Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Status: First in the Men from Battle Ridge series.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western
Other Info: This is the second collaboration between Howard and Jones, following Blood Born.
Description and link from Goodreads):
In book 1 of this steamy new contemporary Western romance series by two blockbuster authors, a cowboy and a woman on the run take a stand and fight for love.
Carlin Reed lives in fear, off the grid, moving from place to place. So Battle Ridge, Wyoming, a small town in the middle of nowhere, seems like a good place to lie low for a while. But after becoming cook and housekeeper to cattle rancher Zeke Decker, Carlin suspects that she’s made her first mistake. Rugged, sexy, and too distracting for his own good, Zeke is pure temptation mixed with something deep and primal that makes Carlin feel almost safe. Soon things are getting way too hot in the kitchen.
Zeke doesn’t challenge Carlin’s terms: cash, dead bolts, and no questions. It is easy to see that she’s a woman in trouble. Problem is, he’s so blindsided by his attraction to her he can’t think straight. Zeke tries to stay all business, no complications—but that game plan is sabotaged the second Carlin gets under his skin. And when her terrifying past follows her to the ranch, Carlin faces a heartbreaking choice: run away from the man she loves, or put him in the crosshairs of a madman.
I don’t think you need to hear me wax poetic about Linda Howard, so I’ll leave that part out of this review. However, I did read Ms. Howard’s last collaboration with Linda Jones and thought it was a decent read, but that’s it. My expectations for Running Wild weren’t terribly high. I love me a handsome cowboy, but I don’t read much straight-up romance these days. I thought Running would be a fun, quick and light read that would come as a welcome break from nonstop teenage angst. Well, it was a different, that’s true. Sadly, the change wasn’t quite as welcome as I’d thought.
Running Wild‘s story is pretty basic. Carlin is a girl on the run from a deranged stalker. Why didn’t she tell the police you ask? Why, because said stalker is the police! Not that Carlin did anything to encourage said stalker–oh, no! He’s just psycho. And since he killed one of Carlin’s friends while she was wearing Carlin’s jacket, clearly it was time to run.
I don’t mean to imply that women are responsible for their stalkers. Rather, my point is that the villain is completely one-dimensional. Why does he want to get at Carlin. Because he’s a crazy egomaniac. The authors apparently felt that was explanation enough. Maybe for a series romance it is…which would explain why I don’t read many of them.
Aside from the lackluster villain, the other (equally dull) characters and the multiple mundane descriptions of Carlin’s new life as a housekeeper made Running Wild incredibly boring. When Carlin isn’t cleaning or cooking, she’s driving to or from Zeke’s isolated ranch to get enough food to keep the menfolk fed. Carlin and Zeke pussyfoot around each other in a bickering, non-sexy way and then she does his laundry. Again. Or cooks. Again.
I’ll be honest–I DNF’d this book. I tried to go back to it multiple times, but there wasn’t enough there to keep me interested. I wasn’t expecting much from Running Wild–which is why it was so frustrating to get even less.
DNF: Did Not Finish
Check out Tracy Deebs’ guest post and the Doomed giveaway!
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