Known as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play.
Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.
Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.
When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?
The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.
We get to my apartment around noon and I throw together a couple of turkey sandwiches for us. By the time we finish eating, we’re both exhausted – both from paddleboarding and from not sleeping last night.
“Why don’t we take a shower and watch a movie?” I suggest as Skyler yawns.
“I don’t have any clothes here besides the ones I have on now and they’re all sandy.”
“You can borrow a pair of boxers and a shirt of mine.”
Skyler chews her lip, unsure. “I don’t know, I’m pretty tired.”
“So am I,” I say, standing and pulling her up with me. “So maybe we watch a movie and maybe we take a nap. Don’t leave yet. I barely see you during the week and I know there’s not many weekends where you don’t have sorority stuff going on.”
“I actually have a sisterhood event tonight.”
“See?” I pull her wrist and lead her toward my bedroom, which really is just my bed separated by hanging curtains on a rack. I rummage through my clothes until I find a clean shirt and pair of boxers, tossing them to her and pointing to the bathroom. “Towels are above the toilet in the cabinet, shampoo and shit’s in there.”
She still seems unsure, so I pull her into me and move the fallen strands of hair from her face. “Come on. Just for a few hours. You’ll feel better once you shower and I know you’re tired. You’re not going to get any sleep if you go home to your sorority house.”
At that she sighs and nods. “You’re probably right about that.”
I smile and nudge her toward the bathroom again.
“Fine,” she says. “But just for a little while. And no trying to ambush me in the shower, either.”
I hold up my hands in surrender. “I promise. You can shower in peace.”
“Mmm hmm,” she says, suspicious, but she walks to the bathroom and closes the door behind her.
I smile and start straightening my bed, turning on the TV to find something for us to watch. I’m flipping through the channels when I hear the shower turn on and the smile leaves my face. Suddenly, I’m completely aware of Skyler’s naked body in the other room.
Shaking my head, I focus on finding something to watch, willing my own body to behave. After a few minutes, I realize I’ve flipped through the channels three times now without stopping or even recognizing what I was seeing on the screen. I bite my lip hard, cross my arms, and pace.
Don’t do it. Don’t make this more complicated than it is. She trusts you, she’s opening up to you – that’s what you need from her. Poker. Poker. Poker.
I pace more. Back and forth. Back and forth. Before I know what I’m doing, my knuckles are knocking softly on the bathroom door. I have no idea what I’m going to say or what the fuck I’m doing, but I can’t stop my hands. The door opens slightly on the third knock, as if it wasn’t completely closed, and through the slit, I see Skyler.
She’s standing there shocked, her mouth open slightly as the water continues to drip down her body, running in rivers down over her breasts and meeting between her thighs. I swallow hard, unsure of my decision. I have nothing to ask, no reason to be staring at her through this door – but Skyler doesn’t cover herself, she doesn’t scream, she doesn’t tell me to get out.
I open the door a little further, still wondering what the hell I’m doing. I consider asking if she needs anything else, if she found a towel, something – but we both know I didn’t come in here to give her a towel.
“I suck at keeping promises,” I admit, just above a whisper, and I wish I could tell her I’m not just talking about the promise to not interrupt her shower.
“And I suck at pretending like I don’t want you.”
* A review copy was provided by the author for the Blog Tour *
~ 4 Poker Face Stars ~
Black Number Four was an interesting story in the New Adult Genre. In some aspects it was very similar to other books out there, but Kandi was able to put a spin on the storyline which made it a story all of it’s own.
This is the third book I have read by Kandi and I have to say that I truly enjoy each and every one of her books. I have enjoyed watching her writing improve with each book she writes. She has a great ability of creating characters that are fun and easy to relate to, which helps make the story believable. This story was easy for me to connect with because I was in a Sorority when I was in college, so this book brought back very fond memories for me. I am also a HUGE poker fan, so knowing this book was going to revolve around playing poker, totally sucked me in.
This book truly did have it all. You will run through every emotion your body has while reading it. It will make you laugh, smile, swoon, blush, yell and want to pull your hair out, but this journey is so worth the risk. This book has many subplots to the story also, that it will keep you intrigued all the way through and you will want to turn the pages quickly to see how it all turns out. I thought the story flowed smoothly and was able to suck me in. My only real complaint was the over usage of the sorority language, when describing the Big/Little sisters. Being that I was in a sorority I felt it was over done. We never really called our Big or Little sisters, Big or Little. We used their names. But with that said it didn’t change my overall enjoyment of the book. I just think some who aren’t familiar with Greek life might find it confusing and over done.
In this story we meet Kip and Skyler. These two characters were so well matched that it made you want to root for them throughout the whole book. I truly loved watching their friendship grow into something more. I also loved how these two characters learned to open themselves up and become the people they were truly meant to be. I have to say it didn’t hurt that their chemistry was off the charts. These two definitely knew how to bring on the steam 😉 Now that isn’t to say they didn’t have their share of troubles….they surely did. Their path to happiness was not an easy one.
We also met some great secondary characters, each had their own special spin on this story. I loved how Kandi showed the great friendships that can be built in college and through Greek life. To this day I still call many of my sorority sisters friends and I was left with some wonderful memories.
I would definitely recommend this book. It was a book that was fun, sweet, but also very intriguing. This book is a stand alone with a happy ending and is one I know I will read again in the future.
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.