What tickled my fancy: Protective hero is protective.
What ticked me off: Both characters act like utter boneheads.
Who might like it: Readers who enjoy characters who are overwhelmed by their passions.
Trigger warning: There’s a fairly tame dubious consent sex scene. Also a gross skanky villain.
“The Wilde sisters” is a self-published spin-off from Marton’s Harlequin Presents “Wilde Brothers” series, and though the tone is a bit rougher and it’s less editorially polished, this book read pretty much like a Marton HP. Which is great from my perspective, because I love Marton HPs.
Realtor Jaime Wilde is in Zacharias Castelianos’s penthouse apartment, trying to convince him to put it on the market, when the lights go out all over the city. Although both instantly fear some form of terrorist attack — a nice bit of realism for characters who live in Manhattan and Washington D.C. — the problem is just a massive storm. But that’s more than enough of a problem for Jaimie, who stubbornly insists on trying to walk down 50 flights in the dark anyway, to get away from the disturbing presence of Zach. Somehow unable to wash his hands of the whole situation, Zach winds up going after her, taking care of her when she falls, and then having passionate sex with her.
The next morning, Jaimie is gone, leaving only a terse note. Then Zach gets a phone call from a man named Steven Young, who claims to be Jaimie’s fiance, and he decides he has to write her off as a bad mistake. But of course he can’t forget her. And when his old friend Caleb Wilde tells him that his sister Jaimie needs protection against a stalker — Steven Young — Zach doesn’t know what to believe, but he knows he has to take the job on.
This was a highly charged, passionate, even over-the-top read. Jaimie and Zach are both closed-off kinds of people, and when they finally let go, they let go. Marton’s trademark is characters who fall in love against their will, and the mix of reluctance with devotion is an effective one.
The downside here is that both are kind of idiotic. Jaimie is insanely stubborn, and pathetically ineffectual in regards to the stalker. Zach immediately buys Steven’s story, and then lies to Jaimie for no good reason at all, except to cause a narrative conflict. (Why doesn’t he at least admit he knows her brother? That lie is certain to come back and bite him on the ass.)
There’s some backstory about Zach’s special ops work and some grossness involving Steven, but on the whole the focus of the book is on the relationship, and also on Jaimie’s relationships with her siblings. So the tone is mainly romantic — with breaks for family lightheartedness — rather than suspenseful. Aside from my sometimes wanting to knock Zach and Jaimie’s heads together, I enjoyed it.