5 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Wild Card by Staci Hart

The hot baseball player I’m forced to stay with for my best friend’s wedding is off limits.

Remy Winfield has more muscles than manners, and he’s on a mission to get me into bed by way of the filthiest mouth I’ve ever wanted to kiss. He doesn’t care about my long time crush or my certainty that we’re finally about to happen.

Remy’s sure I’ll break first and kiss him, and he’ll tease me to the limit to make sure I do. I might be a Lady, but I can still play his dirty little game. It’s perfectly safe, totally harmless.

Until I fall for him.

Suddenly, Mr. Long-Time Crush doesn’t matter at all.

And my best friend can never know.

Title:Wild Card
Author:Staci Hart
Series:Roseville Ramblers (Book 1)
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Enemies to Lovers
Opposites Attract
Small Town Romance
Point of View:First Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Roseville, Tennessee, US
Release Date:5 April 2024
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The best romance of 2024 so far

5 stars

It’s been a few days since I finished this book and already in my mind I’m seeing this book through those lovely, soft hazy filters of movies of old. It’s become almost dream-like and I’m still basking in its wonder which is why this is my first ‘best of 2024’ read of the year.

This is the first book in what will hopefully turn into a new series and also the first book from Staci Hart in a while. And it was so worth the wait. What you get is an opposites attract, fish-out-of-water, small town romance that was both simple and sublime.

Jessa is in the small Tennessee town for her best friend’s wedding. She’s looking forward to spending time with her friend, having a relaxing break and hopefully finally getting her long-term crush to take that next step. What she’s not looking forward to is spending time with her best friend’s cousin, Remy, who, due to an accommodation mix-up, is now her roommate for the duration of the wedding.

Our Jessa is a British lady and I admit, I was expecting not to like her for a myriad of reasons. But from the moment she appeared on Remy’s doorstep, I was rooting for her. I don’t even know how to describe her other than to tell you she’s not hoity toity like I thought she’d be. She doesn’t turn her nose up when it shouldn’t be up. She’s not a bitch. There was something about her that I both could relate to and also admire. She was a strong woman and yet there was a vulnerability about her that caught at my heart. And fear not, fellow Brits – Jessa does not ‘jolly good, ol’ chap’ all over the place. It’s all very well done and I only counted 2 phrases a Brit wouldn’t say – and it was towards the end of the book when Jessa had been in Tennessee long enough to have picked up some of the lingo – so it’s all good.

“…who knew that sex on a rooftop would become a fantasy?!”

Equally, Remy is quite hard to describe. Almost from the first second of meeting Jessa, he hits on her and proclaims that she will eventually give in and sleep with him. And yet I found him ridiculously charming and liked him from the first. As the story continues and we get to know him more, his appeal only increases. He’s still the roguish, boyish charmer but we, and Jessa, see the deeper side to him. He was one of those heroes that you don’t want for yourself – only because he was so perfect for Jessa that he couldn’t be anyone else’s.

There’s obviously the chemistry between Jessa and Remy that is hotter than the summers in Tennessee. Phew – this pair heated up the pages and that was when they weren’t doing anything but simply trying to make the other lose the bet they had going. When the gloves – and everything else – came off – wowza! And who knew that sex on a rooftop would become a fantasy?!

There’s a colourful cast of supporting characters who never take over but all add something to the story. As soon as we were introduced to Wilder and found a little bit more about him, I wanted to read his story (which is why I’ve got my fingers crossed for this to become a series) but I definitely didn’t expect everything to hit the fan the way it did. It played out almost like a farce and I was here for the drama. Pass me the popcorn.

There was just something about this book that pulled me in and made me fall in love. Jessa and Remy couldn’t have been from more different worlds or more different characters – but they brought something out in the other that really was magical. They realised they were happiest – more themselves – when they were with each other. It’s this kind of story that is why I fell in love with romance in the first place. The idea that someone will love you exactly as you are and for who you are and you will get your happily ever after – and your strawberry farm – well, it left me with a happy glow that I felt for days. I absolutely adored this book and will give it 5 stars all day long.

5 stars

* I received this book in exchange for my honest review. *

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom to three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, nor is she the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party–especially if she’s been drinking whiskey–and her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north in Denver, where snow is magic and the mountains have become home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, gaming, or designing graphics.

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Roseville Ramblers Series

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