At age 16, Anthony was crazy for Gabriel Tilden. The boys shared a kiss and a promise of more, but Gabriel broke Anthony’s heart. The men haven’t seen each other in seven years. Anthony is now Viscount Rawlings and living in London. Gabriel has been married and living in the country, but has now has lost his wife and come to London to visit with his sister. When Anthony’s mother suggests he show Gabriel around, Anthony knows it is his chance to maybe revisit things with Gabriel.
Gabriel is full of guilt for the relief he has about no longer being married. It was a loveless marriage, but Gabriel feels awful that he is glad to be free of it. Not to mention guilt over what happened with Anthony. He doesn’t think he deserves to be with Anthony now, but the passion that once bloomed between them years ago is even stronger now. The men get together and the heat is incredible, but each time Gabriel allows himself the pleasure of being with Anthony, his guilt sends him running again. Anthony knows he probably should put a stop to this off and on relationship, but he can’t help his intense feelings for Gabriel and wants him however he can get him.
As they deal with figuring out their relationship, both men have big secrets that they are hiding. These secrets add to the guilt and complicated relationship between them, not to mention threatening both their financial states. Gabriel and Anthony must trust one another enough to share their secrets so they can help each other and hopefully reach a life together that they both are craving.
Viscount’s Wager is the third book in Ava March’s Gambling on Love series. While the first two books are very directly linked with one another, this one is basically a standalone in terms of the plot. However, all four MCs from the first two books make wonderful appearances here, so it is a bonus if you have read their stories as well.
I think that really made this story for me is Anthony. His parents had a rare love match and that is what he has wanted for himself all his life. As soon as Anthony realized he wasn’t interested in women, he began to imagine a life with a man. Despite the laws against homosexuality, Anthony always believed he could have love and he worked hard to find it. He is so sweet about his desire for a loving home and a partner that I couldn’t help but love him. The best part is that he is fun and fiery and full of personality as well, not to mention a great vulnerability, all of which make him a really endearing character.
Gabriel also has his own vulnerabilities — his feelings about his late wife, his guilt about what happened years ago with Anthony, and problems he is having now that he is struggling to hide. So I could feel for him as well, and I loved that mix of insecurity and fiery passion when he is with Anthony. At times I found myself frustrated with his booty call behavior, showing up full of lust and leaving Anthony alone afterwards time and again. I understood it, but it made me frustrated and think less of him. Not to mention that it gave a bit of repetitiveness to the story in the middle as the guys hook up, Gabriel leaves, Anthony is hurt, and then a few days later it happens all over again.
I did really enjoy the turn the story takes toward the end as we get a bit of adventure and a slight shift in direction as these guys finally begin to work out their problems. It is so sweet and rewarding to see these guys figure out how to work things out and move to their happily ever after. Gabriel in particular finally stands up and is accountable for what is going on with him so that he can then move forward. And the way it all ends up is just so sweet and lovely. I like a good mushy ending and we definitely get that here. So this is another great installment in this series and one I really enjoyed.