Since falling in love with Kristen Ashley's writing in the Rock Chick Series, I've decided to dedicate one week each month to more of her books. First up is the Colorado Mountain Series, at the insistence of my friends Erin, Cindy and Jess. But, this time around, I'm doing He Said/She Said reviews, with my guy, Eric.
Series: Colorado Mountain #1
Category/Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published (now published by Forever)
Publication Date: 10/22/11
Rating: 5 stars
Rating: 5 stars
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
Nina Sheridan travels from Europe to the Colorado Mountains, before marrying her fiancé Niles, to take a two week timeout, an adventure, to clear her head, and make sure her decision to marry is the right one. What Nina finds when she arrives at the A-frame vacation rental she booked for her getaway is Holden Maxwell (Max), mountain-man extraordinaire and owner of the property, which he rents to vacationers while out of town for work. Seeing as he is in town and at home, he does not honor the rental agreement and tries to send her on her way, back down the mountain, to get a hotel room in Gnaw Bone. Starting to feel under the weather and very irritated after her 17 hour travel, Nina's not having any of Max's BS for reneging on the rental agreement. After a head to head battle and a lot of back and forth over the rental Max tells her she needs to get moving and find her a hotel seeing as it was dark and starting to snow. With snow beginning to fall heavily and Nina's sudden battle with sinus problems, Max tries to get her to stay at least for the night.
"Listen, Duchess, it's cold, it's snowing, we're both standin' outside like idiots arguing over what you wanted in the first place. Come into the damned house. You can sleep on the couch."
"I am not going to sleep on the couch." Then my head jerked and I asked, "Duchess?"
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. "Duchess."
Frustrated with the fact her rental agreement is broken, Nina heads for town to get a hotel room. While heading back down the mountain she hits an icy patch on the road and ends up in the ditch. With no help in sight she climbs in the back seat, downs some cough medicine, covers up and falls asleep. When Nina wakes up she finds that she is in the A-frame and feeling like absolute crap. Max called the local hotels and when Nina hadn't checked into any he headed down the mountain in search of her. He found her asleep in her car and took her back to his house. Realizing how sick she had become, Max spent the next two days taking care of her.
A mutual attraction starts to grow. Max is straightforward with his desire. Nina is fighting it. And fighting it hard. She tries to find way after way to escape the A-frame, to escape Max, but he has her pinned at every corner. Over the next two weeks Nina goes to hell and back, in what I call signature KA fashion: kidnappings, beatings, shootings, murder and family meddling, all the while meeting friends and family of Max and seeing what kind of man he truly is. And she's liking it, a lot. So much so that she realizes that her and Max are supposed to be together.
As with the Rock Chick books, KA delivers the banter, the sex and an awesome cast of secondary characters - the crazy sister, Kami; the wildly enthusiastic mom, Nellie; the BITCH, Shauna; the clueless fiancé, Niles.
This story is lengthy, but great, from start to end. It's packed with plenty of sex and male bossiness for the women, yet plenty of in your face ass kicking for the male.
After swoony, madcap beauty of the Rock Chick series, I needed more from Kristen Ashley. I knew this series would be different, and yes, it's not quite as "zany" as RC, but I'm so happy that I still got a lot of laughs, a hot Mountain Man in Holden "Max" Maxwell, a flat-out gorgeous love story, and some serious swooning.
Something I really, really appreciate about The Gamble is that the characters are in their mid-thirties, and while I hate admitting I've hit that age group, I kind of love the benefits that come with it, knowing who you are and being at ease in your own skin. Nina and Max may not initially have their baggage sorted, but you know they're going to get there, and it's a fun ride to tag along.
In addition to a great love story, The Gamble also has a murder mystery going on. It doesn't truly take over the story, but it does play a large part in the overall story, does involve many of the characters in some aspect, and isn't solved until the very end, which left me dying to figure it out.
Nina and Max, as I've mentioned have such a great love story. It involves trust and faith in the person beside you to hold on to you no matter what. It also speaks volumes about the different types of love, of letting go while still honoring and loving those who've moved on.
The Gamble is another fabulous book from KA, and the Colorado Mountain series is sure to be another favorite.
"There was a time in my life where I used to roll the dice. I did it a lot and I always lost. Every time, I lost and when I lost, I lost everything. So I got scared of rolling the dice."
My hair was hanging down, curtaining our faces and one of Max's hands moved to pull one side up and hold it at the back of my head. I watched his face get soft and I knew that he knew what was coming.
So I gave it to him.
"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."
Colorado Mountain Series
(covers lead to GoodReads page)
Kaleidoscope (Colorado Mountains #6) release 2/4/14
Purchase The Gamble
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