Book Review – The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

by Maryse on November 28, 2011 · 16 comments

in Bad Boys & Rock Stars, Kristen Ashley

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain)
So sweet, and very on par with Tate’s book (and we all know how crazy I went over that one). Alas, Max is not Tate. Don’t get me wrong… Max is something else in his very own way.

And while he proved to be a magnificent, glorious alpha-male…

“I eeeeeek’d when Max’s best friend pulled her down into his lap!! LOL!! I knew that ticking jaw was gonna have something to say shortly after…”

… Tate is still on top… for me. ;)

This was yet another installment that had me, pretty much, adoring all the characters. Silly scuffles, angsty dramatic life issues and then a big crazy end. Lots n’ lots of danger. Even though the romance part is the main part and the author really let’s the reader indulge in the passion, excitement, jealousy and heartache (oh yes, I actually had a few tears in this one towards the end), I was surprised with all of the trouble the heroine kept getting herself into.

So much so, that I started wondering about the heroine’s sense of self-preservation (in the physical sense). Sure, when it came to her heart, her emotions, she was a “run-away-before-she-gets-attached” kind of girl. Poor Max really had his work cut out for him. As independent and set in her ways as she was hoping to be, he had other plans for her altogether. She was taking a break from her seemingly uninterested fiancé in England, and Max intended on taking advantage of her time off.

I was describing a certain scene that was still playing in my mind, to my friend Jackie (it’s not perfectly quoted, but enough to “get the picture”). Lemme tell you, while my friend Jackie seems to like her characters on the “alpha” side, she’s not as easy on ‘em as I am and because of that, I have a feeling, in real life, she’d totally give ‘em a run for their money. I always cringe a little when I recommend a super-alpha to her (’cause I’ve read her past rants about a few):

Maryse: “It’s about an American who moved to England and comes back to the U.S. for a short vacation to take a break from her fiancé. She reminds me of you and makes me laugh (her expressions, and her English accent, even though officially she’s American)… At one point the guy (Max) goes:

“If you were mine, I wouldn’t let you take a break from me.” and she said

“you wouldn’t LET me?” and he said “Nope.”

and she said “and THAT is why you’ll never be my man.”

Jackie didn’t surprise me one bit when she responded with this:

Jackie: That is so what I’d say. No way would I accept that sh*t.

Maryse: LOL!!!! Yah but then he goes on to say:

“I wouldn’t let you, but I would never give you any reason to WANT to take a break from me.”


Jackie: Fair enough.

Fair enough. Couldn’t have said it better myself Jackie. ;) Hey, with that kind of promise, maybe his bossy side would be easier to deal with.

But when it came to the extreme bad stuff, she kept walking right into the mix, and letting her temper get the best of her. With everyone. Everywhere. All the time. At least that’s what it seemed like, to me (and to Max – he even started giving out warnings to his entourage… hehehe). I was chuckling at the audaciousness, and reminded myself… it’s all in good fun. Plus, her character was funny. And to be fair, when she got crazy, it was usually ’cause she had a few drinks too many, or someone was in her face.

But then again, if we’re going to analyze the heroine herself… all I can say is *whoa*!!! I swear, had it been me, I don’t care how hot Max was, I would have been hightailing it out of Colorado back to her self-described boring/safe life in England. That girl, in the span of a week had been put through the ringer. At times, I thought the author went a bit overboard in the drama and “bad-guy” department. They were coming at her from all sides, and they were coming back for seconds!!! And some “bad-guy” issues weren’t even related. They all had their own motives. And she was it!

So here’s what it’s about.

Nina lives in England and is engaged to a safe and “boring” man. Having been hurt in past relationships, she decides that he’ll “work”. But she realizes there is no passion, and he barely notices when she’s gone. He certainly doesn’t concern himself with phone calls and affection. So she decides to rent a gorgeous vacation home in Colorado, and heads there to experience life and clear her head. But… as in all fun books, mini disaster after mini disaster ensues.

This was the universe telling me I should play it safe. Marry Niles. Embrace security even if it was mostly boring and deep down if I admitted to myself, it made me feel lonelier than I’ve ever felt in my life.

Paralyzingly lonely.

Who cared?

If this was an adventure, it stunk.

Once she get’s there, though (braving the snow storm in her rental car), she realizes the owner (Max) is home, and the rental management company mis-booked her in.

“Whatever,” he muttered then swept an arm toward the open door. “You’ll get a refund first thing Monday morning.”

“You can’t do that.”

“I just did.”

“This is… I don’t… you can’t -”

“Listen, Ms. Sheridan, it’s late. The longer you stand there talkin’, the longer it’ll take you to get to that hotel.”

I looked out at the snow again then back at him.

“It’s snowing,” I informed him of the obvious.

“This is why I’m tellin’ you, you best get on the road.”

I stared at him for a second that turned into about ten of them.

Then I whispered, “I can’t believe this.”

There are words. Ohhhhhh there are words.

But Max being an Alpha kind of gruff-ish mountain man eventually gives in a little and offers her an alternative…

He leaned in close to me. “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 a couch.” Then my head jerked and I asked, “Duchess?”

“My couch is comfortable and beggars can’t be choosers.”

I let that slide and repeated, “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 as he finished firmly. “Duchess.”

LOL!  Well, at least he didn’t immediately offer her his bed. Oh wait… maybe he should have ;)

But she has to much pride for that and heads out late into the night. Back into the snowstorm. After her long loooooong flight from England. *hrmph*

Thing is… Max might be an gruff (yet gorgeous) mountain man, but usually “Alphas” in these books have a need to protect a women in need. So he heads back out into the snowstorm to get her back, and finds her car in a ditch (with her sleeping in the backseat). Awwwww :(

Max takes her back with him, realizes she’s feverish and nurses her back from her flu-delirium over the course of a few days. And he kind of bonds with her ;)

“You’re sweet when you’re sick.”

“I am?”

“Hellion when you’re riled.”




Then he muttered, “Not sure which I like more.”

But when she comes back to herself, high-spirited, no-nonsense, independent and headstrong Nina comes back in full-force and really lays into him. But by now, he’s decided he liked her. He’s decided. She’s his. He’s decided. She stays. Her appalled reaction to everything and anything “Max” says or does (mind you, you’ll be appalled too, but it’s chuckle-worthy), doesn’t deter him in the least.

“I… I…” I stammered, “I don’t even know what to say.”

“Then don’t say anything.”

“I’ve decided to poison you,” I announced acidly.

LOL!!! I love her reactions, and even better… Max’s reactions. Max is an alpha in full force, now. Let the games begin.

So as Max and Nina adjust to their vacation together, the town begins to gossip. The importance of the town and it’s people, the lore, etc… is BIG in this book. And I LOVE the town. This author is really good at having her readers connect fully to everyone of her characters. My favorite? Cotton. He was a kick, and was so perfectly real to me! Anyway, the town/friends/enemies/families and rivals are a huge factor in shaping, and distorting Nina’s view of Max, his heartbreaking past, and possibly her heartbreaking future. Jealousy, past secrets, current devastation (I really felt sad. I mean really sad a few times in this one, with sniffles and everything). Old torments that have suddenly been resurrected, come back to haunt them all. Everyone in both of their lives suddenly become very relevant in the current situation, and Nina handles it all like a fighter (sometimes, quite literally). And of course, like I said, there’s danger. Some related to the town’s past secrets, and some danger of the plain ol’ bad-guy variety.

Only a couple of complaints for me in this one, and they are minimal.

1.) Max’s “Alpha” seemed to be missing in regards to a specific danger that Nina faced alone. I’m not saying his approach wasn’t right. I’m just surprised that he kept such a level head, considering how this author’s Alphas usually freak-out.


2.) One of the “bad guys” was really getting on my nerves. He enraged me to no end, and he seemed almost as bad (or worse) as the main bad guy.

Overall, excellent read!. Everything is just so darned cute and heartwarming!! From the little milk pitcher, to Cotton’s gorgeous photos, to their combined moms. All that and some great twists and of course, a surprise reveal that I didn’t even bother to try and guess. I just let the story take me there and gasped when the truth came out!

4 stars!

Interested in the series! Of COURSE you are!! One of the best I’ve read in awhile!! —> Colorado Mountain Series Reading Order

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

patricia November 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Maryse loved this whole series wait till you meet Ty…..,..I think I freaked out more with Damon……lucky for him he is fictional otherwise it would be on…,

Lucia November 28, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I just finished this book, and am now working on Lady Luck. I totally agree with your review BTW. I liked the book, but holy craps if I were Nina I would have got the heck outta dodge! :) Max is totally alpha, but personally I found this book lacking a little of the angsty/tortured lead male character for me. I know, he had his past, but it just didn’t resonate with me like Tate’s did.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally addicted to this author and I’m going to be reading the the Rock Chick and Dream Man series too. I’m sure they will be fabulous! Thanks again for the great suggestions!

Maryse November 28, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Lucia! Agreed. Like I said in a past comment (can’t remember where) – Max is an alpha but a little too normal for me. In real life, that’s good, but in a book, I want tortured.

But wait!!! Have you read Joe’s book (same author) in “At Peace”? That’ll be some fun for you, right there ;)

Maryse November 28, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Patricia… yup on Damon. Grrrrrrrrrr he was just horrible. Some of the scenes were really dark, especially his. He was pure evil.

Carrie November 29, 2011 at 1:34 AM

The Gamble reminds me of the Rock Chick series. Now… I have only read the first Rock Chick book… but I’m not a big fan of “kooky heroine keeps throwing herself into situations that might make her dead to prove how independent she is and has to get saved over.and.over by Alpha stud male who thinks her stupidity is freaking endearing”.

I think The Gamble could have been HOT if there weren’t so many secondary characters and crazy plot devices distracting from the development of Max & Nina. Maryse I agree… a little more Max angst is just what the book needed to take him to the next Alpha Male level. Instead he just comes across as bossy without proper motivation.

Rebeka November 29, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Ha I’m a sucker for the alpha attitude ;)

I’ve just added this to my’ toreadlist’ on my ebook :)

And only $3.99 at amazon:)

Thankyou !

Christina November 29, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Ok, so i had to step back from her books because all of them were running together although they were really good. I just got tired of reading pretty much the same thing. So I read a few other books, but yesterday I stumbled upon reviews for her Golden Dynasty book, and wow! It was really really good. It was different, but still had an alpha male. Put it in your TBR

Lucia December 2, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Ok Maryse, I read “At Peace,” and I loved it….not to mention I was crying thru a lot of it. Sometimes I didn’t even realize I was crying, I was THAT into the book. Again, what I love about this author is how she not only develops the romantic relationship, but also gives us a taste of the other characters.

Anyway, great suggestion. Others you wanna share?? :)

angie December 20, 2011 at 8:49 PM

ok, i am starting the gamble.
I kinda wish i had read this one first.

You know what they say, ” Once you have Tate, Theres no one as Great!”
Yeah, thats what I saying around these parts….LOL

Maryse December 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM

LOL Angie!! Yep. Tate is hard to beat. Still. Although Ty, Joe and Hawk are right up there with him.

Angie December 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

ok i am half way thru this book and I am liking it. however, because how everything transpires rather quickly from hate to love in what seems to be a week i was a bit skepitical. of course the book shut me up when Max says something along the lines of, i know what I want, why wait? i fell into the book again.

Shout out to my fictional man Tate…*We love you, Tate!!!*
please send straight jackets to rochester ny to refrain me from hurting myself. LOLOLOL

Krystal January 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

im so starting this series today !!!! :D

Maryse January 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM


Krystal January 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM

holy cow !!!! this book was absolutely EPIC !!!!! so many twists n turns.. i cried.. oh i cried a lot.. i laughed even more.. !!! i was sold by chapter 7 .. and half way through i was completely devoted and was living along with the characters… this book as for sure made it to my top 20 favorites.. i loved the relationship between max and nina from start to finish !! and adored MINDY !!!

Maryse January 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Ha!! Just wait until you get to Tate’s book!! (the next one) —> He is one of my all time favorite hero’s forever!

Krystal January 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM

soo i finished Tate’s book…. it was awesome.. !!!!!!!! lovin me some Captain for sureeeeeee !!! the twist n turns were awesome too !! :D on to Lady Luck !

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