Series: Colorado Mountain #1
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancé who can't even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina's cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.
The owner of the house, Holden "Max" Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max's past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.
Woot! Woot! I’m celebrating because this was my first Kristen Ashley reread. Why is that a big deal? Well, to me, the reread is the best gauge of a good book, and so far I’ve yet to enjoy a Kristen Ashley book well enough to revisit it – a travesty, I know. Well, pop the champagne, because I loved The Gamble enough that I was unable to let it go!
With any Kristen Ashley book, you know what you’re going to get: alpha male (✓), sassy heroine (✓), a gaggle of surrounding characters who don’t know how to mind their own business (✓), crazy ass dialogue loaded with incomplete sentences (✓), a mad plot (✓), and loads of ‘baby(s)’ and ‘honey(s)’ (✓). All that is fun and entertaining, but that doesn’t make a fabulous read, at least not to me.
What The Gamble had (and I’m hoping the rest of the series, since I’m really excited to continue reading it) was more. The alpha male was more – I loved his character and how he treated the people he loved, particularly to women around him; Max definitely made me swoon. Plus, the sassy heroine was more than just attitude – Nina Sheridan was a layer of contradictions, weaknesses and strengths, and I loved her and wanted to strangle her alternately. She is a heroine to remember because she was someone I’d love to meet in real life. Also, the surrounding characters were more than just caricatures; they really enhanced this story and I loved every one of them. And the crazy ass dialogue was…well, it was still crazy, but it was fun and sexy, adding to the chemistry between Max and Nina. What’s more, the mad plot worked; I loved the thread of suspense, and the guessing who-done-it. Yes, it was over the top, as I’m beginning to realize is Kristen Ashley’s style, but this one didn’t cross the line to ridiculous.
I can see why so many people loved this book so much; this romance was truly lovely, and filled with so many moments I’ll read again (especially that epilogue – Christ, KA really does write the best epilogues, doesn’t she?). The Gamble had a bit of everything I enjoy, but most of all, I think it had heart, and that’s all I ever want from a book.
I LOVED listening to this on audio. I mostly listened while I was driving, but there were many moments when I sat in my car after I parked, because I didn’t want to stop listening. Emma Taylor does great accents and she did an awesome job narrating all these crazy characters, and I can’t wait to listen to her read the other books in this series.
I will admit that I’m a huge cover snob. I always judge a book by it’s cover and I can’t help it (the original cover looked like this). So I’m sad to admit that I put off reading this one for a long time. I could kick myself, because I’ve seriously been missing out! Kristen Ashley is awesome. This story was so many things. It had wit, humor, sass, love, sex appeal, intrigue, mystery, action, sadness, heartbreak, angst, jealousy, loss, grief, and so many other things that I’m leaving out. But if I had to choose just one word to describe this story, it would be beautiful.
Nina Sheridan needs a break. Her life in England is boring, predictable, and she’s about to marry a man who will only insure a lifetime of boredom named Niles. Even his name makes me snooze. She decides to get away from it all, telling Niles she needs a break from him and to think things through, and goes to spend two weeks in the mountains in Colorado. She travels for an entire day, arriving to the cabin she’s rented on a mountain at night, at the beginning of a snowstorm with a nasty bout of the flu that’s about to take her down.
She arrives exhausted and not feeling well only to find out that the cabin she’s rented and travelled around the world for is not empty. There’s a surly, albeit attractive, man that basically tells her to get lost. After several frustrated exchanged words, she leaves in a huff and skids into a ditch in the treacherous weather. She wakes up two days later, in a warm bed, in a beautiful A-frame cabin on a mountain. The same beautiful A-frame cabin that she rented for two weeks. Hudson “Max” Maxwell has nursed Nina back to health for two days.
Max and Nina have both suffered tremendous losses in their lives, both convinced that they aren’t destined for happily-ever-afters. The next two weeks Max spends trying to convince Nina that she should take a gamble for once, on him. She’s a tough, stubborn, and smart-mouthed woman. He’s a strong, alpha, mountain man. They butt heads at every turn and it’s entertaining, hilarious, and endearing.
This book is full of interesting characters, twists and turns, and the ability to make you feel like the two weeks Nina and Max spend together is more like two years. Be prepared to fall in love.
By the way, Max’s nickname for Nina, Duchess, is probably my favorite nickname ever. Fitting and adorable.