Wilder for the Win
Grade : B+

I'm a fan of Bell's Wilder series and had thought there'd be six books, one for each Wilder sibling. It appears, however, that the story of the lone female Wilder, the already married Amanda, is told in a short story included in the anthology Tinsel and Tatas. This collection, a charitable endeavor in support of the Young Survival Coalition, an international organization focusing on women ages 40 and under diagnosed with breast cancer, comes out this week. The anthology has several well-known names in it including Bell's and I look forward to reading more of its stories. This review, however, is only for Wilder for the Win.

What you really want to know is: Is this story worth the 99 cents the anthology costs? The answer: Yes.

It's a challenge to write a contemporary romance about an already married couple. All of the traditional steps that propel much of romance--first date, first kiss, first sex, first fight--are in the past. And if the problem the couple faces is too huge, the love story can feel overly heavy. In this story, Amanda and Heath have been married since they were 19, have three adorable kids, and are surrounded by loving family and friends. But, like so many parents, they feel swamped by their kids, their jobs, and their inability to get enough sleep. I have so been there--Bell's description of that life is spot on.

Amanda and Heath love each other and think the other is as hot as a kiln in August. But they haven't had sex in three months, two weeks, three days and two hours and neither really understands why. Amanda is determined to get her damn husband back in the sack and has decided today (and tonight) is the perfect time--the story takes place in a single day during which the Wilder family hosts Rush Creek's holiday season Winter Games and Gala. She's got not one but two super sexy outfits--one for the Games and one for the Gala--and she's gone all out with her makeup and her hair. But when she shows up in the kitchen in outfit #1--a red low cut sweater with reindeer pom-poms aligned with her nipples--Heath, unloading the dishwasher, barely seems to notice.

It's not, however, that Heath doesn't notice--he sure as shit does--but he thinks Amanda is so overwhelmed by their life that she doesn't want him to make any moves on her. It's a classic Big Mis.

The story is written in alternating first person which works beautifully. Heath is a lovey man who adores his wife and kids and his voice is less strident than Amanda's--he's puzzled about their lack of sex but cares first and foremost about supporting his bae. Amanda, the only girl of six, is more frustrated than puzzled. Both, like all in the Wilder world, are very funny and easy to empathize with. I laughed out loud more than once in this 40-ish page story and rooted for the two of them to find their sexual connection again.

If you like the other Wilder books, this is a must read. It is, it must be said, too short. I wish Bell had written Amanda at least a novella rather than a short story, but given its length, this is satisfying, sweet, sexy read.

Buy it at Amazon

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Reviewed by Dabney Grinnan
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 2, 2021

Publication Date: 10/2021

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Dabney Grinnan

Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day. Publisher at AAR.
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