Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Nerd Gone Wild
Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in Vicki Lewis Thompson's Nerds series. Though they're called a series, there are no shared characters between them, only a concept, that being that nerds need love, too. The heroes of these books are sweet and considerate and smart, and are flying under their love interests' radars.

This book breaks the repetition of the last two. Mitchell Caruthers grew up geek, but then he shed that identity to become a member of law enforcement. His current assignment, where he's the bodyguard for heiress Ally Jarrett, has him slipping back into old habits so she doesn't realize he's her bodyguard. If she knew, she'd never put up with him. So long as she believes he's just a harmless nerd, she lets him be, though she chafes at his overbearing presence.

Then she runs off to Porcupine, Alaska in the middle of February to photograph wildlife, and secretly meet up with her disowned uncle. Mitchell follows her, and, between an oversexed lodge owner and a small town full of bored Alaskans, Ally and Mitch find themselves pushed together. Not that either of them mind.

The build-up to the relationship was a lot slower in this book than in previous Nerd books, which allows for more sexual tension and believable development. Mitch really is attractive beneath the dweeb costume, and Ally's surprise and gratification upon realizing it seems genuine. Their reasons for not pursuing a relationship, and for resisting it within the book, are logical and unique to their situations.

The writing showed some improvement from book 2 to 3. I didn't cringe at the dialogue, and characters weren't spelling things out in their internal dialogue that was already painfully obvious. The story flowed well, and, while hardly poetic, I wasn't stumbling over clunky passages.

The sexual tension was good; the main characters don't get together until over halfway through the book, and the first 200 pages are a slow simmer. The sex is described in sensual detail, though some of the imagery made me raise an eyebrow. ("Magic wand?" Really?)

However, the book paints S&M adherents as depraved, selfish sexual predators. In one scene early in the book, Mitch looks over evidence that Uncle Kurt is into S&M, and nods knowingly, as if that's all the character reference he needs. I happen to know a lot of perfectly well-adjusted, kind people with kinky tastes, and I can't help but scowl at Thompson's naïveté. I know sexual practices are often confused, in romance novels, for character development, but I didn't appreciate the inclusion of the trope.

Overall, this was a fun, quick romp. I enjoyed reading it. I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a steamy romance read featuring a beta male. And, if you start at book 3, you get to skip past the clunkier books in the series. You're not missing much.

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