Series: North Ridge, #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Wild Card is a standalone novel and the first book in the North Ridge Trilogy about rough and rugged Canadian mountain men, the Nelson brothers. Canada’s never felt so hot.
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 three 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 is the first book, in a new series, set in the Great White North. The story is told in alternating POV that go from the past to the present, to reveal painful secrets. I feel some readers need to be told it contains a subject matter that may be difficult to read. If you are concerned, and would like to know before reading it, please scroll to the end and I’ll mention what the subject is. Please know that this would be considered a Spoiler for many others.
Rachel Waters left the town of North Ridge six years ago after a humiliating breakup with her childhood best friend, and first love, Shane Nelson. After moving to Toronto, where she got a degree and went on to work in advertising, she hadn’t been back. Estranged from her parents, she’d recently bought a condo, and was in a fairly new relationship. When Hank reaches out to tell Rachel her mother’s ill she goes back, and to the one place she was sure she’d never return, to North Ridge.
Shane Nelson is the youngest of Hank Nelson’s three boys. Shane has always known that he’s stay at Ravenswood Ranch, raising cattle, helping his father and grandpa. His brothers, John “Maverick” and Fox, live in town and visit often, to help out. He knows he broke both their hearts when he broke it off with Rachel but now he’s feels hope, after all these years of silence, when he hears she’s back in town. He thinks maybe they can talk and clear some things up. When he finally runs into her it doesn’t go very well for either of them.
“All I can think about is Rachel.
Last night nearly killed me.
I honestly thought that if I saw Rachel again, I would be okay. That I could handle it. That it wouldn’t hurt more than a mere scratch, that I wouldn’t drown in the memories and the way I used to feel about her.
But none of that was true. It wasn’t a scratch—it was a knife to my heart. I wasn’t drowning in the memories—I was dying in them. And every single thing I felt about her? It came rushing back, a flash flood of desire and pain that nearly blindsided me.”
After Rachel finds out her mother’s situation is worse than she thought she decides to stay, and help out, even if it’s for a few weeks. And it’s nearly impossible to avoid seeing Shane. She feels she needs to confront Shane, for the way he ended their relationship, and the hurt he caused her all those years ago. Rachel’s held on to the anger and bitterness for six years. So many promises he made to her that turned out to be lies.
“I just want to go away. Please.”
“Okay, your heart is where my home is. I’ll go wherever your heart goes.”
“Do you mean that?”
“I promise. Anywhere, anytime.”
Too many lies told and secrets kept quiet, that have caused too much pain, to so many. Is it too late for them? Can they be honest, after all this time, finally revealing the biggest one of all?
“You dreamed about me?”
“I always dreamed about you. Every night. Under every moon. For the last six years. The moon would always be changing but my dreams never did. I missed you. Always. You’re standing right in front of me and I still miss you.”
This book is so beautifully written! Ms. Halle is a former travel writer, and lives in British Columbia, so her description of this part of Canada is so vivid and detailed you can almost smell the ponderosa pines. She deals with a painful subject in a way that evokes tears and empathy for those involved. Thankfully not all is heartbreak in this touching, second chance romance! The epilogue is the icing on the cake; I had a big “aww” moment, at the end! I hope that the other stories in the series are about Maverick and Fox; I want to read more about the Nelson brothers.
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One of the main characters was sexually abused by a parent, so if this is a trigger for you, please beware that it’s alluded to in the story.
Wild Card, an all-new contemporary STANDALONE by
New York Times Bestselling author Karina Halle is available NOW!!!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2fG5PnV
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2fGzpcM
Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/6WuDjh