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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Poker Face: Chimera Club Stories is an erotic contemporary romance written by Cybill Cain. Camille’s life had morphed from one of promise to the dullness of a dead-end job as a hotel clerk after her mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Her plans for graduate school and a career as an architect all dissolved with that diagnosis. Now every penny and ounce of energy she had went into keeping her mom in the facility where she was being cared for. That’s why Camille even briefly considered Thomas Meenan’s bizarre proposal. The special events organizer for the Chimera Club had first approached her at her job as he was checking in, and he mentioned an opportunity whereby she might be able to make a decent amount of money. Camille’s rebuff was met with his ominous persuasion to keep the card -- just in case she needed it. Meenan’s creepy manner and almost threatening tones were unsettling indeed. Brandon had everything, riches, looks, but the orphaned-at-a-young-age heir found something was missing from his life, a spark, the motivation to make him feel alive again. Thomas Meenan’s offer, though completely absurd, seemed to dangle that spark as a possibility before him -- an all-stakes game that would be very challenging indeed.
I’m never exactly sure what I’m getting myself into when I begin an erotic romance, but Cybill Cain’s novel, Poker Face: Chimera Club Stories both dispelled any trepidation and exceeded any and all expectations. Somehow, Cain manages to instill a sweet and sentimental romance novel into the most outlandish of erotic situations, and she succeeds brilliantly. Watching as the two protagonists fall in love, in spite of the Chimera Club’s conditions, is grand entertainment. Cain’s erotic passages are beautifully crafted as the twenty-three-year-old learns about love for the first time and the somewhat world-weary nearly-thirty-year-old Brandon discovers what his life has been missing. The erotic scenes are tender and enthralling, and they work perfectly within the storyline, as do the getting-to-know you interludes that make Brandon and Camille’s story seem a fairytale, rather than an erotic romance. I came to care deeply about each of these characters as I read this book and was fully invested in the challenge they had to face. This is an awesome read! Poker Face: Chimera Club Stories is most highly recommended.