October 9, 2013

REVIEW: All In (The Blackstone Affair #2)

All In (The Blackstone Affair #2), by Raine Miller
Published November 9, 2012
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-book, obtained from NetGalley
Genre:  adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

I wasn't totally sold on The Blackstone Affair after reading Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1). I liked Ethan well enough, even though I wasn't totally sold on his character being all bad ass at first and completely whipped as soon as he sees Brynne. But, something started happening during the course of reading All In. The guy really started growing on me. I don't know if it was his over protective self or his very pretty words, but somewhere along the way, I started rooting for Mr. Blackstone. 
"I don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but I do know how I feel about you. And even if you hate me for what I did, I'll 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."
All In picks up literally the second after Naked ends. The REALLY cool part is that we've switched POVs. While Naked was told from Brynne's, All In is told entirely from Ethan's. It surprised and delighted me. It was cool getting inside Ethan's head. We already knew that most of his thoughts were consumed by Brynne. Most of his other thoughts were spent trying to figure out who was targeting her. He's got a complex mind and I enjoyed his thought processes. 

Brynne was commendable. She tried to remain as independent as possible while being slightly smothered by her domineering boyfriend and targeted for death by persons unknown. Me? I probably would've locked myself in my basement for weeks on end with a pile of good books and my coffee pot. But, Brynne tries to keep her jobs and most of her daily routine while handling Ethan in the best way she knew how. You go girl. 

The writing is good and the plot was carried along at a nice pace. The mystery surrounding who was trying to kill Brynne and why was so engaging. You think you know exactly who the bad guy is for awhile, and then you see signs that you might not be right. It kept me guessing, and I like that.  

There are some pretty big hints as to the direction the story will take in the third book of the series. Hints about where things might go between Ethan and Brynne and about who might be trying to hurt her. Thankfully, at least one big mystery was solved in All In - we do learn exactly what it was that happened to Brynne in her past - the event that sent her to England in the first place. And, it was something nasty. 

I love books set in England. I swear, I will visit there one day. And then I will visit all the bookish places that I've been introduced to and take pictures of all of them. Watch for that blog post. Someday, my friends...

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