Poker Face Book Cover Poker Face
Cindy Dees
MM Romantic Suspense
Dreamspinner Press
June 9, 2020

Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.

Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fundraising event, and it’s up to him to cover his irresponsible boss’s tracks.

Stone Jackson, Senator Lacey’s new bodyguard, looks enough like him that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for the senator. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to substitute Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Ace in the Hole by Ava Drake, July 2016.

Reviewed by Xanthe

Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

I really enjoyed this romantic drama. There are two strong men who grow to appreciate each other, after their initial spark of attraction, whilst working to cover up the disappearance of the senator, Stone’s client and Christian’s boss.

There is a lot of subterfuge throughout this story. Mainly with the main plot point of Stone taking the senator’s place for public appearances as they work to find him and bring the man back but also in the political aspect as you read the possibilities of what goes on behind closed doors. They are also trying to keep a lid on the threats that the senator has been receiving, not wanting to draw attention to it.

Stone is definitely out of his element and it’s fun to see him take on this role, so completely different from standing in the shadows as he has to step out on stage and act as another person. Christian has taken on so much pressure and stress with his job basically putting out the fires and covering up for his boss, even to the man’s wife. His ambition to do good work is what keeps him where he is at the moment as well as proving to himself to his family who are not the most supportive people.

There are sparks that fly between Stone and Christian from their first meeting in the hotel bar and it just continues through, even when they realise they’ll be working together and try to behave. The con that they try to pull off, if anything, brings them closer as they fine tune Stone’s acting whilst trying to locate the senator. They work in close quarters and get to know each other a lot better than they would have otherwise. Feelings seem to grow without either man knowing until it’s too late for them and the only thing they want is each other. There are a lot of hot moments that they share but I loved that some of their most intense ones didn’t even have to go all the way, the emotions spoke enough for themselves.

It all culminates in several big dramatic moments followed by a big reveal. It’s a lot to keep the reader entertained and I loved the outcome overall for the MC’s and the Senator. So easy to tell how much everyone around him disliked him, especially his wife and other staff, none of whom he treated with respect.

I liked the story, the relationship that developed between Stone and Christian, and the big con they tried to pull off. It was fun to read, not all of it believable but I think that helped with the entertainment factor. Having two such large characters, physically and mentally, worked well as they may not be men that you would necessarily match up together and seemed to be on different paths but clicked from the first instance and it all flowed for them from then on.