Review: Wild Encounter by Nikki Logan

Format read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: romantic suspense
Length: 196 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Date Released: September 9, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

A wildlife release mission in Africa turns deadly when the convoy is hijacked by smugglers, and veterinarian Clare Delaney is taken hostage. Terrified for her life and her animals, the intrepid Clare establishes a rapport with the man she believes is the criminals’ leader, and reluctantly finds herself under his protection…and falling hard for the enigmatic man.

Alpha-to-the-max Simon deVries sees right through his sexy captive’s attempt to seduce her way to freedom. So when their simmering attraction flares into true passion, it takes them both by surprise. Now he’s torn between completing his secret mission and letting her escape without telling her his true identity. He knows if he lets her go, he will be risking his career, his life…and his heart.

Most people know about “Stockholm Syndrome”, where hostages “have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.” The syndrome is all about mistaking the lack of abuse from their captors, or, in the case of Clare and Simon in Wild Encounter, a particular captor, for an act of kindness. Or possibly more.

At least, that’s what the shrink tells her after it’s all over.

There’s an inverse syndrome, the “Lima Syndrome.” That’s the version where the abductors develop sympathy for the hostages, sometimes to the point of letting them all go. Or, in the case of Wild Encounter, letting just the one hostage go.

And that’s what Simon’s superiors tell him he has after it’s all over.

But what if they’re wrong?

As romantic suspense, the start of this story is both amazing and slightly uncomfortable. Simon and a group of seriously bad dudes kidnap Clare by accident in order to get at the wild dogs her group is planning to release. She’s just collateral damage. So are the dogs.

Can either of them be sure the attraction they feel for each other is real, and not a product of the situation?

Clare only knows that Simon is the only one of the crew who treats her half-way decently. He protects her from the others. Throwing her lot in with him, throwing herself at him, is her best chance for survival.

Until she can rescue herself. Which is exactly what she does. With wits and skill and intelligence. Brains over brawn. Whatever she feels for Simon, she takes him down, too. And escapes from ALL her captors. Including the one she’s just spent an entire day in the sack with.

She drugs him comatose, along with the rest. His last act is to give her his gun. She drives far enough away before she brings back rescue that he has a chance to get away, she hopes. But that’s all she can do for him, whoever he was.

Six months later she’s back in Africa, because the dogs have been found on the wrong nature preserve, and she and her team have to relocate them after all. While she’s happy to know that they survived, she’s still emotionally scarred.

Then the British government sends  a team to guard them, to prevent a repeat of the “embarrassing events” of the previous transfer, and there’s Simon again. Clare finds out who he really is, and she’s both stunned and angry. He’s MI6 and her kidnapping nearly ruined his undercover case.

All she knows is that in 6 months he never contacted her to let her know that he was alive, or who he really was. Or what their last night together might have meant. Or not.

His case isn’t over. He can’t even tell her what it’s about. Or that he’s not sure what their last night meant either. Was it all part of one syndrome or another, or was what they both did, part of something they both really felt? And will they survive long enough to clear up all the misunderstandings?

Escape Rating B: The pages absolutely fly by in this romantic suspense tale. The author conveys both the romance and the danger of her veterinarian-heroine’s love-affair with her job and the places it takes her too, with deft insider knowledge.

It was terrific to see a woman rescue herself, not by muscle, but by brains. We need more heroines like Clare in romance. (Heck, we need more heroines like Clare as role-models in general!)

But, we’re all left wondering how much of what Clare (and Simon) feel in the initial situation is real, and how much is part of the situation. The sex is jungle steamy, but are the emotions real? Those syndromes exist for very valid psychological reasons.

The angsting after Clare and Simon get back together is a bit, well, much. The misunderstandings are huge, and go on way too long. Either he can talk about it, or he can’t. If MI6 says he’s compromised, than he shouldn’t be there. Or he’s all there. Also, the nameless/faceless nature of the superiors who  said he couldn’t/shouldn’t be involved with Clare took a bit away from the reasoning on that one. I wanted to see his memory of that actual dressing-down, if not the event itself to give that more punch.

Where would spy stories today be without the invention of the micro-chip? (I’m just saying…)

But all things considered, I liked these characters. A LOT. I wanted them to find a happy ending, and I was happy for them when they did. And the plot did keep me very much in suspense. I did not know who the bad guy was, or even why the bad guy was, until Clare figured it out. I love it when the suspense works as well as the romance.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Interview with Author Nikki Logan + Giveaway!

Please welcome Nikki Logan to Reading Reality today. Nikki comes to us all the way from the West Coast of Australia. She’s not just here to tell us about her latest book from Entangled Publishing, Wild Encounter (review coming up on Friday) but she’s also going to give us just a glimpse into life down under. And not city life, but life in a part of the country we don’t usually hear much about. Her description really brings her world to life.

Some of the description of the way people live makes it sound a bit like Alaska without the snow. (Maybe for our next move…)

Here’s Nikki!

Marlene: Welcome Nikki! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Nikki: Sure. I’m an Australian writer who also works in the wildlife/conservation industry. I live over on the West Coast of Australia with my man and two dogs, two cats, four birds, four frogs and three fish. I’ve written contemporary romance (category length) for a couple of years and am really happy to now also write Rom-Sus for Entangled/Dead Sexy.

Marlene: It’s pretty clear from your blog, and from your books, that you definitely have a love affair with nature. When and how did your romance with nature begin?

Nikki: I can’t remember a time that I didn’t identify with wild places or creatures. I was always a really animal-y kid and that has never left me. When I studied film at Uni it was with the intention of become a natural history filmmaker, I really wanted to show people what so inspired me about the natural world. That didn’t happen (I ended up going into commercial production and video distribution for a decade) but I’ve kind of ended up where I wanted to be, just via a different route. So very happy with that.

Marlene: For those of us who live in the U.S. especially in the cities, your life in Western Australia seems like a great adventure. Would you be willing to tell us a little bit about what it’s really like?

Nikki: Perth is the world’s second most isolated capital city after Honolulu (devastated to discover we’ve been bumped from first place!). Check it out on a map and you’ll see that the nearest other capital is 2,500kms away. Western Australia also has a really small population relative to its size. Imagine everything west of Denver (USA) with only 2.2million people in it, but then imagine 2million of those only being in Los Angeles and the other 200,000 spread out across the rest of that space. You can go for days, out there, without seeing anything other than wildlife. Fantastic. But also dangerous if you get in trouble.

This isolation means we have quite a unique social culture within Australia (which we love and embrace, btw, we don’t see it as a minus). We have a massive coastline all to ourselves and so a big boating/fishing/water-based leisure culture. We love to dine, walk, and play on, in or beside oceans and rivers and seafood is a huge part of our dining experience.

We also have a really big ‘back yard’ culture. People have expansive outdoor kitchens here with flash BBQs and we sit out with our family and friends or we hangout in sprawling home theatres or beside clean, crystal pools and enjoy each other’s company more than some of the more ‘happening’ east coast cities where going out straight after work and not getting home til late is really common.  We have more hours of sunlight than any other city in Australia and boy do we use it.

The south-west of WA is all about forests and temperate agriculture and wine and caves and tourists and leisure and ‘tree-changes’. The far north of WA is all about red, ancient landscapes with a whole different weather system, dramatic land- and sea-scapes and extraordinary creatures. And, in between the two, we’re all about desert and resources and the grazing industry (our state lives and breathes on cattle, sheep and what gets dug up out of the earth).

We have a really unique sub-culture here called FIFO to support our massive mining industry. That means that a big percentage of our population (men mostly) work in remote areas of the state on mines or oil-rigs or whatever, so they fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) on rosters like 9 days on 4 days off because it’s cheaper for the companies to fly their staff all over the state every day from the City than to accommodate them in remote towns. If you walk into the business lounges of any airline anywhere else in the world you’ll find it filled with well-dressed business types. Walk into one at Perth airport and its full of steel-capped boots, king-gee shorts and tanned, masculine legs 🙂

So that’s my home. Enormous, resource-rich, sparsely populated outside of the city, abundant with wildlife and ancient landscapes, hot in summer and warm in winter, and very, very sunny. I love it.

Marlene: Now, could you describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Nikki: My writing sign is Pantser with plotster ascending 🙂   I have a general idea of what I’ll be writing about and while I’m capable of developing a story arc/outline I seem to be incapable of sticking to it. So I just resign myself to lots of go-overs (and some do-overs) while the story takes shape from my subconscious.

Marlene: What made you choose to write romances that incorporate your love of nature? (It’s a terrific concept!)

Nikki: Write what you love. The old adage. I knew I wanted to write stories set in or about wildlife and when I first started looking at the whole nature-based thing there wasn’t anyone doing that overtly. I didn’t know if that meant there wasn’t a market of just that no-one had turned it into a brand. So I held my breath and went for it. I do firmly believe that having a clear and unequivocal brand helped me to sell to Harlequin originally because they ‘got it’ straight up. And now it’s really awesome (from a business perspective) to have that clear brand to help guide my decisions. Sometimes you could go two ways and can’t decide but only one of them will support the brand and so it helps make that decision easier.

But it was a compromise because to have that brand I knew I’d be effectively writing myself out of some of the bigger selling market places (with the glamorous settings and very urban stories).

Marlene: What can we expect of Wild Encounter?

Nikki: A wild, danger-filled ride. A fantasy romance grounded in reality. Lots of wildlife. Lots of sweat and angst. Lots of blood (which was very exciting for me to write!)

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future? What is next on your schedule?

Nikki: I write full time (5-days-a-week) and I work my day job the other two and so I have a very full schedule. It means I have a few things on the go at once but in between the contemporary romances I’m fiddling with two more rom-sus ideas, one is a sequel to Wild Encounter (featuring MI6 operative,McKenzie) and the other is a paranormal set in Indondesia.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Nikki: For the escape. For the wildlife. For the compelling, relatable characters.

Marlene: Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

Nikki: My  mother with her enormous book collection. My most enduring memory of her is her perched at the kitchen bench, cup-of-tea by her side, elbows on the counter, book in hand. She always read and so reading was such a normal pastime in my house, growing up. But both my grandfathers were also great storytellers and so I definitely got the story-teller gene from them.

Marlene: What words of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Nikki: Learn the business. Talent is no longer enough. Perfected craft is no longer enough. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish the rules are the same, you need to watch the market, watch the trends, read up on the issues and see what’s working for other people. If you don’t want to approach this as a business then just make sure you always keep writing as that gorgeous thing you do on the side. The thing you do for you. The moment it becomes work you have to change your mindset.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why did you pick that particular book?

Nikki: Orson Scott Card – Enders Game. I picked it because it was the first book (well, series really) that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. Card is such a gifted storyteller (personal politics aside) and linguist and his stories exemplify the best of genre fiction — engaging, entertaining, memorable.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Nikki: Both. As required 🙂

Nikki, I want to thank you for an absolutely fantastic interview. You’ve been terrific!


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Cover Reveal: Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies

Welcome to the cover reveal for the first book in Entangled Publishing’s new Dead Sexy line of “Dangerously Sexy Romance”

Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies  by  Cynthia Cooke

Here’s the description:

Family secrets must be kept, and painful wounds must be ignored.

After an all-out assault by a vicious terrorist bent on destroying her entire family, a former government agent must break the strict rules she has always lived by when she emerges from hiding to reluctantly accept the help of her all-too-sexy ex-lover. Running a deadly race against time, they rush to rescue her kidnapped sister, find her missing father, and bring the notorious villain to justice. But nothing ever goes as planned. Bullets fly, danger abounds, and their passion reignites even faster than the lies are flowing. But their stubbornly held secrets just might spell the end of their rekindled love and hopes for the future…as well as their very lives.

Sound intriguing? The book comes out today! Yes! This romantic suspense title is a special Mother’s Day release. And it looks like a real treat for the holiday.