Thursday, October 18, 2007

Born to be Wilde by Janelle Denison

This, sadly, is the last book in the Wilde family series. Blurb (courtesy of Ex-Marine turned security specialist Joel Wilde thrives on the high-wire thrills that come with his job. And he isn’t about to give all that up to settle down – not even with a sexy woman like Lora Marshall. Which means that while he’s protecting her from a violent gang, he’ll need to set a few ground rules to keep things professional. Good thing he’s always been a rule-breaker at heart!

This made up for the minor disappointment of Too Wilde to Tame. I enjoyed Born to Be Wilde a lot. In fact, I think it was my favorite of the series, except for Wilde Thing. (Steve will always hold my heart.) Under the guise of protecting the sister of a marine buddy, Joel meets up with Lora and attempts to fight off a rip-roaring attraction to her. Lora, in the meantime, sees no reason to fight it. There is a terrific secondary romance between Lora's best friend and her daughter's high school math teacher (a hottie in his own right).

What I liked: I really liked the hero. Joel was sexy, vulnerable, thoughtful, alpha but not too alpha, a family man who always felt a little bit on the outside, a great friend, did I mention sexy? Those Wilde boys like their motorcycles. Mmmmmmm.

I liked Lora, too. It's unusual for me to come right out and say I liked the heroine. She was tough, but understanding. Strong and independent, but not to the point of stupidity. A loving sister, who knew when to give the tough love - difficult as it was for her, a great BFF to Sydney, a great surrogate aunt to Cassie.

I liked the secondary romance. It's unusual for there to be room in a Wilde romance novel for a secondary storyline. The Wilde men are so strong that they take up the entire story. But Sydney and Daniel were a fantastic secondary story. Just enough to be involving, but not enough to overwhelm the main romance between Joel and Lora.

Denison explores the problems that losing a parent young can heap upon a child, and how that can carry forth into the rest of their relationships throughout their lives. In Sydney's romance, she adds onto that how having a child young, and the circumstances leading up to that, can pile on major trust issues and that if one isn't careful, one's attitudes can color your children's outlook on life and their trust in people as well.

What didn't I like? Not enough Wilde family. Usually in each Wilde book, there is a tremendous interaction with the rest of the Wilde family. While there was, indeed some interaction here, particularly with Mia (Joel's sister, and the only Wilde female), most of the interaction was with the Wilde wives. Interesting departure, but I really missed seeing the joking, loving relationships among the Wilde men. Of course, Denison went out of her way to build into Joel's character that distance between him and the other men, so it's not completely out of character that he wouldn't have that easy, goofy, fun-loving dialogue and mutual love and respect that appeared between all the brothers and cousins in the other books. But, hey, I still missed it.

All in all, this was a great end to the Wilde family books. Denison is "kind of" continuing with this series by carrying on with Joel's business partners' stories. Wild for Him is up this summer.

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