Dec 2 2014 11:20am

First Look: Megan Mulry’s Roulette (December 2, 2014)

Roulette by Megan MulryMegan Mulry
Montlake / December 2, 2014 / $12.99 print / $3.99 digital

Miki Durand has always dodged the limelight. As the illegitimate daughter of a French movie star and a Russian billionaire, she craves a normal life—and it’s almost within reach. She’s up for a tenure-track position and has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend. What more could a woman want?

But when an unforeseen tragedy knocks her off cruise control, Miki finds herself leaving sunny LA for cosmopolitan St. Petersburg. With the fate of her father’s international business in her hands, she comes face-to-face with the ultimate temptation: corporate rival Jérôme Michel de Villiers. He’s everything she never thought she wanted, and their sizzling attraction soon sparks into an all-consuming flame.

Notoriously risk-averse, Miki knows it would be a gamble to fall for the sexy French playboy. But for the first time in her life, she’s ready to take a chance and let the chips fall where they may.

I decided to read Megan Mulry's Roulette on a whim; I didn't know much more about the book than what was in the blurb. I thought I saw someone say it was like an updated Harlequin Presents (which was a plus in my book), and it is that, sort of, but it's so much more. I'm so glad I read Roulette, and I already know I'll be re-reading it.

What I really noticed about this book was the attention to detail. Every little thing that you don't usually pay attention to is perfect. Too often those things aren't quite right and it takes you out of the story. I actually found myself pausing to think that a description, or setting, or brand, was just right. From the minutiae of running a business, to the various highly technical professions and jargon. All that worked to ground this delightfully outrageous story and set up.

Roulette is about a girl who wants to be normal, but absolutely isn't. Only she is. That is, she's perfectly human and flawed, but gifted both internally and externally. Miki really comes into her own during the course of the book, and I felt everything matched her character growth. In the beginning, Miki is trying to change her entire life, and it isn't working out so well. (A point that might've been made a little too well, but the reader definitely gets it.) The writing, the plot, pacing, feel, all of it matches Miki's life, her mood, and evens out as things change for her.

As a “warning” or spoiler of sorts, I did have some slightly uncomfortable moments because things happen while either Miki or Jérôme are technically in relationships with other people, but I suppose that's how real life is. Messy, sometimes wrong, and not something you can control.

I enjoyed the story so much I wish we would have seen more from Jérôme. I would have loved to know his thoughts, his emotions, what was going on in his head. He's a great guy, but also perfect and perfectly flawed. (Although I think the biggest sticking point was him pursuing Miki while technically engaged to another woman, which was a “for convenience” thing, but still. On the other hand it just feeds into the over-the-top outrageous-yet-not universe in the book.) In the public's eyes, he's fluff. In fact, his friends and family think he's terrific, but not “relationship material.“ In the moment, he's always so there and genuine with Miki. I think Mulry also describes him perfectly; his intensity, and the hurt he feels when Miki questions his sincerity. You know that while he might not always have had the purest motives or intentions, this incident is different. Or, you believe it.

I loved how Miki developed, and how she had to deal with struggle, or overcome her own hang ups. But what I might have loved most were the secondary characters. Again, their characters came out in the details. The friends and family served to fill in so many aspects of and about Miki and Jérôme, and I have to remark on the fabulous secondary romances. From Miki's various friends, to her mother's romance(s). The focus on Miki's mother reminded me of some of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's earlier books. It was fantastic that all these things were included and also relevant to Miki and Jérôme's story.

Jérôme is in it from the start, relationship wise. He flies across Europe to bring Miki a cup of coffee. That's how they meet in person, and for him it's a go from there. That's why it drove me a little crazy he gets engaged to someone else afterward. (Which, he wasn't involved with Miki at the time, but it's just all so complicated) Anyway, for the initial meeting they spend an entire day (and night) together, and when they part Miki and Jérôme have a conversation and this is the point (of course from Miki's POV as Roulette is written in first person.)

I take a deep breath. “It’s taken a long time for me to build my life the way I want it. I don’t want to do anything to ruin that. It may not be perfect—”

“You deserve perfect, Miki.” The way he looks at me, like he believes such a thing is even possible … it’s too much. I can take all the crazy-parent stories he can throw at me: water off a duck’s back. But a look like that? That asks me to believe I deserve perfect? I can’t do it.

And while I didn't love love it ... I did understand and appreciate Jérôme backing off to let Miki live her life the way she wanted to. Twice in major ways. Which for a self-professed selfish, self-indulgent playboy billionaire is a big deal. The first time they separate, immediately after the first meeting/day spent together, Jérôme doesn't contact or harass Miki in any way. He gives Miki the space to pursue the life she tells him she wants. Jérôme has beautiful depth, and I loved how Mulry also conveyed that through the art motif. When Jérôme and Miki finally get back together in “the end” (after the second separation) and after they spend a night floating around the gondolas in Venice (because why wouldn't this ridiculously high powered, connected, and wealthy couple do that?) you have this moment after Miki gets “home:”

I tiptoe across to my side of the room and pull off the dress and throw on an oversize T-shirt. I crawl into bed, and as my eyes are drifting shut I hear my phone vibrate on the floor, inside my clutch. I fumble for it and pull it out.

You are my perfect.

I fall asleep with the phone cradled to my chest.

And she is, and he is, and the whole story is. You just need to read it.


Learn more about or order a copy of Roulette by Megan Mulry, available now:

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Lime Cello, http://tartsweet.com - A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet

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1. lauralee1912
I have added Roulette to my TBR list. Her Bound to be a Groom from earlier this year is a polyamorous romance set in the early 19th century Spain. While not exactly a mainstream subject or typical historical location, it was also a good read and re-read. Megan Mulry's attention to detail is wonderful.
Lime Cello
2. Limecello
@LauraLee I haven't read Ms. Mulry's stories before but I'll have to look for Bound to be a Groom - I love "unusal" characters and settings, thanks!
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