Trapper Montgomery: His darkness drew me in. A mystery with a past I wanted to solve. He was cold, like ice, but set me on fire. A heat I hadn’t felt in ages. But when I saw his face, I burned… In mourning. Again. Brea Bradley: She melted from my voice–shuddered from my touch. But trembled from the memories. That my face brought back. She wanted more… Maybe even him. I wasn’t the hand she counted on. But I was what she was dealt…
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Holy bugger, Batman!! Let’s just start there . . . .
Wild Aces opens with some serious awful. Trapper Montgomery is living in hell and at just twelve years old, he has no real means of escape. His only hope for survival is finally finding an adoptive home that doesn’t include sadists and/or rapists. Yeah, Trapper Montgomery is living in hell.
Fast forward a decade or so and Trapper Montgomery is no longer living in hell but he sure has the memories and scars of his time there. In the decade since he was last kicked out of a foster home, Trapper has managed to build a successful if secretive import/export career and made some serious cash playing poker. In fact, Trapper’s poker play is so good, it funds his import/export business and affords him a rather nice lifestyle. Though his professional life is successful, Trapper’s personal life is a mess. His background and current profession make it hard for him really open up to anyone and until he meets Brea Bradley, he hasn’t really had any desire to let anyone in for more than a quick f*^%.
Brea Bradley has lived through her own personal hell. Two years ago, her longtime boyfriend, Cody was killed in the line of duty and she has spent the last two years trying to recover from the tremendous loss. The first year was awful beyond description but the last year has been a bit better. Her real estate career is blossoming, her best friend and family are a solid support system, and her personal life is finally getting back on track. Meeting Trapper at her bestie’s masquerade convinces her the time is more than right to open herself up to the possibility of love. Trapper is rough and edgy, sexy as hell, aggressive in a gentlemanly way, and totally into Brea. And she hasn’t even seen his face! For the next several days, Brea and Trapper trade naughty texts, sexy pictures, and some deeply hot phone sex. With both convinced there is a real connection between them, there is nothing left to do but meet face to face.
Bloody hell!! If ever there was a meet and greet gone wrong, it is the one between Brea and Trapper. His appearance doesn’t just freak her out, it sends her spiraling out of control and convinced her ex is back from the dead. There’s an ego boost for a guy, right?? When the dust settles and the two are actually able to talk to one another again, the details of both their lives begin to tumble out which causes even more drama and distrust. Additionally, both have to dig into their respective past if they are going to have any sort of future together. For Brea, that means solving the mystery of Cody’s last days and for Trapper that means truly opening up and bringing Brea into his world and dealing with his traumatic past. Old wounds are opened as secrets are revealed as Brea and Trapper uncover one truth after another.
The Bottom Line: Marni Mann is back and better than ever before with Wild Aces!!! For me, this entire read is all about Trapper Montgomery who is a truly compelling character. Even with his course language (which I love) and somewhat sketchy (though totally honorable) career, he a good man with a deep and passionate commitment to his work. The moment he meets Brea, his deep commitment and passion are extended to her and for the first time in his adult life, he lets a woman get well and truly close to him. Their relationship, due to circumstances beyond their control is rocky and crazy but they are drawn to one another and willing to fight for one another. The road to their HEA isn’t at all easy. In fact, the road is incredibly and exceedingly surprising and awful but it sure does make for an excellent read. The naughty bits are well and truly outstanding and worked into the plot in a believable way. There is nothing at all gratuitous about the blisteringly hot sex in this read. Overall, Wild Aces is a hot read with good pacing, all kinds of feels, a tremendously charismatic and sexy male lead, and a plot that is filled with intrigue and surprises at every turn.
About the author and where to find her:
Best-selling author Marni Mann, knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books.