The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1), by Kristen Ashley ✰✰✰✰✰

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Nina Sheridan’s on a timeout adventure in the Colorado Mountains. She needs distance from her clueless fiancé, distance to decide whether she wants to spend the rest of her life with a man who doesn’t care enough to learn how she takes her coffee.

Arriving in a blinding snowstorm at the A-Frame she rented, she comes face to face with the most amazing man she’s ever seen. Minutes later, when he kicks her out of his house, she goes head to head with him.

Beyond angry because she’s flown half a world away to start her timeout adventure, not to mention her sinuses hurt, she heads back down the mountain and ends up in a ditch. Unable to extricate herself, she gives up, hopes for rescue and falls asleep in the backseat.

The next morning she wakes up in the amazing man’s bed and she’s sick as a dog.

Holden Maxwell spends days nursing her back to health and then he spends the next two weeks trying to convince her to take her Colorado adventure further, in other words, make it permanent and take a gamble on him.

Nina has a tough time fighting her attraction to Max, especially when it seems all Max’s friends, her mother and stepdad and the whole town want them together and both she and Max get embroiled in the murder of Max’s ex-friend and the town of Gnaw Bone’s most detested resident – a man everyone has motive to kill, especially Max.

My Casting

As usual, Kristen Ashley doing what she does best! Hot, sexy, dominant, protective alpha males.
5 stars for Nina and Max!
This book is long. To be honest, this was a bad week for me to read it as I had lots going on outside of my ‘reading world’… but it’s been sitting on my Kindle for ages and I just really felt the need for a good KA hero. And despite the length of this book, it does not drag. At all! It’s fast paced, action packed and I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any shorter.

The story is that Nina Sheridan has escaped to the Colorado Mountains for a time out from her inattentive, unexciting fiancée, Niles. She intends to give herself time to think and work out whether marrying Niles is what she really wants or not, whether she wants the safe, monotonous life she was built for herself after a history of bad relationships, or whether there is more to life. But before she can get any thinking time done, Nina meets Max.

Macho Mountain Man Max

Holden Maxwell owns the A-frame that Nina has rented for her little getaway. There’s been a mistake and Max is home, so the A-frame shouldn’t have been rented at all. Within minutes of meeting Nina and the gorgeous, but moody Max are arguing and Nina storms out into the snowstorm, heading for the nearest hotel. A series of events lead to Nina ending up back at the A-frame with Max and that is where she stays.

But this is a KA book, so obviously, that isn’t all that happens. The town of Gnaw Bone is thrown when the local bad-guy is murdered and everybody becomes a suspect. On top of that, Max’s friends and family all have their own issues to deal with and before she knows it, Nina is embroiled in the lives of these people that she barely knows.
Of course, as time goes on, Max decides that despite their initial spat, he rather likes Nina and tries to convince her to stay. So amongst all of the drama, Nina has to decide whether she wants to return to her humdrum life in England or take a gamble on Holden Maxwell and his mountain!

“You think yo slide back, settle for something that made you run away because you think it’s safe, because it’s familiar, because you’re scared of takin’ a gamble on me, I’m warnin’ you now, Duchess, I’m not gonna allow that.”

Phew… that’s a long story short…

As you’d expect from a KA book, The Gamble is laced with murder, kidnapping, villains, punch-ups and mystery. So much happens in this book. I love Kristen’s writing. She’s so clever, the way she builds a story, develops all of the surrounding characters, keeps the mystery flowing throughout the book to create a fantastic, frantic, ‘I’d-never-have-predicted-that’ climax. Obviously, with all Kristen Ashley’s books, the drama is all completely over the top. Completely nuts. But completely great! It’s kind of almost comical, how far fetched KA’s story lines, but it just works with the whole feel of her writing, the characters, etc.
Amongst all the shootings, betrayal and crime fighting, there’s a deliciously sexy romance. Nina and Max’s chemistry is off the charts hot. It isn’t all that graphic and it is most definitely secondary to everything else that is going on this book, but there were times when I thought my Kindle might start smoking. Max is a dirty-talker, ladies. *fans self* He’s so sensual and confident, so determined and sure of what he wants, and that in itself is so scrummy.

And then Max really kissed me and I became so lost, I never wanted to be found.

Nina is brilliant. She’s sassy and ballsy. But she’s also incredibly defensive. She’s been through some terrible relationships. She’s been cheated on, lied to, beaten and she’s lost people she loved. She’s erected high, impenetrable walls to keep herself safe from any more hurt and Max struggles to break these down.

“Maybe she thinks she’s not worthy. You want her, man, your job is to convince her she’s wrong.”

However, she’s hilariously confrontational. In the week she is at Gnaw Bone she has it out with just about everybody living there. It’s brilliant when her mouth runs away with her and her hackles are raised. And I loved Max’s reaction to this, too.
So, Max. Gorgeous. Absolutely, one percent, gorgeous hunk of man meat. Like most of KA’s heroes, he’s completely and utterly everything that defines ‘Alpha male’. He’s a little bit moody, a whole lot controlling, very over protective, has a sexy, gravelly voice, cuts her off in the middle of sentences, calls her babe, honey, sweetheart and Duchess, melts her with a hand on the back of her neck… he’s ripped, sexy as hell, spends a lot of time brooding and I luuuuurve him!

“A man’s any man at all, no one fucks with his woman.”

He’s the perfect mix of strong and sensitive. And who doesn’t love a man who can admit when he’s wrong? 😉 I loved that Max was always so in control. Even when he was mad, he was still mostly uber cool and calm. His fierce protectiveness is swoonworthy and overall, he was impossible not to fall in love with.

“This happens between us, Duchess, I’d take care of you.”
“Don’t.”
“Die doin’ it,” he vowed.

If you’ve read Kristen Ashley books before, you’ll know exactly the type of book boyfriend I’m talking about. You can spot a KA book hero a country mile off… and they’re just as delicious every single time. If you haven’t read KA books and you like yourself some super sexy Alpha man-candy… you need to get on it!

She writes her characters so well. You can really feel the body language, the tone of voice, the facial expressions. She brings her characters to life in every single book. And each one has their own little defining features, little ways about them, catch phrases, words or nicknames they use, habits in the way they move… she individualises each of them so skilfully.

Her writing is so easy to read, it just rolls right off the page. She writes as you would speak and it makes the book so relatable. You really feel like you are inside the head of the character. She’s a storyteller through and through.

“Babe,” he replies, grinning then said no more.
Still being helpful, I explained, “I know you think that word speaks volumes but, I have to tell you, it actually doesn’t.”

And then there are her epilogues. KA executes an epilogue like nobody else. They are lengthy and heart warming. And this was no different.

“Thank you for showing me it was worth taking a gamble again, darling.” I dropped my head until my lips were against his and finished, “It feels good finally to win and win huge.”

 

The Gamble Statistics

Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥
Ending: HEA
Series: ✓
Reading Order:
Book #1 – The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1)
Book #2 – Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2)
Book #3 – Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3)
Book #4 – Breathe (Colorado Mountain, #4)
Book #5 – Jagged (Colorado Mountain, #5)
Book #6 – Kaleidoscope (Colorado Mountain, #6)
Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
Themes:
Escape from reality
Dark pasts
Action/drama
Murder mystery
Warning. This book includes…
Sexual content. History of rape. Violence.
Writing: Fantastic

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This entry was posted in Action/Drama Reads, Alpha Males, Delicious Sexual Tension, Kidnap, Kristen Ashley, Series, Stand Alones, Steamy Reads, The Gamble. Bookmark the permalink.

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