*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.*
To continue my KA fix, I started The Gamble straight after reading Motorcycle Man, many friends recommended the Colorado Mountain series and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
The meeting of Max and Nina was quite funny, Nina had rented a house in a small town called Gnaw Bone, upon arriving at the house Nina assumed Max was the caretaker but much to her surprise he was actually the owner and there had been a double booking, Max would be staying at the house instead. Nina’s fiery personality was on fine form and she gave Max what for, she travelled all the way from England and encountered one disaster after another before she arrived, only to be told her two-week rental had been cancelled. Nina stormed out of Max’s house, only to be caught in the bad weather and it was up to Max to save the day.
Max was a silent, brooding character (just the way I like ‘em!) he was holding a lot back and it was clear he didn’t trust easy, he harboured a deep pain and wasn’t forthcoming to Nina about the cause. From their first encounter, he loved the fire within Nina and the fact that she could speak her own mind but Max was just as stubborn and when he decided how things were going to go, Nina learned the hard way that Max had the final say.
I found it quite difficult to get lost in the story. Because I had just finished Motorcycle Man less than twenty-four hours before, I found a lot of similarities to the characters and dialogue. Although the setting was different, I found The Gamble MCs shared many of the same characteristics as Tack and Tyra from MC Man. Nevertheless, I was enjoying the romance between Max and Nina and wanted to read on.
I’m beginning to notice things happen fast in Kristen Ashley books. Nina was only in Colorado for just under two weeks and in that time she shacked up with Max and managed to fall in love with him. Normally my insta-love radar would be going off but I managed to go with the flow and get on board with their relationship.
As always, it isn’t just the two main characters the story focuses on. The community of Gnaw Bone was included and there were some great secondary characters. Max’ ex-best friend and business partner created some waves for the couple even though he was no longer alive and Nina was caught in the crossfire. But thankfully she had a supreme Alpha like Max on hand to come to her rescue.
This book was over five hundred pages, going into it I felt a bit overwhelmed and there were times when I felt the book was really long but as I was nearing the end and the action kicked in, things picked up and I enjoyed it.
Although I didn’t enjoy The Gamble as much as my first KA book, it still was a good read and I think had I read them further apart it would have stood a better chance. What I will say is Kristen always treats us to a good epilogue and I love flashing into the future to discover what the couples have in store.
I’m still a newbie but for die hard Kristen Ashley fans, I have no doubt you will love The Gamble so you better check this one out.
“Honey, life has enough obstacles planned for you. Stop putting up your own and just live it.”
“You stuck up for yourself and then you stuck up for the memory of your brother. You didn’t take any shit, not even a little of it.” His face dipped close and he whispered, “That’s not unattractive, baby. That’s beautiful.”
“After we get this done in town, we’re comin’ home and, swear to God, anyone gets close to this house, I’m fuckin’ shootin’ ‘em.”
“He was right there, as close as he could get and I wanted him there forever. I came down, holding him close, kissing him deep as he kept thrusting until he planted himself to the root, stayed there, and growled in my mouth. Yes, I wanted this forever.”
“I thought we were going to enjoy being alive, breathing and alone.” I reminded him.
“We’re not really doing that.”
“Let’s move onto that phase of the evening,” I suggested.
His fingers curled around my shoulder and gave me a squeeze.
“Good idea,” he murmured.
“Do you want a beer?”
“I can make some hot chocolate,” I offered.
“Thanks, but no.”
“Do you want anything?”
My stomach dipped and my body grew tense.
“There’s somethin’ I been wantin’ awhile.”
“Take my mind off things.”
My head came up and I repeated, “Max.”
His fingers slid into my hair again and his eyes focused on my mouth. “Be a good way to celebrate breathin’, bein’ alive, and bein’ alone.”
“Kiss me, Duchess.”
My hand went to his chest as his hand pressed my face closer to his.
“You’re being domineering again,” I informed him. I felt his mouth grin under mine and watched his eyes do it.
“Yeah, baby, fair warnin’, when we’re naked, you better get used to that.”
I gasped at his words. Then he kissed me.
It could have been the snow falling softly all around the A‑frame, the fire burning in its grate, the soft lighting under the cupboards in the kitchen, and just the lamp by the couch being lit making the house more cozy and romantic than ever.
It could have been what happened that day to Mindy, Brody, Max, and me and relief that we were all here, still able to walk, talk, breathe, kiss.
It could have been Max’s long fingers in my hair, his hard, warm body so close to mine, his mouth tasting vaguely of coffee and cake and strongly of Max.
It could have been that this was Max, and today he proved he was more Wonder Max than ever.
Or it could have been he was just a very good kisser.
But I melted into him and his kiss, tipping my head to the side, lifting my hands to his neck and sliding my fingers into his thick hair, touching my tongue to his.
He growled in my mouth and at the feel of it, the sound of it, my body responded to just how much I liked that noise coming from Max and the fact that it was me who made him make it, and I pressed into him.
His hand went from my waist, up my shirt, and I felt the rough pads of his fingers against the skin of my back.
My body liked that too.
I pressed closer.
Max twisted his torso to me, pushing me back into the chair, his hand coming to my front, running over my ribs, my midriff, and up to cup my breast.
“Yes,” I whispered against his lips when his warm hand closed over my soft flesh.
Then I kissed him, our tongues tangling, his thumb stroking my nipple. One of my hands went from his hair to tug up his shirt and it slid in, gliding along his hot skin and solid muscle.
His finger found his thumb and together they squeezed and rolled.
I felt this dance through my body, most specifically straight between my legs, and it felt so good, I liked it so much, I lost it. I pushed him back and followed him, moving up over him to straddle his hips as my hands went to his shirt, lifting it up. Max helped, his hands going from me to the back of his neck, where he tugged the shirt over his head, down his arms and he tossed it away.
It was my time, my chance, his magnificent chest was right there in front of me and I wanted to explore.
So I bent, my lips going to his neck, my hands going to his body. Both explored. Fingers, lips, tongue, teeth. I slid down, bowed my back to get to him, taste his skin, drift the tips of my fingers across the ridges of his belly, run the edges of my teeth against his nipple, the sound of him sucking in breath forcing a surge of wetness to strike between my legs.
His fingers curled into my shirt and up it went, forcing my torso up, my arms. Then it, too, was tossed away and Max’s hands came to my back, pressing in, forcing me to arch forward, pushing me up, and his lips fastened on my nipple over my bra.
“Max,” I breathed as the sensation of his mouth closing on me rocked through my body, my hands sliding into his hair, and his tongue flicked out.
Even over my bra this felt better than his fingers, way better. He had a very strong tongue.
“More,” I demanded on a whisper, my hips instinctively rolling against his hard crotch. His mouth went away but his hand pulled my bra down, his fingers curling around my breast and there it was, Max’s mouth direct on me.
I tipped my head down to watch and there was something so amazing about Max’s dark head close to my skin. His tanned hand holding my breast to his talented mouth. I couldn’t hold it back and I heard my moan as it escaped my lips.
His head tilted back, his face more beautiful suffused with want, especially his want of me , and he muttered, “Jesus, honey.”
“More,” I whispered again, and suddenly we were up, Max’s hands at my bottom. My legs went around his hips, my arms went around his shoulders, and he was striding to the stairs.
I couldn’t stop, didn’t have near enough of him. Maybe I could never get enough. But I was going to try. I bent my head and put my mouth to his neck, tasting it with my tongue, tugging his earlobe with my teeth.
Before I knew it, we were by the bed, Max bent at the hips, and the light went on.
“Drop your legs, Duchess,” he ordered, and I did as I was told.
I no sooner got my feet on the floor than the drawstring was pulled on my pajama bottoms and they pooled at my ankles and then I was up again, only to be partially placed, partially tossed on the bed.
I watched Max follow me down but he didn’t land on top of me. His hands slid up my inner thighs, spreading my legs, and then his mouth was on me, over my panties.
I heard the low, rough noise escape my throat as his mouth moved on me. Then he muttered, “Fuckin’ soaked,” before his fingers shoved the material of my panties aside and his mouth
was on me.
I bucked against his mouth and moaned, “Max.”
It was debatable whether his finger or his tongue was more gifted until his finger slid inside and his mouth covered my sweet spot and sucked deep. My whole body jolted at the sheer beauty of it and I knew a combination of the two was the best.
“Oh my God,” I breathed, because it was coming and it was going to be beyond anything I’d ever experienced.
Then Max’s finger slid away and his mouth moved up an inch and he kissed me over my panties.
My head shot up and I cried in protest, “Max!”
His hands went to my armpits and he hauled me up and twisted me in the bed until my head hit the pillows and he came down on top of me.
“You stopped!” I accused.
“We’re comin’ together this time, baby,” he said against my mouth, and then kissed me, his tongue sliding inside. This time I tasted me on Max and it was so appealing, me mingled with Max, I forgot to be angry that he left me hanging and I kissed him back.
He rolled to my side, his finger hooking in my underwear, tugging it down, and I pedaled my feet to kick them off. They no sooner left my ankles than Max’s arms came around me and he rolled to his back, taking me with him and I pulled up, straddling him, and my hands instantly went to his jeans. His hand went to the nightstand. I unbuttoned. He pulled open the drawer.
I slid down his thighs and bent low, touching my lips to the flat, taut skin over the waistband at his fly as I kept unbuttoning. His hand came to my hair. I got the buttons undone and yanked the jeans partly down his hips and saw my first glimpse of the true meaning of Wonder Max.
He was beautiful all over.
My hand wrapped around him for half a happy second when I was pulled up, rolled over, and Max was on me.
“You keep stopping me in the middle of the good stuff,” I snapped, my hands sliding down his back, one going in his jeans and over his bottom and it was soft (his skin) and tight (his muscle) and I immediately decided I loved it.
Max ripped open a condom with his teeth before he grinned, his mouth came to mine, and he promised, “You’ll get the good stuff, Duchess.”
His hand was working between us but his mouth was now covering mine and he was kissing me again and then his hips were between my legs and, just as I was really getting into the kiss, I felt the muscles of his bottom bunch under my hand and he thrust into me.
The feel of him, so big, so glorious, surging into me, filling me, connecting me to him, made me break our kiss as my neck arched reflexively and I committed that moment to memory, burned it into my brain, knowing I’d never forget it as long as I lived.
My other hand went into his jeans, both my legs bent at the knees to give him deeper purchase, and I pressed them against his sides as Max pulled out and rammed back in.
“That’s beautiful,” I whispered the God’s honest truth.
“You’re absolutely fuckin’ right,” Max muttered his agreement, pulling out so I could only feel the tip and then slamming back in.
My fingers flexed, my legs squeezed, and my mouth begged, “More, darling.”
He gave me more. He gave me his mouth, his tongue, his right forearm in the bed beside me, his left hand fisted in my hair, and he thrust into me harder, faster.
It was back. It was coming. I was coming and he’d been right the day before—it was going to be so big, I was going to split straight out of my skin.
I panted, my hips rocking with his drives.
“I can feel it, Jesus, Nina, you’re ready,” Max groaned.
“Come for me, baby.”
“Okay,” I breathed, and did what I was told.
I closed my eyes and my head rolled back, my hips reared up, my hands went from his behind to become my arms wrapping him tight and I gasped as it tore through me, hard, long, and soul-destroyingly beautiful.
Max’s face was in my neck and I felt his growled release against my skin half a second after I felt him drive in deep and stay planted there.
After, neither of us moved for a while. Max stayed buried deep, his face in my neck and my arms stayed wrapped around him, my thighs pressed to his sides.
Finally, Max rolled to his back, his arms coming around me as he settled me, straddling him and still connected, on top.
“Yeah,” he murmured against my neck as his hand drifted along the skin of my back. “It’s fair to say we got chemistry.”
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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