The Gamble is another amazing Kristen Ashley book that kept me up for almost two days straight. I began reading Kristen Ashley’s books with the book after this in the Colorado Mountain Series, Sweet Dreams (OMG—TOTALLY AMAZING!), then I read the one after, and moved on to The Burg series without ever reading The Gamble. Honestly, the reviews on goodreads weren’t as great as her other books so I kept thinking about it but never got to it. WHY DID I WAIT???? I freakin’ LOVED it!!!!
First thing you need to know. You get a LOT for your money in this book (all of her books)! It’s as long as a trilogy of normal books, or at least double a regular novel. But it needs to be because SO.MUCH.HAPPENS.
Nina is an American but her dad is from England and she lives there as well, working as an attorney. She has booked a 2 week “time-out” at a beautiful A-frame cabin in the Colorado Mountains to think about her boring life with her boring fiancé, Niles (haha, you already know he’s boring from the name. How many heroes are called Niles?). When she finally gets through a snowstorm to the A-frame, gorgeous, grumpy, grumbly alpha-hole Max (hero name!) answers the door, informs her there was a mistake and his house wasn’t for rent that week and directs her back down the mountain to a hotel. Nina throws a fit, tells him off, stomps back to her car and ends up in a ditch down the road.
Next thing you know, Max is nursing her back to health after she fell asleep in the car, getting sick. She remembers almost nothing, but Max has been taking care of her for 2 days and is clearly falling for her. So begins Nina trying not to fall for Max, and Max railroading Nina into staying with him. When I say railroading, I mean it! Max is domineering, doesn’t let Nina object to anything (he just cuts her off), he takes her keys, tells the taxi not to get her, then sweetly takes care of her.
The town of Gnaw Bone, Colorado is small, and everybody knows everything about everyone. Plus, so much crap happens in this small town in the first week Nina is there it is crazy! There is a murder, the aftermath of rape, attempted suicide, kidnapping, fights, crazy she-bitch ex-girlfriends from hell, and more. We get to meet and learn about the crazy townspeople of Gnaw Bone as well as the families of both Max and Nina and many of the side characters. Everyone LOVES Max, he is the town sweetheart, the perfect guy, and they all show up at his house, needing him for something. This causes two problems. One, Nina’s already bad self-esteem has a hard time with Max’s wonderfulness, and two, this couple is never alone to “get it on” until over halfway through a very long book. (But it was worth the wait.)
The book was told in mostly first person from Nina’s POV. This really helped get into her character and hear her inner thoughts. The way Kristen Ashley writes these thoughts are so real, it’s the way I talk in my head (except without the English accent and phrases). I cried my eyes out with Nina, I fell in love with Max with Nina, I fell in love with the town with her, I became friends with the townspeople…….some reviewers didn’t like her, I totally did. I get her.
And Max…….he is SO swoonalicious there is no way to NOT love this guy! He is dominant, affectionate, caring, gorgeous, sweet, knows what he wants, and notices all the little things you wish your guy would notice, like how Nina takes her coffee. Plus, he calls her on her shit. He calls her Duchess, which I love, he is possessive, jealous, and takes care of everyone.
“Because I’ve seen you naked. I’ve seen you sweet. I’ve seen you unsure. And I’ve seen you riled and, seein’ all that, I know, you were half a world away from me, I’d fuckin’ phone”
“In my life, I’ve learned when to let shit go and when to fight for it. This, babe, what we got, I’ll fight for.”
- -I cried, in several places, but mostly I read with a stupid grin on my face.
- -All of the crazy characters you really get to know, and you are able to keep them all straight.
- -Max’s sweet things he says and does (so hard to choose from all his amazing quotes).
- -Suspense, right up till the very end, with some crazy twists!
- -An AMAZING Kristen Ashley epilogue (I dare you to not tear up!)
- -Hot alpha-male sexy scenes.
- -Nina said “Um” and “Max” a LOT, but rarely said what was REALLY on her mind the whole time.
- -Max seemed so open and honest but left out a MAJOR detail of his past.
- -Not enough of the hot sex with an alpha-male.
I don’t know whether this one is a like or a dislike (I think it’s a like), but it is a LONG, exhausting read, and had me up super late with less than 5 hours of sleep for 2 nights.
My Rating: 5 stars for story, 3.75 for heat
While I loved this book, I think the next in the series, Sweet Dreams, is even better. But know that the rest of the series took place in Carnal, a town near Gnaw Bone, and I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t think there was any cross over characters.
If you have never read a Kristen Ashley book before, take a gamble on the Gamble.
- My Favorite Books of 2012
- Kristen Ashley writes Cracktastic books
- The Colorado Mountain Series order
- What To Read after Fifty Shades of Grey
- A Dozen Top Romances for Summer
- The Burg Series
- The Rock Chick Series