Gambling Men: The Novel - Amy Lane 4+ stars.

I really enjoyed this book. It was less of a romance and more of a portrayal of the relationship. Regardless, the personalities and writing were vivid and engrossing, and I felt like I was right there with Jace and Quent as they learned how to express their love for each other and navigate the ins and outs of their relationship. I stayed up well past my bedtime (is that the sun rising? yes, yes it is...) because I just couldn't put it down.

THE STORY, IN BRIEF
Jason (Jace) and Quentin (Quent) are stockbrokers who have been best buds since the first day of college. Neither is aware of the other man's attraction to him - indeed, neither is aware the other man is even attracted to men, period. All that changes with a blush, a locker room encounter, and the opening of two hearts that had heretofore only exposed a platonic love, but that now were open to so much more.

THE CHARACTERS
I loved the characters, especially Jason. Jace is a shark-like alphole with a surprisingly vulnerable streak. He was a really interesting character to read about, dissect, and fawn over. He's all hard edges...except when it comes to Quent. I really melted when he loosened his grip on the cards and showed us a peek of his hand.

Quentin was a little too beta for my tastes. I really cheered when he went assertive and stood up to Jace. Quent had soft edges to balance out Jace's sharkiness. He was sweet, warm, and understanding - at times a little TOO understanding of Jace's alphole tendencies, in my opinion.

Each of the characters might have been a little too much or too little separately. However, they really were made as complements to each other, and it was lovely to see the yin-and-yang back and forth they presented throughout the book.

THE ROMANCE & SEXYTIMES
Like I said, this wasn't so much a romance as it was a relationship study. Even so, the portrayal of the relationship felt very real and raw, which I liked. The only real quibble I had was the poker metaphors. They were great...initially. After a while, though, I grew tired of how prevalent they were. I understood the point that was being made, but I also thought it was driven home a little too bluntly and frequently.

The sexytimes were really hot. All I have to say is...the copy room. *fans self* I like how honest they were with each other in terms of their physicality. They didn't hide in their physical relationship, even though they were working through the sometimes murky waters of their emotional one.

OVERALL
Great story about two very different guys who knew each other for years and didn't know they were meant for each other all along. I really enjoyed it and will seek out more from Amy Lane.


Note: Thanks to the author and Dreamspinner Press for providing a copy of this book through NetGalley.