Holding Aces (The Kingdom, #1) by Nikki Groom
**Holding Aces is part one of a two part Adult Contemporary Romance series that contains mature sexual content and language and is not intended for readers under the age of 18.**
*Please note: This is not a dark romance*
They say that time heals all wounds.
But mine are set in so deeply, they’ve taken on a life of their own, lurking in the shadows at every turn and haunting my thoughts.
The girl I once was has been replaced by a stranger.
I don’t even know who I am anymore.
And I hide.
Pretending to be someone I’m not…
Until I meet Denham King.
My burst of color in an otherwise grey world.
And for the first time in my life, I find myself running towards someone instead of running away.
But fate can be cruel,
and I can’t escape my past.
Kelly - 4 Crowns
"A titillating, sexy, guilty pleasure read with great flow and strong, likeable characters. Nikki Groom is one to watch!" - Kelly, Perusing Princesses
Holding Aces is a well thought out, contemporary romance with a dramatic edge. This is the story of Arianna; a woman running scared due to a past of abuse and domestic violence at the hand of her ex-fiance, Jonny.
Leaving her life behind, she adopts a new identity in a new town and a year later meets a kind and hard-working man, only to find that three months after marrying him, a heated argument throws up remnants of a past that she longed to forget.
Going to Vegas to get reacquainted with her best friend from childhood is one step closer to home. Finding out said girlfriend is dating the younger brother of a hotel millionaire mogul is just another reminder that she has stayed away for far too long.
Denham King owns Kingdom hotel/casino on the Vegas strip. He's handsome, rich and a bachelor. The ex proved more trouble than she was worth and so now his main focus is making his hotel the success he always believed it to be. No distractions... just work. Until he bumps into Arianna. Her vulnerability calls to him, her black bruise on her cheek bone a warning that all may not be as it seems.
Protective, intense, yet charming his instinct to nurture and protect reigns strong as he takes it upon himself to keep a close eye and lavish attention on his new guest.
For Arianna two failed relationships and one divorce on the cards is not a track record to be proud of, but Mr King is different. He's intimidating but compassionate, headstrong yet kind, a real enigma in a world that so far has proved unrelenting in the relationship department. Mr King is not like the others... And she's not sure to run and hide, or embrace the man who can show her what she was really made for.
Adrianna' s fight or flight personality was what gave us the damsel in distress, broken heroine type with a backstory none too kind. Denham King on the other hand is the hero. The sexy, dominant, possessive, powerful businessman whom has a real depth of warmth with a beautiful and compassionate heart, you just can't help but fall in love with him.
To watch Arianna rise from the darkness and hold onto something real... something worth holding onto was a beautiful notion and what I loved most about this story.
Nikki Groom may not have brought something unique to the table, but she has certainly delivered a well written and pleasurable read with a great leading male.
After that Cliffhanger ending, I'm looking forward to the sequel and how the characters progress and grow from here. I hope there to be a little more angst and a lot more steam, because what was great about this first instalment is the nurturing...the kindling flame of sexual tention that burns to a bright inferno towards the end and I admired that, greatly.
Great flow, great characters, great story and setting. Now, we just need to know who has the winning hand?!