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Thursday, July 1, 2010

All or Nothing by Dee Tenorio

All Or Nothing by Dee Tenorio
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (158 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

In this game of love, winning is not an option.

The Lonnigans, Book 2

Lucas Lonnigan thinks he’s finally gotten the best of his twin brother, until he discovers his half of a date-swap is none other than metal artist Belinda Riggs. A leather-dipped Goth queen who considers him a cross between a pin cushion and a science project—and the woman he’s loved forever.

Belinda isn’t exactly overjoyed to see him, either. In her opinion, love means becoming a punching bag, and she won’t be anyone’s doormat. Lucas is too dangerously tempting to allow within striking distance of her heart, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting.

After one blazing night of passion, Lucas finds himself locked out of Belle’s life with seemingly no chance to get back in. With nothing left to lose, Lucas makes a final play and appeals to the one thing Belle can’t say no to—a dare. Winner take all.

Lucas may think this crazy game will decide their relationship, but she sees it as her chance to finally set him free—and maybe indulge in the sexiest goodbye of her life…

After reading Dee Tenorio’s All Of You, I knew I had to read the continuation All Or Nothing. Although secondary characters in the first installment, Belinda and Lucas made one heck of an impression. He was a man who seemed to be detached from those around him, while she was the odd ball chick with goth clothing and a wicked attitude. Yet, it took reading All Or Nothing to discover they were nothing as I originally perceived.

From the onset of the story you are aware that Lucas and Belinda share an intense attraction and a heartbreaking past. Although they’ve tried to move on and forget each other, they’ve been unable to do so. When Lucas’s brother Kyle arranges to “date-swap” with Lucas, he agrees, unknowing that his sibling has set him up on a date with Belinda. Thus, begins an unavoidable domino effect. The journey they take, which starts with an incredibly steamy bang, also has an underlying amount of pain and torment. Through the progression of the story truths are revealed and you’re allowed to glimpse what shadows linger behind the tormented hero and heroine. There is an exorbitant amount of complexity, including secrets which are slow to surface. Can they find their happily ever after? Is it possible to let go of the ghosts of the past and embrace the future?

While it should be stated that the writing is fantastic and I did enjoy the story, I had a very difficult time connecting to Belinda. I’m certain this had to do with her past and the manner in which events of her horrific childhood were shared. I wanted to understand why she continued to push Lucas away and why he seemed to allow it. Likewise, Lucas also remained a mystery. Both of their stories and revelations, while wonderful when presented, seemed to be a tad drawn out. I don’t think learning the circumstances that divided them earlier would have hurt the story, but rather, could have aided in understanding why each was so caustic at times.

Even so, I would definitely recommend All Or Nothing. The story tugged at my heart on more than one occasion, and I enjoyed revisiting Kyle and Jessica through shared scenes which appeared in the first book. There is definitely more to this story than you might perceive from the beautiful cover and from All Of You, which started it all.

A definite for the TBR list. If you enjoy emotional romances that are not entirely what they seem, be sure not to miss All Or Nothing.

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