Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Playing the Odds (The MacGregors, #1)” as Want to Read:
Playing the Odds (The MacGregors, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Playing the Odds

(The MacGregors #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  5,893 ratings  ·  218 reviews
The cards were stacked, though neither of them knew it. Serena MacGregor's father left nothing to chance when he sent Justin Blade -- part Comanche and all gambler -- on a Caribbean cruise. His daughter was evading her responsibility to produce grandchildren by working as a blackjack dealer on the CELEBRATION. Odds were they'd meet.

Serena's father had his hopes riding on
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 2nd 2013 by Mills & Boon (first published March 2nd 1985)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Playing the Odds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Playing the Odds

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,893 ratings  ·  218 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Playing the Odds (The MacGregors, #1)
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hotel owner and gambler Justin Blade takes a Caribbean cruise after his friend Daniel MacGregor persuades him to take a vacation. Unknown to Justin, Daniel's lovely daughter Serena (whom Justin has never met) is working in the gambling casino on the ship and Daniel hopes the two will meet on board. They do and sparks fly!

I loved the scenic locations in this book--a Caribbean cruise, Justin's hotel and casino in Atlantic City. This book also had a little bit of suspense thrown in towards the end.
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, arc, 2015, 4-stars
*I gave this audiobook an A- for Angela Dawe's Narration and B for the story at AudioGals*

Lovers of Nora Roberts’ traditional contemporary romances will not want to miss the opportunity to listen to Playing the Odds, Book 1 in Ms. Robert’s long running series, The MacGregors, which was originally published in print in the 1980s. Narrated by Angela Dawe, this tale centers around the theme of “Betting on Love” and is a great representation of why publishers should consider bringing favorite
Renégade ♥
3 to 3 1/2 stars

Be warned:

This romance was written in 1985 and, in so many ways, is of its time.

So, keeping that in mind, certain aspects of the relationship between Justin Blade and Serena MacGregor were definitely problematic. Certain scenes, especially at the outset, left me feeling uncomfortable and, at times, unimpressed.

Related image

I just wasn't keen on the dynamics between the leads for the first half of the book. I often found the hero overbearing with his 'won't take no for an answer' boundary
This was reread and boy, was it fun to revisit these characters. A Nora Roberts classic.
Chitra *CJ*
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: safety-first
Such a lovely book!
When Justin is sent to a cruise for a vacation by his partner Daniel- he never knew he would meet the gorgeous blackjack dealer Serena aboard- and lose his heart to her.
Serena, namesake of her great grandmother is from a family of high achievers and finds solace in the sea- until she meets Justin.
It's insta attraction- kiss at first sight- mild stalking- sweet courtship- a small hitch and a HFN (because I'm sure wel see this couple in the next books)
The Macgregor clan was
Jun 13, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Hate the male protagonist, don't you know "no" means "no"? But the girl is slightly better. O well. This is a classic story denoting when a girl says no, she prolly means maybe. Ack.
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The one that started off the whole Macgregor's saga ... worth reading ... brilliantly characterised and shows why Ms. Roberts is considered the best ...
As much as I love Nora Roberts books I prefer her longer ones and the later ones over the category romances. Those are generally too short and not enough developed.

That is why I generally liked Playing the Odds, it is good for category romance. The main characters Serena and Justin are likeable and the plot is interesting with a small suspense part. But I would rather read some longer book from Roberts.

I've got still some books in this series to read.
This one really holds up for me. Serena and Justin feel very equally matched and I love that they become business partners and that it takes place both on a cruise ship and in Atlantic City!
Probably somewhere around 3.5 stars.

Definitely a little dated and I had some minor pursuit issues that can mostly be attributed to the fact that this was written in 1985, but it was overall a pretty fun read once I got into it. I started this in August but didn't really get into it past the first 30 pages until this week.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am really questioning myself on how I gave this book a 3 star rating. But I guess I am reading it after a long time and now times have changed.
As soon as I read
In some sane portion of her brain she realized he would always take without regard for willingness.
It turned me off from the book. Hated the hero. He did not understand the meaning of "no" and the author justified that my showing that heroine's "no" was actually an indirect yes.
In today's time the hero would have been
This is the second romance novel I had read when I first started reading romances at the age of 14. These books are what got me hooked on romance, Ive read each book about 20 times they never get old to me. The MacGragors are a wonderful timeless family that will always be my number one absolute faorite series of all time.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I loved this story about Serena and Justin even as a re-read. I loved the passion that flared between them and that they were brought together by Serenas matchmaking dad, Daniel. With a bomb threat and kidnapping it became a great book that i struggled to put down. Cannot wait to continue into the series, to find out what happens to the rest of the family. Xxx
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the MacGregor series of books. I am reading a little backward. Read about the grandchildren and now reading g a out the children. But I love th e patriarch in the book so I keep reading them.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVELY LOVELY STORY even so the second time around. I love Serena and Justin Blade. :D Blade is gorgeous and well hot. Serena is just such an awesome heroine. I love the MacGregors... :D
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-macgregors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kayla Sheppard
Aug 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't feel any chemistry and didn't really care that much. Plus some of the lines didn't sit well with me such as her always saying how the male love interest would take despite willingness since he doesn't take no for an answer. That isn't something in interested in a man.
Hmm, I don't know if I have a ton to say at this point. Some of is a bit dated (Justin's heritage in particular), but also! Serena didn't let him get away with "protecting" her, which, wow, feels rare in modern books.

Definitely looking forward to spending more time with this family.
My mother is telling me that I like this one because it's competence pr0n sooo. It was really great, and MacGregor women are total badasses. Very 1985 (he has vertical blinds! and pushes a button to open them! Let's page Caine!) but good nevertheless
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put down
Feb 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Well, what to say? It was okay.

This is the 3rd contemporary romance novel I read in my whole life and, I hope, the last one. It is the 1st that Ive picked knowing its contemporary romance. One of my Goodreads groups voted for this one as a book at the month and it won. I was sure that Ill not read it, but since some people said Im narrow-minded for not reading "outside my genre" (which I do not have), I gave it a try. Unfortunately.

Most of the time, I just thought its too long for ... the
May 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've ever put a Roberts book down unfinished. This book was not what I expected from her, though, & I have better things to do with my time than finish this drivel. First & foremost, the domineering "take what I want" male protagonist and the simpering, loving it female protagonist are dated & offensive. Yes, I know Serena considers herself strong & independent, but her actions prove otherwise. Add in a dearth of character development & a very thin plot, & ...more
Delilah Night
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled abroad the MacGregor books in the basement and I'm giving them a reread. While some of the elements mark the book as from another era (Justin's heavy handed approach to pursuing Serena for one) the hallmarks of what makes Nora Roberts the pillar of American romance are present. Fun, if a but outdated.
Brenda H Seales
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Read!!

I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the characters and their families. I recommend it to all. I can't wait to get started on the next one in this series. Nora rarely disappoints me.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love that Nora Roberts never writes about a female character who isn't strong and feisty. I love the passionate nature of the characters and how they always seem to argue. It makes them more realistic
Danielle Loveless
May 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Cheesy, ridiculous. Least favorite Nora Roberts I've ever read. I skipped ahead to finish it...I never do that. Pretty terrible.
Debating whether to rate this as 3 or 3.5 stars at first. With a heavy heart, I end up choosing the first choice for the following reason(s):

First off, this was the LEAST favorite book in the series for me. I don't know why but I didn't think there was anything wrong with its style of writing as I have adored the other Macgregors books. I feel sad to be in the minority on this one but I guess it can't be helped.
Second, I may have not been able to enjoy the sparkle between Serena and Blade
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
I haven't yet read a lot of Nora Roberts (working on it), but Playing the Odds is far and away the worst of the 12 of I've read so far.

In general, it's a very formulaic romance without any real character development (both Justin and Serena are cold and beautiful and boring), but what takes it from generically bad to awful is the fact that Justin's Native American and the rep is horrifically racist. Putting some examples in spoiler tags because I want to warn people but I don't want anyone to
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Trouble with Paradise (The Richards Brothers Book 1)
See similar books…
Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Come Sundown, The Obsession, The Liar, and coming in December 2017, Year One -- the first book in The Chronicles of The One. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

Other books in the series

The MacGregors (10 books)
  • Tempting Fate (The MacGregors, #2)
  • All The Possibilities (The MacGregors, #3)
  • One Man's Art (The MacGregors, #4)
  • For Now, Forever (The MacGregors, #5)
  • Rebellion (The MacGregors, #0.1)
  • The MacGregor Brides (The MacGregors, #7)
  • The Winning Hand (The MacGregors, #8)
  • The MacGregor Grooms (The MacGregors, #9)
  • The Perfect Neighbor (The MacGregors, #10)
“Rule number one was confidence. Rule number two was tenacity.” 1 likes
“How did you know it was love and not just desire?” “Of all my children, you’ve always asked the most difficult questions.” Leaning forward, Anna took her daughter’s hands. “I’m not certain you can separate the two when it concerns a man and a woman. You can feel one without the other, but not when it’s real love, not when it’s real desire. Passion that comes quickly and then fades with time is only an echo. No substance, simply a result. Do you think you’ve fallen in love with Justin, or are you afraid you have?” Serena” 1 likes
More quotes…