Posted by: Jennifer | August 28, 2008

Wild Card – Lora Leigh

Leigh, Lora. Wild Card. (New York: St. Martins, 2008). ISBN – 9780312945794.

Main Characters: Sabella Malone and Noah Blake (aka Nathan Malone)

Related Works: This is part of Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops series – and offshoot of her Tempting Seals series.

Tempting Seals Series

  1. Reno’s Chance – in Honk If You Love Real Menanthology – story of Reno Chavez and Raven McIntire
  2. Dangerous Games– story of Clint McIntire and Morganna Chavez
  3. For Maggie’s Sake – in Real Men Do It Better anthology – story of Maggie and Joe Merino
  4. Hidden Agendas– story of Kell Kreiger and Emily Stanton
  5. Killer Secrets – story of Ian Richards and Kira Porter
  6. Atlanta Heat – in Rescue Meanthology – story of Mason “Macey” Marsh and Emerson Delaney

Elite Ops Series

  1. Wild Card– story of Sabella Malone and Noah Blake (aka Nathan Malone)

Description from book:

A fatal escape

It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Columbia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong . . . and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

A dangerous desire . . .

Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is . . . even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

My Thoughts:

Nathan Malone used to belong to Navy SEAL team Durango. However, during one of their missions, he was captured by Diego Fuentes drug cartel. Eventually, he was rescued, but not before he had been tortured repeatedly. Nathan’s capture and rescue were integral parts of the overall storyline in Leigh’s Tempting Seals series. As such, I had already become somewhat emotionally vested in Nathan’s life before reading this book. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed.

The majority of this book takes place several years after Nathan’s rescue. He had chosen to let Nathan Malone stay dead – and part of that meant that his wife had never been told of his rescue. It wasn’t until a situation arose that threatened his wife and his family that he allowed himself to return to his home town. Of course, due to his extensive injuries and reconstructive surgeries, Noah held little resemblance to his former self. He returned home determined to keep his identity a secret from his wife. Of course, this didn’t mean that he wasn’t willing to resurrect his relationship with Bella – his wife who wasn’t exactly sure why she was drawn to the new man in town.

Noah is a tortured man. His years of captivity and torture have made him a different person – one that he was afraid to let loose around his wife. He, of course, learns during the course of the story that he didn’t know his wife as well as he thought. Bella has been lost without her husband. She could never truly move on because of a connection that she always felt. I will admit that I did get a bit irritated with this situation. Noah returns home, begins a relationship with his wife as someone else and then is actually jealous of himself. By this point, Bella is sure that Noah is her husband. In one scene, Bella lets Noah drive the truck he loved when he was Nathan. They go out on a date and then make love in the truck. At several points, he is overcome with emotion that she is allowing someone else to drive his truck – allowing someone else to be intimate with her in his truck. I wanted to shake Noah a bit at this point. Bella was a central character, but I really think this book is predominately about Noah – about his battles with himself and his struggle to return to a normal life. I loved the book. I loved Noah. There is just something about a tortured alpha male (and the women who love them). I am definitely looking forward to the next installments in the Elite Op series.

Read first August 27, 2008
Read again April 19, 2009


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