When you gamble with desire, be prepared to risk everything…
Unlike the rest of the Hell’s Eight brotherhood, Ace Parker’s home isn’t on the range. This restless cowboy craves the hustle of Simple, Texas, a lawless town where he can sate his darker appetites without guilt. At least he could, until Petunia Wayfield arrived. The prickly new teacher is insisting that Ace help her rid the town of drunkenness and card playing. For that kind of miracle, Ace demands a reward the spinster schoolmarm will surely never give.
But Petunia isn’t backing down. Not when the intense passion Ace offers shatters her to the core. As soon as she can afford a ticket home back East, she’ll leave Simple behind for good. Until then, she’ll match his sensual challenge with her own, daring him to give up his fiercely guarded self-control. And then real danger claims Petunia, forcing Ace to reveal the man he really is—even if it drives her away forever….
What to make of Ace’s Wild? It’s the seventh in a series I’ve never read before, and by an author I’ve never read before. I loved a lot of the book very, very much, but then some parts were straight out of a modern-day (BDSM!) novel, and seemed so, so out of place. If you skip over those scenes you have yourself a wonderful, action-packed historical Western with some great characters.
When I started this book I was a little startled by how modern it seemed. The characters pay lip service to the dialogue of the 1860s, but once I got used to it, I decided the author has a unique writing style and somehow the slightly modern tone really worked for her.
Set in 1860, this is a turbulent time in American history – and would only become more so in the near future. I’ve discovered this year I really enjoy books set in this time period and this location, and this was actually one of the best I’ve read in the genre.
However, there were other times I wondered if the author had done quite enough research. In 1860, women’s dresses were HUGE. If you take into account that people in the United States were wearing fashions a couple of years behind those in Europe, you can assume they were dressed as Englishwomen were in the late 1850s:
1859 fashion plate from the Gazette of Fashion
Taking this – and the fact the heroine is from a very rich family back east – into account, then I have to wonder about some things the heroine did. For example, how in the world did someone manage to get a leg between her thighs when she was wearing a crinoline? How did she manage to be flipped over someone’s knee with great ease when wearing both a massive crinoline and a corset?!
Anyway, it was a small issue in the scheme of things, but it stuck in my mind each and every time!
The action and adventure were fantastic. This is what I love most about Westerns: that so often there’s a lot of high drama and danger to go with the romance.
As for the romance, I really enjoyed both characters. I didn’t think they’d suit at all in the beginning, but they really did.
However, this comes to my big problem with the book: the longer it went on, the more the romance turned into a twenty-first century BDSM story. NOT what I was signing up for! The language and behaviour in those scenes was straight out of the modern day. The characters lost every aspect of who they were and where they were from and it did spoil the story for me quite a bit.
I know some people won’t have a problem with those scenes. I know some people will love them. But in the context of the book, they were just so wrong in my opinion.
I do think this book is really worth reading, and I’m going to go back to the beginning and try some of the early entries in the series. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by a book I downloaded on a whim and didn’t expect to enjoy anywhere near as much.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.