~Synopsis~Adelaide Queen, Struggling Artist
Worst. Valentine’s Day. Ever. After a tragic date at Wonderland Hotel, I get trapped in the lift with James Hatter. He. Is. Lush. Ripped to shreds. Rough around the edges. Cocky as hell. And God, does he know it. It's a ride from Heaven and Hell. He’s everything my dreams and nightmares are made from, and it’s hard to resist his pull. It’s playing with fire. I should know. I’m still healing from the last burn.
James Hatter, Wealthy Corporate Shark
Who in the hell is this girl? I've never met a chick who bites back so fast and gives as good as I do. And damn it, they fix the lift before Adelaide succumbs to my charms. Following her into the casino I'm determined to win her over, but she’s having none of it. My plan? Offer her deadbeat date a wager in a high-stakes game of blackjack. If I win, I get Adelaide for the night.
I. Never. Lose.
This Valentine's Day from Hell has just reached another level. It has to be April Fools’ Day, right? Somebody is playing a cruel joke and I'm waiting for the punch line. So I flirted with him a little, but what right does he have to wager me in a poker game? British men. . . they drive me mad. I agree to go to his hotel room, but not for the reasons he thinks or wants. It's time to give James Hatter exactly what he deserves.
Revenge is sweet.
Revenge also backfires. . .
I’ve set my eyes on her now. I’m not letting her go.
It’s Valentine’s Day and Adelaide Queen as well as James Hatter are both on a drab date…but not with each other. Their paths do collide though and a wager ensues as the Queen enthralls the Mad Hatter.
“‘Is it because the world is too small or because are fates are intertwined?’”
The story has some fun with the Alice in Wonderland theme/names in this very low angst, mainly light-hearted tale. The author’s disclaimer: “It does NOT have: cheating; a cliffhanger; other woman; sex outside H & h; years of separation; dark pasts; sexual abuse; daddy issues; insta-love; and man whores…” essentially sold me on 1-clicking. A story like that is getting too rare these days so I can only hope this sparks a new trend.
Told from their dual 1st person POV, Adelaide and James originate from different sides of the tracks. James is a successful corporate investment banker from an affluent family. Adelaide is an artist who falls back on her Burlesque dance/semi-strip routine when money is tight. The minimal conflict arises from those differences, but otherwise the story trades in drama for banter surrounding the wager in their initial meeting and cute quips and anecdotes revolving around their family and friends.
“‘Louder…I want my mother to hear.’”
Their relationship really felt more like a real life couple than most fictional romances portray. Taking a chance, opposites attract, and communication are all meaningful themes depicted in the story.
Plot and climax wise, I would have liked to see some retribution or karma in regards to the people that contributed to Adelaide’s issues and caused her distress. It would have spiced up the story just a tad. As far as characterization goes, James was great guy—hardworking but fun; Adelaide had spunk, but she did let her hang-ups get in the way at times; and the supporting characters were colorful, far from stereotypical, and a fun addition to the story. I would definitely be interested in more books from this author with her author promise!