A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl 120
Marissa York is wild and reckless and very curious about sex so as the story opens, she is just coming to regret very recently sleeping with Mr. Peter White. The experience was nothing like she imagined and she decides that Peter will not, as she had expected, make a good husband. Unfortunately her older brother, Edward, Baron York, and her cousin, Harry barge in and disrupt her and demand that she marry Peter. She tries to convince them that is not possible, but with the possibility of scandal, not to mention a baby perhaps on the way, a marriage must be soon. Her youngest brother Aidan is accompanied by his friend Jude Bertrand, the bastard son of a Duke, who has had his eye on Marissa since he first met her. He offers to marry Marissa and her family accepts even though under normal circumstances they would never consider him. He senses a wickedness, a wild and naughty streak, in Marissa and he wants to bring it to the surface in her- just for him. Jude is unlike any of the other men Marissa has fancied; he is big and brash and is far from the pretty boys she has always admired.
Although he is not someone she would have considered for herself, she has to admit that there is something intriguing about Jude. He shows no signs of jealousy when she ogles other men, he likes her sexual side, and even his brutish looks begin to grow on her. Jude hopes to use sexual passion to entice Marissa into falling in love with him because he wants her with nothing held back; he will take all of her or nothing. Their engagement takes the storm by surprise as Marissa does seem to be marrying beneath her potential and causes both of them to rethink some of the assumptions they had made about themselves. Jude realizes he had been thinking himself less than his noble friends, the Yorks, and being with Marissa he discovers he is no longer comfortable thinking like this. Marissa worries that her past actions regarding Jude, like telling him he is not her physical type, will continue to come between them. But when the threats of scandal are past both of them must face the knowledge that they want each other forever and it has nothing to do with scandal.
I have loved Victoria Dahl's book in the past and this has been in my Kindle Cart for quite awhile, so I read it with really high expectations. I was immediately drawn in by the opening scene and how daring Marissa was and how willing she was to take risks because of her desire for sexual pleasure. I liked Jude for being wonderful enough to step up and offer to marry Marissa even with the possibility of a baby and because he was so different from her usual type. It set it up for Marissa to really get to know Jude and fall for who he is and develop new tastes. The relationship was really the heart of this novel as it grew from one of necessity to one that they both desperately wanted but feared that the other did not. Much of this novel was spent with the two of them interacting with each other, thinking about each other, or dealing with issues surrounding their engagement. There was steam between them and both of them were quite sexual, but there was very little sex in the book and it was disappointing because it felt rather desperate on Marissa's part was not as hot as I had expected from the rest of the book.
I don't usually have a problem with a heroine's promiscuity, let's face it the female is very usual at all promiscuous in romance novels, but I found it rather odd that she just had sex with a man because she was curious, with no thought to the consequence. It kind of made me like her a little less even while admiring her for throwing off the norms of society. There was a decent amount of angst about whether or not the other truly wanted the marriage to happen, but I felt like Dahl is not so good at writing angst and I found myself rather bored with it and wanting both of them to just get over it. I did like the plot involving someone blackmailing the family because it was interesting and contained a couple of nice plot twists. As usual in Dahl's novels the writing was superb; it was fast paced, it was fun, it was descriptive when necessary and it really created an enjoyable reading experience. Her secondary characters were superb, from Marissa's very dramatic mother, whom I absolutely adored, to her brother's, to the well-developed "villain" of the story.
Rating: A fairly enjoyable book with two interesting characters, but I know Dahl can do much better and I expect more from her.