Down & Dirty 3: Ante Up by Moira Rogers

Down & Dirty 3: Ante Up by Moira Rogers
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Futuristic, Paranormal, Western
Length: Short (59 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Gillyflower

Thomas Crawford is Lonely River’s beta, and it’s high time he settled down. He’s had his eye on Charlotte Daniel, the owner of the Full Moon Saloon — and independent cuss of a woman — for months, but she either hasn’t noticed his gentle courting… or she’s ignoring him. But when some local wolves lodge a complaint about her questionable business practices it’s Thomas’s job to investigate, even if it means the woman he wants will hate him forever.

Lottie has noticed Thomas’s courting, all right, but it’s a little too polite for her tastes. She wants a man with fire and sensuality, not daisies and poetry. Then he kisses her. Once she gets a glimpse of the passion burning in him, Lottie decides a slow, careful seduction isn’t a bad idea at all. But she’ll do it her way.

You have to ante up if you want to play this game, and once pack beta Thomas Crawford and saloon owner Charlotte Daniel decide to play, they play for the highest stakes of all … love.

Down & Dirty 3: Ante Up is a deliciously down and dirty quick read. While third in a series, it is not necessary to have read the first two books to enjoy this book, though enough characters from the earlier stories make an appearance that it makes it more fun to know the back-story. In truth, though, the back-story is shadowy – we learn early on of a conflict between weres and humans and a war that makes everyone skeptical of technology – so much so that this futuristic story seems like it is set on the Old West. But while the world here is but sketched out, it provides a richly woven backdrop to Thomas and Lottie’s story, which rightly gets center stage.

Thomas has passion, strength and magic to spare, but he keeps it in check. To fulfill his role as the pack beta, Thomas must maintain a calm, civilized façade, both as the were liaison to the humans and to provide a measured contrast to the pack alpha, Jack, who rules with an iron hand. Lottie is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t want to settle for companionship or even just respectful courting. She wants heat, desire and passion and she’s not sure quiet, restrained Thomas can provide it. Watching these two grown-ups explore love and sizzling hot passion was delightful. And it was a hoot watching a feisty independent woman and an overprotective alpha man try to find balance in and out of the bedroom.

In the end, Down & Dirty 3: Ante Up is like a guilty pleasure without the guilt. The characters are richly, if broadly, drawn, and there is a conflict with a dastardly villain that moves the plot along. There is lots of hot lovin’, but the bedroom (and office, and kitchen and, well, you get the idea) scenes are completely integral to the story. While I’d love to know more about the war, and the role of technology in the war, and who Hazel’s parents are, and a lot of other things, snot knowing in no way detracted from the story. Because I am curious, I would read the next Down & Dirty installment in a heartbeat. But then I would do that anyway just because these are enjoyable and sexy books.

Moira Rogers never disappoints! If you like Westerns, weres, or lusty love scenes, Down & Dirty 3: Ante Up is a delicious and sure bet.

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