All I Want
For Christmas

Caught in the Act

Duets 23

Fantasy

Gabe

In Too Deep

Jordan

Little Miss Innocent

Morgan

Sawyer

Scandalized!

Sex Appeal

Sizzle

Wanton

 
Wild by Lori Foster
(Jove, $6.50, R) ISBN 0-515-13229-2
***
Remember when it was shocking for Olivia Newton-John to sing “Let’s Get Physical”? Times have certainly changed! Women are allowed to be sexual. So it shouldn’t be shocking when the heroine of Wild opens the novel by announcing to the hero, I want you. Does it make for great reading? That depends on your taste. Successful category author Lori Foster doesn’t vary much from her trademark style in her Jove debut, which may disappoint readers who are looking for a more substantial reading experience.

Playboy hunk Zane Winston almost falls off his ladder when the Gypsy fortuneteller from the shop next door propositions him, right in the middle of his small computer store. His initial reaction is “Thanks, but no thanks.” Zane likes to be in charge, and while he loves sex as much as the next red-blooded American male, he doesn’t know what to make of the small, dark figure who keeps insisting she wants him for a purely physical relationship. When he confronts her at her home, he is surprised to find that the dark-eyed, curly-haired brunette is really a green-eyed blonde, the “white sheep” of her unconventional Gypsy family.

Tamara Tremayne knows that her days of stability are numbered. She must sell her house and its accompanying business after a series of unfortunate accidents that have depleted her finances. Before she is forced to return to the vagabond Gypsy life that she abhors, she wants one fling with Zane Winston, the sexiest of the four Winston brothers. But Zane’s quick capitulation has overwhelming, unforeseen consequences. Tamara doesn’t just get sex, she gets a man who barges into her life and threatens the independence she has so carefully nurtured since childhood. But having a strong, sexy guy around might be a good thing, since the “accidents” that have befallen her business start escalating, and it looks like someone has a personal grudge against her.

Did I mention that Zane is supposed to be sexy? Apparently readers have been introduced to him before in several anthology novellas (recently re-released together as The Winston Brothers). Cole Winston is the responsible one, Chase is the serious one, Mack is the playful one, and Zane is - well, he’s the sexiest one. The three other brothers have found their soul mates and now it’s Zane’s turn. He falls for Tamara like a ton of bricks and has a grand old time introducing her to the joys of sex - and lots of it. Foster provides plenty of heavy foreplay between Tamara and Zane, with flaring nostrils and excruciating erections galore (that would be Zane), as well as throbbing nipples and moist pink flesh (Tamara, natch). She also pushes the envelope with explicit descriptions of their lovemaking. In fact, one love scene encompasses almost 40 pages. The potential threat to Tamara is definitely the secondary plot. Wild doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a good thing because some of the torrid sex scenes made me giggle.

Zane is a fairly decent hero. He’s independent and tough, but once he meets Tamara, his bachelorhood is forsaken without too much regret. He owns a computer store, but Foster doesn’t do anything to indicate that he has any special skills or interest in technology. It’s just something to set him apart from his brothers, I guess. Most of his time is spent thinking about making love to Tamara, doing so, or planning how and when he’ll do it again. If your ideal hero is one who lusts after you with every fiber of his being, Zane is definitely your man.

Tamara has a little more depth. Fiercely independent, she loves the eccentric Aunts and Uncle who raised her, but she yearns for a life that’s more ordinary. Although she has recently found an unusual book that has inspired her to finally approach Zane after admiring him from afar, she’s very sheltered. If you can identify with a twenty-four year old virgin heroine who has never felt comfortable enough with her own body to climax on her own, but who immediately becomes multi-orgasmic during her first encounter with Zane, you’ll love Tamara.

Various Winston brothers, as well as their wives and children, appear to tease Zane about finally succumbing to the “Winston curse” (which is alluded to but never fully explained). I couldn’t keep them straight, but their loving, playful banter with Zane was entertaining. Another Winston - this one a dark, dangerous cousin - looks like he’s on deck for a forthcoming romance of his own.

Some romance readers rage against the reputation our novels have as “bodice rippers.” Lori Foster cheerfully revels in that aspect of the genre. But I need more from my novels than a lot of sex and a pin-up hero, so I just wasn’t wild about Wild.

--Susan Scribner


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