Our Comfort Reads: Wild Card

Our Comfort Reads

Our Comfort Reads is our own blog feature that Cait and I use to highlight and recommend books that we read when we need a little pick-me-up. Whether we’re overwhelmed with our TBR pile, need a break from a bad run of books or just want something familiar to read that we know will deliver a good story and a happy ending, these are the books we turn to and we hope that you’ll enjoy them too.

I’m not a giant fan of romantic suspense, or at least I don’t read a lot of it.  On top of that, while I’m generally a fan of a lot of Lora Leigh’s books (pre-editorial nightmares), they’re mostly her paranormals.  I’ve tried a few of the Elite Ops and Tempting SEALs books and haven’t really enjoyed them.

This book though, I come back to over and over and over again.

Wild CardWild Card (Elite Ops #1)

By Lora Leigh
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Publication Date: August 26, 2008
Genre: Romantic Suspense

It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong…and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is…even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

Goodreads Summary

Six years ago, Navy SEAL Nathan Malone died in military hospital after being tortured and disfigured by drug lord Diego Fuentes. In his place, Elite Ops Agent Noah Blake was born. Nathan left behind a family, including his young wife Sabella, who were told he died in combat rather than the truth – he came back from Columbia a physical mess and pumped full of whore’s dust, a drug that creates a crippling need for sex. Noah has a new face and a new job as a special security agent – in exchange for creating a new identity for him, he’s signed his life over to the Elite Ops.

Noah’s back in Bella’s life when he learns that a militia group is in his hometown and targeting his garage for takeover and putting Bella in danger. He’s counting on his altered face and those six years apart to keep Bella from knowing who he is, especially because he knows he can’t stay with her.

Bella’s spent six long years trying to get over Nathan’s death. When she was able to recover from the shock of it, she realized she was in danger of losing their house and his garage and she’s spent all of her time and energy trying to save it ever since. Half the town has been trying to buy her out or ruin her, including Nathan’s own father – only his half brother has stood by her. Now he’s shown up with some new employee, a dangerous-looking guy named Noah Blake who seems to think he can just take over.

Once he sees her again, Noah can’t resist going after her again. In spite of her lingering grief over Nathan, Bella can’t fight her attraction to him either – but he does seem familiar…

Noah is probably a little rougher than Leigh’s typical hero in some ways. He’s a man who’s suffered loss twice – first when he was being held captive for more than a year and lost his sense of self, then when he came back and made the choice not to go back to being Nathan Malone and lost his wife and family. There’s nothing smooth, sweet or particularly polite about him and he has friends because he’s loyal and steadfast, not because he makes nice and kicks back with a beer after work with them. Noah is rough with Bella in ways Nathan would never have been with Sabella.

A few of Leigh’s books get me to cry, but with this one, I just start out with the box of Kleenex in my lap and it’s because of Bella. While Noah’s had these six years thinking she was better off without him, she’s spent them struggling every single minute. As they’re dancing around each other, he’s mad at her for loving Nathan – and she can’t set his memory aside, for good reason.

The suspense plot is moderately interesting – more interesting were the town politics and the different people that turned on Bella after Nathan died. Some of the other Elite Ops agents are here that have their own books later, and some of those get spun off into different series’. This has some of the usual Leigh quirks that show up in all of her books – the hero has a tendency to say raunchy things to the heroine during sex and yep, he goes there. This was before the editing got bad though, so it’s easy to read.

Wild Card isn’t one of those books I pick up when I’m in the mood for something light. It’s a big emotional read, full of ups and downs, fighting and making up, some hot sexy times and a giant romantic ending.  I re-read this probably once a month and it’s the only one of Leigh’s non-paranormals I have both on my Kindle and in paperback.




  1. OH MY GOD!!!!! Wild Card is one of my fav re-reads, too, even though I make fun of it all the time. The plot is insane, the hero is alpha caveman, the dialogue is beyond cheesy "You taste like the sweetest candy, baby"…hee hee! And, I think it's hilarious that LL equates back-door lovin' with the ultimate expression of love. Nevertheless, I still love re-reading this book. It's my most guilty pleasure re-read. There is something about those nutty alpha guys I just can't get enough of….AND…the hero has a beard! :^)

  2. Hi Penny! The BEARD! How could I know that you'd love that part? And why doesn't the hot guy on the cover have it? lol I re-read this the other day and decided I had to use it since it still makes me cry. This is such a crazy book – I mean who couldn't recognize their own husband?! Wouldn't certain…parts seem familiar?(Every time I read any LL book, I want to get one of these and wear it: Rear Gear)

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