Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Blurb from Goodreads:
Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.
Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.
*I received a free ARC of Wild Child from Bantam via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Wild Child surprised me, because I thought I would only get a quick, light and superficial chick-lit based on the blurb, what I got was a complex story with characters who had to fight their demons in order to move forward in their lives. Jackson and Monica seem to be complete opposites, she is a former reality TV star and he is the mayor of a small town. Monica has been jet-setting, writing tell-all books and appears to be a woman who will never settle. Jackson has raised his younger sister for the past seven years, after their parents died in an accident, and he feels as if he has put his own life on hold.
The intricacy of the characters in Wild Child was the first pleasant surprise I got when I started reading, because both Monica and Jackson are very different from the persona they show the world. Of course, Monica has shown herself to the world on a much larger scale than Jackson, but they are both very good at hiding their inner selves from everybody else. And this is is why they have some things in common, even when they seem to come from two different worlds.
As they start to uncover both their own and the other’s secrets, the readers learn a lot about human nature, and I especially appreciated the way Monica’s past in reality TV is dealt with. She never really had a choice but to be a part of her mother’s show, and since she rebelled and and left as soon as she could, the only thing she now feels comfortable doing is to write books where she shares even more secrets with her fans. Jackson has taken on so much responsibility for the good of others, but he resents both his town and his sister now, he wants to just get away from it all and live like he thought he could have when he first left for College.
Wild Child is about characters daring to analyze their inner feelings, their hidden selves and to be honest with the people they love. At the same time, Monica and Jackson also discover each other, and because they manage to be mostly honest with each other, they share some very strong moments. They also share some extremely hot moments, but things don’t start out the way the usually do in a romance novel, and it was truly refreshing to read about a hero like Jackson, how he put Monica’s needs above his own, how he wanted to make sure she realized how special she was. Monica has a lot of skeletons hidden in her closet, the biggest one being her relationship with her mother. And even as Monica starts to change and see both the world and herself in a different light, the one person she is sure cannot change is her mother.
The writing is like a flowing river, a little faster in some places, slowing down in others. The characters are well developed and easy to relate to, even if I have nothing at all in common with either of them. The story itself is compelling, and I could not put Wild Child down once I started it. The cast of secondary characters is well-balanced and the readers get to know a lot about them as well, not only the two main characters.
Second chances, new beginnings, forgiveness and honesty are all themes that are on the forefront in Wild Child, mix this up with some very good looking characters who can make you hot just by a touch, and you have the recipe for a beautiful story filled with romance and amazing encounters. If you enjoy romance that seems real, characters who aren’t exactly the way they appear and a story that is not afraid to include things that might be a little uncomfortable, you should definitely pick up Wild Child. I know I will be picking up other books from this author in the future.
Something about Monica managed to put a spotlight on every single wrong and dirty thing he’d abstained from in the last seven years.
Growing up as she had, rootless and wandering, Monica had made a study of homes. And the difference between a house and a home wasn’t anything you could point at; it was a feeling.
She was good at denying those memories. Had been doing it for years, pushing them away, drinking them away, fucking them away.
“I like that,” he murmured, and she wanted to tell him to shut up, that talking was ruining the psychotic break she was enjoying.
“The whole point of books, of art in general is to experience empathy. To allow ourselves to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. And as a writer, you’ve got to do that. You have to learn that.”