Author: Ava March
Publisher: Carina Press
Cover Artist: Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/10/2015
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Historical, M/M Romance
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…
Viscount’s Wager by Ava March is the last book in her Regency trilogy, Gambling On Love. This story brings the series full circle as it unites two of the supporting characters from the previous books, Viscount Anthony Hawkins from book one, All In With The Duke, and Mr Gabriel Tilden, from book two, Sharp Love.
Anthony and Gabriel had been school friends at Eton. Years before, when Anthony was 16 and Gabriel 18, the two young men had one night together, a night that meant everything to Anthony but the following day Gabriel broke Anthony’s heart when he unexpectedly announced his engagement.
The story opens a few years later when Anthony discovers that Gabriel, now a widower, is in town, playing escort to his sister during her husband’s absence. Anthony spends his days either at Parliament, he inherited his father’s title three years before, or squiring his mother and unmarried sister around town. Anthony is a prime catch among the ton but the last thing he wants is a wife, he’s known since he was a boy that his tastes run to men, he’s looking for that special someone, the someone he thought Gabriel was. He wants what his parents had, a love match, someone to spend his days and nights for the rest of his life. He knows society will make it almost impossible for him to have that kind of relationship with a man but it doesn’t stop the longing or the want.
Anthony is asked by his mother to show Gabriel some male companionship, show him the sites of London. At first Anthony isn’t sure he can handle time spent with the man who broke his heart but then he realises that maybe it will allow him find out if there’s still any attraction between the two of them, and if not then finally he can lay Gabriel’s ghost to rest. The attraction between the two men though is immediate and very mutual, and it’s not long before it’s cemented in Anthony’s bachelor rooms. As the two men spend time together it becomes clear that Gabriel is a man of mystery and intrigue. He appears at Anthony’s rooms infrequently, he only spends a few hours, and he never stays the night. It’s clear to Anthony that Gabriel is hiding something. In desperation Anthony turns to his old friend of Max Arrington, Duke of Pelham, who enlists his driver Morgan to find out what he can. Morgan comes up with more questions that answers. Then Gabriel leaves London and suddenly Anthony is alone again.
I enjoyed this story immensely but I’ll admit it did have to grow on me. I found the first half very frustrating. I was waiting for Gabriel to admit he was sorry he hurt Anthony with his engagement but he didn’t. He thought it and with alternate POV’s I got to see and understand how both men were dealing with their relationship, if it could have been called that, but Gabriel never let the words past his lips, he never gave any impression that he cared for Anthony outside of the bedchamber. He came, he saw and he took. That was my impression of Gabriel, and it wasn’t a nice one, he was standoffish and distant, he wanted to keep whatever they had really casual and he wouldn’t tell Anthony why. I found it hard to like Gabriel for a long time. Of course this is an Ava March story and a happy ending is guaranteed so I hung on in trusting that Gabriel had his reasons.
Soon it becomes clear that Gabriel is gambling. Driven by a sense of unworthiness and guilt Gabriel is sinking deeper and deeper into debt until eventually he loses everything. It’s then, realising how low he has sunk, that Gabriel leaves London determined to settle his affairs. He writes a letter to Anthony explaining everything but is it too late?
Anthony has his own secret too, a handicap that threatens everything and it’s at this point that the circle I talked about at the beginning of this review starts to really take shape as we meet our old friends Max and Tristan from All In With the Duke and Morgan and Drake from Sharp Love. I should probably point out that at one point in the story Viscounts Gamble runs parallel to events in Sharp Love. In fact all three stories connected at various points and I got a warm glow when I spotted where they intersected, that’s why I said at the beginning that Viscounts Gamble bring the series full circle as all the books entwine beautifully.
I don’t want to say much more about the story. It does take a while for all the parts to slip into place, after all this is a long book coming in at over 100,000 words, but once they do things move along swiftly with everything finally making sense. Both Anthony and Gabriel do compliment each other very much and the epilogue shows how they can use their strengths to stay together giving, them the life both men want but never thought they could have.
I haven’t said much about Anthony, because for me the main character of the story seemed to be Gabriel. Anthony was a nice enough man, charming and thoughtful but a bit naive, he didn’t want to confront Gabriel, didn’t want to risk what little they had so he let him get away with his deception. The story flows well, its fluid and seemless. Considering its length and how contradictable Gabriel is at the beginning it’s not disjointed in any way. The sex between the two men is erotic and intense. The two men complimented each other between the sheets and I felt their desire and emotions. In the end I really enjoyed Viscount’s Wager, once I got over Gabriel being a bit of a dick.
I highly recommend the Gambling On Love series, especially to anyone who loves regency romance with plenty of angst and suspense, where the main characters have to fight for their happy ending.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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