Author ~ Ava March
Publisher ~ Carina Press
Published ~ 10th August 2015
Genre ~ Regency 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…
It’s always fun to revisit the delicious decadence of the Regency period, and never more so than in the company of Ava March. This book is the third in the Gambling On Love series and follows the theme of risk established in the first two books. It also covers love in all its aspects starting with the most touching description of young love shattered that this hardened cynic has ever read.
Anthony Hawking is a sweet, somewhat naïve sixteen year old harbouring a massive crush on Gabriel Tilden, a boy a couple of years older who was kind to him at school. Gabriel seems to like him, to welcome his company, but in the heavily chaperoned environment of a house party where young people are expected to get to know one another with a view to marriage there’s little opportunity for Anthony to establish whether what Gabriel feels is more than mere friendship. But the opportunity arises, is snatched and during a delightfully playful scene involving privacy and a pond they seal their bargain with a single exquisite kiss. Or so Anthony assumes so his heart is broken next morning when he, and others, catch Gabriel kissing the predatory Miss Dunlop and an engagement is announced.
Fast forward seven years to 1822 and Anthony is a man grown, has come into all the privileges and responsibilities of his Viscountcy but spends most of his time ‘man about towning’ and escorting his mother and sister to the events of the Season. When his mother tells him that a newly widowed old friend is shortly to appear in town and she thinks it would be a kindness if Anthony took him under his wing, Anthony is a little taken aback but seven years is a long time, the cracks in his heart have long scabbed over. He anticipates no problems. Gabriel, on the other hand, is chock full of guilt, self loathing and regret and the minute he sets eyes on Anthony all he can think of is how much he wants him and how badly he treated him.
This is where the story gets interesting because both men are harbouring huge weaknesses that they have never faced. Before they can be together they have to face their problems head on, admit they need help and accept the help offered by friends old and new. Also, because this is Ava March, the fact that they can’t actually ‘be together’ doesn’t stop them boinking like stoats at every possible opportunity, though Anthony is left feeling somewhat used and Gabriel flees into the night after every encounter. It’s high angst material.
Gambling hells, high speed chases [at 16 miles an hour], the world’s toughest coachman – all the ingredients are there for a classic Ava March romp. There were, as usual, several points where my hand twitched in the direction of my book case [or Wikipedia if more convenient] but I stopped myself because Georgette Heyer makes me twitch as well and I love her dearly. It’s no hardship to suspend ones disbelief when having fun.
If you’re a historian read it for the romance, if you like romance, ooh boy you’ll love this, if you’re there for the bonking well it’s Ava March!