August 14, 2013

REVIEW: Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1)

Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1), by Raine Miller
Published August 25. 2012
Publisher:  Raine Miller Romance
Format: e-galley, provided by NetGalley
Genre:  adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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…

I have a problem, or rather, problems. Their names are Christian Grey. And Gideon Cross. They are my markers for all other hot rich billionaires who seduce quiet, innocent girls and fall in love with them. They have set the bar high. And I'm having a hard time finding their match. 

Domineering Ethan Blackstone has set his sights on Brynne Bennett after buying a photograph of her. Although she tries to deny him, she soon finds out that denying Ethan Blackstone anything is futile. There is obviously something in Brynne's past, though, that she is running from. And, Ethan finds himself just wanted to help her and love her. 

My main issue with Naked is that Ethan rolled over way too easily. One of the reasons why I love Christian and Gideon so much is that they never make it easy for their women. They are men of habit and don't apologize for it. They certainly don't change easily either. Love doesn't come easily - their women have to earn their love, and the payoffs are incredible. It's unusual to see insta-love in an adult contemporary/erotica book, but believe it or not, it's here. 

And, I'm not talking about the instant attraction that always happens in these books - that kind of instant lust is to be expected. And, that's present here too. Ethan sees Brynne's picture and is instantly attracted to her. Then he sees her in person, and it seals the deal for him. I do like that part. 

But, honestly, after that, it's like Ethan's hot, domineering side disappears and all he does the rest of the book is fawn over Brynne. Some parts of that are sweet, but sometimes I just want to ask him where he put his man card. I think that Brynne took it, because there comes a time when she seems to have more power in their relationship than he does. 

There are some women out there that will love that. I'm not one of them. I like my alpha males. My control freaks. My type-A personalities. I think that's what Ethan is supposed to be. But, he's not quite there. He does have some pretty words, though. 
“I want to be with you so badly right now. i want to take you home with me, and put you in my bed and have hours and hours with your body wrapped up in mine and to do with as I wish. I want to have you in the morning so when we wake up I can make you come, saying my name...I want to watch some crap TV show and have you fall asleep against me on the couch so I can watch you and hear you breathing.”
There is one similarity between Christian Grey, Gideon Cross and Ethan Blackstone - their women all leave them because they are idiots and go temporarily insane. Naked ends on a crazy cliffhanger reminiscent of Fifty Shades of Grey and This Man. Brilliant. Because now I can't wait to see what happens next. 

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