MIRA, $5.99, ISBN 1-55166-623-5
Contemporary Romance, 2000
Wild Enough for Willa makes me wild. Not “Yippee, ain’t that hot, lover boy!” wild but “Am I growing fangs?” wild.
It is one thing to make the hero and heroine try to kill each other or deceive each other. Who knows, I’ve seen noir movies that make such gestures romantic foreplay, so it can be done. But Willa display the intelligence of a light bulb, and the hero Luke McKade is a misogynist pig. Pair a nitwit with a pig and the end result can’t be anything but highway roadkill.
I won’t go into the convoluted plot. I’ll just outline the event as best as I can:
- Luke’s brother is out to kill a lawyer named Baines.
- Luke rescues Willa, pregnant with Baines’s brat, who is drugged up by Baines and tied to a bed. But not before he almost rapes her – hey, he thinks her a prostitute, and we all know how prostitutes all ask for it, right?
- Willa bumps Luke and leaves him for dead. Since his offer of help comes with a clause that requires her to spread for him, I don’t blame her. But Willa leaves with the obviously deranged brother of Luke. She expects Luke’s family to accept her after she marries this brother.
- Years later, unhappy and depressed, Willa finds some money belonging to some shady people tied with Baines, and runa. Luke wants the money too.
That’s it. Many nasty people here, and I’m not talking about the villains alone. Luke is pretty bad as a man whose token of affection for Willa seems to stem from his assumption that she is an easy lay and she can’t be too bright. Sad thing is, I think he’s kinda right. Willa loves Baines, loves Luke, two prime examples of lousy hubby material. I eagerly await her guest appearance on Geraldo. Then again, she’ll probably put on too much make-up, maybe I’ll pass.
If Wild Enough for Willa openly acknowledges that it is a tongue-in-cheek romance-made-noir (if distasteful noir), I may be okay with that. But the rushed and unrealistic happy ending (after three hundred pages of name-calling and bile – hah!) only convinces me that the whole thing is probably just a sad misfire of a romance.