Title: Wild Child
Author: Molly O’Keefe
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell
Publication Date: October 29th 2013
*received through NetGalley
Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.
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.
“Molly O’Keefe is a unique, not-to-be-missed voice in romantic fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Andersen
.I have never read anything by Molly O’Keefe but I was perusing Netgalley one day and the cover caught my attention. After I read the description, I figured it would be something I would enjoy so I definitely wanted to try it out. I really thought it would be a cutesy dramatic read that I would enjoy. I wasn’t expecting anything serious or that it would bring out big emotions. I was right about it being an enjoyable read. I thought it was pretty great. I was wrong about the rest. It wasn’t just a cute, the characters are playing hard to get, romance book. There was more going on with the characters then I was expecting there to be and I really felt invested in what was going on with them.
Monica had an unconventional childhood. Growing up with an emotional distant mother after a traumatic experience, then having her life videotaped for the world to see created the Wild Child she wrote about in her book. Her years were filled doing reckless things with reckless people. Feeling used and never really loved, Monica built up walls. Getting away from her rebellious years, you can tell she isn’t that reckless girl everyone thinks her to be anymore but now she is so closed off from other people that it is what they will always see her to be. Going back home to write a story that will open so many more wounds isn’t making her feel better but when a mix up introduces her to Jackson things really begin to shake Monica up.
I loved Monica. She was flirty and fun with Jackson but also told him right where to shove when he was being an idiot. She’s already had such a crazy life and people already see her in a certain light so she tells it like it is. At first, no one seemed to want to get to know her. They make judgments based on her past. She is used to it but if she would only let some people in, they would see just how great she can be. Lonely but scared of being anything else Monica really has a big heart. She just needs some closure from her past.
At first, I didn’t know what to think about Jackson. I was like “what is your deal?” Things seemed off but as I read, I understood. He had a lot on his plate, some things he couldn’t change and other things he just felt responsible for and being the man he was he couldn’t run from just yet. That was his dream though. To fix things then run away. Monica had her wild time growing up and Jackson went straight into a life of responsibility. He puts so much into being proper. Once he gets the town on their feet again he is off to get crazy himself but Monica shows up and Jackson can’t put on his perfect show anymore. She gets him like no one else and maybe he doesn’t have to be so alone anymore either.
Two characters with so much pain and the burden of carrying too much on your own create such raw emotions when thrown together. They try to hold back but they are so full of passion (whether they are arguing or getting romantic) after feeling so alone. Their relationship went slow. Instant lust, yes! Instant love? Nope. They tiptoed around each other. They close themselves off, slowly let the other in, and closed off again. Reading about their relationship but then their relationship with others in their lives got to me. I felt sad for them and wanted to see them find themselves and push down their walls.
I found myself equally invested in the people of Bishop. I hoped for the best for them and would really like to see more of them. Gwen was a teen on the verge of losing more of herself, of potentially living a sad and lonely life just as Monica did. Shelby was an art teacher wanting more passion in life. She has a reputation she does not want tarnished but she wants to feel desired. Shawn was just fun. A slacker and a smart ass. Cora was a doll and if she was real I am sure her food would be as delicious as they say.
Oh, wow that ended up being much longer than I expected. Overall, I just really felt invested in the characters. I loved seeing their growth and setbacks. I thought the pace of the story was perfect. No crazy, that came completely out of nowhere, endings and it didn’t drag on. There was more to the story than two characters falling for each other. It was much more and involved so many people. I saw that this is the first in a series so I hope to read more about the people of Bishop. I was definitely a fan and I look forward to reading more of Molly’s work.