The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
THEME: Mystery, Mature
Oh boy…or should I say oh man! I’m a new fan of Kristen Ashley and was so excited that author Jennifer Armentrout recommended her writing. There is so much about the Colorado Mountain series that I adored, from the heavy length of the novel; meaning well thought out character developments, steamy romance, and a fantastic murder mystery was all put into this storyline.
The Gamble follows Nina Sheridan, who decided she needed a breather from her fiancé and took a far trip to the Colorado Mountains to do it. A long way from England and a little irritated with her fiancé she cant wait to get out of the car and into her warm bed at her rented A-frame. But to her shock, she isn’t alone, the owner, Max is just as surprised to see her in his house. After learning about the mix up and some much heated arguing, Nina finds her self-driving to a hotel, to only get stuck in the snow a few miles down. She wakes up warm and bundled and the arrogant and handsome Max who kicked her out is now taking care of her. Max starts to fall for this fierce and tiny woman who lights up every time they argue and every time he gets close to her. But everything changes when the cops come knocking on Max’s door and a murderer has come to town.
Nina has been living in England for many years, practically going through the days. After losing her brother she hasn’t been the same and her fiancé practically ignores her half the time. She needed a fresh look at her life and wanted some space, which her fiancé didn’t seem to mind…of course… Nina is such a well-developed character; she’s had a tough life with a terrible father and the loss of her brother who was also her best friend. Taking a trip to Colorado changes her outlook in her life and makes her realizes she hasn’t been living. Max shocks her with his aggressive and overprotective nature, but his kindness towards everyone he knows and how much he adores his home and town. It makes Nina fall for him each day. I was so curious on what Nina would do after getting to know and adore everyone in this town would she marry? Or would she take a chance and start over? Ashley does an insanely good job writing the progression of Nina’s change, she is so different at the beginning than the end, in a good way. The way she befriends people in town, her relationship with her mother and the deep love she has for standing up for good people makes her character easy to love.
Max is one heck of a mountain man and I’m sure would scare the living crap out of me if I actually met him. He is all man and seriously intense, but he has such a soft side for the people in his life. He adores Mindy his best friend Brody’s sister and Becca, two girls who are like his little sisters. He is also the got to person if people need help and it seems like a lot of people trust his word. Max also has a really tragic past, losing someone he loved very much, which caused a chain reaction that caused a lot of hurt around town. But Nina changes everything for him; she opens up his heart and protective nature. I loved every scene they were together in, with all the angst humor and intense passion they had, it was easy to see how they connected. My only real issue was with how Max spoke; his sentences were a bit off for me, missing words here and there. I think it was on purpose, but it bothered me at times during an intense scene. Also he cusses like a sailor and has no problem with interrupting Nina every conversation. No matter that, he still won me over.
Overall this is a heavy book, with a fantastic plot filled with a murder mystery and lot of romance. I didn’t realize how long this book was until I was half way through, but with such a good story I easily got lost in it. Every character introduced, no matter how small, has a history and the readers will get to know a lot about them. I felt like I was actually living in this small town with all these great characters and seriously would love to live in a place like this. The murder mystery was a bonus, I was not expecting it to be so suspenseful but I was totally wrong on who was behind it all and I liked that. I’m already finished with the second book in this series and will now be starting the third, which obviously means I’m in this for the long hall. Ashley is just that good at writing unforgettable characters.
This is an adult novel meant for mature readers over the age of 18, for its sexual content. Fans of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street and Wallbanger by Alice Clayton, will love The Gamble by Kristen Ashley.
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