**We have Joy back for another guest post, and we couldn’t be more excited. Take it away Joy!!**
Publisher: Dead Sexy (imprint of Entangled Publishing)
Publish date: September 10, 2012
How I got this Book: eARC from Publisher
Earlier this month, The Book Pushers had the pleasure of hosting Nikki Logan with a Guest Post and Giveaway. Although the giveaway is over, you can read an excerpt of this book on our site here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/10/04/guest-post-giveaway-with-nikki-logan/
A wildlife release mission in Africa turns deadly when the convoy is hijacked by smugglers, and veterinarian Clare Delaney is taken hostage. Terrified for her life and her animals, the intrepid Clare establishes a rapport with the man she believes is the criminals’ leader, and reluctantly finds herself under his protection…and falling hard for the enigmatic man.
Alpha-to-the-max Simon deVries sees right through his sexy captive’s attempt to seduce her way to freedom. So when their simmering attraction flares into true passion, it takes them both by surprise. Now he’s torn between completing his secret mission and letting her escape without telling her his true identity. He knows if he lets her go, he will be risking his career, his life…and his heart.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Wild Encounter is a Romance Suspense set in Africa. The plot kept me guessing and the pace was quick. The story switched POV between the two main characters, Clare and Simon, and I liked experiencing the story from their different perspectives. This was one of those books that made me squirm a bit as I didn’t like the circumstances around how the romance element was introduced and that made it difficult to buy into the story as a whole…at first.
Clare is an intelligent, strong and feisty character. I’m so done with damsel-like characters and appreciate a story all the more when a female character uses whatever resources are in her wheelhouse. As much as I enjoy a kick-ass heroine, it’s nice to take a departure from that and read a story where quick-thinking and ingenuity are the weapons at hand. Clare makes some gutsy choices and doesn’t hesitant to act in the face of fear. She keeps her wits about her and looks for any opportunity to exploit. There was one choice she made that I don’t think I could have done because it involved creepy-crawlies. *shudders* I’d like to think I could have done the same under life-or-death circumstances but, seriously, I don’t know if I’m made of that strong of stuff.
Simon represents a safe haven to Clare from the beginning even if he is also the Alpha of the group that hijacked her. As we come to know more about Simon, we understand why that is. The romantic relationship between Clare and Simon has a troubling start. I had a difficult time holding onto both the sense of danger Clare was in and the romantic tension that seemed to be developing between them while she was being held hostage. For me, those two forces seemed to cancel each other out so that it no longer felt as dangerous or romantic. When they first become physically intimate, it left me a bit flat because I wasn’t invested in the character’s feelings for each other. From Clare’s perspective, Simon is a thug, albeit a polite and considerate one. I just don’t know how she was able to be truly vulnerable in that scenario. But, regardless of whatever feelings were developing between them, Clare doesn’t let it cloud her judgment. She still does what she has to do.
I enjoyed the setting for this book. Logan did a good job of using the terrain and climate to paint a vivid picture – the tickling sweat, the bugs, the stench of wild dogs, the landscape. I did wonder, however, why there were no close encounters with any four-legged animal predators. The time spent in the woven-branch hunting blind seemed a bit exposed and dangerous to me, but no one seemed to think anything of it. The blind was located away from the protection of the main camp and they were using dead carcasses as bait. That scene just seemed a bit too easy to me.
I appreciated the author’s prose – both descriptive yet tight. Logan doesn’t waste words. Presenting the hijacking experience from Clare’s perspective based on what she could sense and feel, especially when she couldn’t see what was happening, created good tension. I really enjoyed the pace of the first third of this book minus my discomfort at the romance. The remaining two-thirds lost a bit of that excitement. As the relationship developed between Clare and Simon, much of the narrative shifted away from the action and focused on their inner angsting as they tried to come to terms with what they had done and were feeling for each other. Add to that the misunderstandings that were occurring because neither one was willing to say what they were really thinking/feeling. I like characters to angst a bit, but it seemed to eclipse the suspense for me.
The strangest thing happened as I was writing this review. I realized that much of my initial reaction to the story as a whole stemmed from the discomfort at how their relationship started. But what if? What is it that attracts us to another person? What if that attraction developed under less than ideal circumstances and everyone told you it was wrong because of how it began and yet you felt what you felt…what if? Life is a bit messy that way at times. Logan does actually address this in the story in a healthy way. If the romance had happened another way, it would have been a different story. It’s OK for a story to make one uncomfortable. Sometimes that’s the whole point. And, I don’t know, something just clicked for me.
In the end, I was satisfied with how things wrapped up. Wild Encounter was a good solid read but not one I would visit again. My rating: B-.
Being a bit of a hermit, Joy’s love affair with reading began early on in life when she discovered the rich solitude that comes from experiencing a good story. When life isn’t busy intruding, she can usually be found holed up somewhere in her house with a book (usually on her Kindle), a cat or two and at least one dog curled near her feet. She is currently giving her life a complete overhaul (‘cuz hittin’ the forties is a bitch! But in a good way;-) and trying her hand at various creative endeavors including blogging, book reviewing and finding ways to cook for her veggie family that don’t include gluten, grains, dairy or sugar (it’s not as bad as it sounds).