Karina Halle never ceases to amaze me with just how well she slips into different characters and brings them to life. Wild Card will make your heart ache for the characters as though they’re old friends.
About ‘Wild Card’ by Karina Halle:
She swore she’d never go back home.
She swore she’d never see the man who broke her all those years ago.
But you don’t always get to choose your path.
And sometimes that path is as wild and rugged as the heart.
Rachel Waters thought she saw the last of the small mountain town of North Ridge, British Columbia, when she left six years ago. But while her advertising career blossomed beneath the skyscrapers of Toronto, her mother’s sudden illness has the 26-year old returning to North Ridge to care for her, putting her career on hold while dealing with family secrets, regrets and unresolved goodbyes.
Shane Nelson has always been a bit of a wild card. The youngest of his brothers, Shane’s spent most of his life being underestimated and misunderstood. With his quiet intensity, classic good looks and thoughtful demeanor, he’s an enigma on horseback, managing his father’s sprawling ranch on the slopes of North Ridge.
But while Shane remains the quintessential brooding cowboy, complete with an arsenal of inner demons, all of that changes when Rachel steps back into his life.
She was the girl he pushed away.
Now she’s the girl who wishes she could leave.
Despite the odds, Shane will do everything to convince Rachel he needs a second chance that he doesn’t deserve but when the two of them head off into the wilderness together in search of lost cattle, more than just their hearts are at stake.
Whether it’s love or lives on the line, one thing is for sure: always bet on the wild card.
‘Wild Card’ by Karina Halle review:
Karina Halle never seems to be afraid to jump into something different and new. Wild Card isn’t really like any of her other books, and yet it still feels the same. Though the North Ridge series tackles a family of three brothers raised on a ranch, with a cowboy and rugged feel, it reads in the familiar way Karina’s readers have come to expect.
The characters have dark skeletons in their closets that define their actions and behaviors. It makes them flawed but also lovable and relatable. The more you learn about the main characters in Wild Card, the more that you love them, feel for their struggles, and hope they will end up happy by the end of the book.
The heroine of the story, Rachel, has spent her whole life trying to overcome the pain brought upon her by a tough childhood living with a father that was abusive and a mother that just wanted to escape her own pain through alcohol.
As much as the book is a romance, it also shows Rachel’s transformation as a child that learned to be quiet in order to survive to a young woman that just wanted to live without wondering when she’d have to suffer next. Even though she technically escaped, Rachel spent years without closure from her parents or her first love.
Shane is the kind of silent but strong hero you want to squeeze and never let go. Though he grew up well-loved by his family, Shane continues to have a dark question in his heart throughout his life. Worried that he caused his mother’s death, it seems like Shane never wants to let anyone down ever again. It also makes him incredibly sweet and ever reliable.
Which also makes it quite shocking when you find out that Shane broke Rachel’s heart. But Wild Card gives you the character’s story from the time they’re kids to adults with the help of flashbacks. It really allows the reader to learn the full story and by the time the whole explanation behind the breakup is revealed, the reader will understand why it happened.
When the characters try to mend their bond, and get a second shot at their romance, all of the happy feelings will scare the sadder ones away. The darker parts of the story do make their mark on the reader, but it’s part of what makes Karina’s writing so memorable.
Although I’m typically not that big into cowboy-type romances, I’m eagerly looking forward to the rest of this series and learning more about the rest of the Nelson brothers. Readers will get to learn a bit about Maverick and Fox in Wild Card and only have to wait until the fall for their standalone novels.