Walk on the Wild Side
I never really paid that much attention to the word “Extra” in the title of Harlequin Presents Extra, aside from knowing that the Extra books are a little more modern in their plots and characters than the regular Presents line. However, after reading Walk on the Wild Side I can’t help wondering if it stands for extra steamy as well.
Kelsi Reid, geek extraordinaire, is on her way to an unwanted spa appointment that her male boss and male co-workers gave her as a birthday present and thank you for her considerable work. It isn’t that she doesn’t appreciate the thought, but she has a very good reason for dressing and looking the way she does. In a frenzy because of her tardiness, she multi-tasks driving and combing her hair and sort of hits a pedestrian. Shocked at the thought that she might have killed someone, she is rescued by same semi-injured, dazzling, impressive pedestrian.
Jack Greene is barely bumped by the car. In fact the sound that Kelsi hears is him pounding the hood with his fist. But in evading the car he twists his knee, the same one that he had surgery on a couple of weeks ago. Seeing that Kelsi is more traumatized by the near miss then he is, he takes her to get a cup of coffee. He is amused when he sees a comb stuck in the back of her hair, and sets out to remove it. As he is doing so, he is aroused by her soft, curly hair, her scent, and her full lips. Even though she is definitely not his type, he finds himself charming her into a day at the beach.
Jack is a professional snowboarder with his sights set on an Olympic gold medal. He is off to Canada the next day for training, and is completely upfront about it with Kelsi. Jack makes Kelsi feel wanton, and desirable because no man has ever looked at her like he does. Embracing the feeling of recklessness, they have passionate sex on the beach.
A month later Kelsi has submerged herself in work, hoping to forget Jack, who is having less then stellar training results because Kelsi is still on his mind. Taking a needed break, he decides to visit Kelsi, and see if he can break this hold she has on him. As Kelsi and Jack are getting re-acquainted she makes a joke about how her life has changed dramatically since he left. His heart stops, immediately thinking that she is pregnant, while Kelsi only meant it as a joke. Now counting back, Kelsi realizes that it could be true. Four positive tests later, both are in shock with different ideas of how to handle the situation. Jack wants to be involved, and Kelsi wants to handle it alone. Can they find common ground between them?
There is so much to like about this book. The pacing is fast, the sex scenes steamy, the writing polished. The author gives the couple a very legitimate conflict and that is my biggest problem with the book. Jack and Kelsi have spent minimum time together, she is pregnant, the pregnancy multiplies childhood fears for both, their lifestyles are completely different as he is a gorgeous high adrenaline jock and she a geeky girl with freaky contacts. I realize that Harlequin books do have a history of mismatched heroines and heroes and I have enjoyed plenty of them, but the multitude of issues combined stressed my ability to accept that this couple is a good match or that they could work it all out in such a short timespan. However, the book has its good moments and if you truly believe that “love conquers all,” then you may enjoy it more then I did.