Wild at Heart
Zoe York adds another volume to her consistently good Pine Harbour series of romances with Wild at Heart, in which the small town’s sweetheart falls for an unimpressed search and rescue team member. This isn’t my favorite York, or even my favorite Pine Harbour book; it’s lack of logic keeps it from a higher grade, yet Catie and Will have strong chemistry.
Catie Berton thinks Will Kincaid is a dick, even though everyone else in town seems to adore him. His brusque responses – and eventual lack of response – to her attempts to get some volunteer help for a Pine Harbour Cares charity event doesn’t improve her opinion of him and he doesn’t warm up to her as she tries to involve herself in other town charities and activities. She’s a hairdressing real estate agent with multiple charities and multiple friendships to support as well – the girl is busy. If she can take the time to send emails, she reasons, so can he. She joins Pine Harbour’s search and rescue team to prove herself, not attract him, thank you very much.
Catie doesn’t know that Will has a lot of stuff on his plate and is reaching a boiling point. He’s principal at an elementary school who has to deal with brawling, foul-mouthed students and is the head of a large family whose parents died young. Adding helping Catie out to his already large load of responsibilities is just one more thing that he has no time for, but he’ll do anything for his students, which is how he ends up on the search and rescue team. So when she’s in his way all the time every single moment of the day, he gets annoyed and frustrated.
Things begin to shift when Catie and Will end up stuck together in the same truck during a road trip on the way to a team competition. Can romance rise above their conflict? They have twelve weeks of training to find out.
Well, yes, but not without a further oversized to-do. Wild at Heart is complicated by the fact that we never really grasp why Will and Catie don’t get on in the first place, and honestly they’re both equally to blame – he for ignoring her, she for jumping to conclusions – and really, they’re two totally overworked people who have no ability to say no to the people in their lives – but that’s no reason to think the worst of the other person in the situation.
I really liked Will but Catie is just the tiniest bit grating. Then again, I could see many qualities of hers in my own behavior and reasoning. Ahh, the complexity of seeing yourself in someone else.
As always, York knows romance, so once the pair get over their silly misunderstanding there’s heat and cuteness to spare. They’re like peas and carrots – a fun combination that’s exciting to look at (unless you hate vegetables). We get another peek into the ever-expanding world of the Kincaid family and their affianced and romantically-entranced friends and peers, and as always the author clearly understands what being in a fireperson/rescue family is like, and does a good job of reflecting that world.
And yet I can’t recommend Wild at Heart for anyone but those addicted to the Pine Harbour series. There are simply other books in it that work better for me.