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Seven of Spades #4

One-Eyed Royals

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Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Cash Plays, book three of Seven of Spades.

Shattered by their devastating breakup, Detective Levi Abrams and PI Dominic Russo find themselves at war right when they need each other most. While Dominic is trapped in a vicious cycle of addiction, Levi despairs of ever catching the Seven of Spades. The ruthless vigilante’s body count continues to climb, and it’s all Levi can do to keep up with the carnage.

When Levi’s and Dominic’s paths keep crossing in the investigation of a kidnapping ring with a taste for mutilation, it feels like history repeating itself. Thrown together by fate once again, they reluctantly join forces in their hunt for the mastermind behind the abductions.

But the Seven of Spades hates sharing the spotlight, and they have an ace in the hole: a new batch of victims with a special connection to Levi. Their murders send shockwaves through Las Vegas and change the rules of the game forever.

The Seven of Spades has upped the ante. If Levi and Dominic don’t play their cards right, they’ll end up losing everything.

330 pages, ebook

First published September 10, 2018

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About the author

Cordelia Kingsbridge

25 books1,096 followers
Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master's degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 437 reviews
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,093 reviews797 followers
March 24, 2019
Lawd! I don't even know how to review this book. I will try though for future reference.

-The writing is so good. CK has a way with words.

- The story was a bit OTT but i didn't care, still entertaining.

- Levi and Dominic!


I wanted to smack them really hard. These two fools hurt each other to the point i wanted them both to just stop being on page together, take a really long break.

-The SoS have overstayed their welcome. I have stopped caring about them. They gots to go.

Overall it was enjoyable.
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
679 reviews43 followers
September 9, 2020
September 2020: Audiobook = still happy ***4+ Stars***
Original review, almost to the day two years ago:

***4.5 Stars***
When you love someone, you know better than anyone else how to cause them the most pain...

After what happened in the last book - on a personal level and in regards to catching the Seven of Spades - Levi and Dominic are forced to gamble for high stakes, but everything points to the dice casting in favor of their opponent...

Their relationship in a shambles, both men find themselves on a self-destruction path of sorts, heading for a collision with a virtual brick wall. Dominic, still in denial about his gambling issues getting out of hand, absolutely refuses to see the problem and acknowledge Levi's attempts at helping him by sabotaging any gambling opportunity. He is not weak. He can't be. Weakness is for losers, which he is not. He can stop anytime, right? Not a problem at all... While the Seven of Spades changes his game plan in order to force Levi to take sides and his actions escalate into a blood bath never seen before...
Bildergebnis für knife gif

... Levi's already frayed stress level is about to boil over and his anger issues reach a point where he is only a hair's breadth away from snapping. But even if they hurt each other badly, take advantage of any hard-won trust to turn it into betrayal and try to erase memories in any and every possible way, they still can't keep their hands off each other. When a case they both are working on suddenly hits too close to home and has only a chance to be solved when they join forces, Levi and Dominic are confronted with the decision about how far they would go to save someone they care about and realize that feelings simply cannot be shut down...
Today, however, after they tumbled naked and exhausted into Dominic's bed, Dominic spooned up behind Levi and held him like he never planned on letting go. Levi nestled into the embrace, savoring the warmth of Dominic's skin against his own, the weight of Dominic's massive arm slung across his waist, the palm of Dominic's hand pressed to his heart.

They had seen each other at their darkest, and their love hadn't just survived - it was stronger than before. Unconditional. Unbreakable.
... and what's more, that they are the only things in life that count.

Damn it to hell! This book hurt!  More than the last one. It was painful to see Levi and Dominic lashing out at each other and I can tell you, if causing bodily harm to a book character would be a thing, these guys would still be licking their wounds now... I was torn between anger and heartbreak and when Levi did the almost unthinkable for me, which I usually hate in my books with a passion, I was about to once again throw my precious Kindle across the room, after stomping it to pieces of course. But when my initial rage calmed down, I thought about it - long and hard - and I actually understood the why and wherefore. To some extent. That doesn't mean it still didn't hurt. But if Dominic could forgive him, who am I to stay mad? I could not remove more than a half star, though, because the rest of the book was suspense at its best. By all accounts. I'm not growing tired of saying that Cordelia Kingsbridge is a mastermind at keeping me on my toes the whole time and I almost ran a ditch into my rug from pacing. I just love the whole package she's delivering here, including all side characters, and Rebel will be my all-time favorite book dog. My suspicion about the identity of the Seven of Spades is still not wavering, to the contrary, with each book I'm more and more convinced that I'm right and I can't wait to see their exposure. 

I honest to God have no idea how Ms. Kingsbridge will top this book with the last one, but with Levi now on the warpath, I'm sure she will find a way. Highly recommended!
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Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,765 reviews3,851 followers
September 10, 2018
SPOILERS FOR Kill Game, Trick Roller & Cash Plays!

This was a hard read in more ways than one. All of them up have been, by degrees, harrowing but with this one was particularly jarring in that I was immediately knocked off kilter by Levi's actions. I thought I had a good handle on these two characters.

I was wrong.

Levi... it's like he became someone else. Maybe I was wrong about him from the start or maybe the breakup brought forth a heretofore unknown and ugly side of him. I don't know but I was confused and dismayed by it.

So let's just rip the band-aid off quickly, shall we?

Levi is petty, cruel and he sleeps with someone else, so readers who are dogmatic about their couples being faithful irregardless of whether or not they're together, you've been warned. For me, him fucking someone else was the least of my issues. It was the cruelty and pettiness that I struggled with. I even found myself at one point thinking surely the Seven of Spades (SOS) was behind some of it.

Nope. All Levi.

I know he's heartbroken about their breakup and hurt by Dom's gambling addiction. The way he lied and manipulated Levi to continue to engage in his addiction must've cut deep considering Levi's never been in love with anyone before, but that doesn't justify cruelty in my mind. What's more, Dom's addiction is mutually exclusive from his feelings for Levi and Levi knew his addiction could be a problem in their future. Dom never lied to him about that.

I am happy they're back together but an apology, some promises to get help and a whirlwind fuck via Dom's monster magic peen isn't enough to fix this and I hope more reparations are forthcoming in the finale.

The sex was phenomenal, as always. Biting fans are in for some quivering.

As far as the thriller aspects of this installment, I like the progression where the SOS is concerned. They seem to be grandstanding more and I think that grandiosity and need for attention will ultimately be their undoing.

I thought more would come of the Utopia plot line but instead a new high dollar kidnapping and ransom ring turns up. Las Vegas can't catch a break, I tell ya!

It gets pretty gruesome at points, so be advised but I like that there is a case within each book that gets resolved so we get some sort of closure rather than relentless cliffhanging. The details of this particular case didn't quite add up for me but I can't say I wasn't glued to my kindle from beginning to end.

What ultimately pushed this installment into 4 heart territory was the domino chain of events that occurred at the end. Well executed action sequences always earn points with me and both these guys kicked ass. It was awesome. Parts of it were bad wrong, but still... awesome. And fun. In a bad wrong way. What can I say? *shrugs*

Last thing I'll say is... Stanton. *sigh* I know nothing will come of his storyline and he'll likely never get his own book, but he deserves someone befitting his capacity for love.

In short, gird your loins. It's a bumpy ride but well worth it in the end.


An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Martin.
746 reviews409 followers
September 28, 2019
Thank you, Adam for another wonderful buddy read!

Oooooh, wow!

I am not the series' biggest fan. The first book was amazing and then book 2 and 3 were undoubtedly high quality installments, but I'm not a huge lover of crime fiction and Levi and Dominic were not exactly a couple that satisfied my romance reader's heart.

Levi being a sober and serious detective who needs sex after each fight and is a 'size queen' in bed really had me shake my head more often than not.

Dominic is a great guy, but he's been Levi's punching bag so many times, that I actually felt bad for him in previous books.

However, if there is one thing that this series does perfectly, it's keeping us on the edge of our seats. I hardly ever saw cliffhangers better used than here.

So while I think that the series as a work of crime m/m is high quality, I wasn't too fond of the Seven of Spades case dragging on and on and on and not getting resolved. Kinda frustrating.

BUT then book four appeared on my radar and I was absolutely amazed how well both Levi and Dominic are run through the grinder. Watching their life at this point feels like watching a terrible car wreck...

I really, really enjoyed seeing Dominic and Levi on the very bottom of their life here. I love authors taking the courage to put their characters through something like this. Some of the showdown scenes here are worthy of a Hollywood movie.

Very, very impressive. Not romance material, but wonderfully heartfelt.
I too find myself wanting to hit him for this, even though I am aware addiction isn't a rational thing and expecting addicted people to behave like you or I would, simply isn't the solution.

Still, I couldn't surpress the thought throughout the book.


We also made some interesting progress on the Seven of Spades case, so I cannot wait to read the next instalment!!!

5 stars
Profile Image for Renée.
1,040 reviews323 followers
June 13, 2021
4.5 stars!

Relationship angst, anyone?

It's my catnip. And after what happened in Book 3, I couldn't wait for this book. It hurt so good.

Book 4 opens approximately 3 months after Book 3 ended. Dom and Levi have broken up. Dom is still in an active relapse for compulsive gambling and in complete denial about it. He's got in under control.

It doesn't stop Levi from loving him. From doing everything in his power to stop Dominic from gambling.

Dominic was his bashert, his soul mate. Without him, Levi felt like he'd been gut-shot and it was taking months to bleed out.

Dominic believes compulsive gambling isn't so much an illness as a weakness. Willpower alone will get him through. And it's not his fault is Levi won't believe him.

Levi is at a low point too, and not just because of the break up. Seven of Spades ramps up his agenda by multiple degrees in this story, causing Levi to spiral closer and closer to that dark place inside him where his anger will win. Exactly where the serial killer wants him to go. And he doesn't have Dominic there to support him.

This installment of the series was definitely more of a mind fuck than the others. This serial killer is damn good as being elusive and brilliant. And I'm still no closer to knowing who it is, dammit!

The secondary characters shined bright in this one too. Martine, Stanton, Carlos and Jasmine.....even Jonah Gibbs made me like him more. They rally behind Levi and Dominic and offer some of the best friendships.

As for where Levi and Dominic are left...….they both do a lot of damage to the other in this book. But power through folks. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

But just as you think the Seven of Spades can't think of Levi as a favorite any more than he/she already does...….the twist happens.

This author is brilliant. That is all.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,076 reviews613 followers
November 21, 2018
3.5-3.75 Stars

This one was my least favorite in the series so far! But still, it was an enjoyable read! I didn’t like the way Levi & Dominic’s relationship proceeded! And at the end, the way they amended their relationship was a bit so rushed! And I hated the night Levi and Sawyer… hated it so much! I liked that how the author developed two cases side by side in one plot! Told in dual POV, 3rd person. It’s the fourth installment in the "Seven of Spades" series and has to be read in order. It’s fast-paced and full of angst (which I love in my books). Overall, I liked it and can’t wait to read book 5, hope you enjoy it as well!
Profile Image for Diana.
536 reviews18 followers
March 7, 2019
Wow, there is a lot going on in this one. SoS is still on the loose and their crimes are getting more intense with each kill. Levi and Dominick are breaking each other’s heart and they just can’t stay out of trouble.

I know I will be up waiting for A Chip and a Chair to hit my kindle, and I may even read the last chapter first, just to find out the identity of the SoS!! Meanwhile……

…...I'm waiting
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,617 reviews240 followers
March 15, 2019
Re-read 3/14/19: Upped rating from 4 to 4.5 Stars...!!!!

“So.” Levi turned to a sea of shocked faces, Martine’s determined expression, Dominic’s proud smile. “Has anyone else had just about enough of this motherfucker?”

........And that, my friends, sums up this entire book for me. It’s here that we really see how messed up all our major players are.

Dominic is in the throws of compulsive gambling which is spiraling out of control.

Levi holds a shorter and shorter leash on his anger and explosive outbursts.

Our serial killer is staring to lose his vigilante appeal and staring to like killing much too much.

What I loved about this one?
* Fantastic fight sequences
* The harsh reality of a broken relationship of two people in love
* Women who kick neo nazi ass!
* Levi’s ex....ya, I like the guy now
* Levi taking what he wants and holding the line
* Levi whipping out the handcuffs for some tough love (HOT HOT HOT!!)
* Dominic finally getting his head out of his ass
* I guess the perp for the K&R crimes!!!
* Fantastic, HOT, and delicious tongue ass fucking. Ya, Levi’s a screamer!

What drove me nuts?
* Dominic thinking he had gambling in control. Right.

Warning: Head from ass removal does not occur until 90% or so. Suck it up.
Also, Levi tries to find some stress relief elsewhere. Remember, Dom and Levi are broken up so it’s not technically cheating.

Gawwwwd, how I fucking love this series!!!
Profile Image for Erth.
3,514 reviews
January 24, 2020
So picking up from book three I’m still not happy with Dominic. For much of this book we are subjected to his rationalization and destructive addictive behavior. Still not feeling any empathy. After a huge crisis moment he finally realizes he needs to get his act together. Dominic and Levi are broken up for nearly the entire book though even their breakup is dysfunctional.

Meanwhile Levi is also engaging in extremely destructive behavior while Seven of Spades apparently has a plan that he thinks will bring Levi to his side of the line. The problem with this plan is that despite how much it appears SOS knows about Levi and respects him they still don’t really KNOW him. A huge crisis moment thwarts SOS’s plan (I mean clearly we knew one of the MCs wasn’t ever going to become partners with a serial killer!) but it is a really, really tense scene.

With Dominic and Levi back together, things appear to be on an upswing. Dominic gets really good news and Levi has reason to be very optimistic about his job issues. And then once again the final scene is captivating!

Things are going to change big time it appears and I am diving into book five immediately!!
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,644 followers
May 3, 2022
I know what you are thinking... 3 stars??? But you LOVE this series?!, and yes I do. But I both loved and hated this book at the same time.

If you are a fan of relationship angst and just PAIN, you *might* like this one. But the OTT killer antics combined with the way these two guys hurt each other was a little too much for me.

Fantastic writing, and I read it straight through in one sitting (ADORE the writing style), but my heart hurt all the way through. These guys are battling demons from the inside and out, and they are just not kind to each other during this story. Plus, the killer takes a turn for the dramatic (and I'm like 100% sure I know who it is).

Moving right on to the final book!!

Profile Image for Jewel.
1,796 reviews243 followers
September 8, 2018
4.5 Stars

Note: One-Eyed Royals does not stand alone. This series must be read in order.

​Delicious delicious relationship angst!! One-Eyed Royals has it in ... SPADES. ​heh​

As ​​One-Eyed Royals starts, Levi and Dominic are not in a good place. Not individually, and definitely not as a couple, since they're broken up. They can't quite stay apart, though, and the resulting angst is just so damn sweet!

Dominic is gambling again and refuses to see that he has a problem. He sees his compulsion as a weakness, rather than an illness, but at the same time has convinced himself that, unlike last time, he's got everything under control. But does he? No, not at all. Everything in his life is suffering some amount of neglect because Dominic can't, in fact, control his compulsion. What will it take this time to make him see​ it this time​?

Levi isn't faring much better, either. His stress is at an all time high, not only because of his break-up, but also because of the Seven of Spades killer still hasn't been found​ and is ever focused on him​. His anger issues already threaten to dismantle everything he has worked for. So when the Seven of Spades finds a way to make things even more personal, Levi finds himself being crushed under the weight of it all.

There is a parallel suspense plot in this installment that guarantees that Levi and Dominic have to work together, but rest assured that Seven of Spades can't stay out of that, anymore than they can stay out of any other aspect of Levi and Dominic's lives. And do not worry, our guys are in a much better place at the end of this book than they were at the start.

​ ​One-Eyed Royals is fast paced, full of relationship angst, and will make you question who you think is behind the Seven of Spades - though I have not wavered from my suspect list of one.​ I can't wait to find out who is really behind the curtain.​

Bring on book 5!

ARC of One-Eyed Royals was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,819 followers
September 27, 2018
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*A little disappointed*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

We're back with forth book of homicide detective of four years, Levi Samuel Abrams (how old?) and then bounty hunter and now private investigator and still part-time bartender (at Stingray, a LGBT nightclub), Dominic ‘Dom’ Russo (32), both still hunted and searching for the Seven of Spades. Though not bad, it was rather... predictable and everything seemed so...expected. I had hoped for something more... powerful? I don't know how to describe it, but I had expected something that would give me the feeling of 'oh shit' or 'oh no' or something like that. Instead I got...well not a lot. Sure, I got action, drama, murders, eyes missing and so on, but I felt like the passion was missing, specially considering that book number five will be the last one. Overall, it was somewhat better than book three, but not by much.
“I don’t give a shit how anyone else treats me….you’re the only one who makes it hurt so much.”

Natasha Stone, one of the counselors in the LVMPD’s Police Employee Assistance Program
Nancy and Saul Abrams, Levi's parents.
Silvia, Dom's paternal grandmother. Rita, his mother. Natalie, his niece.
Stanton Barclay, young scion of a multibillion-dollar hotel empire and was Levi's boyfriend of three years.
→ Detective Martine Valcourt, Levi's work partner. Her husband, Antoine. Mikayla and Simone, their daughters.
Rebel, Dom's hundred-pound German Shepherd–Rottweiler mix.
Carlos Guerrero and Jasmine Anderson, Dom's neighbors.
→ Dominic's the third of five children, and the only one of his siblings still unmarried. Soon to be the only one without kids too, since his youngest sister Gina had just announced her first pregnancy a few weeks ago. Angela, the oldest of the five, then there's brother Vincent and sister Theresa. And Dom's brother-in-law Howard; married to Theresa?
→ Deputy District Attorney Leila Rashid
Adriana Velazquez (16), foster child.
Keith Chapman, was a detective with Levi. Killed himself after being framed by Seven of Spades.
→ Dr. Angela Tran, Keith's psychiatrist.
Jay Sawyer, laywer.
“We can do this, right?”
Levi propped his head on Dominic’s shoulder to look at his face. “It won’t be easy.”
“I don’t want easy.” His lips quirking, Dominic traced his thumb along Levi’s jaw. “I want you.”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Adult) Contemporary Romance (M/M).
Series: - Series, Book Four.
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Dominic ‘Dom’ Russo.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Yes.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Yes.
Will I read this again in the future? - Who knows.
Rating - 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,196 reviews397 followers
January 26, 2019
So… I kind of hated this book. The writing is still amazing, and I was totally addicted to this book, but… OMG the heartbreak.

-Some minor spoilers about the relationship below, none about the case-

This had so much angst and Dominic and Levi were put through the wringer so much, that I kept waiting for them to end it all and kill themselves. Yes, it was that bad. How many bad things can one human handle?

This series is a bit like this so far (romance wise):
Book 1: Levi and Dominic meet and slowly get involved.
Book 2: Levi and Dominic are happy together.
Book 3: Dominic is acting stupid, keeping secrets and they break up.
Book 4: These guys hurt each other constantly and continue to have angry sex. And with hurt I mean HURT. It ends with them together again, but I don’t think I could forgive either for what they did to each other.

I was also super pissed when Levi had sex with someone else in this. He didn’t even like the guy. This made me so angry. Why on earth include that in book 4??

To say this book was exhausting is an understatement. This book made me so sad. I love Levi and Dominic and I felt it wasn’t necessary to make them hurt this much. Especially have them hurting each other this much. I would say there’s no coming back from this, but apparently there is, since they did end up together again at the end.

And besides all the romantic angst, there was also everything that was happening to Levi with the Seven of Spades serial killer. And Dominic with his gambling addiction that was so out of control. It was all too much.

I will read the 5th book because I want to know who the Seven of Spades is, and I also think the worst of the relationship angst is over now.

I’m giving it 3 stars, because it’s still a very good story, even though it was way too angsty for me.
Profile Image for Fabi.
1,009 reviews142 followers
January 9, 2019
Ah well...what can I say? I just finished binge reading the spectacular Seven of Spades series. Unfortunately, the final book isn't out yet so I don't get to finish. However, it's safe to say that I have loved this story.

The writing, the plot, the characters and even the exceptional editing combined to make this one of my favorite series.

Book 4, One-Eyed Royals, is perhaps my least favorite of the books so far. Although that doesn't say anything negative about it since it still falls squarely in my favorites category.

There was one scene/action in the book that I really couldn't get past. It gut punched me and made me very angry. If you've read the book, here is the This last book wasn't as flawlessly edited as the previous 3. It could stand one more proofread even though it still sits head and shoulders above most other books I've read.

Nothing left to do now but wait for March and hope there are no delays for that last book. I may need to look into other books by Cordelia Kingsbridge to see if her writing is this excellent across the board.

I'm probably the last of my friends to read this series since I was trying to hold out until it was completed. But if you haven't read it yet, get to it. You don't want to miss this one.
Profile Image for julia.
822 reviews157 followers
February 8, 2022
it fits the vibe

❝so.❞ levi turned to a sea of shocked faces, martine’s determined expression, dominic’s proud smile. ❝has anyone else had just about enough of this motherfucker?❞

one-eyed royals put me through hell and back. from the minute i started one-eyed royal i knew i was strapping in for a rollercoaster of a book. dom and levi put me through the wringer emotionally, physically, and mentally.

i- ✋😭

however, as cliche as it sounds, i think i'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. levi and dom both made mistakes this book. they hurt themselves and each other. but personally, i think this book has only made them stronger. that being said, book five better have only scenes of dom and levi in domestic fucking bliss, i swear.

oh and the seven of spades can go f🖕ck themselves, period.

✩✩✩✩ kill game
✩✩✩✩.⁵ trick roller
✩✩✩✩.⁵ cash play
✩✩✩✩.⁵ one-eyed royals
✩✩✩.⁵ chip and a chair
Profile Image for Jamie.
377 reviews29 followers
January 24, 2023
I have never read a book that was so hard to read while simultaneously being impossible to put down. I don't think there have ever been any characters who made me feel as many emotions as Levi and Dominic. I got frustrated with them, I felt bad for them, I worried for them, I got mad at them, I sympathized with them. This book was really good, but my goodness my heart needs a break before I read book five.

Sidenote, I haven't paid too much attention to the titles of these books so when I finished the book and realized this was called one-eyed royals at least that got a laugh out of me.
Profile Image for Elena.
836 reviews88 followers
March 10, 2019
4.5 stars

4 stars in the GR rating system mean that I ‘really liked it’. This book is well-written and well-paced, the characters and their interactions realistic and complex, but ‘like’ isn’t the word I’d use to describe my experience. Most of the time, I didn’t even enjoy reading it. It was realistic, necessary, and at times deeply frustrating. The enjoyable parts were few and far between and mostly related

After the events of Cash Plays, to say that Levi and Dominic’s relationship became strained would be an understatement.
Getting there wasn’t easy, but I’m satisfied with the results.

What to say about the mystery? The Seven of Spades is their own ‘charming’ self, psychotic and full of surprises,

This time the secondary case reserved some pretty nasty surprises as well. My squeamish side wasn’t at all happy with , so the mystery in this book was particularly unpleasant for me to read and , although I can appreciate that it was well thought and skillfully woven with the other storylines.

All in all, this was a tough ride, but a necessary one. And now it’s time to finally get some answers.
Profile Image for Kati *☆・゚ readsRomance.
531 reviews141 followers
May 12, 2023
4.5***** "I’m not playing this game with you anymore" stars ♠︎

Two lovers being so vicious and hostile with each other. It was heartbreaking and delicious at the same time. Damn!!

Honestly, both our MCs were a hot mess during the largest part of the book. Individually. And not only because of their breakup. I really feared for them to loose control over themselves completely at some point. Well, there were truly some close calls.

Can’t say I wasn’t fucking relieved, when they had to get their shit together eventually!!

They were linked forever now, connected by dangerous secrets they could never share with another human being. But instead of driving them apart, those secrets had only bonded them more profoundly. They had seen each other at their darkest, and their love hadn’t just survived—it was stronger than before. Unconditional. Unbreakable.

And the game the Seven of Spades was playing in this one… wow. Speaking of taking it too far. I’m honestly a bit scared to finally find out who’s behind it. But I’m also so very curious to find out how I will feel about the person and their motives. Because while I sympathized with their vigilantism in the first books it becomes more and more clear that the Seven of Spades is not as calm and collected as it seemed but obsessed and their actions are getting more and more out of hand.

>> Off to the grand finale. ♠︎

But before I go - all my love for Stanton. He showed true greatness in this one and proved once again how much he cared for Levi’s happiness. ♡

side note: I’m glad to report that the audio had gotten much better with each book in the series.

Seven of Spades Series:

Book 1 - Kill Game - 4.5 stars
Book 2 - Trick Roller - 4.5 stars
Book 3 - Cash Plays - 4.75 stars
Book 4 - One-Eyed Royals - 4.5 stars
Book 5 - A Chip and a Chair - 4.5 stars

Profile Image for Gerbera_Reads.
1,419 reviews131 followers
September 13, 2018
Ms Kingsbridge delivered a thrilling tale full of suspense, adrenaline and painful love. By the time I was done I felt almost galvanized. I did not expect that! Relationship wise most of the book was utter misery for both Levi and Dominic, they battled their own demons while trying to rebuild what they lost, both not giving an inch. But suspense wise it was everything I expected and even more.

Yes, Seven of Spades is still at large, is still killing under the guise of vigilante justice but suddenly it takes a very personal turn, and Levi finds himself in the center of a vicious mind game where in the end he can lose it all - his job, his friends, his love and most of all himself. There are secrets buried deep in the past. And Seven of Spades decides it's time to bring it all to fruition - all the carefully staged plans in order to bring Levi to their side. And Levi is all alone, he struggles day in and day out to keep it together but when murder after murder hammers him down, it seems he no longer can get up on his own.

Dominic is deep in the middle of his relapse. He tells himself that he is in control, and at first it looks like he is. He functions but little things show to those who love him that he is losing it to the thrill of gambling. Levi and Dominic hurt each other, then love each other, then hurt each other again - it's a never ending circle that has to be broken.

The murder case this time is a tad bizarre. Fraud claims, kidnappings and missing eyeballs prove to be a challenge but again both Dominic and Levi are working together to solve the mystery that is full of lies, misdirection and deceit. But when Stanton is kidnapped, Levi even though he is under investigation himself goes to impossible lengths, breaks laws in order to save the man that once meant the world to him. But finally Dominic is there to offer support and strong shooting arm, and they are victorious. The case is solved, the perpetrators are in jail. Dominic and Levi finally talk and actually listen to each other, but right then Seven of Spades rears their ugly head to make their move, and this time they will break Levi for good. Curious? Yes, you should be! It is glorious, devious, ingenious and horrible. But the choice is already made...

I loved it, ranted at it, kissed it too... it was everything and more. I highly recommend it! It is intoxicating suspense!

P.S. Stanton redeemed himself in the end unexpectedly, and now I am team Stanton! He is a fine man, and I hope he finds love too!
Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,428 reviews416 followers
September 28, 2019
2,5 stars.

It looks like I'm in the very minority with my opinion about the forth sequel, but this book was a struggle for me.

It is obvious now that the concept of the series - to chase after a mysterious serial killer through all sequels - simply doesn't work for me, especially without getting even a bit closer to the Seven of Spades during the investigation in all already released sequels (What investigation?!) In meantime the Seven of Spades have developed themselves from a trivial vindictive murderer to a technically highly equipped organization that is beyond ANY competition. As I already mentioned, neither the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, nor FBI can make any progress in resolving this case. That has nothing more to do with a reality, but reminds rather of a weekly episode from some comic strip. If you like comics, you can enjoy it, but it is just not what I expected after reading the first book in the series. I am not a fan of mystery novels that can be read as a a script for a third-rate cop TV-series.

My second HUGE complaint is the relationship between Levi and Dominic. THAT part becomes slowly but surely more than frustrating.

I don't want even to start to name all my issues here. But if the author plans a mystery romance novel and has nothing else to offer for the majority of the love plot than misunderstandings, conflicts and a highly illogical behavior of the main characters that now and then will be interrupted by excessive and detailed sex scenes that, for their part, give me a feeling the author is going through a grocery list, I'm done. I didn't rate it less because I am still somehow feeling invested in the story and in the relationship between Levi and Dominic, and because the start of the series was actually good, but my patience is running out.

After very disappointing two previous sequels, I'm not sure if I want to read the last book at all, even though I am curious who the Seven of Spades is.

***ARC provided kindly by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,366 reviews39 followers
September 11, 2018
*5 stars +++*

Just clicked on the "I'm finished' button and nothing would be more true.

Finished meaning my nerves are tatters, my blood pressure's hitting over 200 and my fingernails ... well, they are no more. As I'm gentle plying my white knuckled fingers off the chair, all I can say is ...

Cordelia Kingsbridge is one hell of a writer.
And it is hell she's putting Levi and Dominic through.

I can hardly even begin to list all the levels of angst she is throwing at us liberally here-
.) Dominic's addiction spiralling out of control,
.) Levi zooming towards an emotional ground zero
.) their hurtful off/not so off relationship
.) the way they hurt each other while it is blatantly clear that there is so much love and need (and desire!) between them.
.) two gripping murder cases that made my mind reel
.) the professional nightmare Levi's facing

To say this is an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. I have no idea how Levi is still standing and hasn't lost his mind, considering what the Seven of Spades is doing to him.
The whole idea behind this set of murders is absolute genius and there is a definite vibe of worse things to come as the SOS's obsession with Levi is taking on new heights.

And let me tell you that parts of this is gruesome, horrifying and brutal. The incident at about 69% left me shocked. I am still shocked. I am still screaming NO! at the back of my mind.

Saying that, there is another incident concerning Levi that made my heart stop. You will know what I mean when you get there. It really shows how beside himself he is, how desperate and very much at the end of his wits. That's all I can say.

Levi and Dominic are multi-layered, highly complex, deeply flawed and utterly human characters you simply have to love. Their relationship reflects that in every way. I love what Levi does for Dominic, I love how Dominic comes running at the slightest notion of trouble for Levi.
I love how they figure themselves out and overcome all those massive hurdles they have been jumping over.

I dread to think what the Seven of Spades has got up their sleeve next. There a distinct feeling of gloom and doom about what's going to happen and waiting for the final book is going to be just ... let's say 'difficult'

One of the most addictive series ever!
Profile Image for Caz.
2,681 reviews1,016 followers
November 18, 2018
I've given this an A at AAR.

Cordelia Kingsbridge’s Seven of Spades series comprises some of the best books I’ve read this year, and if you’re a fan of m/m romantic suspense/thrillers and haven’t read them yet, then you’ve got a real treat in store.  The titular Seven of Spades is a serial killer plaguing Las Vegas, and because the series has plotlines and character relationships that stretch across all five books in the series, there will be spoilers for the earlier books in this review.  And this is absolutely not the place to jump in if you haven’t read the previous books.  Go back to book one, Kill Game , and then work your way here – I promise you won’t be disappointed because this series is one of the most gripping I’ve ever read.

At the end of book three, Cash Plays, Detective Levi Abrams and his lover, PI Dominic Russo, crashed and burned in a pretty spectacular way.  Dominic, a compulsive gambler, doesn’t see his addiction as an illness, believing instead that it’s a personal weakness he just has to be strong enough to conquer.  Because of this, he hasn’t really sought out the right sort of help (or much of it), and when a case he was working put him in the way of starting to gamble again in order to maintain his cover, he fell very quickly back into old habits.  One of the things Cordelia Kingsbridge does spectacularly well in these books is explore the motivations and thought processes of an addict, and she shows very clearly the processes of self-deception and denial Dominic goes through in order to convince himself there’s nothing wrong and he can stop gambling after the case is over.  And while Dominic is becoming increasingly self-absorbed and desperate to hide his relapse from Levi, Levi is going through hell courtesy of his increasing frustration over the lack of progression in the Seven of Spades case and the growing suspicion of his colleagues. In yet another Machiavellian turn, the killer is targeting the men who beat Levi so viciously over a decade earlier and were never punished, and the SoS’s fascination – obsession – with Levi and the similarities in their psyches pointed out by the  FBI profiler in the previous book are driving a wedge between him and those around him. He’s hanging on to his volcanic temper and his sanity by the merest thread, his professional reputation is being gradually eroded and he’s more afraid than ever of what he might do if he’s pushed too far.  And he’s going through it alone and without the support of the man he loves.

Levi and Dominic split up after an epic row at the end of Cash Plays, and at the beginning of One-Eyed Royals a few months later, are still apart… although they can’t keep their hands off each other and continue to have sex on a fairly regular basis.  These hook-ups inevitably end badly, but they just can’t quit each other.  Levi vowed to make Dominic’s life a living hell until he stopped gambling, and he’s making good on that promise, having him blacklisted from practically every casino in the city and making sure Dominic is hounded by cops every time he turns around.   Levi has always had a capacity for ruthlessness; he’s sarcastic, abrasive and there’s no doubt some of his actions and words are downright cruel – yet I couldn’t exactly blame him for them most of the time.  (And Dominic isn’t completely blameless in the cruelty department, either.) Levi is furious with Dominic; not because he’s relapsed but because of the lengths he’s gone to hide it from him – and because Dominic can’t (or won’t) admit his gambling has become a problem again.

In each of the books in the series so far, the author has cleverly developed two seemingly disparate plotlines only to gradually merge them during the course of the story, and that’s no different here.  The Seven of Spades is continuing their vigilante crusade, the city’s rival gangs are still jostling for position and Dominic’s latest case is proving extremely frustrating.  Hired to look into the possibility of fraud or sabotage at Kensington Insurance Group, a company that specialises in providing insurance against kidnap and ransom for high-ranking executives, his client is unhelpfully cagy, unwilling to brief Dominic on all that he needs to know.

On top of all the stress of the stalled SoS investigation and of Dominic’s descent back into addiction, Levi picks up another murder case, this time seemingly unconnected to the Seven of Spades, in which the victim has had one eye surgically removed.  When a young woman, a high-powered executive, arrives at the station and tells him how she was kidnapped and had the same procedure – her eye sent to her family and colleagues as an unmistakable message – it’s clear there’s more to the murder than at first appeared.  It transpires that both she and the dead man were insured by Kensington, which throws Levi and Dominic into each other’s orbits once again, and they reluctantly have to work together in spite of the seemingly irreconcilable differences that lie between them.

Cordelia Kingsbridge once again weaves a compelling suspense plot and ratchets up the tension as the SoS’ latest killing spree strikes really close to home for Levi.  But the relationship between the leads is the big draw in this series, and in this book, the angst-o-meter is cranked up to eleven.  Both men are hurting; Levi knows Dominic is his bashert, his soulmate, and he feels totally bereft without him, while Dominic is so far down the rabbit hole of denial, his feelings of worthlessness stoking his need for the rush gambling gives him, that he can’t and won’t seek the help he needs.  It seems there’s no hope for them until another shocking development pushes Levi one more step closer to the edge and finally brings the truth home to Dominic; and in a brilliant yet disturbing set-piece near the end in which they’re pitted directly against the Seven of Spades, they prove once and for all that they’re stronger together than apart.

At the end (where I may have squealed with delight) Ms. Kingsbridge sets the scene for the final book in the series with considerable aplomb, promising an exciting showdown between our heroes and the enigmatic killer who has so far eluded them.  I know there are lots of theories out there as to the identity of the Seven of Spades, but I confess to having no idea whatsoever and I’m quite happy to wait for the reveal in A Chip and a Chair when it comes out later this year.

The  Seven of Spades  series has quickly become a firm favourite, and while part of me wishes I’d read it earlier, another part is glad I picked it up near the end so that I haven’t had to wait between instalments.  I love the characters, the plotlines, the humour, the angst and the tenderness; Cordelia Kingsbridge has consistently maintained an incredibly high standard throughout the series, and I’m eagerly anticipating more of the same come December.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
739 reviews3,612 followers
February 15, 2023
welcome to 202-Queer 🌈✨

50 in February: 24/50

the first half was really upsetting, i just want to curl up in bed and cry.

anyway, i need answers. *downloads fifth book*
Profile Image for Darien.
847 reviews327 followers
May 4, 2019

I loved the writing, I love my boys but honestly I like to pretend that book 4 didn’t happen. It took forever for me to even write a few words about this because it pissed me off so much.

Levi, I am disappointed in you sir.
Dom, I am extra disappointed in you sir.

One-Eyed Royals this buds for you 🖕🏽
Profile Image for Ele.
1,276 reviews40 followers
September 2, 2018
*4.5 stars*

This review (and this book's blurb) contain massive spoilers about the third book in the Seven of Spades series. Don’t read any further unless you ‘ve read Cash Plays.

Without trying to sound like a creep, I freaking love the ground Cordelia Kingsbridge walks on. I adore her writing style, her characters, the way she weaves the plot, the romance, the mystery, EVERYTHING. Absolutely brilliant! Dominic and Levi are one of my favorite MM couples ever. Everyone is obsessed with Levi Abrams including myself. And of course, so is the Seven of Spades.

Cash Plays ends with Levi and Dom breaking up. Not much has changed since then. There is no doubt that they still love each other, something that they ‘re not afraid to admit openly. But Dom is still gambling and still in complete denial. And Levi doesn’t let Dom call him baby any more.
"It's too hard, Dominic. It hurts too much to be around you and not...[...]

"Levi, you know I still..."

"I know." Levi couldn't bear to hear Dominic say the words aloud, not now. "So do I. That's why it's so awful."

I happen to love relationsip angst, which was actually break up angst here, so I ate all this with a spoon. Brace yourselves; Levi and Dom get pretty nasty. They hurt each other (heed the tags), they ‘re pretty mean to each other. But the love never stops shinning through. It’s there every time Dom worries about Levi taking care of himself, or Levi using rather…unorthodox measures to keep Dominic from gambling everything away. And it’s definitely there in the end.

But they come out of all this stronger, or at least strong enough to face all that’s coming: Dominic's battle with his gambling addiction and going after the Seven of Spades.

And by the way, who the hell is the Seven of Spades? I had theories Ms Kingsbridge. Theories and suspects and stuff, which all went out the window! The killer is creepier than ever and I can feel things escalating. I don't know how mach longer they can stay in the shadows all while obssessing with Levi. Like in most books, there is another mystery unfolding at the same time but in the end the two plotlines become almost one.

The secondary characters are amazing and their role very integral to the plot. Martine, Gibbs, Sawyer (OMG!), Stanton (WOW!).

I LOVED this book ending! It was somewhat different than the previous installments. Levi has had enough!

Needless to say, you cannot read this as a standalone. But I highly recommend reading this whole series!
Profile Image for Debra.
2,004 reviews231 followers
March 21, 2019
4.5 stars

This was so painful to read on so many levels. Everyone suffers in this one.

Dominic's spiral is the most obvious. In the thralls of his addiction, he is unable to make sound decisions about any part of his personal or professional lives. Levi's anger and rage are getting harder to control and he realizes how close he is to losing it. Add to that the massive hurt and heartbreak he feels over Dominic's actions - Levi becomes angry and mean and then his regret beats him down even more. This isn't even touching what happens as the S0S continues to taunt him and an investigation into a kidnapping ring once again puts him on a collision course with Dominic's investigation.

This is rock bottom for Levi and Dominic. Their paths of self-destruction have been building since the first book so it shouldn't have been a surprise, but the brutality with which they hurt each other was surprising. I'm an angst fan - bring it on - and CK did and even I was wondering if things could work out.

The SoS isn't done yet with Levi and they are getting very personal now. I love the way it's building to a showdown and I'm still very certain of my guess as to their identity. The non-SoS storyline here was a little better at keeping me engaged even though I had a feeling who was involved pretty early on. It was a bit gory and I was not happy at all about one of the parts of that storyline that seemed unnecessary.

I'm really enjoying the storytelling here, including the secondary characters. Once again I am going to say, I will be EXTREMELY disappointed, especially after this storyline, if we don't see a happy resolution for Stanton.

On to the finale!!
Profile Image for Christelle.
808 reviews
May 4, 2019
**Thank you, Jewel** for this SS exchange gift 😘 : I had such a blast

What a page turner !!! These 5 stars are well deserved, yeah !!!

Book3 left us in a pile of chaos and destruction. Oh my : I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next…And Cordelia Kingsbridge delivered on so many fronts, because there was a lot, a lot to deal with :
* Dominic, totally out of control with his addiction…Get your head out of your *A (yes, with a capital A !!)...
* Levi, in such a dark place…Don’t let your rage overwhelm you, I couldn’t endure that…
* Guys, this can’t just end up like that between the both of you…My romantic heart just can't accept that…
* And s** : where’s the sheriff ?? This Seven of Spade needs to be put down like yesterday…Insane bastard…

LOL, me engaged in all this ? Nah…OK, totally 😅 😍 And pfwttt…After feeling like everything was inexorably and hopelessly falling down, it was soothing to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Because let’s face it, I’m a hopeless romantic and in my reading world, Dominic and Levi had to make it.

The pace is perfect, the suspense both on the investigations and the future of Dominic and Levi riveting, the angst…ehehe…and did I mention it’s hot ?

One thing left now to make this series perfect : dealing with the Seven of Spades once and for all and then getting to an HEA !
Profile Image for  ⚣ Marco ⚣.
96 reviews48 followers
March 10, 2019
1st read: September 23rd, 2018
1st reread: March 10th, 2019


Ok, I’m all caught up now and ready for the big finale in book #5.

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