Wild, the new Lori Foster contemporary will likely delight fans of Linda Howard’s Mackenzie Family series. It has many of the same elements: the tightly knit group of extremely macho men, one of whom is involved with an independent, spunky woman who, despite herself, responds well to possessive, protective, extremely sexual behavior. Unfortunately, I am not a big Linda Howard fan, and some of these elements are things that I find particularly annoying.
Zane Winston is the only Winston brother who has yet to be felled by his family’s love curse. He is still a bachelor – a complete hound, really – and quite happy with his life. Then one day, a woman comes into his computer shop and whispers “I want you.” He doesn’t know what to make of this strange woman. She’s dressed like a New Age gypsy, and she turns him on big time. But if she’s willing, hey, he’s game.
Tamara Tremayne has been watching Zane from afar for quite some time. She’s very attracted to him, but she doesn’t have the courage to do anything about it until she unearths an old journal full of erotic suggestions and advice. When Zane responds to her, she is excited, but she resolves to limit their relationship to sex. After all, it looks like she won’t be in town long. Her New Age store is regularly being vandalized, and she’s made up her mind to sell it before it becomes too much of a liability. She doesn’t count on Zane’s protective instincts becoming aroused along with the rest of him. And when they are, she doesn’t know what to make of it. This can’t be love, can it?
This book had some good points. The story moved pretty quickly. I certainly didn’t have to force my way through it. It was also very hot; Foster knows how to write a good love scene. But it also contained a number of elements that I find irritating. I don’t favor extremely horny characters or lusty internal monologue – this book had both in spades. Tamara and Zane are initially only attracted to each other sexually, and they hook up with the express purpose of having sex. I did not find this to be very romantic. Then I had to listen to Zane’s lust-crazed thought processes. He was forever thinking about how he’d like to sink into Tamara’s warm wetness (or something very similar). Tamara was almost as bad. I think seven of the last 10 romances I’ve read contain the exact same same wording. Enough already.
Then there’s the domestication fantasy. Men who are complete dogs do not reform overnight. They just don’t. They don’t fall in love with women who approach them for sex. They use said women for sex and then say good-bye. Men who have Chippendale bodies and notched-up bedposts do not have soft little hearts of mush. This is a nice fantasy, but, in my opinion, it is not very believable.
The time frame of the novel doesn’t do anything to add to the believability quotient. A couple of days after meeting Tamara, Zane is already hooked. He goes from not even knowing of her existence to making her the center of his life in less than three days. I simply don’t believe that a fairly ordinary woman can turn a playboy into husband material in three days on the strength of her sexual response alone. And, it’s not enough that this happens to Zane, it apparently happened to all three of his brothers. One brother hanging around Zane and razzing him about finally falling in love would have been fine, but three made it overkill and a whole lot less likely. I frankly prefer family members to be less intrusive. And since none of the brothers was particularly well defined as a character (they all have their own stories, but I haven’t read them), I suppose they are there to show the reader how happy things have turned out for them. Since I don’t know them, I don’t really care how happy they are.
I know that there are people, probably lots of people, who would enjoy Wild. Fans of Linda Howard, Christine Feehan, Dara Joy 1998, and Johanna Lindsey will probably find plenty to like here. But it contained too many of my personal pet peeves to really enjoy, so I can only recommend it to readers with different tastes than mine.