Published by Warm Hues Media on January 24, 2017
Genres: African American, Contemporary, Fiction, Love & Romance, Romance
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I know exactly why it turns you on…because you’re messed up too.
Asha’s life is no fairytale, by any stretch of the imagination. There was no kind, generous father to care for and protect her from the Vegas that exists beyond the glitz and glamour of The Strip. No wise, doting mother to look over and guide her, passing down essential lessons and leading her to the right path. And certainly no Prince Charming just around the corner, ready to rescue her from working late nights to cover steadily mounting bills.
But she’s alive. Overwhelmed with responsibility she never asked for, carrying secrets and scars that haunt her, and singularly focused on an uncertain path to escape, but… alive.
You’re not born to sharks without becoming one yourself.
In Vegas, King is exactly what his name implies. Born into money and influence, but respected – and feared – in his own right. The privileges of wealth have afforded him many things: freedom, power, massive eligibility – while simultaneously leaving him exposed to others: betrayal, exploitation, and manipulation.
But he learned. The tolls of duplicity, wrath, and vengeance have taught him to be more mindful, more shrewd, to keep himself clear of the vulnerability of certain situations, certain business deals, certain places, and certain women.
Women like Asha.
Like attracts like…
Her poker face has kept her alive all this time, and he keeps his cards close to his chest. Neither is interested in gambling their hearts, but when they can’t stay away from each other, there’s only one choice… ante up.
You know a book is good when you stay up at 2 am on a weeknight in order to finish it, even though you have to be to work at 8:30 am. This is what happened to me with Christina C. Jones’ Ante Up. I cracked that book open (aka opened my Kindle) late one evening after work and was so enthralled that I simply did not put it down until I got to the last page.
Kingston Whitfield is Vegas royalty. He was born into affluence and while some would think that makes him rest on his laurels, it doesn’t. He is respected and successful in his own right.
Asha Davis was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, a plastic one might be more befitting when you learn about her upbringing. She has had to fight to get to where she is now and the enormous responsibility of taking care of everyone around her threatens to eat her alive most days. Her only salvation is poker, where though she might be a newbie to the Nevada professionals, she proves that she is a whiz in the bright lights of Vegas.
King and Asha first meet at a card game and later indulge in a one night stand. What should have been a passing encounter turns into a ride of a lifetime filled with lust, manipulation, trust, betrayal, and protection. King has sworn himself off of love due to his past, and Asha doesn’t trust anyone because she is used to everyone taking from her, draining her emotionally. None of them are prepared for what happens next.
King was the type of book hero that you can sink your teeth into, no pun intended. He was fine as I don’t know what, wealthy, successful, but had an edge and grit to him that let you know that he was not one to be fucked with. Asha was a strong and independent heroine that was determined to survive and make a way out of no way, despite all of the curve balls life had thrown at her since she was a little girl.
Ante Up was everything that I love about romance novels. It was edgy, mysterious, slightly criminal, and had a storyline that flowed seamlessly. It was different than previous books I’ve read from Jones’ due to it being so dark and aggressive. The ending was another difference as well but I absolutely loved it! I like when romance novels leave me satisfied but slightly curious at the end.
Do yourself a favor and pick up this Christina C. Jones’ novel, you won’t regret it. Ante Up!
P.S. Mrs. Jones, are we going to get books featuring the secondary characters mentioned in this book? I need Cree and Ace’s story and Jackson and Camille seem like they will be a good match.