From the author:

Reality TV, riches, and a race for romance! What’s not to like?

For Easton Cooper, everything—except a chance at one million dollars. Desperate for cash, he’ll even compete on an outrageous action-adventure reality show, and he hates reality TV. As luck would have it, he’s thrust into his element, a series of outdoor challenges in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. But there’s a catch—he’s staring across the meadow at his partner—a tan, hot, out-of-place California girl, wearing heels and a formal dress in the middle of freaking nowhere—and she will not bring him down! Even if he has to drag her across the finish line.

Amity Rose wants an adventure. No one told her that “dress accordingly” meant deck out in hardcore mountain gear. So she wore strappy heels and a fancy dress to the opening scene. So she hates bugs, cold air, tents, campfires—must she go on? Now all the contestants think she’s a pampered princess—and to add to her bad luck, her partner is the worst—a gangly, overconfident, know-it-all mountain trail guide. Did the directors just add a romantic twist to the drama? Sure, why not? Maybe she’ll leave the race with something more valuable than money. Just not with him!

Crush in the Cascades is a full-length contemporary romance that can be read as a standalone. It features an emotionally-charged, enemies-to-lovers romance weaved into an action-packed, fast-moving plot.

Even though I’m not a fan of reality TV (aside from Top Chef,) I still found a lot to like here. Easton & Amity meet as contestants on a “Survivor” type reality TV show. Or maybe it’s more like that race one, what do I know. Basically the contestants have to team up as boy/girl couples for challenges. Is that really a thing in reality TV? The ones who come in last are out, and the couple that wins gets an advantage. It’s set in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon (I’m assuming that’s real, but what does this geographically challenged east coast girl know?) The challenges are things like chopping wood, racing on a trail, starting a fire, etc. Outdoorsy stuff.

Easton has a big advantage here – he is a mountain climbing tour guide from Aspen, Colorado. On the other hand, Amity shows up in designer duds and high heels, earning her a few not-so-nice nicknames. Easton is here for the money; his best friend and business partner has some sort of rare heart disease that can be treated, but not through insurance. So Easton wants to win the money to save his friend’s life.

Amity isn’t as bad as she seems. Turns out she is a runner, and that gives her a leg up more than once. She’s also good at doing puzzles, another plus for her, and her balance is nothing short of amazing – but her true skill is that she is terrific at thinking outside the box. She is here because she lost her father, and he always wanted her to travel and go on adventures. So she is here for the adventure.

Amity is a beautiful girl, and somehow she gets under Easton’s skin, despite her lack of skills. This is a sort of enemies to lovers trope; they start off hating one another and eventually fall in love. But there are many hurdles (no pun intended) to get through before they find their happily ever after. There is a super cute ending as well, which hopefully will lead to another book, making this a series? We shall see.

All in all, this was a fun read, especially I imagine, if you love those outdoorsy sort of reality TV shows. It’s light, funny, and sweet, making this a winner and a terrific escape. And since these past couple of weeks have been just brutal, it was much appreciated.

7/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

CRUSH IN THE CASCADES by Lisa S. Gayle. ASIN:‎ B09Z9LBHHS. 324p. 


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