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From the Publisher"I devoured this book in one sitting, and I plan on doing it again. It was that hot!
Raine Miller has discovered the perfect blend of romance, drama and sexy."
Raine Miller has discovered the perfect blend of romance, drama and sexy."
Naked: The Blackstone Affair, Part 1
My mother can’t see this right now, and that’s a really good thing. She would freak. I’d made it to Benny’s show tonight because I told him I’d be here and I know how important it is for him. It’s important for me too. I only want the best for my friend, just like he does for me. In the past three years Benny has been right there to console me, drink with me, commiserate with me, and even to help me pay my rent upon occasion by giving me work. Well, that and the fact he shot the photograph I’m staring at right now. And it’s a picture of my nude body.
Posing as a nude model isn’t something I dreamed of doing for my life’s work or anything, but it is a way to make some extra money in between student loans. And lately I’d been getting offers from other photographers. Benny said to be prepared for more interest too, because of this show tonight. People will inquire about the model. It’s a given, Brynne. That’s my Benny, always the optimist.
I sipped my champagne and studied the really huge image hanging on the gallery wall. My portrait had been enlarged and printed on canvas for this show. The effect was a bit startling but even so, it was apparent that Benny had talent. For a child of Somali refugees who started with less than nothing in the UK, he knew how to configure a picture. He’d posed me on my back with my head turned to the side, my arm over my breasts and my fingers flared between my legs. He’d wanted my hair splayed out, my legs straight up, and my puss covered. I’d worn a string thong for the shot, but you couldn’t see it. Nothing showed that would classify my image as porn. The proper term is artistic nude photography, anyway. My stuff was shot tastefully or I didn’t do it. Well, I certainly hoped my pictures didn’t get onto any porn sites, but who could know for sure these days. I didn’t do porn. I hardly did sex.
“There’s my girl!” Benny’s big arms wrapped around my shoulders and he rested his chin on top of my head. “It’s smashing isn’t it? And you have the most beautiful feet of any woman on the planet.”
“Everything you do looks good, Ben, even my feet.” I turned around and faced him. “So, you sell anything yet? Let me rephrase. How many have you sold?”
“Three so far, and I think this one’s going very soon.” Ben winked. “Don’t be obvious, but see the tall bloke in the gray suit, black hair, speaking with Carole Andersen? He’s inquired. Seems he’s quite taken by your gorgeous naked self. Probably going to go for a good palm session soon as he can get the canvas all to himself. How’s that make you feel, Brynne luv? Some rich toff pulling his pud to the sight of your unearthly beauty.”
“Shut up.” I rolled my eyes at him. “That’s just nasty. Don’t tell me things like that or I’ll have to stop taking jobs.” I tilted my head and shook it. “It’s a damn good thing I love you, Benny Clarkson.” Ben could say the crassest thing and manage to make it come out proper and refined. Must be his British accent. Hell, even Ozzy Osbourne sounded proper at times thanks to that accent.
“It’s true, though,” Ben said, placing a kiss on my cheek, “and you know it. That chap hasn’t stopped eyeballing you since you glided in here. And he’s not gay.”
I gaped at Benny. “Good to know, thank you, Ben, for the update. And I don’t glide!”
He grinned at me in that wicked, boyish way of his. “Believe me, if he was I would’ve offered to blow him in the back room by now. He’s off the charts hot.”
“You’re going to hell, you know that, don’t you?” I looked over casually and checked out the buyer. Benny was right about him; the guy oozed hotness from the leather soles of his Ferragamos to the tips of his wavy dark hair. About six foot three, muscular, confident, rich. I couldn’t tell about his eyes because he was talking to the owner of the gallery. About my picture maybe? Hard to say, but didn’t matter anyway. Even if he did buy it, I’d never see him again.
“I’m right, huh?” Ben saw me looking and nudged me in the ribs.
“About the jerking off? No possible way, Benny!” I shook my head slowly. “He’s far too beautiful to have to resort to his hand for an orgasm.”
And then that beautiful man turned and looked at me. His eyes burned across the room almost as if he’d heard what I’d just said to Benny. But that was impossible. Wasn’t it? He kept staring and I finally had to look down. There was no way I could compete with the level of intensity, or whatever the hell was coming at me from where he stood. The urge to flee kicked in immediately. Safety first.
I gulped another swig from my champagne and drained it. “I need to go now. And the show is brilliant.” I hugged my friend. “And you will be famous the world over,” I told him, grinning. “In about fifty more years!”
Benny laughed behind me as I headed for the door. “Call me, my lovely!”
I waved a hand without turning and stepped out. The street was busy for London on a weeknight. The upcoming Olympic Games had turned the city into an absolute cluster of humanity, though. It could be years before I got a cab. Should I risk the walk to the closest Underground station? I glanced down at my heels, which looked great paired with my dress but were seriously lacking in the walking comfort department. And if I took the Tube, I’d still have to hoof it another couple blocks to my flat in the dark. Mom would say no, of course. But then again, Mom was not here in London. Mom was home in San Francisco, where I didn’t want to be. Screw this. I started walking.
“It’s a very bad idea, Brynne. Don’t risk it. Let me give you a ride.”
I froze on the street. I knew who spoke to me without ever hearing his voice before. I turned slowly to face the same eyes that had burned me back at the gallery. “I don’t know you at all,” I told him.
He smiled, his lip turning up more on one side than the other of his goateed mouth. He pointed to his car at the curb, a sleek black Range Rover HSE. The kind that only Brits with money can ever afford. Not that he didn’t reek of money before, but he was way out of my league.
I swallowed hard in my throat. Those eyes of his were blue, very clear and deep. “Yet you call me by name and—and expect me to get in a car with you? Are you crazy?”
He walked toward me and extended his hand. “Ethan Blackstone.”
I stared at his hand, so finely elegant with the white cuff framing the gray sleeve of his designer jacket. “How do you even know my name?”
“I just bought a work entitled Brynne’s Repose from the Andersen Gallery for a nice sum not fifteen minutes ago. And I’m fairly sure I’m not mentally impaired. Sounds more PC than crazy, don’t you think?” He kept his hand out.
I met his hand and he took mine. Oh, did he ever. Or maybe I’d lost my mind shaking hands with the stranger who’d just purchased a huge canvas of my naked body. Ethan possessed a firm grip. And hot too. Had I imagined he pulled me a little closer toward him? Or maybe I was the crazy one, because my feet hadn’t moved an inch. Those blue eyes were nearer to me than they were a moment ago, though, and I could smell his cologne. Something so gawd awfully delicious that it was sinful to smell that good and be human.
“Brynne Bennett,” I said.
He let go of my hand. “And now we know each other,” he said, pointing first at me and then to himself, “Brynne, Ethan.” He motioned with his head toward his Rover. “Now will you let me take you home?”
I swallowed again. “Why do you care so much?”
“Because I don’t want anything to happen to you? Because those heels look lovely at the end of your legs but will be hell to walk in? Because it’s dangerous for a woman alone at night in the city?” His eyes flicked over me. “Especially one that looks like you.” That mouth of his turned up just slightly on the one side again. “So many reasons, Miss Bennett.”
“What if you’re not safe?” He raised an eyebrow at me. “I still don’t know you or anything about you, or if Ethan Blackstone is your real name.” Did he just give me a look?
“You have a point in that. And it’s one I can rectify easily.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a driver’s license with the name Ethan James Blackstone clearly printed on it. He handed me a business card with the same name and Blackstone Security International, Ltd. engraved on the cream cardstock. “You may keep that.” He grinned again. “I’m very busy at my job, Miss Bennett. I have absolutely no time for a hobby as a serial killer, I promise you.”
I laughed. “Good one, Mr. Blackstone.” I put his card in my purse. “All right. You can give me a ride.” His brow shot up again, and I got the sideways grin again too.
I winced inwardly at the double entendre for ride and tried to focus on how uncomfortable my shoes really would be for walking to the Tube station, and that it was a good idea to let him drive me.
He pressed his hand to the bottom of my back and led me to the curb. “In you go.” Ethan got me settled and then walked around to the street side and slid behind the wheel, smooth as a panther. He looked at me and tilted his head. “And where does Miss Bennett live?”
“Nelson Square in Southwark.”
He frowned but then turned his face away and pulled out into traffic. “You are American.”
What, he didn’t like Americans? “I am here on scholarship at the University of London. Graduate program,” I tacked on, wondering why I felt the need to tell him anything at all about myself.
“And the modeling?”
The second he asked the question the sexual tension thickened. I paused before answering. I knew exactly what he was doing—imagining me in my picture. Naked. And as weird as it felt, I opened my mouth and told him. “Um, I—I posed for my friend, the photographer, Benny Clarkson. He asked me, and it helps pay the bills, you know?”
“Not really, but I love the portrait of you, Miss Bennett.” He kept his eyes on the road.
I felt myself stiffen at his comment. Who in the hell was he to judge what I do to support myself?
“Well, my own personal international corporation never came through like yours did, Mr. Blackstone. I resorted to modeling. I like sleeping in a bed as opposed to a park bench. And heat. The winters here suck!” The snark in my voice rang out pretty clear even to my ears.
“In my experience I’ve found many things here that suck.” He turned and gave me an expert blue-eyed stare.
How he said “suck” got my blood tingling in a way that left no doubts about my skills in fantasy being sound. I might not get a ton of practical experience between the sheets, but my fantasies don’t suffer one iota from lack of use.
“Well we agree on something then.” I brought my fingers to my forehead and rubbed. The image of Ethan’s cock and the word “suck” in the same little space in my brain was a little much at the moment.
“Yeah. How did you know?”
We slowed for a stoplight and he looked over at me, his eyes traveling from my lap back up to my face in a slow, measured pace. “Merely a guess. No dinner, just the champagne you gulped back at the gallery, and now it’s late and your body is putting up a protest.” He lifted his eyebrow yet again. “How’d I do?”
I swallowed hard, desperately wishing for water. Bingo, Mr. Blackstone. You read me like a cheap comic book. Whoever you are, you’re good.
“I just need two aspirin and some water and I’ll be fine.”
He shook his head at me. “When did you last eat some food, Brynne?”
“So we’re back to first names again?”
He gave me a tolerant look but I could tell he was pissed.
“I had a late breakfast, okay? I’ll make something when I get home.” I looked out the window. The light must have changed, because we started moving again. The only sounds were of his body shifting as he turned the corner. And it was way too sexy of a sound to keep my eyes averted for long. I chanced a peek. In profile, Ethan had a rather prominent nose, but on him it didn’t matter; he was still beautiful.
Ignoring me now, acting as if I wasn’t sitting two feet from him, he efficiently drove us. Ethan seemed to know his way around London, because he didn’t ask me for directions once. I could still smell him, though, and the scent did things to my head. I really needed to get out of the car.
He made a rude noise and pulled into a strip mall. “Stay here; I’ll be just a minute.” His voice sounded a little edgy. A lot more than a little, actually. Everything was edgy with him. And commanding. Like he told you what to do and you didn’t dare argue.
The warmth of the car and the coziness of the leather seat felt nice underneath the thin skirt I’d worn tonight. Ethan was right about one thing, I would have died on my walk to the Tube. Here I sat in the car of a virtual stranger, who’d seen me naked, bullied me into taking a ride, and now coming out of the convenience store with a bag in his hand and a grim look on his face. This whole situation was weirder than weird.
“What did you need to get in the store—”
He shoved a bottle of water into my hand and opened a single packet of Nurofen, the equivalent of Advil in the United States. I took both without a word, not caring that he watched me gulp down the pills. The water was gone in under a minute. He set a protein bar on my knee.
“Now eat it.” His voice had that don’t-fuck-with-me tone again. “Please,” he added.
I sighed and opened the white chocolate Power Bar. The crinkle of the wrapper filled the silence in the car as we sat there. I took a bite and chewed slowly. It tasted divine. I had needed what he’d brought me. Desperately.
“Thank you,” I whispered, feeling suddenly emotional, the urge to cry bubbling up fiercely. I held it down as best I could. I kept my head down too.
“My pleasure,” he said softly. “Everyone needs the basics, Brynne. Food, water . . . a bed.”
A bed. The sexual tension was back, or maybe it never left. Ethan seemed blessed with the talent to make the most innocent word sound like hot, sweaty, mind-blowing sex you remembered for a long, long time. He sat beside me and didn’t back the car out until I’d finished the last of the protein bar.
“What’s your actual street address?” he asked.
“41 Franklin Crossing.”
Ethan took us out of the strip mall lot and headed back onto the street, bringing me closer to my flat with every revolution of the tires. I leaned into the soft leather and closed my eyes. My phone vibrated in my purse. I fished it out and saw there’d been a text from Benny: u home ok?
I shot back a quick yup and closed my eyes again. I could feel my headache begin to slip away. I felt more relaxed than I’d been in hours. Exhaustion won out, I suppose, because I would have never allowed myself the indulgence of falling asleep in Ethan Blackstone’s car if I could possibly help it.
Posted August 29, 2012
Move over Christian and Anna, Gideon and Eva - - Ethan and Brynne have arrived - - with a BANG! What a fantastic beginning to the new series, "The Blackstone Affair", by Raine Miller. Following a life-altering experience Brynne Bennett moves to London to attend University and escape her past. To help pay her bills she does some modeling, which she is quite good at. Her photographer, Ben, has a gallery showing and is exhibiting a large wall hanging of Brynne, in all her glory. Ethan Blackstone, millionaire owner of Blackstone Security, attends the showing and is drawn to Brynne's photo and ultimately buys it for his home. While at the showing he spots Brynne chatting with Ben and follows her out when she leaves. He offers her a ride home and, strangely drawn to him, Brynne accepts. So it begins. We are guided through the fragile beginnings of Ethan and Brynne's relationship and begin to hope for their success. While there are similarities to 50 Shades and Bared to You the characters of Ethan and Brynne are very strong in their own right and you are compelled to learn their individual stories. The last chapters of this book absolutely blew me away! I love Raine Miller's writing style and this book did not disappoint in that area. I finished this book in a day and am anxiously awaiting the release of the 2nd installment, All In.
38 out of 44 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 13, 2012
Really?? 106 pages, not even the measly 208 promised? Is this a mistake or just plain ole misleading? Sure wish I'd noticed that this is not a novel, but a NOVELETTE. It should say that somewhere in the synopsis, and shame on me for not noticing before buying. Readers be aware...for me, nothing the author could have written is worth $5.99 for 106 pages and there are many, many similar quality full sized books out there for less. Oh sure, I'll begrudgingly read it anyway, since I coughed up the money, but I'm sure to be left wanting for character development, plot lines and resolution. *Sigh* Unfulfilled, unsatisfied, duped and cheated...the makings of my very own novelette.
29 out of 34 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2012
I got this book because of the reviews on here and amazon. I was highly disappointed. It is only about 100 PAGES. I dont like buying books and they are so short. This book was boring. It was not exciting or pulled me in like 50 shades or Bared to You. Those books are so much better. This book just took both of those stories and combined them but without all the excitement. This was very disappointing. I found myself shaking my head while reading this. You could predict everything.
15 out of 23 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2012
I was thrilled to see Raine Miller out with another book. Her other two are historical romance and this is definitely not in that genre. Goodness this story is smoking hot. I was utterly captivated by Ethan Blackstone and Brynne Bennett from their first meeting at the art gallery, to the final scene which ended with a bang and leaves us aching for Part 2. I will be buying it FOR SURE. If you enjoy well written erotica that has actual characterization and a real story built in to the steamy sexual encounters then this is the series for you to start reading. The Blackstone Affair takes the similar themes in 50 Shades and Bared to You but does it in a new way. I love Raine Miller's version. She set the story in London in present time with the Olympics about to start. Ethan Blackstone is someone I will not forget anytime soon. I want the movie!!!!!!!!!
11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2012
I brought this book because it had a lot of great reviews and was being compared to 50 shades of grey and the crossfire series but honestly this book is nowhere near as good as those book! This book for lack of a better word sucked. For starters its only 106 pages so the whole plot felt rushed and the writing was awful. I got half way through the book before i just couldnt stand to read anymore. I regret buying this book and wish i hadnt brought it on my nook so i could return it.
10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2013
Naked is a little over a hundred pages and is a fairly fast read. There's not a lot of meat and there's really no emotional engagement until the very end. The author tells us what to feel instead of actually making us feel it. The sex is lukewarm and the London scenery doesn't feel very real. There are broad hints both characters have tragic pasts, but there's not enough of a hook to really make me care. The book ends with a cliffhanger which only makes it more annoying that Part 2 is unavailable.
My advice is to save $5.99 for now and try something else. Part 2 may make it worth spending the money later. Frankly there are a lot of free books out there which are better quality and have sequels already available.
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2012
I loved this book. I totally fell in love with the characters, Brynne and Ethan. Ethan may just be my new fantasy man. Sexy, succesful and dominant. This book was sexy, fun and left me wanting more, more, more! Can't wait for part 2!!!
9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2013
I Also Recommend:
When I saw the blurb for Naked: The Blackstone Affair Book 1, it immediately reminded me of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. As I read Naked, I definitely saw the similarities to Fifty Shades; rich, dominating man who is after a shy, submissive girl. In this first book, Brynne Bennett is an American studying art in London who poses nude to help pay the bills. Brynne has a mysterious past and sees a therapist on a regular basis. Successful, rich, London businessman Ethan Blackstone purchases one of her nude portraits one day and as soon as he sees Brynne, he has to have her. Literally. Ethan is an ex-military hottie who likes to dominate and runs his own elite security business. He's got his own secrets and dark past. I have to say, I found Naked to be highly readable and dare I say it, I think the writing here is better than Fifty Shades. This book is told from Brynne's POV. Oh Ethan! Swoon worthy Ethan. For the most part I liked both Ethan and Brynne's characters. The sexual tension sizzled, sex scenes were hot, the character development was good and the storyline was interesting. There's a supporting cast of characters that add just enough to the plot. I actually read this book in one sitting. Author Raine Miller does a great job with Ethan. I like my heroes to dominate, and he does it well. I also like that he's got a Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream tattooed on his back. "No more yielding but a dream." I liked that Brynne is smart, independent and runs to clear her head. I also like the London backdrop. ..I forged ahead and crossed over onto the Thames path that followed the great river. My iPod helped too. Music had a way of resetting the brain. With Eminem and Rhianna battling out lying for the sake of love in my ears, I kept a steady pace and admired the architecture I passed on my route. The history in such and ancient city as London was vast, yet it contrasted with the bustling, modern world player in a perfect balance. Duality. I loved living here.. p. 12, digital edition quote may differ from final copy... I have two qualms though.First off, Ethan claims he never, ever allows females into his bedroom for sex. However, a few days after meeting Brynne, guess what? He allows her in his bed for hot, dirty sex. I felt that was rushed, I wish the author would have dragged it out just a bit. It would have been better if Ethan and Brynne would have waited a while longer before he ravaged her in his sacred bedroom. My second qualm is a biggie. Unprotected sex on the first date. Ethan wants to go well, raw. Brynne agrees, hey, she's on the pill, so why not? Ethan swears he's clean, he gets tested on the regular. Brynne claims she's clean too. Um, how about saying No glove, no love Ethan! I could have overlooked the rushed sex, but I can't overlook the lack of common sense on part of both these characters. Naked ends on a cliffhanger when Brynne and Ethan have a serious confrontation as a big secret comes to light. You can't finish this book without wanting to read the next in the series, at least I couldn't. This is a juicy contemporary romance and despite the few misgivings I had with the characters actions, I enjoyed it overall.
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2012
This is such a rip off of 50 that its comical . The tie , safe word , abuse, stalking millonaire, text mesages I cant even finsh reading this crap
7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2012
Posted May 15, 2013
I've read all 3 and I can tell you I've been ripped off. There's no reason to pay 5.99 per book except to make money and to make the reader wait. This could have been one book. It reads like it is and the author just chopped it up to make more money.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2012
Posted March 14, 2013
I do not think this book series is worth the money. $5.99 for about 200 pages is crazy! I thought the story was rushed and I never really developed any feelings for the characters. Overall it was a disappointment. Not worth the money.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
Everything about this story was rushed. The characters were flat and the story was completely unoriginal. Save your mony for 50 shades or the sylvia day books.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 14, 2012
I find this book to be a poor imitation of Fifty Shades and Bared To You, and did not even hold my attention half way through.The dialogue is uninteresting, the characters undeveloped, and the situations and scenes lifted right out of those other books.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 13, 2012
Posted November 12, 2012
Haha. Onthespotreview actually had the nerve to claim a spoiler free review....then proceeded to reveal everything in the book. Yea, right, spoiler free. You just caused bn another sale!!!!
3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2012
Posted June 14, 2013
I pre-ordered all 3 of the books in this series, hoping to get a post-Fifty Shades fix. After reading Book 1, I canceled my order for the other two. This book was like ClifNotes of Fifty Shades, with all of the good parts removed and a little bit of the Crossfire series thrown in for good measure. I don't recommend it at all.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 18, 2012
This book never captured my attention. It was a complete let down and a complete bore! I found it unoriginal and it lacked a substance.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.