TITLE: All In with the Duke (Gambling on Love, #1)
AUTHOR: Ava March
PUBLISHER: Carina Press
YEAR: November 2013
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: M/M Historical Romance
HEAT LEVEL: Adults Only, Erotic Content
RATING: 4 out of 5
REVIEW: When I received an ARC of the second book in this series, Sharp Love, it was the perfect excuse to treat myself to the first book in Ava March’s Gambling on Love series, All In With the Duke. I’m glad I read this one first, because it introduces characters that will play key roles in the second book. Plus, I love these two men. Max and Tristan are both real men, despite Tristan having an almost feminine beauty. There is nothing feminine about him, though. He isn’t simply a heroine given a masculine name, as happens in M/M historicals fairly often. Having thoroughly enjoyed her Brook Street Collection, I wasn’t too worried that Ms. March would make that mistake here.
Nothing about this book disappoints. Characters are beautifully drawn, both main and secondary, the narrative flows easily, the plot is logical and not too fanciful, the sex is smoking hot, and the conflict makes sense and is resolved in a believable manner. And while I will repeat that the sex is smoking hot, it isn’t in any way over the top. Each sexual encounter between Max and Tristan furthers the storyline and reflects the growth in their relationship. The only quibble I have is that the epilogue got just a bit sappy at the very end. That is to say, the first part of the epilogue enhances the story, but the last few sentences were a touch too sweet. It certainly didn’t detract from the story as a whole, nor did it change my opinion of the book. I strongly recommend All In With the Duke and am looking forward to the second book.