snowblindRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Hutch is startled awake by someone trespassing outside his remote Alaskan cabin. Hutch’s past has made him wary, but the half-frozen man huddled on Hutch’s doorstep seems genuinely in need of help. Jude has been vacationing with his possessive boyfriend, and after a fight, Jude left and ended up trapped in the snow. With a massive storm outside, Jude is stuck with Hutch for at least a few days until they can get back into town.

Hutch doesn’t trust Jude immediately, but when his story checks out, Hutch begins to relax a bit. He has learned to protect himself, but Jude’s good looks, combined with his wit, charm, and bit of snark eventually help Hutch to let down his walls with the man. As the two spend days stuck together in the cabin, the attraction grows and they act on their feelings. In the short time they have had together, Hutch realizes how much he has come to care for Jude and how much he doesn’t want to lose him when the weather clears and it is time for Jude to return to his real life.

But just as Hutch is beginning to let down his guard, danger comes roaring in, threatening both men. Hutch has tried to escape his past, but that is proving impossible. Hutch has no idea who to trust, or even if he can believe in his own feelings. Now Hutch and Jude must fight for their lives against a danger that threatens them and the people they care about.

Wow! So this book was SO not what I expected, but I totally loved it. I was anticipating a typical snowbound story, maybe one with a bit of danger at the end. I love that trope and am a huge fan of Easton’s writing, and that is pretty much what we get for the first portion of this book. We see that Hutch is wary about Jude showing up, and clearly has some issues in his past. But as he gets to know Jude and the men spend time together, Hutch opens up and the two begin a hot affair. Things happen fairly quickly as they are only together a few days, but they form an intense connection as they are locked together in the snowy wilderness. I really enjoyed this part as we get to know both men and see how well they fit. Hutch has some hard edges, but Jude is more than good looks, and I like the way he challenges Hutch and keeps things exciting between them.

After that point the story takes a seriously dramatic turn toward a suspense thriller. I don’t want to get into too much detail as to what happens and why, because the way this unfolds is a key part of the story. So I will just say that we go from sort of a cozy snowbound story to super intense suspense in a really rapid turnaround. I’ll be honest, this gave me a bit of whiplash, so much so that I had to put the book down for a bit and sort of reorient my brain before I continued on. After that point, the book goes full tilt into a suspense thriller, complete with an evil, sadistic bad guy; gun fights; and near death experiences. I actually quite loved this part of the story as well, but like I said, the transition was kind of rocky and the two halves of the story don’t completely feel like the same book. I will also say it doesn’t really feel like a Dreamspun Desires book either after the snowbound portion ends. This is sort of an old school, trope-driven line and the suspense portion seems kind of at odds with this style. That said, I really did enjoy the story and found the thriller side of things to be exciting, engaging, and really well written. So no real complaints other than the unexpected turn of events and style.

So this is kind of a story told in two parts, but I loved both of them. I really enjoyed getting to know both of these men and seeing their relationship bloom as they are stuck in the cabin. And I loved learning their backstories and following along with the suspense side of things. I wasn’t sure how Easton would end up pulling things all together and giving us a satisfying ending, but that really worked for me too. I found that I could believe in these guys, at least enough, and their happy ending was really rewarding. So Snowblind was definitely unexpected, but really engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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