Stacey is Sassy received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided was not the final version and may be subject to edits and changes
Published by Jeanine Grasso on August 8, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Bad Beat: A hand in which a player with strong cards is unexpectedly beaten by a lucky draw.
Nico Conti has never regretted joining the family business. Through hard work, loyalty, ruthlessness, and dedication, he earned his rank as Capo and his army of soldiers.
With the life he leads, a good woman is not in the cards—until one comes along and turns his world upside down.
Olivia Miller’s childhood was anything but conventional. Raised in a brothel, her mother protected Olivia from that life until she became sick. Now Olivia must be the protector.
Taken as collateral by Nico Conti in a business dispute between families, Olivia is desperate to get home—until Nico makes her an offer she can’t refuse.
Or can she?
Because to save the one she loves most, Olivia will need to ignore the sacrifices made for her and barter herself to the man who holds her future in his hands.
Author's note: This is a full-length, steamy, contemporary romance novel without a cliffhanger. It is part of a series, but each book is a stand-alone centering on new main characters. Due to sex, language, and violence it is recommended for persons over 18.*** HEA ***
(The Gamblers #2)
By Sarah Curtis
It’s like a fairytale except Prince Charming holds a switchblade…
While reading Bad Beat, I had to keep reminding myself that Nico was a baddie. Nico is in the Mafia and his Dad is the Big Boss. We learn at the very beginning that it had been Nico’s plan from the time he was a child, to work for his Dad. The family connection did not give him a free ride, he had to work and whack a few people to get to his position. But, at times, it was easy to forget that he had a switchblade in his pocket and a gun at his back. See, I forgot, because he was kind of sweet in a bossy, alpha, you are mine, kind of way.
Nico has learnt over the years that it’s better to not show emotion. Emotions and affection can make you weak. When Nico’s childhood mate, Alec needs his help, he doesn’t hesitate to use his connections. Unknown to Nico, this favour leads him on a path that brings him face to face with the one woman who can crack the barrier he hides his emotions behind.
Olivia’s led a very sheltered life. My first thought when she was introduced was – how did a very sheltered 22-year-old end up dressed like a prostitute? Oh, it would be easy to assume she’s acting out in rebellion, running away or has been lead down the wrong path. Turned out I was totally wrong and wasn’t even close.
So, the very innocent Olivia happened to have caught the eye of two very influential Mafia guys…on opposing sides. They’re both bad, but one is just a wee bit ickier than the other. Lucky for her, the less icky one is Nico, and he wants to help her. Olivia’s mother is ill and she can’t afford all the medicine she needs to buy for her to get better. Nico offers to get her away from the icky mafia dude and look after her mother, in exchange for certain services (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
Nico originally planned to wham, bam, thank you, ma’am Olivia, but those plans changed once he realised that he wanted to be the only wham bammer in her life. He manages to talk her into marrying him and they wham bam till their hearts were content.
Now, while all the wham bamming is going on, there are few highs and lows that Nico and Olivia have to face. There’s this psycho chick who wanted Nico, baddies who want to separate them, and baddies who want to use them. Nico does his Prince Charming act, with a switchblade and his gun, saves the day and carries his princess off to their castle.
I really enjoyed Bad Beat and struggled to put it down when I needed to go to work…and exercise…and help hubby celebrate his birthday today. I really must love my hubby, I stopped reading at 90% (when the baddies were being extra bad) to do the birthday thing.
There are a lot of sexy times in this story and you definitely get to see their connection with all the wham bamming going on. I did get a little frustrated with Nico and his drawn out determination to keep his heart locked away. Yeah, Nico, those heart flutters mean you FEEL something for Olivia, you dodo head. I also thought that sweet, little Olivia was a little too naïve and innocent. All good though and got my requisite heart flutters and goofy smiles by the end.
I definitely think Sarah Curtis’ talent has increased with every new release and this is her best work yet. I will be reading more of her stories in the future.