Photographer Chayse Douglas has been pursuing Adrian Wilde for four months, trying to get him to agree to pose for a beefcake calendar she's shooting for charity. The stubborn Adrian keeps turning her down, but Chayse won't be deterred. A stolen kiss shows them both what explosive chemistry they have together. Unable to resist her any longer, Adrian offers her a deal: Come spend the weekend with him at his cozy mountain cabin and he'll do what she wants. Chayse knows there will be a whole lot of pleasure mixed with business, and she simply can't refuse on either count. Their weekend together leads to a deeply romantic connection that neither expected, and soon they're falling for one another. But everyone Chayse has ever loved has left her. Can she trust in Adrian's love and take a chance on him when the weekend is over?
It's been a really long time since I last read a Janelle Denison story, which also, as it happens, was the previous story in her Wilde series. I seem to recall there being quite a bit of similarity between the first three Wilde stories, which might partially account for me putting this author on the back burner for a while. Thankfully, The Wilde One was a little different than those three stories. While the heroine of this novella is still rather commitment-phobic, it's for different reasons than those of the other heroines in the series thus far. And although the hero is a pretty hard-core alpha male, like his brothers from the previous stories, his personality and profession is quite different. So The Wilde One was definitely unique enough to hold my attention pretty well.
Chayse was introduced in the previous novella of the series, All She Want for Christmas. She's a photographer who's shooting a beefcake calender for charity and wants our hero, Adrian, to be one of her models. I had to admire Chayse's determination. She's apparently been pestering Adrian about it for months and continues to doggedly pursues him in this story. Since she knows he'd be perfect for the job and he can't give her a compelling reason why he won't do it, she can't let it go, and her persistence is eventually rewarded. Chayse is pretty much all alone in the world and has a painful past that makes her wary of giving her heart to someone. Everyone she loved growing up left her in some way, so she keeps her relationships casual, not wanting to get too close and get hurt. With Adrian, everything is different. She finds herself opening up to him in ways she hasn't with anyone else, but she's still scared to let their affair go on any longer than the weekend. What I liked most about Chayse is that she understands Adrian and his "need for speed," as well as accepts his physical imperfections without hesitation.
Adrian is a risk-taker. He's an extreme sports enthusiast and owns an outdoor adventure company. Although he's insanely attracted to Chayse, he's been avoiding her as much as possible, and every time he sees her, he keeps turning down her proposal of him posing for her calender. His body has imperfections that he doesn't think will translate well to photographs, not to mention, said imperfections are also tied to a painful past relationship that left him feeling completely betrayed. Ever since then, he's had a hard time trusting women, and like Chayse, he also keeps his relationships casual. With Chayse, their chemistry is so intense, he can't resist her, so when she shows up at his cabin, calling his bluff, it turns into a sexually explosive moment. Adrian is perhaps a tad too alpha for my taste. He's pretty sexually aggressive during their first love scene, although he does feel badly about it afterward (not that Chayse was complaining ;-)), but then he does it again at the very end. I did, however, like Adrian's intuitiveness in seeing behind the walls Chayse has erected around herself. He's also the first one to admit that he's falling for her, which was rather endearing, and he wouldn't allow her to run away from him without a fight. If Adrian had been just a little softer and not quite so intense, and/or he'd had a profession that was a little more relatable to me, I could have seen this novella being a keeper for me.
Other than Adrian not quite being my favorite type of guy, The Wilde One was a very good read. The love scenes are quite steamy, and aside from the more intense ones that weren't entirely my thing, they're a lot of fun to read. I was also surprised by the amount of character development Janelle Denison was able to create in such a short space. Although a little longer format to explore their issues in more depth might have been nice, it was still quite good for a novella. Of course, they fall in love, get over their issues, and we even get a proposal at the very end, which happens all in the space of one three-day weekend, which is maybe a little quick. However, I was willing to give the author a pass on this, because Adrian and Chayse have at least known each other for several months, and she does develop their relationship in a believable way with a strong emotional connection. So overall, I enjoyed reading The Wilde One. Several of the other Wilde brothers and cousins appear in this novella. Adrian's cousin, Scott, is up next in The Wilde Side. What I saw of him in this story and what little I remember of his appearances in the previous ones, I've liked what I've seen, so I look forward to continuing the series and reading his book. The Wilde One was originally published in the Bad Boys to Go anthology, but has since been republished as a stand-alone novella.
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