Review: Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn


Title: Luck of the Draw (Chance of a Lifetime #2)
Author: Kate Clayborn
Date of publication: 24 April 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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My rating: 5 stars


Buying a lotto ticket with her two best friends didn’t change Zoe’s life. Only following her heart would do that... 

Sure, winning the lottery allows Zoe Ferris to quit her job as a cutthroat corporate attorney, but no amount of cash will clear her conscience about the way her firm treated the O’Leary family in a wrongful death case. So she sets out to make things right, only to find gruff, grieving Aiden O’Leary doesn’t need—or want—her apology. He does, however, need something else from her. Something Zoe is more than willing to give, if only to ease the pain in her heart, a sorrow she sees mirrored in his eyes...

Aiden doesn’t know what possesses him to ask his family’s enemy to be his fake fiancée. But he needs a bride if he hopes to be the winning bid on the campground he wants to purchase as part of his beloved brother’s legacy. Skilled in the art of deception, the cool beauty certainly fits the bill. Only Aiden didn’t expect all the humor and heart Zoe brings to their partnership—or the desire that runs deep between them. Now he’s struggling with his own dark truth—that he’s falling for the very woman he vowed never to forgive.


Kate Clayborn's debut romance, Beginner's Luck, which released last year, was a total delight to read and it ended up on my list of best books I read in 2017. As you can imagine it set the bar quite high for the next book and I'm so happy to say that Luck of the Draw not only met all my expectations but surpassed them.

I'd say the second book is more than the first in all aspects - there is more angst, more darkness, more complicated family dynamics. I want to include CW early on for loss of a family member, grieving and discussion of addiction.

I love the complexity of the characters the authors creates, they feel like real people with strengths and weakness, they make mistakes, they have regrets and try to do better.

I'm not a big fan of fake relationships and this one started as a sort of payback, a retribution for the wrongs done and its growth into a love relationships was brilliantly done. There were no shortcuts, not easy solutions to overcoming grief and the sense of guilt Aiden and Zoe were struggling with. It took time and strength to face the consequences of one's action and to move forward.

The romance itself was great, slow burn and all those touches that grew to mean so much. It's was very much a case of forbidden, can't never happen love and objectively it shouldn't have worked between them. But we see two people at a turning point in their lives and they manage to let go of their prejudice and established opinions and just see the other person for who they are.

Zoe is an amazing heroine, she is strong and powerful, seemingly in command, sort of the leader in her group of friends, and then boom! everything changes after her lottery win. We see her as directionless, lost, struggling to start her life anew. I loved her character's journey through the story, figuring out herself, opening up to her friends (and to Aiden), taking risks, finding what makes her happy and sticking to it.

Aiden was wonderful too. He is an introvert drowning in his grief, focused and determined to succeed in the task he had set for himself. We see him struggling to go on with his life, lost, without the friends/family support he so desperately needed. And his relationship with Zoe was not a magical solution to his issues. She was a catalyst in a way that helped me realise some things about himself and change his plans for the future, but it was him who did the work, looked in the mirror and didn't like what he saw and decided to change it.

A very strong point in the first book was the female friendship between Kit, Zoe and Greer, the three of them being more of a family than friends. There is support and comfort but also the pressure to live up to expectations, to be the strong person everyone thinks you are. I loved the complexity of their friendship. And apart from an already established close friendship we see a new friendship develop (Aiden and his co-workers) and how difficult it is for an introvert dealing with a devastating personal loss, to open up to outsiders, to let strangers in his world, to rely on them and to be able to give back support and friendship. The author goes in depth in all these aspects of human relationships and this makes for a very emotionally rich and engaging story. 

I love how the author uses the lottery win as a means for giving her heroines a chance to explore the possibility for change in their livers.

I also very much appreciate the casual queer rep we see in this story. It's just there, two newlywed lesbians in a long-distance relationship facing the same issues any two newlyweds in a long distance relationship would face.

The story ends with a great epilogue - so fitting, change is slow, no magic solution, no immediate forgiveness and moving on, some things are not easy to forget, you just learn to live with them.

Purchase links: Amazon • B&N • ITUNESBooks-a-million • Google play

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