Review: Seven-Card Stud (Wild Cards #2) by Ava Drake

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.

Set during a super shady Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament in Gibraltar that has got to be the longest poker tournament known to man, Seven Card Stud is yet another Dreamspun piece of cracky fluff. I thought the poker tournament in Casino Royale was long but James Bond's got nothing on these folks.

I didn't read the predecessor to this but had no trouble keeping up with the plot which is pretty OTT. I won't go into specifics suffice to say I had this look on my face often:

It's strongly akin to the Bond films of yore with less explosions, gadgets and women named Pussy Galore, though there was a Desirée Moorhead. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is you just have to go with it and I did.

Collin is Bond in this case. He's working the tournament undercover for Wild Cards, Inc. He almost immediately meets Oliver a.k.a. Gun. Gun has his own trail around the poker block and gotten himself banned from most establishments because he's just that good. He's got a psycho for a father and loves nothing more than sticking it to the old man so he's become a surfer. Whereas Collin is very proper and British.

Opposites attract is a tried and true trope. What I like most about this trope is the protagonists usually discover that they aren't as opposite as they initially believed which is largely the case between Collin and Oliver. Also! It's the perfect breeding ground for hate fucking and/or angry sex and that was delivered. This Dreamspun cracky fluff was actually a lot sexier than the others I've read. <~~~not a complaint. The first scene and the sauna scene were particular favorites of mine. L'Eau d'Desire wafted off my kindle. These two have a hard time keeping their hands off each other.

I do like the ones who like to be bossed around in the bedroom. I cannot tell a lie. A little bit of orgasm denial never hurt anyone, right? Right. 

The only thing that truly got old was Collin's insecurity. How many times does Oliver have to say he loves him? It's like it went in one ear and out the other like it never happened. Again and again. Geez Louise, give it a rest. He loves you already!

The mystery works itself out in typical Bondian terms. With the possibility for a sequel. Because narcissistic whackadoodle who's egomanical and sociopathic...

Oops. How'd that sneak in here? I meant...

The writing is engaging and I'd be interested in reading more from this author in the future.

Recommend to MM romance fans who can suspend disbelief and enjoy a sexy thriller.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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What's the title of the book that features a tattooed beast of a man named Xavier who holds Carson hostage in his basement before falling for him? (worth 20 pts)

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