Review by Kimberley
TITLE: Seven-Card Stud
SERIES: Wild Cards #2 (Dreamspun Desires #22)
AUTHOR: Ava Drake
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGHT: 242 pages
RELEASE DATE: november 15th, 2016
A Wild Cards Novel
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.
This is book #22 in this series and this has a James Bond, Casino Royale theme to it, so it’s not very original. I’m not a gambling casino/ poker fan so this book didn’t hold much of my interest. It’s not that it was poorly written, it’s just that this story, as with many of the others lately, has a bit too much…I don’t want to say fluff but it’s not as exciting as it should or could’ve been. There was so much that the author could’ve done with this story but I felt that she held back for whatever reason.
I can’t remember the details of the precursor to this book so that may have been another reason why the book didn’t hold my interest. That combined with the fact that this story was clearly written with the James Bond movie Casino Royale in mind. It was the gay version of James Bond. I’ll refrain from making any tired old Pussy Galore jokes.
Colon is an agent working undercover when he meets Oliver, a gambler. Oliver managed to get himself banned from many of the casinos or games although I can’t remember the details as to why. That was one of the problems I had with this story: it wasn’t remarkable in any way. It just didn’t WOW me.
The trope of the proper British agent and the bad boy gambler (good boy attracted to the bad one) was another common theme in this story. Everything in this story has been done before so it would’ve been nice if there was something added to make it pop. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the WOW factor, pop or sizzle with this book.
It was an okay read but it wasn’t exciting or really memorable. The characters, plot, storyline were merely okay. The editing and dialog were okay. Even the cover was…okay. Even the sex scenes were okay. The passion written for these two felt forced; like the author was trying to inject passion into the story to make it spicier. It was nice but it still failed to WOW me. The one thing that really irked me in the story was Collin’s insecurities. His constant need for reassurance from Oliver that he loved him got old really fast but I think that was only because I was a tad disappointed with the lack of excitement with this story.
In all, it was okay; it wasn’t bad. With all of the tropes, I just felt that the author could’ve stepped outside of the box to make it stand out more.