Carey: Gambled Away by Ella Grey

Carey: Gambled Away by Ella Grey
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Gambled away to a man she doesn’t know…

All Carey Murphy wanted to do was keep her head down. She counted down the days hoping her father would drink himself into an early grave. All she worried about was when the next beating would come—until the day her father bet her on a game of chance and lost.

After losing his wife years ago, John O’Grady never thought he’d find himself in another relationship, let alone married to a blue-eyed girl with a bruise on her cheek. She was given to him as the spoils of a poker game, and he had no intention of keeping her.

When heated looks give way to passionate kisses, neither of them notices the danger which looms around the corner.

Carey was eighteen and trying hard to help her alcoholic mother and abusive, drunk, gambling-addicted father, but she knew sooner or later the debts would be too great. When her father sells her into a marriage with a complete stranger to pay off his debts, Carey still doesn’t run, hoping this might be a way out of her difficult family situation. Can Carey survived being gambled away?

I found this to be an interesting read. The author was careful to explain the thoughts and situation behind why Carey allowed herself to be trapped in an abusive and clearly unhealthy situation and relationship with both her parents, but I was pleased when the focus quickly became Carey and her new husband, John. Despite the explanations, I really struggled to understand why Carey didn’t strike out on her own. I didn’t feel it was very realistic that she had stayed in such an unhealthy family dynamic when she was already working and could have easily transitioned into being independent and moved out of home. Neither did I really feel the marriage between Carey and John was very plausible in the beginning. I feel it would have been more believable had Carey at least met the man and have wanted to be with him to some degree – but John was literally a stranger and so it didn’t make a lot of sense to me how she came to agree to marry him.

That said, I really enjoyed the emotional complexity of the relationship that blossomed between Carey and John. While John was a mob boss – feared and powerful – he was not a one-dimensional character. There were layers and complexities and yes even a heart beneath the ruthless and powerful façade. I thoroughly enjoyed how Carey slowly became curious about her newly minted husband and how she learned more about him, even as he tried to give her space and get to know her in return. I was thoroughly appreciative how they didn’t jump into bed too quickly after the wedding and this just added more layers and interest in the storyline for me.

While the beginning of this short story was a bit rocky and unbelievable for me, personally, I was pleased I stuck with it and ended up finding this a really appealing and complex read. I enjoyed getting to know the different sides to John’s character and was pleased Carey showed herself to be a strong and capable enough woman to stand by his side. I enjoyed watching them learn about each other and fall in love and found this to be a really good, strong quick read.

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