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

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.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 32 minutes
Narrator: John Solo

Reviewer: Shee Reader

Colin stands on his balcony looking out over the stormy Mediterranean sea and observes a jet ski heading right for a swimmer. Once the jet ski zooms by, the swimmer is nowhere to be seen. So Colin being the upstanding English gent he is, he takes off his loafers and sweater and dives into the ice water to save the swimmer.

Gun, the poker player, is Oliver the surfer. He can’t resist the lure of the waves even when it's cold and grey. On hearing a jet ski coming straight for him, he dives deep to avoid impact. When he surfaces he sees a fully clothed man getting into difficulties in the icy water, and resolves to save him. Then find out what the hell he is up to!

Thus, Colin and Oliver meet, both trying to save the other, but Colin didn’t really have the clothing for it, and their battle for one-upmanship commences. After a little dialogue, it becomes clear that they are both in the exclusive and probably very shady elite poker competition, Oliver to win the mystery prize, and Colin to infiltrate the contest sufficiently to find out the details of the contest and the organisers for his employer.

When top players keep disappearing or winding up dead, Oliver and Colin join forces to work out who is behind the whole thing. Oliver fears it could be his overly controlling father and Colin worries that the fact he isn't a real poker player could put both their lives in jeopardy. Both men give into the sizzling heat between them, hot sex notwithstanding, the love that develops was not expected by either man.

To me this story has pretty much everything! There’s family conflict, job pressures, lots of poker, sexy men falling into bed together, killers, shark attacks, computer wizardry, faked death, corpses in hotel kitchen freezers, and plenty of bad guys! There is intrigue galore and plenty of excitement. The twist at the end is super, and almost believable and the whole story is thoroughly entertaining.

Our main characters are American and English and the narrator did a super job at characterising them both. The world building was terrific and the majority of the supporting cast were superbly evil.

Highly recommended.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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