Monday, 24 August 2015
Book Review: Viscount's Wager by Ava March
Gambling on Love #3
by Ava March
M/M Historical Romance/Regence
Review Copy via Netgalley
You never forget your first love, but is a second chance worth the gamble?
Anthony, Viscount Rawling, knows exactly what he wants in life and he isn't above having a look about London for it. When he spots recently widowed Gabriel Tilden at a ton function, he thinks he might have found love…again.
Gabriel is as gorgeous and reserved as he was when he broke Anthony's heart seven years ago. But they were only adolescents then…surely Anthony won't hold the incident against him. And especially not when the attraction between them is stronger than ever.
Gabriel came to London in search of distraction, and a teasing Anthony is impossible to resist. As Anthony introduces Gabriel to the pleasures that can be found in the city—and in his bedchamber—their bond deepens into something more. Yet both men are hiding secrets that could pull them apart forever…
At age sixteen, Anthony got his heart's desire for a brief moment: Gabriel, the older boy he'd been in love with for ages kissed him at a house party at Gabriel's family estate. Then, a scant few hours later he had it broken. Gabriel had been caught with a young woman and no chaperone in sight and to save the lady's reputation, Gabriel offered for her hand.
Now, seven years later, Anthony has inherited the viscounty after his father's death, and Gabriel has become a recent widow.
Anthony is a dutiful son, escorting his mother and sister to their social engagements and it is by chance that he meets Gabriel again at a musical evening. Still as handsome as ever, and still apt to make Anthony's heart fly out of his chest, he offers to show Gabriel around London.
Gabriel reluctantly agrees, for he feels he would be deserving of Anthony snubbing him after their history, but it seems Anthony isn't one to hold a grudge and soon Gabriel is feeling as much in love with Anthony as he had been that awful day when he got engaged.
Gabriel didn't love his wife, he feels guilty that he isn't mourning her death more, and guilty over these feelings he has for Anthony, another man. Gabriel feels he doesn't deserve love in any form and he spends most of his evenings gambling away his scant fortune, just for the chance to feel something other than guilt.
Every few days he seeks out Anthony for a brief interlude of wild passion, but he hardly ever stays the night and Anthony is beginning to feel used rather than loved. He doesn't know how to make Gabriel see that he is 'the one' and that two men can find happiness even in a time when it was illegal, as long as they are discreet.
Ava March is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Regency authors. She loves the time she is writing about and it shows. Everything you expect to be in a Regency romance is here: from gentlemen's clubs like White's, to taking a ride around Hyde Park, musical evenings, balls and soirees, the marriage market of the Season, it's all here.
This is the third book in a series, but I hadn't read the others (yet) and this book works perfectly well as a standalone.
The pacing is good, the dialogue flows well and doesn't seem out of place in a Regency. The love scenes sizzle with sensuality, with a good blend of emotion and eroticism. The connection between them shines through and the love scenes flowed well within the story, they didn't seem tacked on just to have sex in there.
My heart broke for Anthony after his hopes were dashed so soon after their first kiss and it was Anthony who I felt most close to as I was reading. I'm glad we got to see inside Gabriel's head though, otherwise some of the things he did, he would have come across as some sort of cad. As it was, you know his guilt and his conflicted feelings and so you can empathise more with him.
It was a wonderful read to get lost in for a few hours.
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