Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Smoking Teacup Books

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary Paranormal – Weres, Moral Ambiguity. TW: Coercive, Dub-Con Sex, Humiliation

Length: 258 Pages

Reviewer: Kazza 

Purchase At: amazon


Cut off from his family—and more importantly, the family fortune—Blake Castelli stakes his future on one last throw of the dice: he’ll go to Las Vegas and use his line of credit at the Morrigan casino to replenish his bank account.

But the Morrigan’s under new ownership. And while Blake doesn’t remember handsome, arrogant Declan MacKenna from their ill-fated encounter ten years ago, Declan remembers him. And he wants payback.

Declan offers Blake a humiliating, degrading deal he has no choice but to take even though it’s all kinds of wrong. While Blake may be an alpha werewolf, so is Declan—and he out-alphas Blake at every turn. Blake shouldn’t enjoy what Declan does to him. He shouldn’t crave things no alpha should ever accept. Declan’s turned him into someone he doesn’t recognize: helpless, needy, and out of control.

Declan wants to keep hating Blake, but he can’t. Blake wants to trust Declan, but that’s impossible. When magical and mundane attacks threaten them both, Blake has nowhere to turn. If Declan doesn’t realize his feelings run deeper than desire in time to save them both, they could lose everything…even their lives.

The Alpha’s Gamble is part of the Mismatched Mates series, but it can be read as a standalone. Contains blackmail, knotting, and intrigue, plus a side dish of biting. This series does not contain mpreg.


First of all, I’ve lost track of the numbers of these books because there are a couple that run adjacent to the primary series. This is a book that can be read as a standalone and is Mismatched Mates adjacent.

Second. This was an interesting book that went in a direction I didn’t expect or see coming.

Blake, Brook’s alpha were brother, The Alpha Contract, is cut off from his previous family funds. As the entitled, layabout of the family, he believes trading on his family’s reputation will enable him to fraudulently cash a cheque, allowing him to count cards at a Vegas casino, something he knows how to do, and kerching, he’ll have some money again. Badly thought out plan is badly thought out.

And he picks the wrong casino.

The owner of the Morrigan has a score to settle with Blake from a decade ago when Blake had been partying and wanted a blowjob from one of the staff members. When Blake didn’t get one he had the then employee fired, claiming sexual inappropriateness. Because Blake had plenty of money and a powerful family, and tons of freaking grandiosity, the casino fired Declan MacKenna. Declan has held a grudge, even though he now owns the whole joint. Mmm hmm.

Anyhoo, with my mouth wide open, I felt like ringing Declan MacKenna and saying, “come on, dude. I sympathise, okay? But, moving on is better,” because ten years and he owns a big old casino…

I looked like this for a little while reading the book because options for Blake are A) ‘fuck me, service me, the grudgey Declan MacKenna, whenever I want’, or B) Go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200- and I was like, “is there an option C, bish?”

Anyway, this is Eliot Grayson, and Eliot Grayson is right up at the top of my fave authors list, and I’m awfully, disgustingly shades of grey in my fictional reading. So on I went on with fingers in front of my eyes… well, partially. Maybe. Maybe not. But I didn’t like MacKenna for about 66% of this book, yes, that is a very specific percentage, I know. He humiliated Blake. He coerced him. He has no POV so that made him come off as a dick. This book absolutely needed a dual POV. A b s o l u t e l y. Not gonna lie though, Grayson does this to me in some of her books but it’s been a while between books where I didn’t like one of her MCs… and MacKenna really went big.

Blake. Blake. Blake. He has quite the redemption arc here, so much so that there was a lot of me wanting to protect him and that meant me feeling like getting him away from MacKenna. Between no POV for MacKenna and Blake having this massive shift in attitude and behaviour, there was a chasm that grew between the MCs lovability together… until we eventually did get their connection. Thankfully MacKenna came through. But I have to tell you he is right up there with Sister Assumpta in his ‘I’m going to sort your attitude out’ methodology.

Still, Grayson pulls it all together for me. She always does. Blake was happy, he got to have ‘beefcake with cheesecake’ and that made Blake a very happy were. He even got to have different cheesecake, I can identify with cheesecake love, okay? and mind blowing sex with a huge alpha cock. And saints above, Grayson’s alpha’s appendages are getting even bigger. Plus Blake loved the command of MacKenna, the dominance. He also worked out that someone, no matter how much alpha bravado to the opposite, finally saw him, wanted him, cared.

Oh yeah, there is also a metric fuckton of sex in this book, and yes, that’s a legitimate measurement. I mean, crikey! Knotting into a fist during a hand job, that was new for me. Jibbers Crabst, Eliot Grayson goes ribald!

While the author does mention blackmail at the bottom of the blurb, I advise potential readers that dub-con/coercive sex forms the blackmail in this story.

Again, it’s sex on steroids. Yes, indeedy dudey deedy, Eliot Grayson + The Alpha’s Gamble = naughty! I love me some biting. Boom! ——>

I was here for Blake’s redemption. I was absolutely prepared to not like him going in, kind of had some schadenfreude around Blake, yet part way through I wanted to tell him he was pulling his shit together and was a good guy, followed by pinching his cheeks and hugging him, and I’m not a hugger. Maybe to knee MacKenna too. Hmm, I may have some Sister Assumpta in me. MacKenna makes good in the end, and for someone – Blake – who had been turned around about what being an alpha meant, his doubts that he is worthy, MacKenna eventually lets him know he is. MacKenna suits Blake and makes him feel he can be any kind of alpha and like what he likes. Also, the Grayson humour was on point, the chapter titles were awesome. It made me have a lot of emotions, including wanting to yeet the Kindle once or thrice, and I love to be moved in one way or another. I don’t want boring, and The Alpha’s Gamble is certainly not that. 4 Stars!