Monday, May 7, 2012

The Gambler




The Gambler - Willow Creek, Book 3
Emmaline Hunt only had one thing she could call her own. A piece of land that held a secret not even her drunken stepfather knew about. When he gambles it away in a high stakes poker game, Emmaline does the only thing she can. She tries to steal the land deed back.

Tristan Avery has seen his share of bloodshed while sitting at a gaming table and knows its time to lay low when he wins a wad of cash and a piece of land. Especially after his opponent ends up dead at his feet. High tailing it out of town is his only option but things take a drastic turn when he finds a woman in his hotel room trying to rob him blind.

The botched robbery attempt is only the start of his troubles when Tristan finds his new land occupied by the same girl who tried to rob him. When he realizes he’s left her homeless, and killed her stepfather, his conscience forces him to do the right thing. Taking her to his hometown and setting her up with a new life will make up for all he’s taken from her.

But Emmaline has other plans. She wants her land, and Tristan’s money, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get them. All she has to do is convince him she’s there to stay, outwit him, find a way back home and not let a single soul know she has a gold mine bursting at the seems with untapped wealth.

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Hard to believe with all the westerns I read I've never read one where the main character is a gambler. It's not an Old West topic I'm interested in, so I wondered if I'd enjoy this story.

Turns out this is my favorite Lily Graison Willow Creek novel yet. Tristan is a dream - the quintessential gambler with a heart of gold. Emmaline is all alone in this world - it's hard to imagine the decisions women were forced to make in those days. She's tough yet fragile - and completely defenseless to Tristan's charms.

Favorite scenes - Emmaline getting so drunk in the saloon that she gets sick on the stagecoach the next day; her budding friendships with Abigail and Sarah and the updates on their families; her wagon accident in the midst of a blizzard.

This series has just gotten better with each entry. Each story stands on it's own, but it's been so much fun to read each one as it's come out and follow Willow Creek's residents' lives as they've progressed.

I received an ARC of this book. It did not influence my review as I've loved each book more than the last.

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