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Book CoverSandy M’s review of The Wild Ones by M. Leighton
Contemporary Romance published by Berkley Trade 5 Mar 13

After reading Ms. Leighton’s Down to You, I was eager to get started on this book. I like her style of writing and enjoy her characters. As much as I liked that Bad Boys book, I like this one even better.

That’s due to the fact this book has a bit more of a story to it. And I like the heroine more than Olivia in DtY. Even though Cami also has a problem going for exactly what she wants, she does decide to give it her all much, much sooner than Olivia ever does. And I love the hero, Trick. They literally bump into each other in a bar, instantaneous attraction when their eyes meet. When introductions are made:

“So do clumsy strangers have names in this place? Or are you just called Bull in a China Shop?” The lopsided grin comes back.

“Patrick, but my friends call me Trick.”

“Trick? As in trick or treat? That kind of trick?”

He laughs and my stomach flutters. It actually flutters. “Yep. That kind of trick.” He sobers and leans in close to me. “Cami, can I ask a favor?”

I’m breathless again. He’s so close I can count every hair in the stubble that dusts his tanned cheeks. For just a second, his clean manly scent overrides the cigarette smoke and stale beer smell of the bar.

I lose my voice – again – so I nod.

“Pick ‘treat.’ Please, for the love of God, pick ‘treat.'”

And that charisma and charm and swagger never once lets up throughout the book. Even when he learns about Cami’s boyfriend. Even when he discovers Cami is the daughter of his boss. Even when their families’ past comes to light. They have to overcome all of these one at a time. Of course, they also have to deal with their own responsibilities – Trick’s need to take care of his family, Cami’s need to become independent of her father.

Being the man of the house after his father’s death, Trick left his dreams behind to go home for his mother and little sister. Now working for Jack Hines, with the horses Trick loves, things are beginning to turn around, but it’s still going to take a while before he’ll be able to get back to his own life. Cami’s life has been easy since her father made it big and she now runs in higher society circles, has a boyfriend her father basically chose for her, and is now being forced to really look at her life.

But in between all of this, the sexual tension between these two is like lightning strikes flashing off the page, which then transforms into a full swirling storm once they hit the sheets. The closer they become, they suddenly notice their parents acting strangely, and their world begins to fall apart. The emotion flowing from chapter to chapter late in the book when neither knows what to do or wants to be the one to make the first move in such bleakness is palpable.

Ms. Leighton puts together great stories with the right amount of tension and emotion. Those pesky exclamation points still pepper the pages a bit too much for me, but I’m able to overlook them most of the time when given characters like Trick and Cami. Again, the book is in first person, which I always enjoy, along with a different POV for every chapter. I’m not sure the reader needs to be told whose POV it is every time, but the concept still works.

Pick this book up. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, just as I’ve been.

SandyMGrade: B+


Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.
Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines.  She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses.  Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.
But that was before she met Patrick Henley.
“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her.  He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her.  And Trick needs his job.  Desperately.  His family depends on him.
The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles.  At least the ones they know of.
When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome.  It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.

Read an excerpt.