Brynne Bennett has left scandal in her past and is living the good life. An American grad student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s getting back on track with lots of hard work and focus on a career in art conservation. When successful and charismatic London businessman Ethan Blackstone buys her nude portrait, he wants to possess more than just her image. He wants Brynne in his bed, serving him in every way possible. He has no trouble voicing his desires, and he isn’t taking “no” for an answer.
At first, his dominant nature captivates her, but it isn’t clear if the force of his powerful desire will ultimately awaken or dispel the demons Brynne is carrying inside. There are secrets on both sides of this relationship – huge ones.
Can Ethan erase the scars of Brynne’s past so that she can reveal her true self to him? Or will the shadows cast by Ethan’s own mysterious former life destroy their chance at happiness?
“I’m not your girl, Ethan.”
“You were during that kiss, Brynne.”
There is truly nothing like a good book but when the story you’re reading also makes you want to immerse yourself in a bathtub full of ice, well, then you’ve just found book nirvana! I have two words for you and you may need to take a moment after you read them … Ethan. Blackstone.
Brynne is a young American girl studying in London. She left a painful past behind her, hopeful to start a new life as far away from her old home and old memories as possible. When her past suddenly threatens to follow her, her father hires the services of Ethan Blackstone and his high-profile security company to protect her from potential harm. But one look at Brynne and Ethan is bewitched.
“My whole world altered because of a photograph. A photograph of my beautiful American girl.”
He initially enters Brynne’s life on false pretences by not disclosing his connection to her father, but after he meets her all his actions from then on are driven only by his growing feelings for her and his almost-primal urge to protect her and claim her as his own. Their connection is all-consuming and passionate from the moment they lay eyes upon one another, neither of them able to resist it or deny it. They awaken needs and desires in each other that they weren’t even aware of having, their bodies responding to each other instinctively and effortlessly.
“From the first night since we’d met he’d held me captivated. Yes we had moved fast into sex. Yes he had pushed me a little, but it had brought me to a place that felt wonderful when I could forget about my past. Ethan made me feel very, very safe in a way that surprised me and forced me to consider the reasons for it. I didn’t have a ton of faith that we might work out, but it sure as hell would be an affair to remember.”
Their intense physical relationship for the first time in their lives manages to soothe the demons battling inside them. With Ethan, Brynne feels safe and protected, something she’s never felt with another man before. Conversely, by taking charge in the bedroom, Ethan maintains the control he so desperately needs to have in all aspects of his life, feeding not only his dominant side but his protective and nurturing one too. They find the right balance between the sheets, feeling free to be their true selves with each other, with no restraint and no shame, and drawing great comfort from that. There is a subtle thread of D/s in their relationship, but it mainly exhibits itself in the nature of the sexual dynamic between them and the surrendering of power and trust.
“His strength and dominance was pretty clear. When it came to sex, Ethan was the one in charge. And strangely, it soothed me to understand this. I was safe with him.”
What starts as a passionate physical relationship, quickly develops into a deeply emotional one as well. They are hungry for each other’s presence, reassurance, affection, touch. With no similar points of reference in their pasts, their start building an attachment between them that not only fulfils the most innate needs in them, but also acts as a source of strength when old terrors come knocking at night.
“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 to do with as I wish. I want to have you there in the morning so when we wake up I can make you come, saying my name. I want to drive you to work and pick you up when it’s time to leave. I want to go to the shops with you and buy food we can cook for dinner. I want to watch some crap television and have you fall asleep against me on the couch so I can watch you and hear you breathing.”
But when a relationship sprouts from an untruth, even the greatest of connections can be irreversibly shaken to the core.
The length of this book might slot it into the novella category, but nothing about this exceedingly well-written book is ‘novella-like’. The characters are flawlessly developed, with depth and care, the plotline is satisfying from the beginning to the end, and although you are left craving for more, this has nothing to do with the word count and everything to do with the addictive nature of the story itself. There is no other option after reading this book but to literally throw yourself into the sequel, All In.
“The truth is,” he grunted the rest on three, hard, punctuating thrusts, “You. Are. Mine!”