published by LoveSpell (Dorchester) in October 2007
Genre: contemporary romance
Her luck's so bad it's a crime.
Everyone in Royal Flush, Louisiana, knows Mallory Devereaux is a walking disaster. At least now she's found a way to take advantage of her chronic bad luck: by "cooling" cards on her uncle's casino boat. As long as the crooks invited to his special poker tournament don't win their money back, she'll get a cut of the profit.
But Mal isn't the only one working some major mojo. There's a dark-eyed dealer sending her looks steamier than the bayou in August. Turns out he's an undercover agent named Jake Randoll, and for a Yank, he’s pretty darn smart. Smart enough to enlist her help to catch a money launderer. As they race to untangle a web of decades-old lies and secrets amid a gathering of criminals, Mallory can't help hoping her luck's about to change...
The Story: Mallory Devereaux is cursed with bad luck; it’s so bad that the barman will serve her beers in plastic mugs, her friend will screw her stilettos to her shows and she cannot touch anyone. That’s why even if she has a degree in civil engineering, all she can do is demolition… but not for long. Unless Mallory can come up with 10,000$ in order to buy Harry’s, her boss and good friend, business as she’s always dreamed; Walter Flush, King of the portable toilet, will beat her to it and she’ll be out of job. Her only option: to “cool” cards at her uncle’s poker tournament on his casino’s boat. She’s done it before, so why not this time…
Jake Randoll is a FBI Special Agent investigation Silas Hebert for embezzlement and money laundering. This is his last chance to catch the man and find out what happened to Jake’s partner who was working undercover and suddenly disappeared a few months ago. Thus, Jake enrolls himself in the tournament as a dealer; however, Mallory and her “cooling” card ability could ruin all his plans… and so, Mallory and Jake have little choice than to work together in order to attain their goals.
My Opinion: Loved the book. It was a fun, light and quick read. I really enjoyed Mallory’s character. She and her friends have learnt how to deal with her bad luck… she’s also funny and smart, without being too nerdy or snobbish. Jake was a good hero too… a balanced one. He’s a bit obsessed with Silas Hebert, but at least, he’s not close to burn out. He can still think clearly, he’s smart too and flexible. I thought they made a cute couple and I enjoyed their romance. It was a bit too quick perhaps, but they really bonded and I did feel the connection between them.
In addition to a great H/H couple, you had a good plot. The idea was original and entertaining and the plot, well constructed. I liked the few twists in the storyline and the characters… it made the book less predictable and more enjoyable. It proved that Ms DeLeon put more thoughts and efforts than many other authors out there at the moment. Surprisingly, even the secondary characters got a lot of depth in addition of providing some good laughs.
Finally, I think that why the whole book works in addition of a great H/H and good plot is Ms DeLeon’s writing. It was simple, not too casual and funny, but without trying too much. I don’t know if you understand what I mean. Like Ms Jennifer Crusie. Her books are hilarious, but sometimes in a very exaggerated way. It’s not only in the situations and the characters, but it’s they way she writes the book. Well while reading this book, I’d laugh out loud just because of the way a sentence was written… and that’s what I mean when I say Ms DeLeon’s writing is funny… but it’s not overly funny.
Anyway, a great and fun book :P Read it if you have the chance to.
My Grade: B+