Review: Running Wild, by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Title: Running Wild
Author(s): Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Rating: 2 / 5 Stars
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 stayall 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 tried really hard to like this book. Especially since I started writing a romance novel of my own, I’m more than likely to give writers the benefit of the doubt and try to push through things I don’t like.
But I’m afraid to say I really didn’t like this book.
I was actually ok with the woman-on-the-run plot, and I was able to suspend disbelief about just how insane Carlin’s stalker is. What I struggled with was the juxtaposition of Carlin’s high-stakes story with Zeke’s whining that he can’t figure out how to run a washer. I just didn’t believe that a man who could run a ranch couldn’t either figure out how to use a microwave or how to hire someone, no matter how hard the authors tried to make it seem as though the role of cook was absolutely vital to the well-being of the ranch.
I also really didn’t like either main character. Zeke seemed both dumb and obnoxious–he needs a lil woman around to pick up after him, and once he finds one, he spends much of the time thinking about his d*** and Carlin’s fiiiine asss. I didn’t fall in love with him, or want much to do with him at all, really. And Carlin, in an attempt to show how much of a “smart mouth” she has, just comes off as super b****y half the time.
Another thing I didn’t like was that neither character seems to actually enjoy their work. Zeke just seems to think his ranch is a lot of hard work (and I suspect the writers only knew 2 or 3 things about ranch life, based on the number of times “bull semen” is mentioned). Carlin agrees to be his housekeeper despite the fact that she doesn’t actually enjoy cooking or cleaning. Much of the story centers around her escapades in the kitchen which are (to someone who actually enjoys food) ridiculously boring. She makes things like tuna casserole, boxed brownies, and white cake, and the drama of the story is the men’s reaction to each recipe. I found it very hard to care, especially in the shadow of Carlin’s much more dramatic backstory.
2 stars, I’m afraid.
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