Call Of The Wilder

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♥♥♥Golden Heart Finalist♥♥♥

“This book has it all as a charming conflicted woman makes peace with her past and her free-spirited family. Great writing style and characters set in the glitz of Las Vegas. It’s a complete joy!” —Goodreads

Gemini Wilder loves her family but decided long ago that their free-loving approach to life wasn’t for her. She turned her back on her wild-child youth and embraced monogamy, sobriety, and her amazing boyfriend Randy, who has just popped the question. Her dreams of a peaceful and stable life are finally coming true. So why is her past suddenly singing to her again?

When a family crisis calls her to Vegas, she hopes the time away will help her regain her perspective. But with her anti-marriage loved ones questioning her every move and her Elvis-impersonating ex stirring up old feelings, her inner Wilder is gaining strength. With everything she loves on the line, it’s time for the real Gemini to stand up. But is she strong enough to resist the call of the Wilder?

“It’s more than a romance. It’s a story of family and loving who we really are no matter what.”  – T of K&T Book Reviews (full review)
“The characters are brilliantly drawn . . . a story told with honesty and humor, and this one delivers. 5 stars!” Janet Kinsella Reviews
“I fell in love with these very modern, flashy, I don’t do marriage women. Each of their stories comes with it’s own set of laughs, tears and heartbreaks.” K of K& T Book Reviews (full review)

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If your book club is looking for “a story of family and loving who we really are, no matter what,” (K&T Book Reviews) check out the discussion questions.

Excerpt

I woke with a start in the middle of the night, chest heaving, staring into a darkness so thick it could be worn like a coat. Something was off.
I lay very still and tried to pinpoint the source of my anxiety. I’d never been the type to fear ghoulies and ghosties, and I once sat through an entire Freddy Kruger marathon with little more than an occasional blink. Waking up at 3:17 with my head pillowed on Randy’s chest and his arms close around me was usually the ultimate comfort. As far as I could remember it had never sent me into a panic before.
Okay, I told myself. Stop and think. You’re warm, you’re safe, there’s nothing flitting through the shadows, no strange sounds except for the song running through your—
Oh, shit.
The soundtrack was back. Not on its own, but as the last remnants of a dream. Of all the stupid clichés—but there you go. It was simply a dream that left me curled against Randy, making whimpery noises in the dark. A dream about my ex-husband, and our last night together.
Let me clarify. Patrick, my ex, was not a bad man. All the poor guy did was marry me and share his deepest wish: he wanted to be a singer. Unfortunately for him—or maybe it was for the best—that was all it took to make me run. Thirteen years later, I still couldn’t explain why I fled. I just did it.
So what matrimonial terror had invaded my sleep? Simple. I’d seen Patrick with a microphone in his hand, belting out “Heartbreak Hotel” the way he did at the All Elvis Tribute Contest on the third and final night of our Las Vegas marriage. Thirteen years hadn’t done a thing to dim either the memory or the impact. He still worked the crowd—and me—with the skill that had earned him a runaway victory way back when. I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t fear making my breath come so fast. Nope. It was pure and simple lust, a craving so deep that I could swear it perfumed the air, heavy and potent. And that was what scared the crap out of me: that while I slept, thoroughly satisfied, in my fiancé’s arms, my mind had gone tripping to another time, another man, another passion.
Just like my mother. My mother, the only woman I knew who’d been juggling two men— with both their knowledge and cooperation—since before I was born.
Somewhere deep inside me, my inner Wilder offered up a low and malevolent cackle, like a demon in search of a stray soul. Which was probably pretty damned accurate.
Wilders, as my mother and aunts had assured me from the moment of my birth, didn’t do normal. Or average. Fidelity and monogamy were also on their list of deadly virtues. Passion was good. Thumbing a nose at convention was very good. Moderation, sobriety, consequences, and planning ahead—not so much. To be born into our family was to live as though life was a perpetual weekend in Vegas, full speed ahead and damn anything that might get in the way, be it torpedoes or people. The ultimate all-or-nothing.
And yeah, that used to be me. Though lying there in the dark, with my blood still churning from my dream, I was having a hard time convincing myself that “used to be” was still the operative phrase.
I shuddered and dove deeper into Randy’s embrace, searching for the solace that only he could give. If I was lucky, he would wake up and help love away the fear.
If not, it was going to be one heck of a long night.

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