Title: High Stakes (The Kingdom, #2)
Author: Nikki Groom
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
“Stupid. Beautiful. Girl.
How did you ever think you could be free?”
The last words I heard before the darkness took me and my dreams were shattered.
I was on my way to having it all.
Friends, family and a future.
Everything I had wished for but never thought possible.
Denham King showed me just how good life could be. A life where love and happiness were within reach.
I should have known it would never last.
My past is a dark, damp cloud, that has seeped into my skin and left a cold promise.
A promise of hurt and pain.
A promise of a long, hard fight, where the stakes are high and the risks threaten lives.
When your world gets thrown in all directions, and your dreams for the future are torn from your grasp; how do you go on?
Can I fight the demons that haunt me?
Can love save me from fate’s cruel path?
“Arianna, dear. It’s nice to see you again.” Amy pushes past my shoulder, inviting herself in and taking ownership of the air around us. “Although, I wasn’t expecting to see so much,” she sneers, letting her eyes drift down the length of my legs.
I stand tall, trying not to be intimidated by her, trying to stand my ground in my apartment, but instantly feeling threatened by the way her body reacts to me, and the way her gaze makes me feel cold and uncomfortable.
She lifts her hand toward me, and tucks a long, red, predatory nail under the collar of the white shirt I am wearing, lifting it between her fingertips and gently brushing against my collarbone through the fabric as she does. It sends chills through me. She’s cold. Her aura, her demeanor, and her intentions are all icy and it radiates from her in steady pulses.
“I bet he likes you in this. I bet he asked you to wear it, am I wrong?”
Of course, she’s not wrong. She’s pretty much as correct as can fucking be. I swallow hard. Shards of her persona stick into me like little icy pins. Her words, like little needles of reality, stab into my veins. She knows him better than I do. She knows what he likes, and what he doesn’t. Has he asked her to wear his shirt for him?
Has he told her to dress in nothing but heels and diamonds for him? The thoughts make me feel sick. But, I know that she’s playing me. I’ve seen Denham’s reaction to her. I’ve seen the contempt in his eyes when her name is mentioned, and I’ve felt the tension radiate from him when he encounters her. She’s a bitch. Pure and simple.
Christina’s 4 Star Review
High Stakes, the second in the The Kingdom series picks up immediately where the first book leaves off. Arianna has been assaulted by her ex Jonny, and left unconscious in her penthouse apartment. When she comes to, she remembers nothing of her assault and both she and Denham assume that she had fallen and hit her head, that there was nothing nefarious about the situation.
When suspicious things start to happen and Jonny finally manages to show his face to Arianna (under an assumed name), she begins to understand that her life is once again in danger, and Jonny has assured her that as long as she resists his advances, Denham’s family is at risk as well. Arianna must decide if risking Denham and those he loves is worth the love that they share, or will going with Jonny be the best decision for everyone involved? Does Denham believe that Aria up and ran away as she has done more than once before?
Ms. Groom has further developed the characters of both Arianna and Denham. Arianna seems to have matured a bit and has started to grow a bit of a backbone. Unfortunately, there are several instances where she has to convince that she can do things on her own when Denham is sincerely only trying to keep her safe. She comes off as a bit of a petulant style, which makes her a little hard to like. I do love me some Denham though, a guy that takes care of his family the way he does is a keeper in my book.
High Stakes was another entertaining read. The ending and the twist were slightly predictable and while I think this book was meant as a romantic suspense, there just wasn’t a whole lot of suspense. It isn’t until about the last quarter of the book that things start to pick up and the secrets come out about who is involved in what in trying to abduct Arianna, as well as take Denham down. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read the rest of Arianna and Denham’s story and honestly, I’d love to see a Lottie/Spike book, as they were two of the stronger characters in the book. Much like the first book, I enjoyed it, it was well written, but it just lacked that “wow” factor that I have come to find synonymous with romantic suspense.
High Stakes is a continuation of Holdin’ Aces, it is not a standalone. I definitely recommend this one to people that like a little suspense with their romance and for those that like the Sin City backdrop. This one was a solid four stars and I’m sincerely hoping for a Lottie and Spike book!
Nikki Groom is a hopeless romantic, lover of all things happily ever after and firm believer that love makes the world go around. In her spare time, you will find Nikki laughing with her very treasured family, walking with her beloved dog in the hundred acre wood or curled up in a cosy corner with words and wine. She lives in East Sussex with her husband and two children. Having turned her hand to many things over the years, Nikki is now proud to add ‘author’ to that list. Having always been a dreamer, Nikki’s imagination stretches far and wide, which enables her to get lost in faraway places and imaginary people.
Nikki loves to chat, especially about books! You can find her here…