Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giveaway, Review & Tour: Gambling On a Secret: Sara Walter Ellwood

Gambling On A Secret
By: Sara Walter Ellwood

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.

COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”
Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Just a Cowboy and His Baby.
Ms. Brown also named Gambling On A Secret as one of her favorite romance reads in 2012 in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW -mature content reader discretion is advised.
3.5 HEARTS out of 5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

It’s always good when a book pleasantly surprises you and that is exactly what this book did to me!

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Charli Monroe is a heiress new to the small Texas town where she has just bought a ranch. She has a past as a runaway among other things and would prefer for her past to stay exactly where it is; in the past. She is young, ambitious and has a bigger agenda for her land then just raising cattle and ranching. She has a secret. And Charli also has a plan, one that has everything to do with her misguided past.

Unfortunately Charli has no idea that she has just stepped in to a family war over the land she now owns. Her new ranch manager Dylan Quinn takes on the task of helping Charli rebuild a ranch that has been in his family for generations.

“I had no way of knowing I’d stepped into the feud between Forest County’s own version of the Hatfeilds and the McCoy’s”

Well she did, and Dylan let’s her know it. Dylan is ex-military he was a special forces commander but learned everything there is to know about ranching from his grandfather. Dylan’s sister Tracy, whom he currently lives with is the one who told him to apply for the job at the ranch. She is tired of watching her brother waste away.. Dylan spends most of his days getting drunk and nursing the wounds of his broken heart courtesy of his ex-wife.

The relationship between Dyaln and Charli is rocky at first both have fragile hearts and were once wronged by lovers. Slowly these two become friends and eventually lovers. But Dylan is not the only one who wants Charli. Her neighbor Leon who owns the ranch next to hers and who also just so happens to be Dylan’s uncle has his sights set on Charli. Leon is rich and Dylan starts to feel inferior. Miscommunication or rather lack of communication puts Charli in Leon’s arms. Though internally she admits that she would have not chosen his arms to be in...

Dylan questions Charli’s feelings for him when he spots her and Leon kissing. He assumes that Leon is the one she wants. This of course creates some drama. A LOT OF DRAMA.

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Like a monk, he’d fought the lust burning him alive since the first day she answered her door wearing a robe. As he worked, he hadn’t missed the desire smoldering in her tilted turquoise eyes. Could even a monk continue to resist temptation with the knowledge an angel wanted him as much as he wanted her?’  ~Inner monologue of Dylan

“Right or wrong, good or bad, I want to have sex with you right here and right now.”

Unable to keep from ripping eachothers clothes off any longer Charli and Dylan come together and the sex is F I R E!

Charli decides that decides to follow her heart.

‘Despite her vow never to do it again, she was falling in love with Dylan Quinn.’
 ~Inner monologue of Charli

Murder, Jealousy and Greed threaten to take everything away from Charli, because like she said  
“I had no way of knowing I’d stepped into the feud between Forest County’s own version of the Hatfeilds and the McCoy’s”

She had no clue people would kill for her land.

My Thoughts

I surprisingly enjoyed this book. The writing was good although at times the story felt a tiny bit predictable nevertheless it was over rode by the plot which was strong and held my rapt attention. The heroine was strong and had that easy, sexy sway to her character. The hero on the other hand seemed to possess a strong masculine manner yet held back his dominance due to a past heartbreak. I do not like for my hero to hold back on the dominance. Because of this he lacked that alpha male domineering quality that I seek in my reads. Do not get it twisted though I fell for Dylan just as hard as Charli did. Trust me, he put it on her!lol!

Overall this was a good read and I plan to continue with the series! Check it out!

My Ratings
Characters- Lovable and sweet
Writing Style- Good, definitely held my attention
Plot/Storyline- Sexy with a touch Suspense
Steam Factor- Medium/ Moderately Steamy
Overall- I enjoyed it!! Check it out!

Now go forth and read. Then come tell us about it!
*Copy kindly provided by the author for an honest review*

“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.

Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”

“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”

“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”

He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”

Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his slides. “What boys?”

“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”

She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.

“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”

She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”

She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”

“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”

Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”

“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”

Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”

Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.

Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”

“We’ll see.”

“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”

Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.
She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.

 Sara is hosting a TOUR WIDE giveaway for a $5.00 Amazon/B&N Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter.  Please  leave a VALID EMAIL ADDRESS with your comment. 


  1. Great Review! Thank you so much for hosting!!

  2. This books sounds really good and good review! Thanks for the

  3. Wow this book sounds so exciting! I am looking forward to reading it, thanks for the post & giveaway!

  4. Awesome review. Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Awesome review. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. This sounds good; added it to my TBR! Thanks for the chance to win!

    nichols7577 at hotmail dot com

  7. Loved the review. Cannot wait to read. Thank you for the giveaway.

  8. Awesome review! Thanks for the giveaway.

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