I've been reading Karina Halle's books for ages now and, lucky for me, she's an author who publishes books really frequently. Due to time and funds, I've skipped buying the last few she's written but once I saw what Wild Card was about I knew I had to have it. Small town? Canadian? Second chance romance? Sign. Me. Up. And guess what? It totally delivered. I loved it!
Here's the synopsis:
What would you give up to have a second-chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Wild Card is a STANDALONE SECOND-CHANCE ROMANCE from the NYT bestselling author of The Pact and Before I Ever Met You.
Rough, raw & rugged.
As the man in charge at Ravenswood Ranch, Shane Nelson has never been afraid to get his hands dirty. His sculpted physique isn't the product of a gym, but of years of hard labor under a relentless sun. His straightforward, alpha tendencies come from a man who knows what he wants and goes after it.
And what he wants is Rachel Waters.
He's never stopped wanting her.
They were childhood best friends, then teenage lovers who evolved into soulmates. But on one fateful night, Shane made a grave mistake, breaking both their hearts in the process.
Now, after six years, Rachel is back in the small, wild mountain town of North Ridge, BC.
Ready to face her past.
Ready to face Shane.
Ready to face his dark secret.
But is a second-chance at a one true love in the cards? Or will their wild hearts be broken once again?
WILD CARD is a complete standalone novel and the first book about the Nelson brothers of North Ridge.
First things first, as the synopsis says, Wild Card is the first book in (I assume) a trilogy about three brothers. It's a sort of series in that the books are connected but you don't have to read each book. Not into second chance stories? That's ok. Wait for Maverick's novel. I'm a bit of a series purist though so I'm going to read each in the order they're written.
Halle has an amazing talent of writing romances that are about so much more than the love story. Her characters are so developed and multi-layered. Their stories will grab hold of your heart and not let go. Seriously, I finished this book hours ago (yesterday, by the time this post will be published) and I've barely been able to stop thinking about it.
Rachel has a past that is far from sunshine and roses. She's suffered and that pain really came through the pages. So much so that I found myself close to tears in some points. Heart-wrenching in the best way. (That sounds weird to anyone who isn't a reader but readers will understand!) There were a few flashback sections and I was so glad Rachel had Shane when she was younger. There was so much awareness in that little boy and he made it his mission to protect Rachel and make sure she had the best possible life. Until, of course, his secret causes them both unimaginable pain.
Their love story, though? Swoon. It's hot, it's heavy, it's romantic, it's heartbreaking, it's the stuff of fairy tales. And, best of all, it felt real.
It's rare that these types of stories are placed in Canada so I loved that Halle, Canadian herself, placed the story in BC.
I cannot wait for the next books to be released. I need to know how Rachel and Shane are doing and I'm really looking forward to seeing how Fox and Maverick's love stories end up. If you are looking for a great read that really pulls you in and you will not want to put down, you need to read Wild Card. If you're a fan of Colleen Hoover and KA Tucker, Karina Halle should definitely be on your TBR list.