“Hate the player, love the game…or was that the other way around?”
Research biologist Neil Parkinson had to give up a lot in pursuit of his Ph.D–his friends, his music, his home town–but the one thing he managed to hang on to was Legendary Pairs, the hyper-competitive collectible card game that has propelled so many nerds just like him to fame and fortune. With a new job in a new city, loneliness drives him out of his apartment and into The Ogre’s Den–a haven for local players, amateur and pro alike. Neil never aspired to be a professional gamer, but that was before he met Robin.
“Why even play, if you don’t play to win?”
Robin Abboud is cocky, brash, argumentative…and absolutely gorgeous. He may be a lowly caterer with a crappy car, but this game is the one place where he’s a top dog, and boy does he know it. Robin’s end-game goal is to play in the Legendary Pairs Pro Tour; he’s got the skill to do it, and from the moment he meets Neil, he’s convinced Neil does too. His flirty bravado gets under Neil’s skin like nothing else, but he runs so hot-and-cold that Neil can’t figure out if the two of them are competitors, friends…or something more.
“Don’t tell me this is just a game to you. I know better.”
When Robin convinces Neil to join him on a road trip to a major tournament, there’s more on the line than just the cash prize. Even as the two of them clash on the field of the tournament, Neil’s feelings for Robin are growing impossible to ignore. But could Robin ever feel the same way? The longer they spend together, the more Neil risks showing his whole hand. Is a perfect match in the cards for these two, or will their in-game rivalry tear them apart?
Where To Buy:
I enjoyed the heck out of this story. It had all kinds of nerd elements I enjoyed and references I actually got (which is difficult when my knowledge base is decidedly non pop culture). Robin and Neil were so good together and characters I would totally enjoy hanging out with. Their relationship started out slowly as they got to know each other but picked up once they realized their feelings for each other were reciprocated. The pacing worked well especially since the story covers a large chunk of time. It’s laid out well where the time passed and isn’t as obviously missed since you can see how things have changed and evolved for them on page.
Neil was such a sweetheart. I liked how he had this total crush on Robin and didn’t know how to handle it. When Neil finally admitted his feelings, his cute-awkward level had reach max. I enjoyed seeing how he handled playing Legendary Pairs in a large tournament. In the final chapter I was all over Neil and couldn’t wait to see how the story wrapped up since he and Robin were totally in love.
I liked Robin’s bubbly effervescent attitude throughout the story. The fight with Neil was a little over the top but it was resolved quickly. The way Robin wanted to know literally everything about Neil and how their conversations were effortless was such a joy to read. His actions right at the end of the story were so sweet. I adored how he threw Neil for a loop and surprised him. It was such a joy to read that final scene.
I absolutely loved how Legendary Pairs was described in the book. I could see the game played out in my head as I was reading. You could also tell Mr. Cameron had either experience with table top card games or did an extensive amount of research. The atmosphere and culture surrounding the game and the players felt real, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I cannot wait to read more books in this series as they come out. I want to see more of these characters get stories and happy ending. Plus see more Legendary Pairs and Robin and Neil.
Four and a half
Casey Cameron lives in a rare urban center in the U.S. Midwest, where she can be found among her fellow deviants writing porn in coffee shops. She writes primarily gay romance and erotica with a twist of the paranormal, and has a real kink for sex-positive and emotionally mature characters.