Wild Child (Boys of Bishop Series #1)

Wild Child (Boys of Bishop Series #1)

by Molly O'Keefe

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Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

“Molly O’Keefe is a unique, not-to-be-missed voice in romantic fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Andersen

Praise for Wild Child

“If there is one contemporary romance novel you must read in 2013, this is it. . . . This book, this book. . . . I could go on and on . . . but I will just end with this: not only was the plot beautiful but the writing was as well.”Love’s a State of Mind

“One of my favorite things about [Molly O’Keefe’s] books is the way they refuse to shy away from messy, complicated characters and relationships. Wild Child is no different in that regard. . . . It is a testament to O’Keefe’s skill as a writer and a storyteller that she imbues Jackson and Monica’s stories (as a fledgling couple and as individuals) with a tremendous amount of emotional depth and sensitivity. . . . O’Keefe can bring characters . . . into vivid and compelling life as they stumble, sometimes joyously, often painfully, always passionately, toward love and mutual happiness.”Dear Author

“I fell in love with this book from the very beginning. . . . It has the right amount of romance . . . and the sex scenes were hot too.”Night Owl Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345533715
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Series: Boys of Bishop Series , #1
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,141,965
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.68(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Molly O’Keefe published her first Harlequin romance at age twenty-five and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring each character’s road toward happily ever after. She’s won two Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards and the RITA for Best Novella in 2010. Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she now lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two kids, and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Six months ago

Jackson Davies knew better. He really did. There were friends you could do free hard labor for, and there were friends you couldn’t.

Sean Baxter was decidedly a friend you couldn’t. And yet Jackson managed to be shocked when Sean sat down to watch TV while Jackson was still sanding drywall.

“You’ve got to be joking!” Jackson threw down the sandpaper. He was covered in dirt and grime and sweat. He itched. Everywhere. Agreeing to help Sean renovate his family’s old dive bar, The Pour House, had seemed like a good idea four months ago—a little physical labor, some laughs with friends.

But so far Jackson and Brody, Sean’s brother, were doing all the work.

Why are you surprised? It’s grade school all over again.

“I just want to see this clip on America Today.” Sean’s face mask was pushed up into his red hair, revealing a clean circle of skin around his lips. No doubt Jackson and Brody looked equally ridiculous. Jackson needed to shower before heading to City Hall. “Monica Appleby is going to be on. You know, that writer—”

“You know, I’ve actually got work to do. Real work.” Jackson took off his tool belt. Behind him, Brody kept scraping away at the mahogany bar he was refurbishing. Brody was in town for a week between jobs and he’d committed to slave carpenter labor for that time.

Jackson couldn’t help the man.

“I’m sure Bishop will do just fine without you on a Friday morning.”

“I’m mayor, Sean. I can’t just take the whole morning off.” And the truth was, working out here at The Pour House was easier than going into City Hall today and almost every other day.

Bishop, Arkansas was dying. Slowly, from a financial wound Jackson didn’t know how to fix. And Jackson took a lot of pride in being able to fix anything.

At least sanding walls made him feel like he was doing something.

“I’m out,” Jackson said. “I’ve got a meeting with the city council, and . . .”

“Shhhhh, there she is!” Sean turned the volume up, and even Brody was forced to stop his relentless work and watch the screen.

Monica Appleby sat on the couch in the America Today green room. The reality-star-turned-author was everywhere these days. And every time Jackson caught a glimpse of her on a magazine cover or TV show, he thought the same thing: that girl is trouble.

Her black-haired, purple-eyed beauty was diamond bright but lined in smoke and sin. Something about Monica managed to put a spotlight on every single wrong and dirty thing he’d abstained from in the last seven years. Expensive bourbon, cheap tequila, beautiful women whose names he didn’t want to know, steak dinners, the Las Vegas strip, unpaid parking tickets—all of it.

She was the human and stunningly gorgeous personification of everything he wanted and couldn’t have.

It hurt to look at her.

“Remember her?” Sean asked. “From when we were kids?”

A terrified six-year-old, clinging to her battered mother’s legs.

“Of course I remember her,” Jackson said. That girl’s brief nightmarish stay in Bishop was a low point, for him and for the town. It had turned them all into voyeurs, decent people with better things to do than lining up outside the police station for a glimpse of Monica and Simone Appleby and all their pain.

“I loved that show she was on with her mom,” Sean sighed.

Jackson did not want to get into the reality-television horror show that Monica and Simone Appleby had inflicted upon the world, years ago. Monica had been a nightmare teenager, and Simone’s inability to control her had made for hugely popular though short-lived tele­vision.

Simone had her own show now, by all accounts equally bad.

“I gotta go,” Jackson said.

“See you later?” Brody asked, his black hair held back with a bandana. He looked badass, as much as his brother looked like a leprechaun with drywall dust in his hair.

“I’ve got to pick up Gwen after school. She’s got an interview down at Ole Miss.”

“I can’t believe your sister is old enough to go to college,” Brody said.

She wasn’t. But she was smart enough. And he was just desperate enough to let her go.

“Can you guys cut the chatter?” Sean asked. “I’m trying to listen here.”

“We’ll talk with Monica Appleby right after we discuss one CEO’s effort to bring industry back to small-town America,” said Jessica Walsh, the America Today host.

“Oh, Jessica, I always knew you were a tease,” Sean said, and he grabbed the remote to turn down the volume.

“Don’t,” Jackson said. Industry and small-town America were kind of his current obsessions. “Leave it.”

Riveted, Jackson stepped closer to the TV, as a handsome man with sharp blue eyes and shaggy blond hair that made him look like a cross between a surfer and a movie star filled the screen. His teeth were like pearls. Little white Chiclets.

“Dean Jennings, CEO of Maybream Crackers, makers of Crispity Crackers and Maybream Crème cookies, is moving his factory from South America back to the United States,” Jessica said, managing to make crackers sound sexy.

“Those cookies are gross,” Sean said.

“I like them,” Brody answered.

“You would.”

Jackson grabbed the remote and cranked up the volume.

“But that’s not all,” Jessica said, working her long blond hair like a stripper dancing around a pole. “He wants to bring his factory back to small-town America. Can you tell us about that decision, Dean?”

“Maybream was started in a small factory outside of New York. Twenty years ago we moved it down to South America.” Dean’s earnest-salesman charm played well on the screen—Jessica could barely keep her eyes off the man. “But all across America right now there are factories lying empty and American workers are without jobs. And I just realized . . . I couldn’t stand by and watch American industry vanish, not when I could do something about it. Now, I’m a small company and I can’t change the economy, but I realized I could change one small town by bringing the Maybream Cracker head­quarters and factory back to America.”

“This is all really exciting,” Jessica said. “But I think the most exciting, and frankly, PR-savvy, part about it is that you are teaming up with us, America Today.” Jessica smiled into the camera. “And you, our viewers, get to choose the lucky town.”

“It is exciting and I don’t know about savvy, but I thought it would be fun.” Dean made it sound like saving a small town was a trip to the seashore.

“Tell us how it works.” Jessica leaned forward across the desk, hanging, it seemed, on Dean’s every word. Or perhaps just hypnotized by his teeth.

“The application to nominate a town is available online, and my staff and I will look through every entry,” Dean said. “We will pick six that best match what we need in a factory and community. Once we have our six semifinalists, America Today will travel with me to take a good, hard look at those towns.”

“That’s an interesting aspect of this contest,” Jessica said. “What are you looking for in a community?”

“Well,” Dean sighed. “Since we’ll be moving our headquarters and staff, we need a place where people would want to raise a family. Someplace wholesome but forward-thinking, with opportunities for kids and parents. With a factory.”

Oh, God, it was like the man was singing Jackson love songs!

“That guy wouldn’t know wholesome if it bit him in the ass,” Sean muttered.

Jackson shot a scowl over his shoulder.

“What?” Sean cried. “The guy’s a sleazeball—anyone can tell.”

Behind him, Brody was nodding.

Jackson dismissed them both, because his heart was about to burst.

We’re wholesome, we’re forward-thinking.

And best of all, Bishop had a factory: an okra-processing plant that had been closed for five years. It just sat there, empty, on the south side of town. A reminder of what this town used to be. A graveyard to nearly one hundred lost jobs.

Jackson had been trying for three years as mayor to bring in new business, new industry that would keep this town afloat—but he’d never dreamed of getting the factory open again.

“After I narrow down my choices from six to three and make sure the top three have factories that can be retrofitted for Maybream Crackers,” Dean said, “I’m going to let America vote which town wins. And together we will change that town’s future.”

“Deadline for applications is the end of the month,” Jessica pointed out. “So if you know a town that you think would be a good fit for Maybream Crackers, check out our website.” A website address scrolled along the bottom of the screen.

“Give me a pencil,” Jackson said, holding out his hand toward his friends. “Now. Now before it’s gone.”

“Christ, man,” Sean said, slapping a small oblong carpenter’s pencil into his hand. “You can google that shit, you know.”

Jackson scrawled the information on the wall he’d just been sanding. It would be painted over, but that didn’t stop Sean from moaning as if Jackson were defacing the Taj Mahal.

“Dean,” Jessica continued, “thanks so much for coming in today and partnering with us on this great project. I hope more American companies take note and bring their factories back to U.S. soil.”

“Me too, Jessica. Thanks for having me.” One last movie-star smile and Dean Jennings was gone.

The show cut to commercial, and Jackson turned down the volume before facing his friends.

Their wary expressions bounced right off his ebullient mood.

“Did you hear that? It’s like he was talking about Bishop!” He punched the air in victory. It felt so good, so right, that he did it again. There hadn’t been a whole lot of reasons for fist-pumping these days. “This is it!” he cried. “This is exactly what Bishop needs.”

“A TV show?”

“Someone to reopen the factory. Bring back jobs. New jobs. For Bishop!” Jackson was light-headed with relief and excitement. “Oh my God, can you believe that? It’s perfect.”

“It’s a long shot,” said Brody.

“I believe in long shots,” Jackson said. “I am the king of long shots.” Not entirely true, but he was riding a wave here.

Sean, who made being a cynic his life’s work, frowned.

Now Jackson’s good mood was dented.

“Just because you don’t like the guy after a clip on television—”

“Guys who look like that can’t be trusted. It’s a fact. They get everything they want,” Sean said.

“Bishop is dying, Sean. Dying. We need this.”

“But a TV show?” Sean asked. “And letting America vote? That shit is always rigged.”

“You want people coming into The Pour House?” Jackson asked. “Not just the regulars, but new business? Young people? Hot girls?”

“Hot girls would be nice.”

“You want your kids—”

“I don’t have kids.”

“But you will someday, and you’re not going to want to bus them to school an hour away, are you? If we don’t change our tax base, we lose the schools. That’s it. A chance like this might not come again. The town is in a bad way, Sean. A third of our population has left—”

“You don’t have to tell me.” Sean held up his hands in surrender, but he didn’t lose that scowl.

“Then what’s your problem?”

If Jackson were the punching kind, he would have punched Sean Baxter years ago. In kindergarten, maybe. And probably another hundred times since. For that face alone. Always the doubting Thomas. Always the fly in the soup.

“Remember when we played baseball in high school?”

Jackson shot a “can’t you help me here, he’s your brother?” look at Brody, who only went back to sanding. “Of course I remember, Sean. We had the worst record in the state.”

“We sucked. It’s true. But you know what I remember about you?” Sean asked.

“I can’t even imagine.”

Sean leaned over the bar, through sunlight and a snowstorm of dust in the air, catching Jackson in the crosshairs of his light blue eyes.

“You swung for the fences, every time. Even when a base hit would have sufficed, you went after that ball like it had insulted your mother. Like the fate of the world rested on you knocking the leather off that damn thing.”

“That’s why I led the team in home runs.”

“And strikeouts.”


“What’s your point, Sean?”

“I thought you were nuts when you decided to run for mayor, but I supported you. But this show . . . this idea . . . It feels like you’re swinging for the fences.”

Jackson stepped forward and poked his old friend in the chest. “That’s exactly what I’m doing, Sean. And I’m doing it right now.”

He glanced at the wall and memorized the website he’d scrawled there.

The whole texture of his day had changed. He had to get on that application process, and quick. He wasn’t even sure who had keys to the factory. Shelby Monroe’s mother used to run it; maybe she had the keys. He grabbed his wallet from the windowsill where he’d left it and walked out of the bar into the bright Arkansas morning.

As mayor of Bishop, population 4,200, he’d been working hard to fix what was wrong with the community, all so that he could leave it.

And this show might just be his ticket out of here.

Customer Reviews

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Wild Child: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Mayor Jackson Davies knows about responsibilities. He left law school and his girlfriend to move back to Bishop, Arkansas to raise his much younger sister when their parents were killed in a car wreck. He was elected mayor to a town on the edge of bankruptcy. He has a chance to bring some much needed industry to Bishop in the form of a cookie factory. The problem is there are other towns in the running for the same factory. Having former “Wild Child” Monica Appleby return to Bishop to write about Bishop’s only murder, when her mother shot and killed her father is not the image Jackson wants to present. He can’t help it if he finds himself attracted to her. Which will win duty or love? This book is a little darker than other books I've read by Ms. O'Keefe but it is still one heck of a good read. This book had me at times laughing out loud and at one point I had to put the book down because I couldn't read through my tears. Like real life this book is filled with ups and downs and I highly recommend it. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. 
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
What do you do when you are a small town mayor determined to keep your town from becoming another bankrupt statistic? Mayor Jackson Davies enters a contest that would bring a large cookie manufacturing company to Bishop. Yep, cookies, sweet, huh? How could he know Monica Appleby would come back to Bishop to dig up some of the town&rsquo;s ugly, painful past? The tension runs high as these two battle it out in public-while in private they are burning up the sheets, playing havoc with their hearts. <b>Wild Child</b> by Molly O&rsquo;Keefe is a light, sometimes spicy romance that makes for a nice, if slightly predictable read. Both Monica and Jackson have troubled pasts they must learn to overcome. Can you say flawed humans? Then again, getting to that conclusion is kind of fun! With a town full of brilliantly fleshed out characters, the couple have a great supporting cast, a real contemporary crisis that is all too real for many towns today, emotional conflict in spades and small town talk to deal with! Ms. O&rsquo;Keefe can tell a tale, takes her time building the world we are invited into and pulls together a tale that runs the gamut of emotions! Anytime the author can convince the reader that they want to throttle the immaturity of a character, they have done their job well! An ARC edition was provided by Bantam in Exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
too strong characters both with issues, completely different issues but they come together in the end, it's just good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters who I want to get to know. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sdeets More than 1 year ago
Monica Appleby is damaged. She has come back to Bishop to write a novel about the day her father was killed by her mother, an abusive spouse and father. Jackson is the Mayor and is trying to save his dying town. Through a mix-up he ends up dining with Monica and finds himself enjoying her company. Jackson has his own issues. His parents died during the prime of his life and he had to put his life on hold to take care of his little sister. Jackson believes he wants out, but then he is so drawn to Monica he doesn't know what to do. I read the second book in this series first. I enjoyed it so much that I went back and read this one. I really like this authors writing style. Instead of dancing around the issues she hits them square in the face. So far, I have really liked both books in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I thought there would be more sex! The story was good -- not exactly the HEA ending that you might expect but still happy. I'm not sure I liked Monica's relationship with her mom. I felt as if it could've been explained better. There was a lot there that didn't make sense. The questions Monica asked her mom in her "interview" filled in some gaps but then opened up more questions! Like, how long had her mom been married? Did she actually live in Bishop or was her husband from there? And the beginning confused me a bit about Jenna. I felt as if she should've been explained sooner. But maybe it makes sense that we didn't have all of the character details right at the beginning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does it have enough romance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im the real noah otherwise why would 1. I know this book 2. My other posts dissapear
nova66 More than 1 year ago
This story was well written and will be added to my favorites.
Lisa-Lou More than 1 year ago
Wild Child by Molly O'Keefe is the first book in her Boys of Bishop series. This was NOT what I expected. A heartwarming tale of slightly damaged, imperfect people finding their way to love despite their issues. Jackson is mayor of Bishop and young to be so. He is a well-loved man who let's no one close, not even his own sister who he has been raising since their parents died in a car crash a few years ago. The town is dying, the economy sucks and there is one chance to turn things around. The competition on daytime television for small town america to become home to a cookie manufacturing plant. The added jobs alone would turn this towns economy right around. Now all Jackson has to do is put the town's best face on display and have all the townspeople on their BEST behavior. Monica is THE Wild Child. Her brief time in Bishop as a young girl was when her father chased her mother and her down, tried to kidnap her, attached her mother, and then was shot and killed in self-defense by her mother. Life wasn't good before and was horrible after that. Two god-awful reality shows and one best-selling novel later, Monica is back in town to write about her father's murder. Her visit coincides with that of the TV crew for the factory competition and Jackson is less than pleased. The chemistry between the two - right off the bat, is awkward, hot and messy. The fact that they both end up baring so much of themselves that is normally NEVER revealed is precious. The story doesn't only focus on Jackson and Monica, it also gives a fully fleshed out idea of the townsfolk in general paving the way for more storylines - interesting ones at that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand 3 times, post on three different book. Then, look under pillow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the story was a little unbelievable... Also there were too many things going on at the same time that were not really connected... Also there wasn't a real ending to several of the stories... When I can put a book down and walk away from it for a period of time it isn't a good thing... Sorry but this one just wasn't "up there"...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book.  I will keep it, and read it more than the one time.  Good sex scenes.
hcollins1 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! The story line was a nice refreshing change from all the trilogies out there. It was fun and quirky at times and at other times had me griping the edge of my seat. The main characters were really good together, but I would definitely like to see more books about the other characters because there were quite a few of them that I would LOVE to read more about. I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story of two lost souls struggling to make their way in the world.  I found this book to be different from Molly O'Keefe' s prior books but wonderful just the same.  Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my god sex YAY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Monica Appleby is best known for her role as the &ldquo;Wild Child&rdquo; on a reality TV show. Now she is returning to her home town to write an autobiography about her mother killing her father when she was 5. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to pull every string to save Bishop, Arkansas. He just entered a TV show contest to bring a new manufacturing plant to the town, hoping to revitalize the economy. When the town ends up in the contest's semi-finals the last thing Jackson wants is to stir up old town skeletons. Monica Appleby story is definitely the town's biggest skeleton. Davies is torn between his goal to save the town and the desire that burns for Monica. With every argument it seems their attraction grows till it just boils over.  I really enjoyed Wild Child. The do battle attraction is always so fun to watch, while the romantic tension grows thicker with every sparring. The town provides a very interesting line up of secondary characters. I did find Jackson's mindset a little immature, but it was great to see the character growth at the end. Wild Child is an easy, entertaining story with a strong home town flare. This ARC copy of Wild Child was given to me by Random House Publishing Group - Bantam in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication October 29, 2013. Written by: Molly O'Keefe Series: The Boys of Bishop Sequence in Series: 1 Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages Publisher: Bantam  Publication Date: October 29, 2013 ISBN-10: 0345533712 ISBN-13: 978-0345533715 Rating: 3.5 Stars Genre: Contemporary Romance Age Recommendation: Adult