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In the game of love all bets are off

When professional poker player Matthew Shaughnessy wins the pot of a lifetime, he didn't expect to land himself a fiancée.
Cassandra Gardener is left with little choice but to play the part of a Texan's fiancée for a week if she wants to clear her father's gambling debt.
Can two people with so much to lose win the biggest bet of all- love?

150 pages, ebook

First published August 15, 2017

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About the author

Jacquie Biggar

89 books799 followers
Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!
In her own words:
“My name is Jacquie Biggar. When I'm not acting like a total klutz, I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a butler to my calico cat.
My guilty pleasures are reality tv shows like Amazing Race and The Voice. I can be found every Monday night in my armchair plastered to the television laughing at Blake's shenanigans.
I love to hang at the beach with DH (darling hubby) taking pictures or reading romance novels (what else?).
I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession, enjoy gardening, everything pink and talking to my friends.”



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5 stars
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20 (29%)
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6 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,099 reviews296 followers
September 16, 2017
Check out all of my reviews at: http://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

HOLD ‘EM: A GAMBLING HEARTS ROMANCE by Jacquie Biggar is a contemporary romance that has a cast of characters that are heartwarming, caring, funny and just all around wonderful! The hero and heroine find they have an instant attraction and even though they are opposites, they both have caring hearts and strong family attachments.

Matthew “Matt” Shaughnessy is a high-stakes poker player winning his way up to the World Series of Poker. Just when he thinks he may have lost a huge stakes game, his opponent cannot cover his makers. What Matt needs is a fiancée to make his dying grandmother happy so a deal is struck. Gardner offers in payment his daughter’s heirloom wedding ring and one week of Cassandra playing his fiancée on his family’s Texas ranch.

Cassandra Gardner knows her father has a gambling problem, but she never imagined it would lead to her playing the part of a finance on a ranch with a stranger, when she is supposed to be getting married in two weeks in Las Vegas to someone else. She is a city girl through and through and knows nothing about ranching or the great outdoors. She also has very strong feelings against lying to Matt’s grandmother, family and friends who accept her on sight.

Matt has one week to convince his grandmother he is settling down and found the love of his life, which if he keeps enjoying Cassandra’s looks and spirit may be true in reality, but can he keep her on the ranch? Cassandra cannot believe the intense feelings that started as annoyance and now are so much more for this cowboy, but she has a fiancée waiting in Vegas.

Ms. Biggar has written an easy to read, heartwarming, sexy and funny, opposites attract hero and heroine that could walk right off the page and into your heart. There is sexual tension throughout, but Cassandra never breaks her promise to her real fiancée and there is no sex in the story. Matt’s grandmother, brother and sister and his care of them all and the ranch at a young age shows the depth of his character, while they are all interesting characters on their own.

Right now this book is a standalone, but the story definitely is set up for Matt’s brother and sister to have their own stories in the future. I really hope they get them because this is a family that I want to check back in with in the future.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,784 followers
May 9, 2018
Cassandra Gardener is about to get married in Las Vegas but when her gambler father gambles not only her engagement ring but her as well, she’s furious. But when the winning gambler makes a proposition that will help them both out, she sees no other alternative and reluctantly agrees.

Matthew Shaughnessy is a professional poker player and just when he thinks Lady Luck has abandoned him, he scores the juiciest pot of all: a beautiful fiancée to bring home to the family ranch. Sure, she’s a fiery princess but it’ll make his ailing grandma proud. The only problem is that the more he’s around Cassandra, the stronger his attraction for her. But she’s engaged and way too good for him. If only his mind, heart and body would agree. If he goes all in, will he secure her love or wind up with a broken heart?

OMG! I loved this romance by my favorite author, Jacquie Biggar. Las Vegas and Texas are the backdrop for this novella, which is portrayed accurately (I’ve been to both). The characters, though, are what made this story gleam as bright as the Vegas strip. Both Cassandra and Matthew are complex characters with a strong work ethic. Biggar reveals the conflict in their lives with emotive prose and I found my heart going out to them both. The chemistry between Cassandra and Matthew are electrifying… singe-worthy for sure. I was sad when it ended (though the ending was beautiful) and I want more! Highly recommend, especially if you like contemporary romance.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in the hopes I’d review it.

My Rating 5+ stars

This review first appeared: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/si...
Profile Image for Donna.
Author 7 books24 followers
January 16, 2019
Absolutely fell in love with Matt and Cass. A tender compassionate love story, I could just feel the sexual tension and I wanted them to fall in love. Wanted more, didn't want it to end. Matt won Cass in a poker game with her dad. Dad couldn't cover his bet so he agreed Matt could have her for one week to impress his dying grandmother. During this week, Cass was to pretend to be Matt's fiancee. She was going to be married to Jeff in two weeks. A lot can happen in two weeks and it did. Definitely a MUST READ.
1,261 reviews5 followers
May 8, 2017
I read Hold Em by Jacquie Biggar and it was an awesome book. Cassandra's father is a gambling man with a big problem. He tends to bet things he doesn't have thinking it won't matter because he is going to win. He plays against Matthew and Matthew happens to win.

This is a cute story that will hold your interest from the beginning to the very end and is so hard to put down. If the rest of the set is as good as this one you certainly won't want to miss it
Profile Image for Connie.
1,484 reviews4 followers
November 13, 2019
What an intriguing tale this one was. Matthew Shaughnessy is a professional gambler. He wins a high-stake poker game in Vegas. He doesn't just win money though. Cassandra Gardener's father bet her engagement ring and money that he doesn't have. To clear the debt, Cassandra goes to Texas to pose as Matt's fiancee for a week. Matt's grandmother is dying and she wants to see her grandchildren married with a passel of kids. Cassandra is torn as she is already engaged and due to marry in just a matter of days.

What these two go through over the next few days is a tale that shouldn't be missed. This two are highly attracted to each other. Poor Cassandra though, she struggles to stay faithful to her fiance against the highly alluring Matt. Matt on the other hand is struggling to come to terms that he is falling in love with a woman who is forbidden to him.

The story was very well written and flowed nicely. I adored the way the story was written. Not only were the POVs of the two main characters given, but several of the secondary characters as well. I was just sorry to see the story end.

This is a sweet, clean romance. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves horses, a strong heroine and a cowboy gambler.
Profile Image for Barbara.
2,041 reviews39 followers
April 21, 2017
OMG!!! What an absolutely delightful book!Ms. BIggar is one of my favorite authors. Her wonderful ways of telling a story are just amazing and in the storytelling part, this novella does not disappoint.

Matt is in a huge high stakes poker game! He starts to think his luck is running out when he suddenly wins the entire pot only to find out the other main player can’t pay Matt the money that he just won! So a deal is struck! The old man has given Matt his daughter for one week. During the upcoming week she is to return to his ranch in Texas with him and pretend to be his fiancée (to make his ailing grandmother happy). Trouble is Cassandra is 1) livid with both her dad and Matt and in no mood to play nice 2) she’s set to marry Jeff in two weeks and has no time for a week in Texas and 3) she doesn’t appear to be able to stand to be around Matt so how can they possibly pull off this deception in front of his grandmother!

This story is Laugh out loud funny at times and heartwarmingly tender at others! Both Matt and Cassandra have suffered a lot growing up, have overcome a lot and seem to have such high hopes for their respective futures. But first they just need to get through one measly week without killing each other! But can they? I can’t recommend this novella highly enough - it’s so worth 1-clicking then snuggling up on the couch to just get lost in and ENJOY!
1,579 reviews10 followers
April 25, 2017
Matthew Shaughnessy is a high roller poker player who uses his winnings to support his families ranch. There is a huge debt owed to him by Cassandra’s father and Matthew needs a fiancée to introduce to his ailing grandmother – and Cassandra is willing (sort of) to act as his fiancee (briefly) even though she is to married to her fiancé in a week. What could possible go wrong? A wonderful story that you don’t want to end, but the author wraps everything up in satisfying manner. Great characters, humor and story. There are some minor characters that just beg for their own story – maybe??? I did receive this book from the author for an honest review, but I read everything by this author and knew it would be great even before I started the book! (by paytonpuppy)
Profile Image for Alicia.
824 reviews13 followers
March 26, 2017
"Hold 'Em" by Jacquie Biggar

By the luck of the draw Matt Shaughnessy wins the best gamble that he could: a week with Cassandra Gardner. In exchange for paying off her father's gambling debt, she will pose as Matt's fiancée for a week. What neither of them counted on was this thing called love. Should they roll the dice and take the chance or walk away when all bets are cleared?

A fast paced and enervating novella, Jacque Biggar, has written an enjoyable novel that keep readers on their toes. An engaging plot, strong and well written characters, and room for a whole lot more, "Hold 'Em," will not not only hold your attention, but leave you wanting for more.

Profile Image for Cheryl Steckling.
318 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2017
Hold ’Em by Jacquie Biggar
I have never read a book by this author but found it to be well written and it held my interest. Professional poker player Matt Shaughnessy wins more than he expected when the one player did not have the means to totally pay up. This player a Canadian diplomat was short the wagered amount, he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out a diamond ring. Asking Matt if he will accept this as a token? It was a beautiful ring and it was in the family for generations and was for his daughter who was to be getting married soon.
Matt lives in Texas and comes from a good Texas ranch family. His grandmother is dying and her wish is before she dies to see her grandson with a good woman, about to marry.
Gardener from Canada, was feeling like he won and he was about to pull the winnings his way before Matt had a chance to lay down his hand.
Cassandra was Gardener’s daughter and they had just settled on her becoming Matt’s fiancée for a week. To come back to Texas with him, meet the grandma and pretend to be in love with Matt. This was to pay off her fathers $250,000 gambling debt.
Cassandra stepped up to the plate in doing what needed to be done to settle what her father had gotten her into. She would be living in the next room from Matt, with a Jack and Jill bathroom separating them. She had to encounter the whole Shaughnessy family and ranch hands, learning to ride a horse, etc.
You could tell that Matt and his grandmother Madeline had a wonderful strong bond. Madeline firmly believed that Cassandra was the girl that she had dreamt about for Matt.
I hope to be able to read more from this author.
9,651 reviews103 followers
February 8, 2019
Great romance story. Matthew played poker and won big time. There was an extra surprise that he didn’t count on. Loved it.
1,866 reviews19 followers
December 31, 2019
When a professional gambler wins a big hand in a poker game, he gets more than he bargains for in this classic fake fiancee story - another installment in the Shaunessey family series.
I loved cowboy Matt and his interplay with Casandra, the always proper and very engaged Canadian princess. The subterfuge of the fake engagement and the "off stage" presence of the real fiance create an interesting tension ... and then there's the sexual tension and unavoidable attraction between the cowboy and the princess.
A well written romance.
Profile Image for Reggie.
2,597 reviews
October 2, 2017
Quick story of Matt, professional poker player, and Cassandra, daughter of a gambler. Cassie’s dad lost to Matt and the result is Cassie playing the part of fake fiancée to Matt when he returns home to Texas. This act is to please Matt’s dying g-mom. The two overcome the awkwardness of strangers pretending to be engaged and become friends. There is a bit of drama when ,
Cassandra’s true fiancé shows up...but things work out and there is an HEA
4,416 reviews21 followers
February 8, 2018
Hold 'Em is a Gambling Hearts Romance written by author Jacquie Biggar.
Profile Image for Kim.
700 reviews8 followers
September 9, 2019
Loved this book. Very entertaining afternoon read.
Profile Image for Becky Claxon.
1,687 reviews6 followers
January 16, 2019
This was such a good book. Cassandra’s (Cass) father was in Las Vegas playing in a big poker game with Mathew (Matt) Shaughnessy from Texas as well as a few others. It was down to Matt and Cassandra’s father (who didn’t have enough to cover the call), but he bet and lost. Matt needed a fiancé to take to Texas for a week as his beloved grandmother didn’t have much time to live. Her greatest wish was to see him happy and married before she died. Matt told Cass that he would forget her father’s debt if she pretended to be his fiancé for a week. Of course, Cass was suppose to be getting married to Jeff in two weeks. Read the book to see what happens.

I loved Matt’s character and how much he loved his family. He had such a special relationship with his grandmother and the housekeeper. Matt would do anything for his family. Cass had always been the one to try and do everything right and help others. Cass fell in love with Matt’s grandmother as soon as she met her. The description of the land was so beautiful I could picture it. The writing is so good that when Cass and Matt was caught in the rain and were cold, I felt cold too! This was a good love story that while you were reading you couldn’t help but hope Cass fell in love with Matt! You really need to read the book. I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
466 reviews
August 12, 2019
The Gambler and the Senators Daughter

Matt was about to win or lose his chance to save the family ranch. Cassandra Gardener was a Senators daughter forced to pretend to be his fiancée after her fathers gambling losses. Her real fiancée won’t be happy. Fun and romance in Texas. Recommend.
Profile Image for Amelia Pluck.
136 reviews2 followers
August 11, 2019
A debt and a storm

Who knew a gamble and a storm held so much power? A he!scooter ride and a few days time can feel like an eternity when you finally realize the truth and don't know how it's going to play out.
Profile Image for Margaret Watkins.
2,642 reviews51 followers
May 26, 2019
This fun bit of romantic escapism made me laugh, although it was at the expense of the heroine who had been manipulated both by her irresponsible father and the opportunistic hero. Caught in a trap of her father's making, Cassandra has to pose as Matthew's fiancée for one week, even though her own wedding is just a fortnight away. To her surprise, Cassandra finds that she cannot hate Matthew for what he has done, and instead can understand his reasoning, obscure as it is. Meeting his family makes her realise all that she has been missing out on, and when their scheme is exposed, Cassandra has to make a choice between a safe bet and one that will probably lead her on the adventure of her life. Although the book is fairly lightweight, and an uncomplicated read, it is fun and leaves one feeling good. I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.
1,338 reviews4 followers
May 9, 2019
A fun quick read that will make you smile. A situation in a casino thrust Cass and Matt together. It is amazing how differences seem to attract: Matt is a country bred gambler while Cass is city raised dentist. As their week spent together progresses, each comes to realize they had found something special in each other. This lighthearted story was very enjoyable and will warm your heart in the end. I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Jacquie.
Author 89 books799 followers
August 17, 2019
What happens when two people are thrown together for the sake of their respective families?
I had a lot of fun writing about Matt and Cassandra. Both have type 'A' personalities and it causes plenty of friction, but at the same time they are warm and caring and only want to do the best they can for their families; even if it means posing as a couple!
This is a funny, heartwarming romance that will leave you smiling.
766 reviews8 followers
December 8, 2017
4.5 stars
How desperate must you be to gamble away not only your daughter’s engagement ring, but your daughter herself? Could you really go along with it if your dad did that to you? That’s the predicament Cass finds herself in as she travels to Texas to play fake fiancée for Matt’s family.
When their fake relationship status leads to very real feelings between them, Cass and Matt have to decide whether to bet on each other. This was a great story, with characters that I really enjoyed.
Profile Image for Evonne Hutton.
1,342 reviews9 followers
May 3, 2019
A delightful short romance with sizzle and a good story line that will have you swooning
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. This is my honest review.
267 reviews2 followers
May 30, 2019
I totally enjoyed reading this book. It was engrossing and captivating. "I received this book from eBook discovery, I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review".
Profile Image for Jackie.
13 reviews21 followers
April 28, 2022
Jacquie Biggar’s Hold ‘Em is a sexy opposite attract romance that die-hard romantics will devour. Professional Poker player Matthew Shaughnessy bit off more than he could chew when he won Cassandra Gardener in a poker game. Cassandra has no choice but to play the game for the week that Matthew has stipulated to clear her father's gambling debt and protect his reputation. Matthew needs Cassandra to go along with his story to make his ailing grandmother happy during her last days.
In Hold ‘Em Jacqui Biggar has written lovely al around good characters. Matthew loves his family, and to make his way in the world while at the same time supporting his family’s ranch, he becomes a high-stakes poker player. Cassandra is in Vegas with her father planning her upcoming wedding when he joins a poker game, which doesn’t go as planned. Cassandra is forced to pretend to be Matthew’s fiancé for a week to assure his grandmother that he is happy and settled. Matthew and Cassandra are complete opposites, he was raised on the ranch and loves that life dearly, Cassandra is a city girl through and through. I loved the dynamic between these two characters, you can feel the tension and attraction between them from the start. Their verbal sparring helps the reader to get to know these characters and relate to them easily. As they start to fall in love, I liked the fact that Cassandra is not unfaithful to her fiancé, even though her feelings change she still stays true to him until she can sit him down and explain her change of heart. I enjoyed this story immensely and look forward to reading more in this series by Jacqui Biggar.
Profile Image for Kat Ryker.
788 reviews32 followers
April 27, 2020
I am barely giving this three stars. Not because it wasn't supposed to be a sweet love story. Not because it contained anything objectionable. But because it didn't contain the parts of a story I look for when I read.

Character Development - there was none. Cassandra's background? Wait! What? Background? There was none. Her history started when she was watching the stairs leading to a private gambling room where her POS father was gambling away her wedding ring and would then make a deal of HER because he was a cheat. Nothing else was said about her, that was it. We are to glean from the scene that she's an enabler who allows him to do this often, since she mentions his penchant for gambling, but we really don't see any of that developed. And Matt is the same way, although we at least get a little history by way of his family.

The plot? Well, the trope is old and weather-worn at this point. A fake fiance' is old hat and I'm looking forward to the day when authors can think of more realistic and a bit more exciting plot lines to follow.

This was like hearing somebody tell a story at the kitchen table. You hear the story, saw awww a few times, but then at the end, you realize that you know nothing except the basics. You don't know anything about either person, and you only know they live happily ever after. I know that according to the RWA there has to be a happy ending, but I don't think they meant one that was contrived.
Profile Image for D.L. Finn.
Author 17 books276 followers
March 11, 2022
“Hold ‘Em” was a fun romance that I read in one night. Matt spent his time gambling instead of helping with the family ranch. He won a hand from a man who offered up his daughter, Cass, to play his fiancé for a week, to cancel the debt to Matt. She went along with the scheme to make Matt’s grandmother believe he had found happiness before she died. At first, I didn’t like Cass’s father or Matt. I never changed my mind about the father, but Matt grew on me as the story went along. Cass was already engaged to be married in two weeks but never showed a great love for the man who she believed was perfect. So, it was entertaining watching her fight off her growing feelings for Matt and how he went from playing around to developing some serious emotions in a short time frame. The setting was amazing, and I could picture living in the small cabin nestled in the valley. A charming romantic tale, and I will be reading the rest of the series to see what happens next on the ranch.
Profile Image for Nati.
1,974 reviews10 followers
May 28, 2019
Matt has just won a fake fiancé for a week and he is taking her to his ranch in Texas to meet his dying grandmother. Cassandra has to fake an engagement with Matt to help her gambling father, when she is supposed to get married in two weeks. Can this bet bring Cassie and Matt together? I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
5 reviews
April 15, 2018
At the beginning of the book I was a little turned off by the fact that Matt would force someone into such an immoral deal. But it didn’t take long before his motives made me view him in a different light. I soon came to love him and his family, and rooted for them all the way through the book!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

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