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One Good Hand (One Good #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  482 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
When card shark Ace wins Spade in a high-stakes poker game, the enigmatic man calls him 'master' and refuses to be set free. Cards can give and cards can take. And one good hand is about to change Ace's life forever.

Publisher's Note: "One Good Hand" is a revised, reedited version of a previous release by the same name.
Nook, 2nd Edition
Published December 25th 2007 by Loose Id, LLC (first published June 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 29, 2013 julio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to julio by: Karel
So much fun.

Sneakily tender, too, which—y'know—awesome. Also hot. As fuck. But not a fuckfest?

I wouldn't have minded if it were.

Good story. Improbably—a good story.

Goes to show you: a true storyteller can spin a tale about anything.
Aug 14, 2010 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, romance
A short, fun romance that doesn't play around. Ace is confident at the poker table, but needs a source of strength, Spade is ... anything Ace needs him to be. Quick and hot, but not tasteless. The plot and characters are well developed (and perhaps refreshingly simple).

What I liked
Simple and enjoyable. The characters and plot aren't exceptionally deep, but they aren't single layered either. There is just enough outside action and characters that we aren't left with just our two main boy
Oct 05, 2011 Td rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: angst, sci-fi, sniff
Sweeter, sadder, deeper, more intense and thought provoking than I expected all wrapped up in a sexy little novella and it was all good.

Thanks, Gina, but I will get you for making me cry when I didn't want to. ;)
I found myself pleasantly surprised by this book. I was expecting a quick read that might have been a bit quirky. Instead I found a short story that has everything that a great tale needs.


Great Characters that are multifaceted - Check
An intriguing plot that has a clear beginning, middle and end - Check
A Bad guy in this case he was smarmy - Check
The bad guy gets it in the end - Check
Romance - in this case surprisingly sweet - Check
A mystery - I loved working out what Spade was - Check
Aug 18, 2009 Kassa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solidly written story about gambling shark that is anything but perfect and surprisingly ends up winning the perfect man in a poker game. Just as he’s beginning to understand this mysterious stranger in his life, his past rears its head and Ace has to struggle with past regrets, revenge, and what’s really important to a gambler ~ what you win or what you lose. Great action, interesting characters and a tightly written plot cause this story to fly while reading. Released to rave reviews, this b ...more
i had rated this 5, but as i thought about it some more i realized that there was something grotesque about this whole growing-into-your-heart's-desire thing...7 feet? wtf? so really enjoyable, but not exactly a fave
Sammy Goode
Jan 09, 2012 Sammy Goode rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rowan McBride’s novella One Good Hand is actually a character study wrapped inside a sweet little story. Ace, an admitted card shark plays high stakes games where more than money changes hands. The games are driven by the participant’s desires to not only win big money but more than that, hold the title of the “one to beat”. Ace is that one to beat. In the opening scene he wins Spade…a senai. Senai are the equivalent of a magic genie—they can morph not only their physical selves but also their e ...more
1/14/12- This book was not what I was expecting. From the blurb I was anticipating one thing. Then I glanced through the shelves people have put it on and started to wonder. Then it was shelved on a shelf in the M/M group and I had a different thought. All I knew is I had to read it. So I picked it up and breezed right through it. This is the story of Ace Donovan. He is a card player and he wins Spade in a card game. The story continues from there. There is a lot of heart and an interesting twis ...more
This book almost nothing like I expected. I read this book as a part of the M/M Romance Group's Bingo game. For some reason I just wasn't feeling any of the books on the list for this so I just practically randomly picked from the shorter options. With a story about a robot/AI/Alien/?? that could change himself to suit his master's every want and need I figured it would be a bit of sex laden story with little to no plot, especially since it was so short. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot an ...more
Bryl Tyne
Sep 28, 2008 Bryl Tyne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of m/m, who enjoy romance with their erotica
Shelves: favorite, erotic, glbt, sci-fi
Romantic, sexy, descriptive, and well-written. Emotionally provoking without the sap. I liked the characters, the storyline, and the dialogue. The sci-fi element enhanced an otherwise contemporary piece. Thoughtful and energy-charged. I loved this story.

One Good Hand was a quick, yet fulfilling read!
JustJen "Miss Conduct"
Jan 11, 2012 JustJen "Miss Conduct" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm, ebook
Totally not what I expected. I really enjoyed this story. It was very colorful and moved along at a good pace. There was just enough alien aspect to be interesting, but not too much to make it overly cheesy.
Jan 10, 2013 Julesmarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
I had perhaps higher hopes for this one than I ought to have. It was still enjoyable, just not quite as much as I'd hoped.

First, I absolutely admit that I know next to nothing about poker, so I'd had no idea that there were illegal underground poker tournaments. That whole concept for whatever reason took a lot of stretching of disbelief for me, so when the added explanation of what a senai is came, I wasn't ready to stretch much more.

Spade was lovely. The whole concept for his character was fas
Nov 07, 2010 Jaele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great story with an interesting slant. There was a bit of a science fiction/fantasy element that I was not expecting. It was simple and subtle and I was pleasantly surprised. I was a little nervous at first since it appeared that the sci-fi aspect was going to over ride free will, but it was handled nicely and made the ending that much better.

I liked the characters. Ace wasn’t anything like I would have thought a high-rolling gambler to be. Spade was so simple in his wants that it made hi
Julia ♥Duncan♥
Sep 30, 2013 Julia ♥Duncan♥ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julia ♥Duncan♥ by: Kathleen
I enjoyed this a lot. I love the "android learns to love" trope, or whatever you want to call it. Wish this had been longer though, and the sex scenes didn't do much for me. I wanted more bonding and character development. Ace's backstory was good and I liked his relationship with his uncle. Spade could have been fleshed out a little more. Though not literally. I found his muscle growing pretty creepy actually. That's not my type at all, so I was a little weirded out by his intense bulking up. S ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m-romance
I'm not usually one for 1st person pov but for this story it really worked. It was a great quick read with a cool sci-fi twist. I'm hoping Rowan McBride writes more stores about the Senai.
3.5 stars
Someone mentioned descriptions of Spade's muscles getting more and more muscley as the book goes on? At first I was like, "What? No way. That's hilariously ridiculous," but then I scrolled up and saw it was Rowan McBride, and like, dude, ofc it's them? *looks pointedly at basically everything else the author has written ever*
reproducing this link here for my own future reference so I'm not mentally picturing some bizarre stuff trying to figure out how these proportions might work out. https://al

Not quite 4 stars.

Ace Donovan is not just a card shark, he's one of the best around. When Ace wins a man in a card game, he's not sure how to handle things. Especially when the man asks to be named and calls him "Master". I thought the premise for this story was very cute and I really enjoyed the interaction between Ace and Spade and their growing relationship. I think this would have been a solid 4 star or even higher if it was just a little longer and had a little more plot and character devel
Apr 17, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is well-written and original, and I liked the protagonist very much. There was a nice balance of sex and plot.

There are a few things that keep this from being a 5-star book. One is the length--it's pretty short and feels abrupt at times. Second, we learn fairly late in the story that the protagonist is only 26. I'd been picturing him quite a bit older and it was a bit jarring to find out he was so young. And finally, the protagonist's love interest is really, really, really big and mus
Mar 14, 2012 Tj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
This was a fun short read. Ace has many issues with his past. He lost his family, then his uncle, and finally his first relationship. The last two were betrayals to him. His uncle lost him because he couldn't control his gambling and his first relationship used him in order to learn him and beat him. Ace is guarded then comes Spade. Spade is different. Telling him he only wants what Ace wants. The story ends up being about not risking your one good thing, keeping it safe.
Yaoi story, but not bad at all. Ace is a gambler who's betting everything he owns every time he plays. He usually gets money for the effort, somethime an apartment, that's a first time thought he received a person as a payment. What's more the guy seems perfectly fine with the arrangement and just won't leave!
Jun 17, 2012 blub rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-romance, sci-fi
A nice read. (view spoiler)
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
This was so fucking sweet and cute and with a fascinating little -what do you call it- element of sci-fi with the "Senai". It was romantic and sexy and such a lovely read. All I wanted to do while reading this book was roll around in the happiness that seemed to emanate from it! Haha.

I definitely would recommend it to all those who enjoy this genre.
This was an amazing book. Kind of a heart strangler. I have not been able to read the next book yet due to this. It just kills me to see the characters hurt. I may have to turn to the end to be sure all comes out ok. I have to do this at times with a book when the emotions are ripped apart too much. I have truely enjoyed the book.
I really liked this story and read it quickly. I liked the unusual dynamic to it. The story is very detailed and the characters are in-depth. They are flawed and different which draws you even more into the story. I just had a hard time getting over him being a robot. It was hard for me to truely believe the character chemistery after I found this out. I'd still recommened to others though.
Feb 07, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this short story. It was sweet and also a little sad. The questions Ace struggled with would be the ones I would have as well. The story was well written and I found that I cared about the characters and very much wanted them to get their happily ever after. I'll be glad to revisit them in the sequel, One Good Year.
Mar 07, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-read, z-2012
There was a whole lot packed into this book for such a short story. I liked how neither of the MCs was perfect and really enjoyed watching Spade subtly change the longer he was with Ace. Ace struggles to accept Spade for what he is and it takes a desperate situation for him to finally realise exactly what it is he wants.
Aug 06, 2013 CB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very different story. Unique characters and plot. I highly recommend reading the 2nd book in the series "One Good Year" after this one. It really seems to round out the whole story and I felt like I understood the future of their relationship a lot better than I did after reading just the first one - that's why this book only got 4 stars (I'm giving the 2nd book 5 stars).
Nov 13, 2011 Cindi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
Very unique story. Ace is the best card shark (the author's words) in the world. He wins Spade in one of his card games. There is something odd about Spade. This is explained as the story goes on. I wasn't sure what to think about the weirdness of it but it all came together in the end.

Not bad for a (fairly) short story.
S.J.D. Peterson
Loved this quick read. The characters are so damn sweet it nearly gave me a sugar rush but it was fun. Any time someone sits down to gamble they hope to win big. Ace wins in "spades" by getting the perfect man with a little twist added to the jackpot :)
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Born an Air Force dependent, Rowan McBride traveled the world and totally missed the 80’s as most Americans know it. In exchange, xe’s gotten to walk in clogs, break an arm at Mt. Fuji, and say prayers at a Korean Buddhist temple. So far it seems like a fair trade. Although xe graduated from high school in Hawaii, xe didn’t learn to hula and make leis until going to college in Iowa. After leaving ...more
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