Gambling Men

Amy Lane
Gambling Men
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
May 2012
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade's every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can't live without, he sees no reason for that to change.

But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It's a lucky thing they're good at reading the odds, because they're playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that's definitely worth the gamble.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jul 12, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
192 people found the following review helpful
GAMBLING MEN is one of those rare books that I am hesitant to review. Because I enjoyed it so much, I'm worried I won't be able to do it justice. This is a love story that doesn't need any outside trappings or additional plots—it is simply a starkly honest, moving, joyful story of two people who will take any risk to win their future together, and I loved every moment.

Quentin Jackson never thought his life could change so drastically so quickly. For eight years, his life has revolved around his best friend, Jason Spade. From the first day of their freshman year, Jason and Quent have been inseparable—first as roommate, then as business partners, and partners at their monthly poker games. While Quent has always known he wanted more from his relationship with Jace, he's content to take whatever he can get. Until one night when Jace suddenly—and very demonstratively –shows Quent that their desire is indisputably mutual.

Despite their insatiable desires for each other, making a relationship work is much trickier than either has ever considered. Though Jace was raised by two gay men, their death, and the death of his parents earlier, has made him exceptionally hesitant to let anyone truly close. Poker has given him his every metaphor for life, and loving someone might just be a bigger risk than he can afford. Quent is a born peacemaker, always ready to back down from a challenge rather than fight for a winning hand. Now, however, it's Quent's turn to step up, and show Jace just what rewards there are to be reaped when you find the courage to take the ultimate risk.

Quent and Jace are my idea of a match made in Heaven. Because of their years of friendship, the level of honesty between them is sometimes brutal and often more than a little awkward, but it's vitally necessary. For two men who hide behind their suits and their poker faces so well, to actually put a voice to their deepest fears and insecurities is agony—but the rewards are so great, and the risk of letting whatever it is they share die is too great to do anything else.

My heart broke as Jace faced his deepest fears over losing Quent, but the pain was eased each and every time by Quentin's quiet, unshakable faith in his partner and the magic that they shared. Though it was Jace's impetuousness that brought them together (and keeps the relationship sizzling), it is Quent's trust that provides the driving force of the relationship. I loved the way these two balanced each other as well. Quent is stable and cautious, caring and overwhelmingly thoughtful, providing Jace with all the necessary things he's told himself he can live without. But even if he isn't quite as adept at showing it, Jace's whole life revolves around Quent.

This story also confronts some of the more painful results of Quent's decision to spend his life with Jace—emotionally, primarily, though life with Jace does occasionally carry the risk of the occasional physical injury, as well. Though difficult at times to read, it highlights beautifully what a special thing these two have together, and how totally they complete each other. All the other relationships in their life are held up in comparison, and those that don't measure up, don't survive. The poker-playing circle's reaction to Jace and Quent's announcement (such as it was) was fantastic, and I was touched by the way their secretary watched their relationship develop, but in this case, it was Quent's sister's reaction that brought tears to my eyes.

This is an episodic story, highlighting the most important moments in the relationship. While it was occasionally difficult to catch up with the jumps in thee book's chronology, this certainly heightened the tension and ramped up all the emotions in the course of the story to a fever pitch. I loved the fact that each of these episodes came to a conclusion as well, so I was able eat and sleep in between reading. That having been said, I didn't much care to do either until I had finished the whole book.

This isn't a story with villains lurking in the shadows, no dastardly plot twists or far-flung journeys. Its beauty instead lies in its simplicity, in the way Jace and Quent negotiate their new relationship with their friends, their families, and, most importantly, with each other. I have recently become a huge fan of Amy Lane's writing, and this book highlights everything about her books that captured my heart. I cannot recommend this story highly enough, and cannot wait to read more!
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