Burning Wild features ultra-alpha, ultra-rich, ultra-macho hero Jake Bannaconni who can shapeshift into a leopard. This is a sequel to Wild Rain which got a very good review here. As for this book…..well, sorry, but I didn’t like it.
Ryan and Cathy Bannaconni hated their son Jake at first sight. They married, not for love, but in the hopes that their genetics would produce a powerful shapeshifter. Alas, their baby son resembled a skinny rat and they treated him with abominable cruelty. They were too self absorbed and cruel to realize that despite his unprepossessing appearance, Jake really was the shapeshifter they had hoped for. Jake endured all their cruelty and suppressed his inner beast until a legacy from his great-grandfather gave him independence and a financial start. Using that money, and his feline senses, he soon became a multi-billionaire. Emotionally scarred by his early abuse, Jake is an aloof, unfeeling man who only comes alive when he shifts and runs around his estate at night.
Aloof he may be, but Jake is no monk and has an affair with socialite Shaina Trent. She becomes pregnant, and although he cares nothing for her, Jake is determined to get custody of his child. Jake is chasing Shaina and her drunken boyfriend who are out joyriding when they are killed in a wreck, along with Andrew Reynolds, an innocent man. Andy’s pregnant wife Emma is injured but the paramedics are able to deliver Jake’s son whom he names Kyle. Jake takes charge at the hospital and hires Emma as Kyle’s nanny. He is powerfully drawn to Emma and although He Cannot Love Her, he is determined to keep her near to him. ”Make no mistake, Emma Reynolds. You will be my possession.”
Emma settles in and begins to run things like Supergirl (although she is confined to bed). When Cathy Bannaconni gets wind of things, she comes by spewing bile from every pore, but Jake cuts her off. Emma has her baby, a girl named Andraya, and Jake is her adoptive father. Jake is still powerfully drawn to Emma and wants her to be his, but insists that he can’t even comprehend the meaning of love. Yet he still wants her.
This goes on for quite some time and frankly, I got bored out of my skull reading page after page after page of musing, whining and sex and sex and sex. I thought that Jake was a foul-mouthed sociopath and not in the least sexy. Yeah, yeah, he was raised by a couple of sociopaths himself, but he seemed to have inherited almost all their bad traits.
Emma was not exactly a doormat, but she isn’t exactly a strong character either. I can’t help but think she will end up totally overwhelmed by Jake. He is so strong, so alpha, and such a jerk that I ended up seriously disliking him.
Burning Wild has some stomach churning scenes of child abuse, mostly by Jake’s mother Cathy who is one of the most foul villains I have encountered in some time. I couldn’t help but think that the book would have been better if it had been shorter. At 480 pages, it’s a long one but most of that length is frankly boring. At the beginning and the end, the story takes over and things begin to move quickly but the middle sags dreadfully.
I’ve read a couple of books in Feehan’s Carpathian series, but I never got interested in them. While I like an alpha male hero, he has to have some charm, and some humanity. Jake was an animal, even in his human form, and Emma was too weak to counter him. If your tolerance for alpha jerks is higher than mine, you might enjoy this book, but I did not.