Gambling on Love series
- All In With the Duke (book #1) – click here for review
- Sharp Love – (book 2) – in this review
- Viscount’s Wager (book #3) – expected December 2014
William Drake has lived among thieves, bastards and beggars all his life, doing what’s necessary to survive. As a young orphan, that included looking after his best friend, Jack Morgan. But as they grew older, Jack took the honest path, leaving Will behind to fend for himself the only ways he knows how.
When an unsavory errand for his employer brings Jack back to London’s underbelly, he needs Will’s help. It’s there, among the alleys they ran through as children, that the love he’s always felt for Will returns. As their nights together grow hotter, Will discovers something new about his old friend—Jack’s need to serve extends into the bedchamber.
Will has never fully abandoned his dream of escaping London with Jack. But what could the Duke’s driver want with a dishonest cheat like him, beyond a bit of rough sex? It takes the gamble of Will’s life to find out if he can win Jack’s heart…
So what did I think?
Jack and Will met in a London workhouse when then were 6. Jack had been abandoned by his father. Will was an orphan. For the next 10 years they did everything they could to take care of each other. At 16, they went their separate ways. Now 10 years later at 26, they see each other infrequently. They have grown apart. There is bitterness on both sides for choices the other has made.
To add to the growing resentment, Jack and Will have each always loved the other but assumed the sentiment was not mutual. When things were better between them, neither would admit his feelings for fear of ruining their friendship. This encounter between the two, however, may be their last. Jack has a new life outside of London and Will plans to leave the city as well, forever separating the two. Facing the end of their time together, it seems almost pointless to admit their love only to have their hearts broken.
I loved this story. Ava March is probably my favorite historical MM writer and this is probably my favorite era for MM romances. Though perhaps not historically accurate, her MCs, although discreet in their “preference for men,” never fear persecution. The elimination of that stress from the stories allows for the relationships to develop their own angst due to the choices the MCs have made rather than from outside forces. Knowing that I am not likely going to read about some terrible imprisonment for an MC’s homosexuality, I am better able to relax into the story.
Sharp Love takes place at the same time as the events in All in with the Duke. The tie ins are done with precision without ever feeling forced. Getting to see Max and Tristan again from another perspective was a treat. But I also think that Sharp Love could be read as a stand alone. I don’t say that often with books in a series, but here Jack and Will’s story stood well on its own and not knowing the full details of Max and Tristan’s relationship probably wouldn’t affect a reader’s enjoyment of Sharp Love.
Reviewed by Mishyjo
To find out more about Ava March and her books visit her website.