Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ARC Review: Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake

Seven-Card Stud (Wild Cards, #2)Blurb:

Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.

Love is a high-stakes game.
When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

My rating:

Intrigue, suspense, and a romance during a high stakes poker tournament - that's good stuff.

In this 2nd installment of the Wild Cards series, Ava Drake takes us to the coast of Gibraltar, where a super sekrit and super illegal high stakes Poker tournament is about to begin. Players are invitation-only, and nobody knows who's organizing it. Which is why someone secured an invitation for Collin Callahan, a British spy. He's supposed to go against some of the best poker players in the world, all of whom have their own strategy on how to win.

On his first day at the exclusive resort where the tournament is taking place, Collin observes a swimmer out in the Mediterranean Sea, about to get run over, on purpose, by a jet ski. Fearful when the swimmer doesn't surface, Collin dives into the frigid sea to attempt a rescue, only to need rescuing himself, by said swimmer, who turns out to be a famous surfer named Oliver Elliott. Oliver is also at the resort for the same tournament.

They're supposed to be rivals, but it doesn't take much time until they heat up the sheets.

This was fast-paced, highly engaging, and a fun read. I breezed through this book in no time at all. The plot was a bit far-fetched, including the climax, and the epilogue, but I expected that going in.

The attraction between Collin and Oliver is immediate, and while there's a bunch of sex in this book, it doesn't take away from the plot. There was hacking into the hotel's servers, poker players being killed off, everyone being suspicious of everyone else - there's lots going on. I had a blast reading this book. Yeah, I suspended all disbelief, sure, but in return, the author took me on a wild ride.

But there was more than just that - both MCs also needed to work through some lingering issues, what with Oliver's daddy problems, and Collin's... well, you read this for yourself.

My only niggle was the ending. I would have liked to see the conglomerate die a fiery death and free them both. It wasn't the great romantic HEA that I wanted for them.

This was a great addition to the Dreamspun Desires series, nonetheless.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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