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Genre: Contemporary | Mystery | Forced Proximity
Series: Colorado Mountain #1
Source: My Shelves
Read Count: Six?
My Rating: 5 stars!!
Description: Welcome to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Colorado Mountain Series, where friends become family and everyone deserves a second chance. Love is the greatest gamble of all . . .
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 souls think about taking a chance on a relationship, a secret from Max’s past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.
I’ve reread this book so many times I’ve lost count. This, this right here, is the book that got me into reading romance waaaay back in sixth grade. It’s no secret that I adore Kristen Ashley books. She will always have a special place in my heart, because she sent me down this road, and I’ve spent the last seven-plus years since rereading her backlist and early awaiting new releases. I reread so many of her books each year, it’s quite insane. But hey, it’s tradition.
It’s important to understand something about Kristen Ashley – her books are the ultimate romance comfort food. They’re the cozy mystery’s of romance. They make you curl up, and dream “What if…?” and completely suck you in. They’re not exotic, fast-paced or wholly different from others, they’re just like a warm hug. Ms. Ashley’s books are always long, and you could probably cut the book in half and still have the plot stay in tact. But then that would ruin that magic that she somehow weaves. Because even though, depending on the book, much of the story is about day-to-day life, it all has a purpose. She’s building this amazing connection with and between her characters, and fleshing them out in a way that’s unusual for the genre. She has a formula and tends to stick with that for most to her books, but they’re still all distinct and written with love. Now, onto Bounty…
The Gamble is, in my expert opinion, one of Kristen Ashley’s best. She really shines in this one, and not just because it’s hilarious and witty and it makes me laugh and cry every time I read it like it’s the first, but because she of Max and Nina, and how amazing they both are. These two characters stand apart, and they’re definite favorites from the KA and Colorado Universe.
“Duchess, remind me never to get you that riled.
You’re a handful when you’re angry but you’re hell on wheels when you’re seriously pissed.”
The first thing to know about Nina Sheridan is that she’s nutty and oh-so wonderful. She can (and does) argue about anything and everything, but manages to do it in a way that adorable and dorky, rather than obnoxious. Whether it’s about the fact that beer was invented by the Germans (true? not sure), that she does not have an English accent (she totally does) in getting in some asshole’s face about his asshole-ish behavior towards one of her girls, it’s really not a surprise that Nina works as a lawyer. She’s passionate, all right, and it’s obvious through the pages that Nina doesn’t just live her life, she devours it. She’s sweet, very cute and hilarious, but she doesn’t take any crap and doesn’t hesitate to stand up for herself or others. She’s experienced tragedy in her life, but she uses it to help others, which only made Nina more admirable.
Holden “Max” Maxwell on the other hand… oh posh, I have nothing negative to say! Max is definitely one of my favorite KA heroes. He’s fairly laid back, and is constantly, hilariously, amused by Nina’s antics. His feelings were clear from the beginning, and it was so obvious he loved Nina, and wanted her to have everything she needed. Except… when it came to her safety, or his possessiveness. He may have been laid-back, but he was still an Alpha Mountain Man who would Have His Way if it was Important, and he can (and is) pushy when necessary. Luckily for us, with Nina’s fiery spirit and his growling protective possessiveness, we got better than banter – we got full-blown arguments (that read like banter, don’t be alarmed) that were really some of the best parts in the book. He’s seriously sexy, too. ✨ And can we talk about his nickname “duchess” for her??? PERFECT! 💕
“In my life, I’ve learned when to let shit go and when to fight. This, babe, what we got, I’ll fight for.”
Knowing what you know now about the characters… When the story opened up, Nina flew halfway across the world from her home in England to rent a beautiful A-Frame in small-town Colorado. She did his on a break from her former fiancé, her mission to decide whether she wants to actually get married or not. But unfortunately, she starts becoming very ill and when she arrives at the A-Frame, there was a mix-up and the A-Frame’s owner is in town for the duration of her stay. This owner’s name being Max 🥰 After throwing some serious sass his way, she ventures back out into the snowstorm for the town’s hotel. Except she slips on ice and the car gets stuck in a ditch.
After calling the hotel and hearing she never arrived, Max sets out to find her, and he brings her back to the A-Frame. But she’s delirious with fever and is completely out of it for two days. Max, of course, nurses her back to health, having been intrigued by the fiery, fierce woman who he’d first met. So they strike up a deal (kind of) and she stays in the A-Frame as planned… plus him. Thus, a forced-proximity romance that I dug in a major way!
But that’s not all that happens. Because there’s lots of drama happening in the little mountain town of Gnaw Bone, Colorado, where Nina is staying. And since Nina’s with Max (and soon with Max), and Max is in the middle of it, Nina’s thrown in, too. Nina meets a lot of great people, lends us to a whole cast of amazing side characters! KA handled this very well, because not only was the mystery (a nice whodunnit thrown in that you don’t see coming!), suspense and drama superb, but all the side character plots and their stories were perfectly fun, without getting confusing. They all add to the huge community aspect of this book, and it made it so much better!
Other Romances you may enjoy…
Have you read a Kristen Ashley book? What’s your favorite forced-proximity romance? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!