cover image The Gamble

The Gamble

Kristen Ashley. Grand Central/Forever, $7 mass market (688p) ISBN 978-1-4555-990

Ashley’s first Colorado Mountain contemporary introduces readers to a unique hero—a 21st-century mountain man whose tough exterior hides a vulnerable, caring heart. Nina Sheridan needs a break from her life in England with her fiancé, so she books two weeks at a house in the Colorado mountains. After driving through a snowstorm and arriving in a feverish haze, Nina is upset to learn that the home’s owner, Holden “Max” Maxwell, is in residence due to the rental agent’s error. After he nurses her through her illness, the two engage in frequent bickering and intensely sensuous love scenes . Their romance is fraught with baggage from Max’s previous relationships and mystery surrounding the murder of a local man. Nina and Max are affable protagonists, though Max’s machismo sometimes overshadows Nina’s sense of independence. Despite the novel’s length, it moves at a swift pace with plenty of sizzling passion, romantic angst, and a touch of suspense. (June)