Tuesday, February 16, 2016

REVIEW/RELEASE: Wild Aces by Marni Mann

Trapper Montgomery 
His darkness drew me in. 
A mystery with a past I wanted to solve. 
He was cold, like ice, but set me on fire. 
A heat I hadn't felt in ages. 
But when I saw his face, I burned... 
In mourning

Brea Bradley 
She melted from my voice--shuddered from my touch. 
But trembled from the memories 
That my face brought back. 
She wanted more... 
Maybe even him. 
I wasn't the hand she counted on. 

But I was what she was dealt...

A Wild Ace with no way to win.
~Book Review~
3.5/4 Stars

At a masquerade party Brea Bradley meets mysterious Trapper Montgomery. They share a sultry kiss before Trapper must leave for a Vegas poker tournament.
"‘Are you going to keep chewing your lip like that?...Or do you want me to take over for awhile?”
I found the beginning intriguing, and I thought Brea and Trapper had some chemistry. When the suspense aspect really amped up at about a third of the way into the book, I feared it had really gone off the rails.  And for some readers it will.

This is actually a hard one to rate. As a mystery, the story is pretty engaging and there are sufficient twists and reveals along the way. As far as an erotic romance, well the erotic part is done pretty well, but the romance suffers a bit due to the intricacies of the mystery.  A bit of a catch 22 for a romantic suspense.

As a side note, even though it’s an erotic romance I got a little tired of Brea and her BFF Frankie’s over sharing.

Overall, I think I had two obstacles when it came to connecting fully with Brea and Trapper’s romance. The first being the speed at which their erotic involvement quickly escalated, particularly on Brea’s part.  Holy cow the girl is snapping erotic selfies left and right and coming for him on the phone all before she ever sees his face or knows his last name!  I just need a little more build-up in the ‘romance’ department before all that to connect with them as a couple.

The second issue comes in the aspect of Brea’s grieving for her deceased former boyfriend. While those flashback/memory segments were poignant, it also took away from what was building with her and Trapper.

Told via Trapper and Brea’s alternating first person point of view, the story has a gritty, somber edge to it. Trapper’s difficult childhood lends the story to incorporate the issue of child abuse, and while it’s done well, it could be a trigger for some readers.

Yet, Trapper is probably the hidden delight in this story. He’s shady yet honorable, enigmatic yet candid, bruised but not broken. He’ll keep you guessing, and I think you’ll be pleased with the answers. He’s certainly sexy and rough around the edges, a dark hero with a dirty mouth.
“With every pump, he was trying to empty his darkness into me, like he was cleansing himself of the shadows that haunted him.”
All in all, 4 solid stars for the mystery; 3.5 for the romance.  Wild Acres is a standalone, though a spinoff of serial that featured Frankie and her husband. 

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