Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81682-2
Contemporary Romance, 2001
Born to Be Wild tells the story of the rather dim sister of the hero in Wife for a Day. Despite asserting a new-found independence after several disastrous marriages, Lauren Remington still comes off a bit, er, dim however. But it’s not that bad, actually.
Lauren is now a wedding planner. She’s a not too bright one, like I said, because when her caterer dies on her and all his staff plan to attend his funeral on the same day she needs to plan a big important wedding, she can’t find another caterer. Or one she can afford anyway. In desperation, she calls up Born to Be Wild and hopes these dodgy-sounding caterers can prepare some decent food in three days.
I find it odd that a good wedding planner wouldn’t have a list of caterers on her emergency list, much less not even know the reputations of the caterers in her area. Then again, it’s Lauren!
Max Wilde owns the Born to Be Wild catering agency, and he thinks Lauren is some sort of bubble-head. Besides, she kissed him once on her first wedding during which Max was a waiter, and he thinks she’s a bit flaky as a result. Can’t blame him, really. Even though his own schedule is full, he decides to help Lauren out, thinking that it’s her wedding he will be catering to.
They feel an attraction between them, and Lauren plays busybody to Max and his son, et cetera.
Born to Be Wild isn’t as dire as you may think, but I do wish Lauren gets some semblance of normalcy towards the end of story. She doesn’t. Her behavior veers from borderline silly “Heehee, I can’t find a good man but I believe love is soooooo grand!” Pollyanna sort to hapless “Oh, Max, tell me I’m pretty, sexy, gorgeous, talented – boost my confidence please!” Poor Me Esmeralda sort. Max is the tortured-by-past-and-feels-unworthy-as-a-father sort, and in a way he is just as stereotypical a character as Lauren.
Still, the story could have been readable if the author hasn’t chosen to write as if she’s writing a Care Bear Happy Valentine Story instead of a romance novel meant for adults. It is one thing to ask the reader a question in a non-dialogue paragraph (“What will she do now? Dear Charles, what will she do without him?”), but there’s this tendency of this author to use the phrase “Oh, dear!” to the point of overkill.
With the style of writing more suited to a preteen fairy tale and a heroine who doesn’t seem adult at times, Born To Be Wild comes off like a tale of eight-year-old kids kissing for the first time behind the shed rather than a tale of adults with sex drive finding romance. It’s not bad, but it can get unnecessarily too-cute and giggly for its own good.