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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Review: Born To Be Wilde

Born To Be Wilde
by Janelle Denison

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 is the last of the Wilde family members to get their book, and Joel didn't disappoint. Having read a few of the earlier books, I don't have much of a memory of Joel being a standout in the family scenes in those books. The reason for that is explained in this book. Joel is a bit of an outsider, even within his own family.

He is asked to protect the sister of one of his old Marine friends and the sparks fly. Both of them are very attracted to each other, but Joel feels a sense of duty to her brother and doesn’t want to cross that line. Obviously, Joel denying their attracting is annoying to Lora, and she does everything in her power to weaken his resolve.

I really loved this book. Everything about the story and characters helped easily make it the one of the best contemporary books I’ve read all year. Lora is a character that is easy to like and relate to. She is a care-giver who doesn’t expect anyone to take care of her. She is a perceptive friend and lover, challenging the other characters to be better and calling them out on their “stuff”. Joel is sexy, smart and fun. But he’s also deeper and more complex than I expected. The sexual scenes are incredibly hot, and the emotional scenes are both touching and poignant.

One of the brightest parts of the book is the subplot of Sydney, Lora’s longtime friend, her 15 year-old daughter, Cassie, and Cassie’s math teacher, Daniel. I connected to the way Sydney is devoted to her daughter and wanted to make sure that she didn’t make the same mistakes that she did. Daniel is sweet, giving, sexy, patient, and the perfect counter to Sydney’s over-the-top personality. He challenges her in ways I didn’t expect, and I was rewarded with a truly wonderful subplot that enriched this book exponentially.

Semper fi, the Marines’ motto, means “always faithful.” I couldn’t think of a better phrase to sum up Joel Wilde.

Review by Aster