Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Double Blind
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Series: Special Delivery #2
Heroes: Randy Jensen & Ethan Ellison
Genre: M/M BDSM Contemporary
Length: 350 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Re-Release Date: March 4, 2014
Available at: Samhain, Amazon, & Barnes and Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: Know when to show your hand…and when to hedge your bets.
Randy Jensen can’t stand to just sit by and watch as a mysterious man throws money away on the roulette wheel, especially since Randy’s got his own bet going as to the reason this guy is making every play like it’s his last day on earth. The man’s dark desperation hits Randy right in the gut. Half of him warns that getting involved is a sucker’s bet, and the other half scrambles for a reason—any reason—to save the man’s soul.
Ethan Ellison has no idea what he’s going to do with himself once his last dollar is gone—until Randy whirls into his life with a heart-stealing smile and a poker player’s gaze that sees too much.
Randy draws Ethan into a series of wagers that leads to a scorching kiss by midnight, but he isn’t the only one with an interest in Ethan’s vulnerability. Soon they’re both taking risks that not only play fast and loose with the law, but with the biggest prize of all: their hearts.
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
This story contains high-stakes poker, gangsters with a weakness for kittens, foursomes, and kinky consensual sex.
Here, at TBG, we wanted to do something a little different. As Heidi Cullinan is re-releasing Double Blind we decided to make her our focus for Author Week but that I’d do a reminisce review of the book since I originally read it back in 2010 and absolutely loved it.
One of the things that first attracted me to Double Blind all those years ago was that it was about poker. At the time I read it, I had just gotten back from Las Vegas where my uncle had competed in the World Series of Poker. I still remember it to this day, actually, the intrigue and excitement of reading something not only taking place in Vegas (a city I just got back from) but about gambling, which was something I couldn’t legally do at the time.
What I remember most about the story, though, are the characters. Like Randy. I read Special Delivery and I enjoyed it but Randy really stuck out to me. He was a character that readers loved to hate but me? I loved Randy and all his unconventional ways. Even years later, I remember him and I remember the carefree but somewhat closed off way he had but yet, underneath it all he had a lot of feelings and emotions just waiting to burst out that he didn’t necessarily want seen.
The fact that his guy is Ethan, someone who is at his wit’s end, made me fall in love with the story. Ethan was so complex yet so simple. Who would have thought someone like Ethan who is literally a hot mess with a ton if baggage would capture Randy’s eye past a quick fuck? Not only that but make it so Randy actually cared about what Ethan does or does not almost do. I found their journey together to be a heart wrenching but sweet tale filled with a lot of discoveries, some about love and some about exploring their boundaries. Hell, I even liked Sam and Mitch more in Double Blind than in Special Delivery. Probably because I realized no matter what, Randy wouldn’t get between Sam and Mitch and Sam wouldn’t get between Ethan and Randy… so to speak lol.
Anyway this is how I remember that story. Is it really like that? Well that’ll depend entirely on the reader’s perception of it. Some will like it, will rejoice in what Ethan and Randy have to go through, while others will probably hate the book solely because it is unconventional. For me, I will never forget Randy and Ethan. Even though I didn’t like the sharing bits, I won’t lie and say, in the end, it was necessary to break down everyone’s walls and truly understand and accept these guys. My impressions of them and who they are might not be accurate (really, I have a horrible memory) but those are the pieces that stuck with me. I loved the story although I’m not sure I could reread it without being gutted again but I do recommend this one wholeheartedly. Granted if you hated Randy in Special Delivery… well you might still hate him at the end of Double Blind but you really won’t know until you find out, now will you?
For those who know me, though, know that this kind of story just isn’t something I’d normally read now. Back in 2010, however, I gobbled up angst and gut wrenching novels like they were going out of style. Even with all those tear-jerkers and heart-clenchers in the past, this one still sticks with me. So, if you’re wondering how I could love a tale like this, that is the epitome of a Not-Safe-For-Nikyta story, well, that’s why. Even so, I’d recommend it because something that sticks with you for 4 years is something worth mentioning, IMO.
Overall Impression: It was amazing
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review but read my own copy four years ago.*
Check out what Heidi Cullinan has to say about Writing Las Vegas and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win Double Blind!