I’ve given myself the challenge to write at least 3 book reviews per week to celebrate #NaNoWriMo. The Gamble is a book I read quite a while ago. Being the first book in the Colorado Mountain series, it was also where my love affair for this series began. And when I say love affair, I mean it. These towns, these people, they are EVERYTHING I wish I was. EVERYTHING. This is one of my absolute favorite series because of all the characters and how beautiful their stories truly are.
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.
[Book review originally featured on Ramblings of a Bookworm]
He threw his other hand out, his gaze drifting the length of me as he said, “Fancy-ass clothes, fancy-ass purse, fancy-ass boots, fancy-ass accent.” His eyes came to my face and he finished firmly, “Dutchess.”
The mountain country of Colorado is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. The small towns that are created by Kristen Ashley in the Colorado Mountain series take all the beauty of the Colorado mountain countryside, the comradery of small town, and the intrigue of a thriller and roll it into one.
The Gamble is the first in the series and it introduces us to all the craziness that is Carnal, Gnaw Bone, and Chantelle. Holden Maxwell is a man who works with houses — designs, builds, etc. Nina Sheridan is seeking holiday, and a break, from her home in London and her fiance Niles. Because Max is out of town so often, he rents out his A-frame to tourists in order to bring in some extra money. Upon arriving at this gorgeous specimen of architecture, Nina does not find it unoccupied … she finds it with a very present Max.
Unfortunately for Nina, not only does this put a damper in her original plans, she becomes quite ill and is forced to take refuge in this structure along with this stranger. This leads to all sorts uncomfortable situations for Nina. But along with these uncomfortable situations Nina is also thrust into all the beauty that is Gnaw Bone: Arlene (who runs the cab company), Mindy & Becca (sweet, young girls with beautiful hearts), Jeff (a strong, trustworthy deputy on the police force), and a slew of others that pull her into the local town life.
Over the course of this story (and there’s a lot to this story!) we see the evolution of many of these characters. I, personally, wished I could jump right into life with them! The love, shenanigans, and loyalty shared between these people … I don’t have words to describe how much it touched me. There are so many complex emotions and situations that make the choices of these characters so real and believable.
The love between Nina and Max … oh. my. goodness. The differences between these two were huge. But they really brought out thee best in each other. They had both been missing what the other had to give. Both of them gave SO much to each other that when their love finally took root, it was one of beauty.
“Forgot about carin’ about someone so much you would do anything in your power to stop them from havin’ pain.” … “And how fuckin’ shitty it feels when there’s nothin’ you can do to stop it.” (Max)
What a beginning to this series. I don’t want to give away the whole story, but there is more here than a “simple” love story. There is a mystery to be solved, wounds to be healed, and lives to be changed. This is a standalone in the series, but once you begin I PROMISE you’ll want to keep going.
(Lady Luck is my favorite, just sayin’, but we’ll get there.)
** Also, this book has a KICK-ASS audio version!
The leading lady & her accent are AMAZING. And she has quite the knack to truly give personality to each of the characters. (My Review)