All Bets Are Off by Marguerite Labbe
It only takes one night with Ash Gallagher to make Eli Hollister think he’s finally met the right man at the right time. Good thing he doesn’t bet on it, because Ash turns out to be a student in Eli’s class at the local college. Eli can’t deny he’s attracted, but now it’s complicated. He’s already in enough trouble with the department head, a man who would like to see Eli denied his tenure and fired.
Ash is looking forward to taking his life in a new direction. After serving one active-duty stint in the Marine Corps and another in the Reserves, he’s ready to put his military life behind him. The last new experience he’d planned for this semester was to fall in lust with his English professor, but the more Eli resists, the more Ash is determined to have him. Then he discovers Eli’s playing for keeps, and Ash is only interested in a fling… or is he? Between these two, when it comes to life and love, all bets are off.
This was a contemporary read. Eli runs into Ash while he is working for a construction crew. Because this is a small town Eli immediately notices the new guy. Ash notices him too. The two men meet up at the local bar and end up heading back to Ash’s place together. They don’t sleep together but they do make out a bit. The next day Eli and Ash discover that Ash is Eli’s student at the local college. Now they are in an ethical dilemma so they cool it but remain friends. During all of this they grow closer. They must deal with their growing relationship, blackmail threats, and a head of department that is after Eli for any reason he can get.
This was a sweet read. The two men have insta-lust but because of circumstances the two end up getting to know each other with a slow build up to sex. This makes this a sweet, beautiful read of a developing love relationship. Watching Eli take care of Ash as he goes through a horrible crisis shows how much the two men really come to care for each other in the course of the story.
The writing was well done. The author makes this relationship seem so much more realistic with its slow development and slide into love. I like how the author used the slow buildup to slowly change Ash’s views. He was all gung ho about what he thought he should do and be. Eli and the town work on him until he finally sees what he wants is in front of him all along. The characters are likable and imperfect. Showing that the “bad” guys are just human and not evil makes me like this story even more. This makes the characters stand out and be realistic. The addition of the side characters in meaningful ways added more depth to the story. Who doesn’t enjoy Jabbers?
Overall, the story was enjoyable and engaging. I would recommend it to someone that enjoys a comfortable contemporary read.
Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2013, in Book Review, Contemporary, Four Roses, M/M Romance, Novel: 150 pages and above, TJ and tagged Dreamspinner Press, Four Roses, M/M Romance, Marguerite Labbe, Novel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.