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4 dreamy second-chance stars
If you’ve read the Blackstone Affair books, then you will already know about Neil and Elaina. Neil is the best friend of Ethan Blackstone, and his relationship with Elaina is touched on in that series. Here, we get the full story, and I absolutely loved it! It’s a beautiful second-chance romance with lots of feels, a bit of angst, and a whole lot of swoon and steamy time.
“I love you, Elaina Morrison, and you’ll always be my Cherry Girl. Always. Nothing will change it for me.” He leaned forward and kissed me sweetly, whispering, “Believe me.”
Neil and Elaina met when he was 17 and she was 10 and her older brother brought him home for dinner. She was captivated by him on the spot and he very quickly became a part of her family, calling her “Cherry Girl” and always being there to look out for her. Years later and Neil is a solder serving overseas and Elaina’s world has been turned upside down by tragedy and she has descended into a wild life. Her love for Neil still burns bright, but it’s not until she is 18 and he is home from deployment in Afghanistan, when he swoops in to save her once again and tells her that he feels the same.
“You’ve been waiting…”
“I have.” He leaned in toward my lips but didn’t touch them. “Waiting and waiting forever. For you. Waiting for you to grow up. Waiting for you to see me as something more than just a friend of Ian’s. Waiting for the right time to tell you how I feel about you.” He whispered so close, I could feel the brush of breath from his beautiful words. “Just a very long time of waiting, Elaina.”
… “I don’t want to wait anymore.” His eyes melded into me and held on. “Please don’t make me wait for you any longer,” he pleaded. “I can’t do it, Cherry. I just can’t.”
Neil and Elaina’s relationship is an absolute swoon fest! They are so completely in love, and the close relationship that they have shared over the years becomes something incredibly special as they embark on a blissfully romantic and steamy love affair, both acknowledging that they have found ‘the one’.
It was good. We were so good.
“Is this all right?” I asked her.
She nodded back. “Love me.”
“I do. I will. Always.”
But they are torn apart just as Neil is set to return to the war, and their devastation sends them in different directions which keep them separate for long years. The moment when they see each other again is absolutely sensational and it is becomes instantly clear that all of the feelings they had for each other are still there, and the rollercoaster of emotions is beautifully expressed.
There’s a lot that they have to sort through, and I loved Neil’s determination as he sets about reclaiming his girl, while still allowing her time to sort through what she’s feeling. But neither of them can deny that their attraction is hotter than ever and once they give into it, just like before, their love and passion for each other is both swoony and blisteringly hot.
“I want this, Cherry … I want this mouth screaming my name when I’m inside you and you’re about to come. I want you in my bed so we can fuck all night long…over and over until you’re a slave to it – just as you used to be.”
I love second-chance romance books. I’m always intrigued to see how a couple in love can be torn apart, and how they overcome their past to come back together. In this case, the separation is so freaking frustrating! It could have been so easily overcome, and I was so pissed at Elaina, then at Neil. The whole thing could have been avoided if they just talked to each other! But Raine Miller has done a fantastic job with their reunion. Once they see each other again and the truth about the past is finally revealed, the guilt and devastation that they both feel is heartbreaking. They acknowledge how easily and stupidly they let go of each other, and they both totally own it, but they put it behind them in order to build a future together, and it was exactly what I wanted to see.
“You don’t have to worry anymore, babe. I know I hurt you badly, and I own up to what I did to you by leaving like that.” I put my hand on his face. “But I’ll always come back to you. I love you and I can’t live without you. There is nothing that will ever keep me from my man again. I’ll always come back to you. Promise.”
The story is told in dual POV, letting us experience all of the feels right alongside Neil and Elaina, and I fell in complete and total love with Neil! Such a strong, alpha-type guy, but so vulnerable, gentle when he needs to be and beautifully in love *dreamy sigh*. Their story is an emotional ride, and angsty at times, but it’s beautifully told with lots of sexy time, lots of heart, and a beautifully happy ending.
This little book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did but I was very quickly sucked in – I actually connected more with Neil and Elaina’s story than I did with Ethan and Brynne’s. While technically it does form part of the Blackstone Affair series, it could easily be read as a standalone, and I’m looking forward to their continuation of their story in My Captain.
Loved it – 4 stars.
The Blackstone Affair