REVIEW: Wild Fling or a Wedding Ring by Mira Lyn Kelly
Dear Ms. Kelly:
I think you were part of my Harlequin Presents subscription. The title is pretty ridiculous and the cover doesn’t match the book at all given that it is set in the city of Chicago and this cover gives off a certain tropical vibe. Although it is sold as a Harlequin Presents (albeit an “Extra”), this book stands outside the traditional trope. It’s more like a Blaze than anything. Yes, the hero is wealthy but his money and his position isn’t an issue.
What I liked best about this contemporary romance was realistic this romance seemed. This romance and the conflict is all about equals and the challenges a presented when two people are pursuing a career.
Calista McGovern is a corporate troubleshooter of sorts. She had been on the fast track to success and on the cusp of really making a name for herself when she gave it all up to move across the country when her boyfriend asked her. No, not just asked her, but challenged her that she could not possibly love her job more than him. She moves and then he dumps her. Worst is that Cali had called in all sorts of favors to get her job and she left the job half done and burned her bridges. It took her three years to climb back to the same position, again on the cusp of the career she has always wanted when she is sent to Chicago to get a project on track and meets Jackson Tyler. (Tyler is a surgeon but his career is only incidental to the story).
The first meet takes place in a jazz club where Cali is unwinding after her flight from NY. It was recommended to her by her boss, Amanda who found out about it from her brother in law, Jackson Tyler. Cali wants to drink her liquor and listen to some jazz, alone, when some businessman thinks she looks lonely. Jake (Jackson) has been watching Cali from across the bar and decides to step in and offer a hand. He helps rid Cali of the offender and then settles in next to her much to Cali’s dismay. Jake is gorgeous, true, but she really did just want a moment alone:
"I like jazz. I like it when others like it, too. The guy seemed to be getting in the way, so I helped him out. That's all. You and I, we can just sit here and listen together. Ignore each other completely. In fact-" he leaned back slightly, eyes focused now on the front of the club "-I've forgotten about you already."
She stared, and then a ripple of amusement broke loose from the anxiety-tightened confines of her chest. His reverse psychology teasing should have sent her fleeing for the nearest cab, only it had sent butterflies flitting around her belly instead.
She cocked her brow at him, feigning surprise. "Are you still here?"
The low rumble of his answering laughter had a seductive quality she couldn't resist, and then she was laughing too, swearing to herself it was only a momentary indulgence.
"Fine," he drawled, luring her attention to the mischievous gleam in his eyes. "Since you're so desperately chatty, I'll talk to you."
A stuttering cough escaped her as she tried to muster any emotion other than delight. "I beg your pardon?"
The corner of his mouth turned up. "No need to beg. So, what do you think? Should we talk about work?"
The two engage in witty banter and then Cali decides she needs to get the hell out of Dodge before she does something stupid like attack Jake in the bar. But one thing leads to another and they end up having a very torrid make out session in the back of the club in a phone booth.
The first chapter sets the stage for the entire book. Witty dialogue is interspersed throughout to provide the comic relief. Cali tries to stave off any contact with Jake but the more she resists, the more she finds herself having torrid make out sessions in semi public places.
The relationship has ebbs and flows. At one point, Cali starts feeling strongly for Jake and Jake, a commitment phobe not only recognizes the symptoms but prepares to run in the opposite direction. Cali pretends that she is only in it for the fling as well, trying to suppress outward evidence of her growing love for Jake and justifying her staying with him by the fact that she will hopefully be leaving soon – for London.
Jake and Cali have a very strong physical attraction to each other and it’s what draws them together initially and the excuse that they use to stay together. Jake tells himself that he has to burn out the lust he feels for Cali and Cali allows herself the luxury of being with a man, something she hasn’t done for years.
I also loved how, during a period in the book in which Jake and Cali are struggling, you show the different type of dates that they go on and how those showed us the emotional distance that was growing.
Jake’s commitment phobia isn’t just a plot crutch. You spend the time explaining how and why he got that point so that the happy ever after makes sense. The desire to remain single was hard earned and it didn’t go away over night.
Soon, though, Cali ends up where she was three years ago, with a man asking her to give up her career aspirations for the sake of the relationship. Her response was a welcome surprise to me.
This story, like Kathleen O’Reilly books, really encapsulated the challenges a career minded woman might face. Cali was a shown to be emotionally vulnerable but in a way that never reduced her status vis a vis Jake. Put together with humor and a many smoking hot love scenes, I’d say that this is a great debut. I look forward to more Kelly books and bemoan the absence of a deep and long backlist. B
Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony | Harlequin |
As I was reading this review I thought that it didn’t sound like a Blaze to me, it sounded like a Modern Heat, so I checked and it is. There’s no way of identifying these from the HQ pages, but you can check on the Mills & Boon website (the Modern Heat and Modern books appear on the same page, but the Modern Heat ones have a different logo on the cover). Modern Heat books are, in my experience, much more realistic than Moderns, with much more equal male and female characters, and much less implausible plots. Here’s my take on the difference between the two lines, if you’re interested. Modern Heat authors I’ve enjoyed include Lucy King, Natalie Anderson, Kelly Hunter and Kate Hardy.
Thank you so much for your letter. You’ve made my day by taking the time to check out my book, and your wish that I had a backlist is pure inspiration while I bust backside trying to wrap this next one up for deadline.
All my best,
This title is absolutely absurd but your review sold me. Can’t wait to read it!
The Modern Heat books are the last two Presents Extra books.
I recently read and reviewed two Modern Heat books: ‘The Secret Mistress Arrangement’ by Kimberly Lang and ‘Bought: Damsel in Distress’ by Lucy King. I can highly recommend both. I definitely want to read more Modern Heat titles.
Kimberly Lang commented on my post saying that due to their success, the Modern Heat books are getting their own line with new covers and a different style of title. The line is due to launch in the UK next year.
ETA: I just checked and the new line will be called Mills & Boon Riva.
Mira’s book is on top of my TBR pile as we speak, and I’m so looking forward to it!
I’m really excited to hear that MH’s will become a distinct line next year. The feel of the books is so different from other Modern/Presents – not so much to do with the heat level, but the kinds of setting, characters and plots. They just feel so much more realistic and, while I do love me some ludicrous Presents/Modern fantasy every once in a while, I really, really like the MH style and I’d be glad to read more of them.
I get very confused over all these lines. I am surprised that the Modern Heat books have an American setting. I thought most of those were a UK setting (which I like btw). I’ll have to try Lang and King out. Thanks for the recommendations, SarahT.
@Jane: The ones I’ve read have mostly been UK or Australia/NZ, but there are a few set in the US.
Jane, you’re not the only one who gets confused sometimes about this. We’ve been moved around a lot, but as of May, the books are being released in the US as Presents Extra (there are four PEs each month; the last two are the Modern Heats). Right now, we’re Modern Heat in the UK, but will be Riva come January. We’re still (and I think will remain) Sexy Sensation in the OZ/NZ market. But, to make it easier for everyone, we do have our own blog — http://www.sensationalromance.blogspot.com that lists that month’s releases in the US, UK, and Australia.
Oh, and settings are more open as well — there are plenty set in the UK and Australia, but we’re using US settings now, too. I know mine are all set in the US — and mostly in the South!
I’m just glad that the Modern Heat/Presents Extra/Riva/Sexy Sensation books are getting such great reviews and finding new readers!
Loved the review. I can’t wait to read this!
I don’t normally buy books in the Presents line but the excerpt sold me on this one. The exchange between the lead characters was great.
And good luck to Ms. Kelly on her debut!
Does ‘Riva’ mean something? Why not just keep them as the ‘Modern Heat’ line? Just wondering…excited tho to hear the good news!
:) Sun Chara
@sunchara: I assume it’s because they won’t all have the ‘heat’ associated with Modern Heat. Some of the books that you find in the Romance line at the moment will be in the new Riva line, as well as the MH books.
Thanks, Ros! Sure it’ll be good! Yeah!
Hi beautiful people…don’t know if I can post this here, but took a chance!
This sounds good!
Cheerios Cereal is holding a contest for children's fiction authors. Submit your original, unpublished children's story targeted at children ages 3 to 8 for a chance at the grand prize of $5000 cash and a possible publishing contract from Simon & Schuster. Two first prizes of $1000 will also be awarded. Deadline to enter is July 15. Read all about it http://www.spoonfulsofstoriescontest.com
Kick it up!
:) Sun Chara
Gamblin’ Lady /Feb. 2011/Dorchester Leisure
I’ve ordered this book! Thanks for the review and the comments.
the best wedding ring is of course the very expensive diamond ring,`”