I’m always on the lookout for something a little bit different from my normal reading habits, so when I was offered a chance to review this book, I jumped on it. Look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous?
Title: Gambling On A Secret (Colter Gamblers)
Author: Sara Walter Ellwood
Genre: Contemporary Western
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc.
Release date: December 2012
ASIN : B00AVLL4XA
Colter Gamblers, #1
When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?
Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches, the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.
Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.
When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?
CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.
I read the blurb on the back cover, and couldn’t wait to dig into this book. The story reminded me of the old Harlequin books I’d devoured by the hundreds in my earlier years. I adored Dylan. He was far from perfect, but he was perfect for the heroine. There’s just something about a deeply wounded man that I can’t resist. He’s had more than a couple of hard knocks, and it took one determine woman to shake him up to the world around him.
Though Charli had a rough childhood, she managed to overcome her past, but not without collecting a few scars along the way. I liked her spunk, and her determination to make a better life for herself. Unfortunately, I didn’t sink into her life the way I did with Dylan.
The story itself was structured perfectly for a Texas cattle ranch setting, and I could easily envision the details described. The beginning of the book unfolded like a western family saga, where you’re submerged in the town and generations of family. The only drawback was the romance took second place to it at times. There were a number of plots in the story. I didn’t feel overwhelmed, but my sense of disbelieve began to wear thin in places. Overall, if you like a slow build to your suspense and romance, a good old-fashion western, pick up a copy of Gambling on a Secret.