by Joanne Rock

May 2003
ISBN: 0-373-79091-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #87
Mass Market Paperback

Wild and Wicked starts out with a bang...of pirate cannons as the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival sails into Tampa Bay. Kyra Stafford has decided that it is time to show business partner and best friend Jesse Chandler just how dangerous she can be. Donning a buccaneer costume, the lovely rancher sets out to kidnap the town’s notorious bad boy for a night of passion and pleasure. She has decided that she wants to have a “Jesse” experience before she buys out her silent partner and they drift apart with their own interests. Besides, she has had a crush on Jesse since she was a child, and has watched every other woman in town fall under his spell. Why should they be having all the fun?

Jesse Chandler is amused when Kyra abducts him at sword point. The outfit brings his attention to some of the aspects of Kyra’s “personality” that he had overlooked in her usual loose-fitting clothing. When she informs him that she plans to have her wicked way with him, Jesse is stunned. How can he fulfill her fantasies without sacrificing the friendship that means so much?

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, too. And then I kept on reading.

Wild and Wicked has all the elements of a good romance - likeable characters, some strength in the main plot, and some well-written love scenes. But unfortunately it all gets lost when a couple of secondary characters get too carried away. The introduction of the characters was fine, but if you want to explore their story, then they should get their own book.

The series genre is too short for this type of layering, and it was just distracting. I could have cared less about what they were doing - I was much more interested in how Kyra and Jesse were doing on their relationship. Every time the scene changed, I wanted to skip a few paragraphs until the main theme was back. As a result of the scene-hogging duo, Kyra and Jesse’s romance had less time to get resolved, so it just came together at the end. This book had so much going for it. Too bad it got lost along the way.

Reviewed in May 2003 by Paula.

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