“Come into the house,” he repeated.“Let go,” I repeated right back at him.He leaned 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 and he finished firmly. “Duchess.”“I’m American!” I shouted.“Right,” he replied.Okay, I'll get straight to the point:I did not like this book as much as I liked the other two in this series. And, I loved the other two, so it's not a bad thing. It's just... oh, well. Here's the thing...Nina is literally a hell on wheels, when she's upset.I mean, she's flown across the ocean, from England straight to Colorado, just in order to give herself a timeout from her fiancé, and figure out what she should do with her (love) life. Sound a bit extreme, right?Holden Maxwell - Max - is another good looking, protective, generous (perfect hero) mountain man, the owner of the house Nina rented. And, he's not suppose to be there. But, he is and so the adventure starts.The first half of the book was great. But, then things got a bit... too much.Too many blabbering, meddling characters crowding the space, too many (Nina's) insecurities spoiling the romance, a murder thing that just doesn't seem... dramatic enough, and sex was (I'm ashamed to admit it) not quite as hot as I thought it would (should) be.Another thing that didn't work great for me is the fact that this whole story is set in (about) two weeks frame. Not enough. I prefer things going slowly and thus looking more... plausible, I guess.Don't get me wrong - this is a great, funny, emotional, heart-tugging story. There are things that'll make you cry. There are super lulzy moments. There's a lot of the good stuff.But, I still prefer Tate (and Ty), and can't wait to read about Chace and Faye - and Wood and Maggie, I'm soooo happy they'll get their own story.The Gamble is (obviously) not my favorite, but it's more than worth the time.That said, I'll hop to all the good stuff here...I wondered if I could make it to Denver then to England before anyone discovered Max’s body. Then I wondered if anyone would bother with extradition if they figured out it was me who did the deed. That was a lot of paperwork for one big, tall, domineering, jerky mountain man. Then I wondered, considering Max was so tall and big, how I’d kill him. Then I decided, poison.Have I mentioned I love Criminal Minds? :)“Sick people are everywhere. Just watch Criminal Minds.”“If that’s their subject matter, I’m thinkin’ I’ll avoid it.”“It’s really good,” I told him, warming to my topic because I liked that show and therefore I idiotically lost myself and did not keep my mouth shut. “They have this really smart, genius guy who’s fascinating. And this really sharp, tough lady. And this hilarious computer mastermind who wears funky clothes and always has perfect lipstick. And they almost always get the bad guy.”He was grinning down at me again when he muttered, “Sounds like I’m missin’ out.”“It’s worth it just for Penelope Garcia’s lipstick and the stuff she wears in her hair, trust me,” I shared.Nina about her father“Yes. He. Was. Just. Here. Spreading his goodwill and love all around Max’s entryway. It’s a wonder there aren’t cherubs flying around sprinkling rose petals and rainbows erupting through the windows, an aftermath of his delightful visit.”“I thought I’d stay home, read, maybe plot how I’ll drug and kidnap my father, drive him to the next state and dump him outside a Police Station with a note pinned to him saying that he killed JFK and was there to confess.”Max“You know, I do too,” I heard his gravelly voice rumble quietly.“What?” I asked his throat.He didn’t answer and when his silence lasted a long time, I lifted my head and looked down at his face to see he looked sated and serious.“What do I know?” I queried.His fingers stopped their roaming, one arm locked around my waist, the other hand slid up my spine and into my hair. His amazing gray eyes didn’t leave mine when he answered gently, “I do too. I said it the other day and I meant it.”His fingers tensed against my scalp. “I’m in love with you, Duchess.”“I ain’t a figment of your imagination, Duchess, I didn’t start my existence the night you drove up to my house. I had a life, a wife. I got a family, friends, a history.““You lose anyone, there’s no replacing them. What you need to get is that’s precious, you get to keep that, you don’t want to replace it. That doesn’t mean you can’t find something else just as good.”Charlie (oh, boy)I like him, Charlie said to me.“Be quiet,” I whispered.Nina? Charlie called.“I said, be quiet.”Sweetheart, see that light? he asked.“Please,” I begged.Neenee Bean, it isn’t a train, Charlie told me.“Shut up.”You’re almost there, he finished.I slipped my arms around him and let his warm, solid body cradle mine.Never said this, Nina, never thought I’d have the chance, Charlie whispered into my head and the only response I could give was to hold Max tighter.I’m so sorry, sweetheart.A new sob slid from my throat and Max held me closer.