Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Release day blitz and Christie's review: Wild Aces by Marni Mann

Title: Wild Aces
Series: Standalone
Author: Marni Mann
Release Date: February 16, 2016 
Rating: 4 stars
Cliffhanger: No

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.

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If you read and loved The Unblocked Collection, then this spin-off is a nice little treat for you. Even if you haven't read it, this book is very much a standalone that can be read first. Derek and Frankie are included in this one, and I really enjoyed getting a little extra time well spent with them. I was really looking forward to reading this book, after being so impressed with the quality of Marni Mann's writing I was ready to dive into her latest release.

Trapper is a professional gambler whose childhood was nothing short of nightmarish. The physical and emotional abuse that he was forced to endure was truly heartbreaking to read about.

We were all fucked up in our own way, all victims of some kind of tragedy, all trying to make it out alive in a world that got darker by the day.

After everything he survived, he came out the other side a successful man, but a man who doesn't trust easily or love without hesitation. He enjoys women regularly, but briefly. And his poker playing is another kind of release for him. When his painful memories or his present start crowding in on him and are too overwhelming, he uses his time at the poker table as a release from the noise in his head. It calms him.

Those cards were the constant in my life, my escape. They were my silencer. Besides the scraps of the necessities, only enough for me to survive on, that deck was the first thing anyone had ever given to me. I kept one of the cards in my wallet.

This was his complete existence-until Brea. Brea works for Frankie and I felt like she was perfectly matched with Trapper. They both were survivors, had experienced hardship and pain and only became stronger from it. I liked her confidence, her strength of will, and her comfort in her own sexuality. She was an independent woman who wasn't afraid to pursue what she wanted.

They meet at a masquerade and feel an immediate intense attraction. Trapper saw a woman much like himself, and the more he tried to forget about her, the more he had to have her.

She wasn't a simple hand at all; Brea was complex and layered. I felt her despair and her darkness. I also felt her sensuality and her light. That was what drew me to her.

Marni Mann lived up to her reputation for writing quality, heart-pounding sexual tension. The dirty sexting and lusting these two do are incredibly hot. They spend a period of time teasing one another over the phone, and time only causes their anticipation of finally being able to reconnect to skyrocket. Only, they weren't prepared for a majorunexpected event. And neither was I. When the twist was revealed, I must admit that I was shocked. Everything they thought they knew had to be re-evaluated and there were questions that needed to be answered.

Though this one was a lot less focused on the erotic than I saw in Derek and Frankie's story, I was just fine with that. This book delved deeper into both Brea and Trapper's past, how they were unknowingly connected, and Trapper's secret side career was a major source of conflict.

Wild Aces was a seductive and edgy story that succeeded in surprising me and keeping me invested in the story until the very end. Getting to catch up with Derek and Frankie was a particularly sweet bonus on top of that. This was yet another impressive offering from Marni Mann.


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