The anxiously awaited third book of The Blackstone Affair does not only live up to its prequels’ high expectations, it exceeds them and then some. It almost appears like the previous instalments were there to set the stage for this book, and let me tell you, goosebumps and all, it was definitely worth the wait. This will not be a book that you’ll be able to put down so make yourself comfortable, have a glass of wine handy and be ready to become even more engrossed in the exquisite love story of our Ethan and Brynne.
We find the young couple exactly where we left them at the end of All In and the emotional rollercoaster ride that their relationship seems to have been from the beginning only picks up in pace from that point onwards. After escaping to the countryside to recover from everything that has happened to them and focus solely on each other without external threats and pressures, we see them completely immersed in one another, with all their defences down, fully absorbing and accepting their feelings for one another. Their bond is as strong as ever, their physical connection setting sparks whenever they lay hands on each other and it is a sight to behold.
“Ethan made me feel desirable. He made me feel beautiful and sexy, from the words that came out of his mouth to the touch of his body in mine when he made love to me. And afterward, when he held me against him like I was precious.”
Brynne is exactly what Ethan needs to extinguish the raging blaze inside his soul and to quiet his demons. Her safety and wellbeing have become his priority and he has become so finely attuned to the needs of the love of his life, that he can sense her every emotional shift and pre-emptively deal with it. By allowing him to protect her and take care of her, Brynne gives Ethan the control he so desperately needs to function.
“Brynne was my heaven. I’d seek out my heaven endlessly.”
Ethan’s protectiveness makes Brynne feel safe for the first time in years, safe enough to show him all her fears and anxieties. His passionate but healing touch calms and grounds her. However, as much as she needs him at this point to stay strong, she is also desperately afraid of losing complete control of her life, of feeling helpless and vulnerable again. This inner struggle tears her apart at times and affects all important decisions that they need to make as a couple.
“The one who had the power to take me apart was also the only one with the power to put me back together again.”
The intensity between these characters is breathtaking, their emotional connection closely rivalled only by their physical one. Desperate to stay together and constantly afraid of losing one another, Brynne and Ethan are faced with a myriad of circumstances that are out of their control and which ultimately set the pace for their relationship. In a story that is a lot more emotional, intimate, raw in every way, we witness the bond between them being challenged, surviving the odds, strengthening from within, and ultimately blossoming into something very little can break.
Ms Raine is a masterful wordsmith and once more her ability to balance impeccably developed characters with a solid plot makes her a force to be reckoned with. It seems that she is able to express in a paragraph what often takes a chapter to achieve. The connection between the characters is not only palpable, it is all-consuming for the reader. We feel their chemistry, their need and aching for one another, their desperation to hold onto each other and protect their growing relationship.
The timeless romance between Brynne and Ethan reaches a very happy milestone at the end of this book, leaving us at a satisfying place, eager for more but quite happy to wait.
“Are you ready?”
I nodded and whispered, “Yes.”
“And nothing changes us.”
“Nothing changes that we love each other.”
“Th—thank you for coming to f—f—find me,” she chattered, her lips looking more blue than anything. She was chilled and shivering so I took off my shirt and put it on over hers hoping the extra layer would warm her a little.
She was compliant, allowing me to take charge and that was a massive relief. Taking care of her was something I could do. I didn’t need much, just the assurance she wanted my help. Wanted me.
“I’ll always find you.” I picked her up and started walking down the long drive of Stonewell Court to where I’d parked outside of the gate. She closed her eyes and put her palm on my chest.
Right over my heart.
It always amazed me at how easy it was to carry her. I knew why. It was because “she” carried my heart with her wherever she went. My heart was in her hands, and carrying her was some form of self-preservation maybe. Holding her, holding me up.
I couldn’t explain it, but I understood it. Made perfect sense to me.
I said it again. “I’ll always find you, Brynne.”