP security for the London Olympics, so he’s busy and doesn’t have time to spare for the daughter of an acquaintance .. that is until he sees her photo.

“That picture changed everything. I was not the same after I saw it, and I couldn’t go back to the man I’d been before seeing it either… My whole world altered because of a photograph. A photograph of my beautiful American girl.”

(Note I ♥ that he calls her MY beautiful American girl throughout… so.freaking.romantic!)

Brynne Bennett arrived in London to escape a painful and scandalous past in the States. Now an American grad student at the University of London, she’s focused on a career around art conservation. In addition, for some extra money, she poses as a photographic model.  The latest artistic, nude photograph of her is being showcased at a gallery and a gorgeous man with intense eyes is buying it.

And oh, when they meet! The chemistry between Brynne and Ethan is electrifying! They are so good together. From the beginning, their relationship is intense and intoxicating, an undeniable pull inextricably connecting them. Ethan is enraptured with Brynne and he wants more. But Brynne’s past continues to haunt her, threatening a rift between them.

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Despite Brynne struggling with Ethan’s possessiveness, she somehow feels “strangely safe” with him. And although Ethan is such an alpha, with Brynne, we see flecks of insecurity. He wants to feel loved too and is so afraid to lose her.

“You should trust me and let me take care of you. I know what you need, Brynne, and I can give it to you. I just want to know–I have to know that you want it. That you want to be with me.”

One of the things I loved most about Ethan is that not only was he intense and romantic, but he was affectionate… always touching Brynne in some way, never breaking their connection even physically. And he’s so honest and direct.

“He might be reserved in public, but in private with me, he wore his heart on his sleeve. What you saw was what you got. He told me what he wanted from me with no apology for how blunt the words were.”

Book 1 ends in a heart-wrenching cliffhanger!!! But thankfully, I am a late reader of the Blackstone Affair books, and I simply clicked out of Naked and went directly to the All In file on my Kindle (big sigh… sometimes it’s good to be fashionably late… even with books).

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**STOP here if you have not read Naked**

Synopsis

all in

The second part in The Blackstone Affair series! Looming danger. A love worth fighting for. A man who’ll go all in.

Ethan Blackstone has a problem on his hands. He’s broken Brynne’s trust and she’s left him. He’s unwilling to live without her and isn’t giving up—he’s dead-set on getting his beautiful American girl back. The passion between them was explosive, but the secrets they hid from each other are dark and chilling and are powerful enough to destroy their shot at a life together. With political threats now directed at Brynne, Ethan is running out of time and he’ll need to gather all his strength and agility to protect her from the dangers that could take her away from him forever. Will Ethan be able to save Brynne from a past that keeps her locked in fear? Will he ever feel the warmth of her touch, the solidity of her trust again? This is a love-struck man who is willing to do whatever it takes to possess the heart of the woman he loves. He’ll go to any lengths to protect her. He’ll go all in.

Here is the fiery story of what happens when two people surrender to a love so great it can heal the scars of the past and give way to a life of pure, rapturous ecstasy.

My Review

All In is a continuation of the ardent, all-consuming emotions between Ethan and Brynne.

The book is largely imparted through Ethan’s POV and we finally get into his head. Ethan is heartbroken. Brynne left him after learning he was hired by her own father. Their intense romance had seemingly come to an explosive end.

“With Ethan everything was fast, intense, combustive.”

Not only is she upset that Ethan lied, but she feels that now that Ethan knows the ugly truth, there is no way he could love her. Meanwhile, Ethan is crushed, devastated and angry.

“I took a swig with my busted hand and welcomed the pain. Fuck my hand; it’s my heart that’s broken.”

He decides to fight for her and get her back and writes her this amazing, romantic letter.

“And even if you hate me for what I did, I’d still love you. If you won’t see me, I’ll still love you. I’ll still love you because you are mine. Mine, Brynne. In my heart you are, and nobody can take that away from me. Not even you.”

But their time apart comes to a close as a possible threat lingers. And it is then that we finally learn about Brynne’s past… it’s so painful and my heart was sick reading about it. Ethan is determined to protect her, to comfort her and to love her. As they come together a second time, Ethan makes it clear to Brynnethat it’s all or nothing.

“If you come with me, you’re signing on for all of me, Brynne. I don’t know any other way to be with you. It’s all in for me. And I want it to be all in for you too.”

Book 2 chronicles how they fall in love more deeply, learn each other’s dark secrets and try and overcome mounting threats as a result of Brynne’s scandalous past.

And once again, Raine Miller leaves us at a precipice… I think book 3, Eyes Wide Open, will hold big, life-altering changes for Brynne and Ethan and undoubtedly the culmination of the situation with Brynne’s past. I also hope we learn more about Ethan’s dark past, as he has yet to fully disclose that part of his life with Brynne.

“I am. With you, Brynne, I am, and I have been from the very start… All in is forever, baby.”

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