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Raising the Stakes by [Rock, Karen]
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Raising the Stakes Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author


"What about the cub?"

His gaze swerved to hers. "I'll have to put it down if I can't find the mother."

Vivie clutched the back of a chair, lightheaded and nauseous. "What? No!" How could he say that so casually?

"I've called around and our wildlife rehabilitators are overloaded. Since the cub is too young to fend for itself, the humane thing to do is--"

"Kill it?" she stormed, interrupting. "How is that humane?" The cub's frightened eyes came to mind and she backed up against the pantry door. Officer or not, he wouldn't take the bear. Stop her from helping.[KR1]  It'd come to her home. Had sought refuge here.

He pulled off his hat and rubbed his forehead. "Ma'am, I don't expect you to understand. But you need to trust me and move aside so that I can do my job."

"Not a chance," she ground out, wishing her pepper spray wasn't across the room.

"Please be reasonable." He raised his eyebrows, looking harmless. His holstered weapon told a different story.

Maybe she could reason with him, though she'd failed before. There had to be a way to save the cub. "How do you become a wildlife rehabilitator?"

He drew in a long breath and crossed his arms over his chest. "Pass a certification test then work under the supervision of a rehabilitator for six months."

Tests. She hated them. Had only ever done well on presentation-style exams in culinary school. Still, for the baby bear...anything. "And when is the next one?"

"In a week." He made a vague motion in the air with his hand. "Look. I'd be happy to discuss that with you another time, but the cub might be suffering. Please step aside so that I can take it."

She raised her voice over her drumming heartbeat. "I'll pass the test. Get certified."

He ran a hand through his hair, making the curl-tipped ends stand up. "You'd have to study hundreds of pages of online material. It's not easy. Trust me. I took it and barely finished my apprenticeship before my academy training started."

"So you're a certified wildlife rehabilitator? You could care for it."

His chin jerked. "I already have a job."

Her mind shifted into overdrive, churning up possibilities. "Not next week. You said you're on vacation. You could take her while I study for the test."

He blew out a long breath. "I don't have an enclosure--something you'll need along with someone to supervise you."

She tried to come across as commanding, though at five-foot-three inches that was always a challenge. "You could help with both."

He shook his head, his earnest expression replaced with a wash of annoyance. "Out of the question. There are too many ifs in that idea."

She tried keeping the heat out of her voice. The DEC. Always so difficult. Especially Walsh. "Why? I'm sure you could call in a favor. Ask one of the rehabilitators to find temporary space for the cub. Then I'll pass the test and, with your help, be approved to care for it. Don't you want to do the right thing?"

Wasn't that his job?

"I do. Which is why I'm taking the bear. Now."

"Not a chance. You'll have to go through me first." She hated to sound dramatic, use a cheesy line from bad TV, but there was no other way to say it.

A crease appeared between his brows, his eyes scanning hers. Finally, he released a long breath.

"How about this--I'll take her to the vet where they'll check her jaw, give her some food and a safe place to stay, temporarily, while I continue investigating."

She considered, wishing she could trust him. But after her dealings with him before, her faith was on the short side.

"Let's try this," she countered. "I'll go with you and stay with the bear until you come back. Then we'll talk about what happens next."

He settled his hat back on, pinching the indented top. "There's no reason to get more involved, ma'am."

She pulled out her cell and tapped in Maggie's number. Someone could come by and pick up the pies. Another worker would be called in for an extra shift. The Homestead would manage without her today. She wasn't leaving the cub's side until she knew it'd be safe--from nature and the DEC.

"It's much too late for that, Officer Walsh."

She studied him for a long, heavy moment, then moved aside. If the cub's mother was dead, then she'd take on the role.

And nothing was more ferocious than a mama bear...

Product Details

  • File Size: 814 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming (April 1, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2015
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,568,605 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is my second time reading something by this author and I must say that I wasn't let down. Raising The Stakes is a heartwarming love story about two people, Vivienne and Liam and the cuddly circumstance that thrusts them together.
Vivienne has come to the Adirondacks looking to rebuild her life in peace and quiet, after leaving her life in the city behind. She enjoyed the quiet all the way up until she finds her kitchen ransacked by an orphaned bear cub who she decides to love and protect. Unfortunately her idea of protecting the bear cub clashes directly with Liam's intentions.

Raising The Stakes explores the relationship between two people who have to very different ideas about what it means to give Button a safe life. It transcends the story of Button's rehabilitation, revealing the real heart of the story to be the rehabilitation of Vivi and Liam.
Both coping with the tragic events that drove them to the Adirondacks both of them have very contrasting views on many things, most importantly... safety.
Vivi equates being safe with be careful, not deviating away from her all. She moves through her new life with meticulous care, whereas Liam lives with the fear and knowledge that danger was found in forming attachments. He lives his life refusing to be attached to any space or anyone ... not anymore.
"What good is life if you're too afraid to live it?"

I found both characters to be endearing and relatable. Rock did a great job in painting both of their perspectives. It was truly easy to see where both characters were coming from. Vivienne was truly strong (and strong willed) and I adored her for it. I think my favorite part is that this wasn't a love story about one person giving up everything for one person, rather like love more often is, it's about the compromise that two souls come to.

I truly adored this story and I am giving it a solid 4 star rating. I hope you enjoy it as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This post contains some of my favorite things. Harlequin Heartwarming + Clean Romance + Karen Rock. It all equals a happy me. :)

I don't think this was my very favorite book that Karen Rock has written, but it was still really good. I loved the setting and I could easily picture where the characters were and what they were doing. The characters were well developed and easy to like.

Both Vivie and Liam have inner demons that they struggle with. Vivie especially. Her isolated home is meant to seclude and protect her. She keeps to herself mostly and doesn't venture too far out of her safe circle of life.

Then a cute little bear cub shows up and it needs her. Vivie is forced to face some demons and expand her life outward. I love her growth and her strength. I love how Vivie fights for what she thinks is right. She fights for the underdog.

This is a slow growing romance, more focused on Vivie and her bear cub than romance, but it was so sweet and endearing. I enjoyed the story and I ended the book satisfied.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There is no doubt this is a heartwarming read of the best kind. If you are an animal lover you are going to want to read this heart touching, soul searching romance. Karen puts so much of herself in this book, so much sorrow, lose, pain. Three lost souls needing help all have demons from their past they must overcome to find a new life. Each must give of themselves to become whole and start life a new with love, tender loving care can this trio finds the match pair. You have one man who stays on the run, one women who needs a safe place and one cub who has the cards stack again her. These three are a most unlikely pair but together they can give each other what they need to start a new if only they follow their hearts. There is so much you are going to love in this outstanding read….

My heart broke for all of them Vivie has so much pain trying to overcome her past to find a safe place to start her life over. Before she can do that she must come to face with the past that haunts her. When she find a bear cub her life changes in more ways than she can imagine. She is just a wonderful sweet, kind lady. She loves animals and does her best to help them if the DEC man Liam would just let her do it. Laim has other thought on the subject he is doing what he feels is right. When it comes to Buttons Vivie puts her foot down no one no how is going to take this new baby from her. She will take care of it at all cost.

Liam is a wonderful character he just needs to loosen up and learn to smile again. His past haunts him he is trying to outrun the pain and the memories. At some point he will have to stop and learn to start over leaving the past behind. He thinks he knows what is best but he might find he doesn’t have all the answers. He might just find a few he has been looking for….
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

What I liked most about Raising the Stakes was the focus on the animals, it is a romance book, but there’s also a lot about the animals. The story follows Vivie who finds a bear cub eating her pies, she realizes the bear is hurt and tries to find help for him. Then officer Liam enters the picture and that’s the start of a great story and their romance. They start out as enemies on opposing sides, but grow closer slowly. I wasn’t a big fan of the conflict and how they always seem to fight with each other. I did however like the story and the beautiful setting in the woods. I love nature settings for books, so the setting really worked for me and Vivie her house sounds like a place I would love to live!

There’s also a cameo appearance from some characters from Karen her book Someone Like You, it was small, but the male main character from this book is the brother of the male main character in Someone Like You. I was a bit surprised at first as it didn’t list this book as being connected with that one, but it’s pretty small detail. So it’s more an extra bit of fun if you have read that book first, but if not you don’t miss it either. So I would still count them as standalones.

I instantly connected with Vivie, she fiercely loves her pets and I could relate to that. She’s been through some hard things and struggles with that, but gradually she grows and it was beautiful to see, there’s this scene at a bus stop that was really poignant and a turning point for her. Button also stole my heart, she’s the bear cub Vivie finds eating her pies and she’s adorable. I really felt for Button and what she had been through and kept hoping she would get her happy ending as well.
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