Holding Aces (The Kingdom Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Story started out interestingly enough, Natalie ends up running from a loveless marriage after 12 weeks when her husband hits her. Given she left a long term abusive relationship before her marriage, she wasn't going to stay in another one. Ends up that she was running from the abusive fiancé (Jonny) and changed her name before she got married to Aaron, who doesn't know her true identity. Now Natalie (Arianna), ends up in Las Vegas to be closer to her mother and best friend (Lottie), but still can't go back to the town she used to live in because of the abusive controlling fiancé. In comes Denham King, the owner of The Kingdom Hotel, where (Natalie (Arianna) is staying while trying to figure out her next steps. Denham is instantly taken with her, he's hot, sexy, caring, attentive and protective over Ari. Yes, it seemed a bit quick for them to fall head over heels with each other, but it works, and what can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic. So this where the story took off for me, at times it was a little confusing, like when Denham confronts Natalie (Arianna) on her true identity. He barely knew her, so why would he know to check her background? But what the story lacked in a couple of confusing parts, definitely made up in the story being told. Lottie is hysterical, and her relationship with Spike is going to be interesting to follow. The chemistry between Denham and Arianna is electrifying, sexy, endearing, hot, and downright steamy. At times you find yourself squirming in your seat, Denham just does that to you. You want these two to make it and you can't stop reading, just can't put it down until you get to the end. The final chapter had my mouth hit the floor! I was like Holy Hell, no way! When I got to the end, I immediately ordered book two so I can find out what happened. Few books do that to me, so this is definitely a book you should read. As I said in the beginning, this is a new author for me, but you better believe I will be reading more of her books!
This is part 1 of 2, and it was jammed pack full of twists and turns. Based on the cover and title, I was expecting something much different than this story, not in a bad way of course. I was enthralled soon after starting and was kept engaged throughout. The storyline was well written and the character development was great.
Denham King is the owner of a Las Vegas casino, powerful, strong, and every bit sure of himself. That is until he sees Arianna come through his casino. There is something about Arianna and her situation that catches his eye and heart and won't let go.
“I’m all or nothing, sweetheart. When I do something, I do it with everything I’ve got.”
Arianna finds herself on the move, running from her husband after an event led her to realize her past issues might be coming back around. Unable to back to her families home, she winds up at a Las Vegas hotel to figure things out, where things only prove to be more confusing.
"The thoughts have a choke hold on me and I struggle to breathe."
This book deals with some serious subject matter (abuse), so if this is a trigger for you approach with caution. I will say not a lot of time is spent on the actual situation but you know it is there, it is enough to understand Ari better and set the premise of the story. Well done Nikki Groom!
Now knowing it's part 1 of 2, you will be left off at a pivotal point in the story, so be prepared to grab the next book and see where the story ends up.
Overall, I was impressed with Nikki Grooms writing style and ability to maintain my interest throughout. I look forward to seeing where this story will go.
In all honesty, this book wouldn't have been something that I would have gone out of the way for since it's a Suspenseful Romance that requires you to keep reading the next book in the series to find out the conclusion to Denham and Arianna's story. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy the book to the very end.... which has left me dying to read the next book in the series (Which I intend to read).
The writing itself is realistic and the characters are uniquely their own.... they don't seem to overlap each other, where they do or say the exactly the same things as the other characters.
I have to say that at times Arianna could get a little crazy with her going back and forth on her building relationship with Denhem, as well as her concern with her past and wanting closure, but that's all part of her character development. With everything she's gone through and her gut tell her that the past isn't just going to go away, she's struggling woman trying to find her future. As for Denham's character development, it's also very well written, showing he's more than a sculpted body that knows what to do to please a woman's desires. He fights for her to let him in and she's fighting with her instincts that say she can trust him, when all she wants to do is run and hide.
I think this book was definitely a great read with an anxious ending that will make you want to read more.
I'd definitely suggest this book to anyone who doesn't mind reading about a woman's journey of the healing process after a domestically abusive past that seems intent to keep her there; but also a story that continues on to the next book.... this story is NOT a stand alone book, you'll need to read Book 2 in order find out the conclusion to Arianna's story.
Nikki is a very talented Author who portrays all the needed emotions to make her stories come alive, as well as keeping her audience captivated until the very end and then some.... definitely an Author worthy of an opportunity for readers new to her work.
5 out of 5 star rating