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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ian's Ultimate Gamble

Ian's Ultimate Gamble by Brenda Jackson. Contemporary romance.

I bought this (new) about a year ago when I was looking for some new-to-me authors.

Ian Westmoreland owns a Las Vegas casino. But because the previous owner was crooked, the FBI wants to check it out and make sure Ian's not following in his predecessor's footsteps. So they send agent Brooke Chamberlain, undercover and unofficial, to look around and see if there's any reason to do a full investigation.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turns out) for Brooke, Ian is her ex-lover, and their breakup was ugly. But it's either Brooke or a hotshot agent who's out to make a name for himself, so to protect Ian from Thurgood's overzealousness, and a little bit because she's never gotten over Ian, she agrees.

It's a great story, with the reunited lovers (we all know how much I love reunion romances) clashing as they resolve their complex feelings for each other. The emotions are strong, and Brooke's dilemma over keeping her mission a secret from Ian, particularly since betrayal is what caused their breakup in the first place, is real and poignant. It's also lushly sensual with sex scenes and not-quite-sex scenes that further the plot and are obviously not just tacked on.

My only complaint is this: Ian's Ultimate Gamble is in the 9th book in a series. It's not that there was anything I'd missed in the previous books that kept me from understanding or enjoying this one--it's the obligatory backstory, and catching up with what seemed like every single couple from all eight previous books. Undoubtedly, if I'd been reading the series all along, I wouldn't have found that so intrusive and distracting, but as a first-time reader, it was.

Still, I enjoyed the story well enough to read more from Brenda Jackson. Next time, however, I'll take care to choose either a stand-alone or the first book in a series.


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