All In with the Duke – Novel
Gambling on Love series, Book #1
Regency-set D/s M/M erotic romance
Release date: November 11, 2013
Word Count: 81,000 words
Page Count: 320 pages
ISBN# 978-14268-9737-5 (ebook)
ISBN# 978-03734-2773-4 (print)
Publisher: Carina Press
Next Big Thing blog post - for background info on the book
RT Book Reviews Forewords – “…what is most intriguing are the characters the author pairs together”
Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham, vows to never again let a handsome face blind him to a man's true intentions. But ten months of celibacy and lonely nights drive him to a decadent brothel, where a beautiful young man arouses his illicit passions as never before.
Tristan Walsh has grown tired of being used for men's pleasure. But his latest client is different: commanding yet generous, Max makes him feel cared for as well as wanted. Yet Tristan knows he'll never have the choice to leave the brothel and submit only to Max.
So when Max invites him to be his guest at his country estate, Tristan eagerly agrees to his terms—days to do as he pleases while Max tends to the dukedom, and nights spent together in wicked play. But when the "business arrangement" begins to deepen into something more, Tristan must face the fact that he has no true place in Max's life—or in Max's guarded heart…
Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: D/s theme and elements, and male/male sexual practices.
© Ava March
After draining the last of the whisky, he set the glass on the spindle-legged table beside the couch and removed his coat. Might as well make himself comfortable while he waited. He folded his coat over the back of a wooden chair along the wall then sat on the couch. He'd been a bit hasty to dismiss Rawling's nudge so quickly. In fact, his reason for dismissing the notion was actually what made it the ideal solution. Well, perhaps not ideal, but a solution nonetheless. Tonight, he wanted a man and he would pay for one. Simple and neat. The concern gone, the risk wiped away. No subterfuge, no ulterior motives. No threat his own desires would be used against him. And most importantly, no need to worry the man was only after his bank account because it would indeed be an open fact acknowledged and accepted by both of them.
Frankly, he was disappointed in himself for not having thought of the solution months ago.
There was the metallic click of a knob turning. Max looked to the door.
A man entered the room. He was clad in a pale pink silk embroidered waistcoat, expertly tailored navy coat, matching dark trousers, and with an intricately knotted cravat beneath his jaw. It wasn't the elegant evening attire that took Max aback. Given the gowns on the girls in the receiving room, it made sense the house's male employees would be similarly attired. He'd also expected the man who walked into this room to be on par with those girls-designed for pleasure and willing to bend to a client's every desire. In essence, he'd expected a very accommodating, very handsome man.
What he hadn't expected was for the man to be beautiful.
And not just simply beautiful. But exquisitely beautiful. Enticingly beautiful. Large green-gold eyes and lush yet fine features framed by shoulder-length ginger-blond hair that had just enough wave to keep it from perfectly straight. High, prominent cheekbones, a full mouth that begged for a kiss, that begged to be wrapped around Max's cock. He appeared to be of average height for a man, around five feet seven inches, yet that was the only similarity between his frame and the average fellow. Lithe, graceful and lean, with enough substance to his shoulders to keep him from approaching frail.
Until that moment, Max would have never believed he would find such a man appealing. His tastes ran toward solid muscles and strong bodies, not toward those who nudged against feminine. And the shock over his immediate and very visceral reaction to the man clashed with the arousal pooling in his groin.
Reaching behind him, the man shut the door. "Good evening, sir. I am Tristan."
His voice didn't match what Max would have expected either. There was no waifish lisp, like one of those macaronis with their affected airs and velvet frock coats. Instead, his voice held the distinct note of the country. Of great expanses of green grass and practical farm fields.
"Would you care for another glass of brandy? Or do you prefer whisky?" he asked, with a wave of his hand toward Max's empty glass.
Max shook his head. He swept his gaze over the man again, searching for the source of the lust drumming through his veins, heating his skin. He wanted to bend Tristan over the arm of the couch, hear him beg for Max's cock. Tease and torment him until he pleaded with Max to be allowed his release. Strip every piece of clothing from that lean, lithe body… His brow furrowed. "What is your age?"
"What age would you like me to be?" The reply flowed off his tongue, like one he had given countless times before.
"Don't play games with me. I asked you a question. I expect an honest answer."
Unruffled by the harsh tone, Tristan said, in that same easy way, "One-and-twenty."
A growl rumbled Max's throat. "Do not lie to me."
Tristan bristled, his gorgeous mouth thinning, his eyes narrowing. "I am not lying. I was born on September twenty-third, 1800. I may not appear to be one-and-twenty, but it is the truth."
Max kept his gaze pinned on Tristan, waiting for the young man to shift his weight, to break eye contact, to fidget in some manner, to reveal his words as false. As merely an attempt to say what a potential client wanted to hear.
After a long moment, Tristan nodded once, a perfunctory, businesslike bob of his head. "I understand. I don't suit. Charles should be available soon. He's the only other man in the house willing to take male clients, but he's presently occupied. I can have a supper tray sent up if you'd prefer to wait."
"What are you going on about? I never said you didn't suit." If anything, Tristan suited much too well. "I merely wanted to be certain I wasn't buggering a boy."
"I am not a boy." Fire flashed in Tristan's eyes, briefly darkening the green-gold depths.
"And you have convinced me of such." With a nudge of his chin, he beckoned Tristan.
In the blink of an eye, all traces of irritation vanished from Tristan's beautiful features. He crossed the room, his strides long and limber, full of natural grace. He settled next to Max on the couch, and as he turned his shoulders toward him, his knee pressed against Max's thigh. Just that bit of contact was enough to make the lust spike. The jolt landed squarely in Max's ballocks. His cock hardened, pressing against the placket of his trousers, eager for attention.
With an absent flick of his fingers, Tristan tucked the long strands of his hair behind one ear. He reached into his waistcoat pocket and produced a calling card.
Max took the proffered card. Written in neat black type was an amount. That was it. Nothing more. So he'd assumed wrong—it wasn't a calling card. Rather, the man's rate for the night. "We haven't discussed specifics yet."
Tristan lifted one shoulder in a shrug. "It matters not what we do. That's the price for my time."
"And how long do I have you?"
"No more than three hours." Tristan arched a dark blond brow. "Do the terms meet with your satisfaction?"
The answer required no thought at all. "Yes." Shifting on the couch, he withdrew a fold of pound notes from his trouser pocket. When he made to give the required amount to Tristan, the man shook his head.
"Just put it on the side table."
Max did as requested, setting the notes next to his empty glass.
"Do you have a name?" Tristan asked.
"Yes. Max." He didn't elaborate beyond that. Though he highly doubted Tristan moved about in Society, Max was a duke and there weren't a plethora of his kind in England. It was possible Tristan would recognize his family name, and Max much preferred the veil of anonymity while at this house.
"What would you like tonight, Max?"
Blunt and to the point. One of the many reasons why he preferred men. Various options filled his head. The two of them locked together on the plush rug, Max driving into Tristan, the man's head thrown back in ecstasy, fingers digging into Max's forearms. Tristan bent over the side of the bed, arse tilted up, showing off the plug lodged deep within. Tristan on his knees, hands bound, cock bound, desperate want pouring off him. He could do anything he wanted with this man. Could give every one of his desires complete and absolute free rein.
Perhaps not. "What will you do?"
"Most?" He wanted to know Tristan's limits up front. Straying across one in the heat of the moment could rather spoil the evening.
Tristan gave him another one of those casual half shrugs. "I'd prefer if you didn't hit me with a closed fist or treat me like a dog."
"No concerns there. I've never been one to beat my lovers black and blue. Redden their arse perhaps, but not beat. And I don't much care for dogs." And Max didn't much care for the fact Tristan had felt the need to state such limits. No man who cared a wit about his bed partner would ever do either of those things.
A hand settled on Max's knee, then skimmed up to his upper thigh. A shiver of need racked Max's spine. Tristan leaned closer, his lashes at half-mast, a sinful smile toying with the edges of his mouth. The business portion of their evening was clearly over.
“When it comes to Regency Era M/M Erotica with a side of romantic complications brought about by duty, obligation, and societal expectation, Ava March is my number-one-go-to author. That was oddly specific yet totally true. And she had me at rentboy.” – The Novel Approach Reviews
“I loved this book; it’s everything I expected from Ava March and so much more. … For anyone who loves a good historical romance story, you won’t get any better than this.”—Mrs. Condit & Friends Reads Books. Recommended Book!
“A beautiful love story that carries us from country estates to London brothels and back again. … This is why novels by Ava March are so beautiful. Her ability to write those fleeting moments that reveal so much about her characters and impart with laser like clarity the depth of their pain is fine writing at its best.” – Reviews by Jessewave
“This book was gorgeous, the story telling beautiful and the relationship melted me into the puddle where I love to be. I liked how each secret was revealed, how the men dealt with the change in their relationship and grew with it and the end was done wonderfully.” – The Risqué Redhead Reads
“I really loved this story… It was smutty deliciousness!” – The Blog of Sid Love
“So to me Ava March is the queen of the m/m regency historical, and this book shows exactly why. … Once again March has created a fabulous romance filled with dashing heroes, lots of heat, and a great sense of time and place. I just loved this one and highly recommend it.” – Joyfully Jay
“You just can’t go wrong when you pick up an Ava March historical. She takes everything there is to love in a historical romance, inserts two wonderfully strong heroes, adds just the right amount of naughty love scenes, sprinkles the whole thing with angst and misunderstandings and then finishes it all off with a believable HEA” – Fiction Vixen
“Ava March does a fantastic job of merging M/M and Historical Romance in a sultry, spicy story that transports you to another time” – Under the Covers
“Set against historical London (my favorite place in the world), I literally felt like I was walking the streets or strolling through the gardens with these characters. Add the background in with the steamy love scenes and this book works its magic.” – Book Jems
“Ava March always writes such emotional love scenes. They convey passion and pleasure between the two heroes but she also gets you so deep into their thoughts.” - Smexy Books
“…this is an excellent historical series with two lovely men, some steamy sex scenes and an emotionally satisfying arc to the story. I can’t wait to continue...” – The Book Pushers