Something Wild by Patti Berg is a 2002 cowboy romance between a Las Vegas showgirl and a Wyoming ranch manager who is also the local pastor. The hero I loved. The heroine I hated. One-quarter of the book is devoted to a horse chase and pretty boring with pages and pages of how she feels about him. 🙁
2 out of 10 stars. Sloppy writing and a childish heroine ruin this novel.
Charity Wilde (not Wild) is a Las Vegas showgirl recovering from a shooting that was at least partially her fault. She’s unemployed and invited to a family Christmas so off she runs to Wyoming. Mike Flynn is a widower, pastor, and the ranch manager for Jack Remington who is Charity’s brother’s brother-in-law. (This is the third book in the Remington-Wilde series.) He’s hot; she’s hot. Together they sizzle, but I didn’t want to hear about it for 368 pages. I actually wanted to see it and see some romance. Unfortunately, the romantic moments were few and far between, not enough to sustain a 368-page novel.
Their first encounter is when a wild stallion named Satan approaches Charity one evening and she jumps right on. Mike chases after them and saves Charity’s life. Less than 12 hours later, she chases Mike while Mike chases Satan, determined to capture him and put him in a corral because he keeps taking the mares from their herd, including two very expensive Tennessee Walkers. Charity is wreckless and nauseatingly immature. She twirls her hair around her finger like a child and she does really dumb and dangerous stuff like galloping a horse up an icy ravine and poor Mike is the only one there to “save her”. Eventually she gets them both hurt and Mike stays away from her. Not a big surprise.
The rest of the novel is immature antics on her part and a serious look at his life on his part. They get hitched, a little too quickly, and of course their wedding night is like a big striptease that went on for way too many pages (more than 50 when it should’ve been 3). After Charity’s stupid behavior I honestly didn’t want Mike to waste time on her anymore. It was really high school stuff and these two are adults. Mike deserved an adult.
I’m not into the damsel in distress novels. I’m also not into novels that waste pages upon pages on describing sexual feelings between the heroine and hero. Charity is a virgin, but she lusts after Mike like a porn queen. Had the author chosen her words more carefully maybe I would’ve bought it, but I didn’t. She wears revealing clothes and then spends an inordinate amount of time being offended at all men who think she’s easy. And she carries this anger around like a badge of honor when there’s no honor in it. It’s offensive. Not all men are thinking in that direction, no matter how gorgeous you are. But if you walk around in a costume that has less acreage than a bikini, men are going to stare.
There were little things that didn’t seem right.
- Both the hero and heroine have black hair. Opposites attract. Two people who look alike wouldn’t. That’s almost incestuous.
- Several times he mentions her new sunkissed brown hair. How would he know she has black hair naturally?
- There’s lots of headhopping, jumping from one point of view character to another between paragraphs on the same page and even in the same paragraph which is really sloppy writing.
- On any given page there are on average six one-sentence paragraphs. Waaaaaaaaaay too many.
- Paragraphs are broken mid-thought within the same character’s dialogue and viewpoint which is worse than sloppy writing.
- Her friends obviously don’t know her. They want to get her laid and she’s a virgin. It didn’t make sense.
- His friends were charming. But the author kills one off at the end that was awkward at best, dumb at worst.
- Charity’s backstory was cliche and dumb. Her mother was a Vegas stage whore who abandoned her at age five. She was adopted by a strict pastor and his wife.
I was really looking forward to reading this novel. It’s rare to find a cowboy romance with a pastor and a virgin who seem to be a good fit. The showgirl may have left Vegas but she didn’t really leave Vegas. She also might have been a virgin, but she knew way too much about sex and erotic dancing to make it convincing. Which reminds me of the scene in True Lies where his wife is recruited to spy. She’s never seduced a man before and dresses like a hooker doing a pole dance where she falls over and almost knocks herself out. It’s painful to watch because she’s soooo awkward, but it’s funny as heck. That’s the kind of showgirl Mike deserved, a woman who could dress like that for him and do a pole dance on their bed pole. Not a Vegas showgirl who is so used to thinking sex and sex appeal and dressing in revealing clothing that she can’t keep it straight in her own head, much less someone else’s.
2 out of 10 stars.
Reviewed by Betsy.
Let’s see how this novel stacks up with Betsy’s Rules for Romance Novels:
- Marriage before sex. –> PASS, but so many lustful thoughts fill the pages before this moment it kind of ruined it
- At least one romantic event every 25 pages. –> EPIC FAIL, the two are apart for almost half the novel because of the heroine’s childish antics
- There must be mess. –> EPIC FAIL, this is not real life mess; it’s childish melodrama
- There must be an antagonist. –> EPIC FAIL, a wild stallion doesn’t count
- There must be a catastrophic event. –> EPIC FAIL, nope, none