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Wild Card (North Ridge Book 1) Kindle Edition
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This is one of those books that gripped me on the very first page. As the story opened, Shane Nelson is sitting at a local bar, surrounded by regulars, and he's stunned silent to hear his first love is back in town. I can't explain how or why that was so instantly compelling to me, but it had me rapt right away. Immediately I knew I'd be stepping into a small town romance, a story with the potential for a second chance between young lovers whose romance was clearly cut short, a story full of snarky dialogue between townsfolk that made me wish I were bellied up to the bar right along with them. Straight out of the gate I was swept up by the feel of this book. It only took moments for me to knew I'd be completely taken by this man in a cowboy hat, a man lost in the memories of the past, a hard-working man clearly admired for his devotion to his land, his town and his family, a man who so obviously loves his ranch as wildly as he loves the one that got away.
Halle is the first author I think of when I want to be carried away to a new location and made to feel and smell and see all the sights of a land I'm so unfamiliar with. I'm an indoor girl stepping into the great outdoors on this particular adventure, and in true Karina Halle fashion, the reader is made to breathe in as much emotion as they are of the breathtaking location the story is set in. Wild Card is as much a love story between Shane and Rachel as it is a love story between Shane and his home. It's very much an adventure of the heart, a lesson in the power of love, but it's undeniably an exciting, unpredictable testament to the power of nature, an ode to the Canadian wilderness, to the unpredictable land both respected and feared by the people who know it so well.
I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. I never thought I'd fall so deeply in love with a romance set on a ranch, with a cowboy on the cover, where the sweat and dirt are as plentiful as the romance within its pages. But I did. I fell so hard for this beautifully unforgettable story, a story unlike anything else this author has written, an emotionally tumultuous, blissfully romantic story of longing and second chances. This story is a relentless barrage of emotion on every single page. The broken romance between Shane and Rachel is enough to captivate the reader all by itself, but when you throw in flashbacks of horrific memories from the past, the wild forces of nature, the tattered bonds between family, the palpable suffering of broken hearts, the secondary characters you can't help but adore, or how unbelievably sexy the story is, you end up with a book that is EVERYTHING I could ever want as a reader. Wild Card is a sexy, emotional, completely enthralling love story from cover to cover, a heart-stopping page turner that I wish I could read again for the first time. I'm wildly in love with this book, I couldn't put it down, and I CAN NOT WAIT for more of the North Ridge series.
It's set in Canada and follows the story of cowboy Shane (the youngest of 3 brothers) and the love of his life Rachel on their journey back to each other.
This story starts with a bang and I was gripped from the very first page. Told in dual POV with certain chapters from their childhood, it was typical Karina magic on a page. The description of the land and climate, the push and pull between Shane and Rachel, and their chemistry made this an absolute page turner for me and I read it in one sitting.
Shane was an absolute sweetheart, not a man of many words but what he did say was beautiful and made my heart melt. Rachel loved Shane just as much as he loved her, but she was adamant to keep holding back even after Shane explained the real reason behind their breakup 6 years earlier and that his feeling for her had never changed despite them being apart.
The secondary characters in this book were great and my favourite was Shane's grandad. He was an absolute joy to read and I look forward to reading Mav and Fox's books.
If you love second chance romance, a quiet and sexy Canadian cowboy and writing where you can actually picture yourself on this cattle farm in North Ridge then this book is for you!!