Friday, February 3, 2012

All Bets Are Off by Marguerite Labbe

Title:  All Bets Are Off
Author: Marguerite Labbe
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Ash & Eli
Release Date: December 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot

I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Story Overview:
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.

My Review:
I love contemporary romances set on college campuses and this one was REALLY GOOD! This book is about Ash, a 27 yo marine reservist who is on his last semester in college, and Eli, an English professor on the cusp of earning his tenure. There is instant lust and infatuation at first sight for these two guys early in the summer, but when Eli is gone for most of the summer, they never get a chance to act on that until the night before classes begin for the fall. They have a sizzling first date, but Ash is exhausted after a weekend out working with the reserves and falls asleep before the date ends. The next day when they discover that they now have a student/teacher relationship, they are both distressed that the relationship may be over before they ever have a chance to see if their incredible chemistry is the real thing.

There is a lot going on within this novel. It is set within a small New England college town, so there are the normal characters within the town that keep things interesting. There are also several sub-stories for both of these guys. Eli is dealing with a department head at the university who is doing everything in his power to get Eli fired (no, a relationship with a student certainly won't help here,) he also has someone breaking into his house and leaving threatening notes, and he has several family relationships which come into the story line. Ash is a marine reservist. He stepped down from active duty after being wounded. He maintains contact with the guys who he deployed with that are once again deployed and is dealing with guilt issues there that he is not with them. He's also trying to decide what to do upon graduation. He's had several job offers, but they are all in the southern states and as the story develops, Ash isn't sure he wants to leave this small town.

I really enjoyed both of these guys' characters. Their chemistry was incredible as was their really fabulous friendship. I liked watching their relationship and friendship grow. They both adore baseball and have a fascination with placing little side bets on the games. For the most part, they manage to keep their relationship platonic for the sake of Eli's job, but when it comes to their betting and the rewards for the winner, then things heat up really quickly. It is through their bets that their sexual attraction comes into play. It's really fabulous and fun to read.

This is one of those books that I truly just enjoyed reading. There was nothing about the novel which made it simply spectacular, but the entire story was heart-warming and completely entertaining. I was enthralled by the story and the romance from the very start of the book. The characters were compelling and likable and I truly just enjoyed the whole book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review. I'll be looking forward to reading this one. :)