Saturday, April 4, 2015

Release Day: Black Number Four by Kandi Steiner

Title: Black Number Four
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: April 4, 2015
Find on Goodreads

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.

"I want to know your secrets.” I walk to the sink and drop the dishes in, waiting.

Skyler leans against the wall and crosses her arms. “Oh yeah? In poker or in life?”

I tuck my hands in my pockets and shrug, my eyes locked on hers. “Both.”

She stays there for a while, smiling and scrutinizing me at the same time. Suddenly, her face falls, and I feel the same resistance from earlier stretch between us like a tense rubber band. “I should probably go,” she says, lifting from the wall.

I check my watch. “Why don’t we go watch the sunrise? It’ll be up in twenty minutes.”

Skyler chews her cheek, her foot tapping on the floor. “I don’t know, I think this would be a lot easier if I left now.”

I shake my head, walking toward her. “What do you mean by this?”

She goes to back up but hits the wall. “This. Us. I just, I don’t think we should get caught up. I have to focus on poker this semester and you’re pledging. It would just be easier if we didn’t complicate things.”

I keep walking until our chests touch and place my hands on the wall around her head, my face inches from hers. Her breath hitches in her throat, but her bright blue eyes don’t leave mine.

“Baby, you made me lick tequila off you the first night we met. This is nothing if not complicated.”

First let me say I’m a huge fan of Kandi’s writing. Her first books, the Chaser series, blew me away. I knew Black Number Four would be amazing, just like the Chaser Series, I just didn’t know how I was going to like it. I know absolutely nothing about poker, it's really not my thing. I watch my husband play and none of it sticks. So I was a little nervous starting this book.

Black Number Four is based around college lifestyle. The main characters are Kip and Skyler. Both are college students at Palm South University. For Skyler college brought her out of her shell. Pledging to Kappa Kappa Beta was probably the best thing that happened for her. Kip recently transferred to Palm South, not really by choice but in order to get what he wanted from his father. Since he had to attend this school he figured he would make the best out of it and decided to pledge to Alpha Sig. Both meet during Spring Rush and have an instant connection. Little did they both know, life was about to put them in a wild poker game they didn’t imagine. Each being pulled in different directions by people they care about and their hearts wanting something they know they shouldn’t go after. Will they go all in or fold? 

Yes, Black Number Four has a lot of poker in it, parts that lost me a bit, but it also has real life issues. The emotions while reading are there. You will be laughing, cheesy smiling, eyes watering up, mad and frustrated. You will also get a little hot with the steamy scenes. The overall story line was great. I loved reading about college life, made me wonder had I taken my full scholarship if I would’ve lived the Greek life.

The thing for me about Kandi’s writing is I never feel cheated or shorted. It's never over done. I can easily read through without being bored or skimming. I’m not left wanting more from a chapter, only more of the story and the characters because I've enjoyed it so much. I wouldn’t mind getting more of these Kip and Skyler later down the road or maybe even a spin off book of some other characters ☺.

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.

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