For extreme skier Tripp Wilde, pushing the limits is what he lives for. Unfortunately, the inherent risk takes a toll on his body. After an injury sidelines him, he ends up in the care of his little sister’s best friend, physical therapist Hannah Ryder—who has grown up in all the right ways since they last met.
Hannah doesn’t mix business with pleasure, even though she harbored a maddening crush on the irresistible Tripp years before. So, while Tripp tries every slick maneuver he knows to bed her, Hannah uses her own moves to keep the hotshot skier cooled off while trying to control her own growing desire for him.
After the pair witness what they think may be a murder on the slopes, along with the men responsible, no one believes their story. But when a series of unlikely accidents suggests they are being targeted, the two will have to trust in each other like never before if they are going to survive.
“An exciting new voice in romantic suspense.” —Mary Burton, New York Times bestselling author
“Well developed, realistic characters. Entertaining family dynamics. Jannine Gallant gives you a satisfying read.” —Kat Martin, New York Times bestselling author
“Check all the windows and doors before you go to bed because the relentless, obsessive stalker in Every Move She Makes will have you looking over your shoulder long after the lights go out.” —Nancy Bush, New York Times bestselling author
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Born to Be Wilde
By Jannine Gallant
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Jannine Gallant
All rights reserved.
Tripp Wilde stood at the top of the glistening white cliff and paused to savor the moment. Despite thick leather gloves, the frigid air chilled his fingertips and stung his cheeks beneath goggles tinted to give the world a rosy glow. When he shifted his weight to survey the panoramic vista, snow squeaked beneath his skis. Nothing was finer than a bluebird morning on the mountain after a three-foot dump of powder the night before. To his right, Lake Tahoe, in all its natural splendor, shimmered in the early light. Below him, the cliff face dropped away in a dizzying fall to the valley below. He blew out a puff of breath as he studied the line he would ski. A line none of his competitors in the Big Air event had attempted. Probably because they weren't as crazy as he was. He stood alone on the granite peak ... just the way he liked it.
Squaw Valley. He knew every rock and crevice of the vast mountain. Today, conditions were perfect to put on a show for the diehard supporters who'd come out to watch the morning's televised competition. If — no, when — he pulled off this run, it would make all the highlight clips on the sports channels. Exactly what his sponsors expected.
A gust of wind sent up a swirl of powder. His gaze narrowed on the overhanging cornice. Had the snow creaked, or was it just the branches of the scraggly pine clinging to the rock behind him bending in the stiff breeze?
"Wilde Thing. Wilde Thing. Wilde Thing." The chant echoed off the cliffs and drifted up the vertical face on the wind.
His hometown fans showing their love filled him with pride. He'd give them the thrill they wanted ... and then some. Adjusting his stance, he faced forward with a grin, clicked his poles together for luck then jumped, hurtling a good twenty feet through the air before landing in the chute. His knees flexed to absorb the impact before he made one quick turn then another. Air rushed over him as his speed increased before he flew off a snow-packed boulder to lay out a back flip. He struck the ground with a whoop of elation and skidded ever so slightly on his left ski before regaining control.
Halfway down and tasting victory.
A rumble sounded from the cliffs above. Tripp cast a quick glance over his shoulder just as the cornice of snow broke away with a tremendous crack. The avalanche roared down the mountain straight toward him. Nowhere to turn. Nowhere to hide.
Tucking low, heart pounding, he eked out every possible bit of speed as he flew down the steep pitch. He couldn't panic, couldn't give in to the fear threatening to eat him alive. In front of him, the chute opened outward, offering an avenue of escape. If he could reach it in time. The ground shook as the massive wall swept downward, gaining momentum.
He careened left just as the monster swallowed him whole, to send him tumbling in a freefall into oblivion ...
* * *
Hannah Ryder's heart stopped then rushed onward in a crazy rhythm. She held her breath along with the rest of the people in the crowd as the edge of the white wall closed in on Tripp ... then buried him with a thunderous roar. A hush silenced the onlookers as the avalanche slid into the giant boulders and trees at the base of the mountain before rumbling to a halt. In all the blinding white, she searched for a neon green helmet, a ski, any indication that her best friend's brother was somewhere in the rubble field left behind. Nothing. Pressing a gloved hand to her mouth, she held back a cry.
Concerned voices sounded around her, stretching her nerves with endless speculation.
"Looked like Tripp went under over to the far right."
"He could have been swept farther down."
"There goes ski patrol out to find him. I wonder if he carried an electronic beeper."
"Damn, didn't they blast that area for avalanche control this morning?"
"I'm sure they did ..."
Tamping down rising panic, she pushed her way through the spectators crowding the village then headed up toward the accident site a good hundred yards away at a run. Ski patrol was already out on the snow, using probes to push deep through the surface from the place where Tripp had disappeared down the trajectory path of the avalanche.
"Stay back, lady. Emergency and medical personnel only past this point."
She stopped when the uniformed employee clamped a hand on her arm. With a nod, she shaded her eyes from the blinding sun reflecting off the snow and squinted toward the area where the emergency crew worked frantically.
Please find him.
"I've got something!"
When the shout went up, half a dozen men converged on the designated spot with shovels. Hannah prayed it was Tripp and not just a rock. When her phone rang, she pulled the cell from her jacket pocket and glanced at the display. Eden. Way out in Wyoming. How the hell had Tripp's family heard already?
"Did you go out to watch the competition?" Eden's voice was filled with panic. "Is Tripp okay?"
"I'm at Squaw. They're searching for him now. I don't know anything yet."
A siren wailed from the road leading to the village. Hannah glanced back as an ambulance pulled up, lights flashing.
"Then he did get caught in the avalanche?" Her friend's voice rose another notch. "Oh, my God!"
Hannah tried to keep her own fear at bay and spoke in a steady tone. "How did you hear?"
"One of his buddies called the ranch. Jake was up on the mountain, waiting for his run, and didn't see it happen. I guess word of the accident spread faster than a virus, and he felt we should be informed before we saw it on the news or something."
"I was watching Tripp's run. Wait!" She ran a few steps closer as they pulled his limp body up out of the hole they'd dug and laid him on the snow. "They found him."
"Thank God. Please tell me he's all right."
"I hope so." Her voice cracked a little. "The doctor's working on him now. They're putting him on a stretcher."
Hannah glanced toward the employee who'd stopped her minutes before. He was talking to one of the cameramen who'd been filming the competition. If the raised voices were any indication, the reporter with him wasn't getting any closer, either. Heart pounding, she took off at a run.
"Damn it, lady!"
Ignoring the shout, she sprinted another twenty yards up the slope to the stretcher and stopped a few feet behind the doctor bent over Tripp. His green helmet and goggles lay on the snow next to him. Long, dark lashes fanned against colorless cheeks.
One ski patrolman dropped his shovel and scowled at her. "Hey, you don't belong up here."
"Someone notified Tripp's family. I have his sister on the phone, and they deserve to know what's happening."
Tripp's lashes fluttered, and he let out a moan. Eyes the color of moss opened slowly. His head turned to the side as comprehension dawned in his confused gaze. "I guess the beast got me." His voice croaked, and a shiver wracked his body.
The doctor depressed a button on his radio. "He's coming around and is responsive. I don't expect head trauma, but his right shoulder is dislocated. Possible fractures to his legs and probable hypothermia. You can call off the medevac helicopter. We'll take him to the hospital in Truckee by ambulance."
Two ski patrolmen lifted the stretcher and strapped it to a sled behind the waiting snowmobile.
Tripp's pale lips pressed tight on another moan. He blinked twice then met her gaze. Recognition brightened his eyes, and his brow knit. "Hannah?"
Her grip on the cell tightened. "He's conscious, Eden." Relief flooded through her. "He said my name."
"Thank God." Her friend's voice faded. "Don't cry, Mom. Hannah says he's talking."
The snowmobile started with a roar.
Hannah raised her voice. "I have to go. I'll call you when I know more." She slipped the phone into her pocket then bent to touch Tripp's arm as the sled slid past her. "I told your sister you were fine. Don't make a liar out of me."
His smile looked more like a grimace. "Takes more than an avalanche to keep me down, but, damn, it ruined my near perfect run."
She rolled her eyes as the snowmobile headed down the slope to the waiting ambulance then let out a long sigh. Tripp might not be her favorite of her old roommate's three brothers — or so she tried to tell herself. He acted like he was a god in the extreme skiing world. Probably because the media portrayed him as one. Women fawned all over him everywhere he went. Those green eyes with their impossibly long lashes made even her cynical heart flutter. But he was too vibrant, too alive to imagine him crushed beneath the snow he loved so much.
Hannah hadn't meant to come out to watch him when she'd woken up that morning. After all, her days of crushing on her best friend's brother were long past. But somehow she'd ended up at the base of the mountain with the crowd of onlookers there to support the Wilde Thing. She'd swear every female in the crowd had sighed when his name was announced over the loudspeaker. Tripp Wilde, favorite to win ... on and off the slopes.
She released some of her pent-up tension on a long sigh. He'd been lucky to escape without major injuries. Beyond fortunate. Not that Tripp would necessarily look at it that way.
Turning, Hannah walked back to the village, shivering as she hurried off the mountain and through the parking lot. With her head down, she nearly ran into a woman who stepped out from behind a luxury SUV.
"Oops, sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going."
Dark eyes widened beneath streaked blond hair as the woman rocked back on a pair of impractical leather heels. "Hannah?"
She hesitated a moment before something in the woman's eyes sparked a memory. "Monica? It's been a long time." Her mother's old work pal had been a brunette the last time Hannah had seen her, but the same sense of supreme self-confidence surrounded her like an impenetrable aura.
No fake hugs required. Hannah stood her ground without moving.
"I think you were still in high school the last time we bumped into each other. I've been living in Los Angeles for quite a while now. How's Vivian?"
"Same as always." Hannah winced. "Mother's working on acquiring husband number five."
"Par for the course. I only have one ex under my belt." Monica gave her an up and down survey. "You look ... good. Success must agree with you. Last time I spoke to your mother, she told me you were the go-to physical therapist for sports stars. Congratulations."
Hannah gave her a quick smile. "Thanks." Hard to believe my mother actually mentioned me in a conversation. Even harder to believe I dated this woman's ex, no matter how briefly ...
"It amazes me you grew up so normal, considering ..." She shrugged. "You're obviously a survivor, or maybe my concern was misplaced, after all."
"Mom had her moments, that's for sure."
"Not what I meant, but I guess it doesn't matter at this late date." When her cell dinged, Monica pulled it from her coat pocket to glance at the display then frowned. "Sorry I don't have more time to chat, but I prefer not to keep my associates waiting. I doubt I'll see you again since I'll only be in town for a week or two. Unless this deal gets sticky. Tell Vivian I said hello when you speak to her next."
"Sure. Nice talking to you, Monica."
With a nod, the woman hurried away. Hannah shook off unpleasant images from her childhood. Memories of her mother and Monica — who'd probably barely been legal to drink at the time — getting bombed together on cheap wine at the dining room table.
Can my morning get any worse?
She wouldn't let those old memories bother her. They were nothing but ancient history stuffed away in a corner of her mind. Hannah let out a long puff of breath in the cold air. She'd grab a cup of coffee before the physical therapy session with her current patient, a local boy who'd torn his Achilles playing basketball, then head to the hospital to get the inside scoop on Tripp from one of her friends on staff.
I'm not checking up on him because I care.
She gave a headshake, her hand a little unsteady as she dug the car keys out of her purse. She'd make sure he was okay only because she'd promised to report back to Eden. Glancing at her watch as she reached her car, she winced. Not even nine o'clock yet. The day promised to be a long one.
* * *
When the door to his hospital room opened, Tripp didn't bother to glance up from the text he was trying to send one-handed. He fumbled the phone and swore then tossed it down on the bed. "Damn it. This sucks. I feel like a freaking invalid."
His chin came up as his gaze shot toward the doorway. Not Jake, who'd left to get something to eat and promised to come back later to drive him home. Hannah Ryder. His little sister's old college roommate. Once in a while, when he was actually at home and not traveling to the far corners of the world, he caught sight of Hannah around town, but they'd never been anything but casual acquaintances at best. From the way her golden eyes narrowed on him, Tripp got the feeling she could take him or leave him ... and would prefer the latter.
"I guess I wasn't imagining you were on the hill this morning when they hauled me out of the avalanche."
"No, you weren't." She advanced into the room and stopped a yard short of his bed. Hands tucked into the pockets of her down jacket, she regarded him steadily. "How're you feeling?"
Those golden eyes reflected intelligence in their depths along with a mental toughness. Model tall but without the scrawny angles, this woman looked capable of taking down any man stupid enough to mess with her without permission. Not that he'd ever try.
Tripp let out a breath. "Uh, I'm feeling okay. A little loopy from the pain meds. I imagine my shoulder will hurt like hell when they wear off."
"Probably, but they'll give you more drugs to manage any discomfort. I ran into a friend on the nursing staff out in the hall and got the basic facts. No fractures. That's great."
He scowled. "The dislocated shoulder is bad enough."
"And only a mild concussion. You were extremely lucky. You could easily have been killed."
He rolled his eyes. "Aren't you Miss Glass Half-full. Lucky would have been not getting caught in the avalanche. Really lucky would have been finishing my run before the cornice broke free."
Her golden cat eyes darkened to the color of her tawny-brown hair as she tucked a stray lock behind one ear. "I'll report back to Eden that you're not going to drop dead anytime soon ... unless one of the nurses gets fed up with your bad mood and kills you. Your parents were concerned you might be holding back because you didn't want to worry them." She pivoted on one heel and headed toward the door. "I'll let them know you aren't that considerate."
He winced, temples throbbing. "I'm sorry. Hannah, don't go." When her steps slowed, he rushed on to plead his case before she reached the door. "I let frustration get the better of me. Please stay. I was going to call you, anyway."
Pausing, she turned. "Oh?"
He blinked a couple of times and tried to focus. Between the meds and sheer exhaustion, putting coherent thoughts together was a struggle. "Uh, the doc told me I'll need therapy on my shoulder. I'm looking at six to eight weeks before I can compete again, depending on how fast I heal. That's pushing into March. I'll miss most of the ski season unless I can cut into that timeframe."
"I'm sure being sidelined won't be easy for you." Some of the frost thawed from her tone. "You want me to work on your shoulder?"
He nodded then leaned back against his pillows. "You're the absolute best with sports injuries. Believe me, your reputation in elite circles precedes you. How's your schedule?"
"Right now, I'm wrapping up some intensive therapy with a local high school kid who tore his Achilles. I was happy to take on a patient close to home for a change, but a hockey player with the San Jose Sharks left me a message —"
"Call him back and tell him you're already booked."
She frowned. "Honestly, I don't know if I want you for a client. My guess is you'll be a total pain in the ass."
He couldn't hold back a snort of humor. The woman was nothing if not direct. "I'll be on my best behavior. Pretty please?" He gave her a wide-eyed look from beneath the long lashes his brothers teased him about. A look that generally turned women into putty he could bend to his will.
Hannah's lips firmed. "I'll do it ... because your sister would want me to. But you'd better not make me regret going against my better judgment."
Excerpted from Wilde Thing by Jannine Gallant. Copyright © 2016 Jannine Gallant. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my first read by this author and was delighted by a great story. Romantic suspense is my favorite genre and "Wilde Thing" did not disappoint. Tripp as a world class skier, and Hannah as his physical therapist, and his sister's best friend growing up, is just the right scenario for a great book. The chemistry between them is hot and you can expect the sparks to fly from the first chapter. Tripp and Hannah were a couple that you wanted to see get together with a love story that makes you go yes! Seeing a possible murder quickens the pace of the story with twists and turns that are a bit of a surprise with a satisfying ending. The pace was fast and complete without missing a beat. The story was more than the suspense, it was also two people getting together, finding themselves and their own HEA with each other. I look forward to more of the Wildes. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books/Lyrical Press for gifting me with "Wilde Thing". My opinion is my own. This is mine. 4.25 Stars!
✦Review: WILDE THING (Born to Be Wilde) by Jannine Gallant Publication Date: February 28, 2017 Romantic Suspense/ Contemporary Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated: 4 Stars I really enjoyed this fast paced, tense romantic suspense story. Tripp was an easy going and sexy hero that really stepped up to the challenge of the threat to Hannah, as well as the challenge of Hannah herself. Her jealousy kind of bugged me and I was surprised that he stuck with her….but I’m glad he did. No matter my cool feelings for her, this was a riveting story that I could not put down. It isn’t a super sexy story, but it is quite satisfying and a very fun read that keeps you guessing until the end. *Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am happy to say I enjoyed this Wilde romance, especially after the second book in the series that I struggled with. The mystery murder case was intriguing, the attacks and attempts to harm Hannah and Tripp kept the tension and the interest to the story elevated. I liked Tripp, even with his reputation as a player, he never really stood out and acted as one. Yes, he had hurt Hannah's feelings when they were in college, but unintentionally. Tripp was considerate, he was kind, outgoing, full of positive energy and joy, he made me smile and was just a delightful addition to the Wilde family. He grew up by leaps and bounds throughout the story, he finally had a good reason to mature and settle down a bit, and he was really dedicated to making it work with Hannah. He was actively seeking out ways to compromise and fix their lives so it would be possible for them to be together. Hannah had some issues. She had trust issues from her childhood, with her mother, with the constantly changing step-fathers, and she was compressing in her mind some serious childhood drama, that took the plot into a new direction at the unexpected moment. All this affected to her relationship with Tripp. I found it hard to understand her (sanctimonious) upset over the women who came on to Tripp - who did absolutely nothing to encourage them - when she was the one who kissed another man. There's really no cheating issues on the story, but the drama with Tripp's fame and the women who want a part of it kept coming up. I found myself frequently frustrated with Hannah's attitude. WhenTripp is confessing his love to her and she still things about their relationship as 'only hormones' from his end, she nearly lost me completely from her camp but was able to turn the tables towards the end. Yes, the romance part of the story challenged me, as characters seemed so far from a solution to make it work out to the HEA. But the author found a way to bring it all together so that in the end, it was satisfying and pleasing. The suspense with the murder mystery was a nice addition to the story. I did guess the culprit from the start, but the reasons and motives behind the attacks kept me interested, the cause much more complex than I ever expected. I enjoyed the dynamics in the Wilde family, the bond between them is tight, and the banter always entertaining. Overall the Wilde Thing was an entertaining and fun story, with a lot of flirting, devotion, passion and flame, mixed with danger, menace, and threat. ~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Romance is a vast genre and I'm grateful for authors, like Jannine Gallant, who offer fresh new reads. Wilde Thing, for instance, is a romantic suspense set in the world of extreme winter sports. Tripp Wilde is a top skier who lives on the edge. When he's injured during a competition Hannah Ryder offers to take charge of his physical therapy. Against her better judgement, Hannah is willing to ignore the stirrings of her old attraction to help Tripp get back on top. In the course of their time together they manage to work into an easy routine. An afternoon out on the slopes where they believe they witnessed a murder is the first crack in their new bond. There's a killer on the loose and Hannah and Tripp may know who it is. Little accidents turn into pointed attempts at their lives. They often discussed whether someone was after them, or whether they imagined it, which made the story feel stilted. When characters take action over doubt the plot feels more directed. Gallant ramps up the suspense and doesn't forget about the romance. The danger surrounding them forces Tripp and Hannah to rely and trust in each other. Which means they must reevaluate their perspectives. The romance of the novel was definitely on parr with usual romance reads. Wilde Thing is the third book in the Born to be Wilde series and I fell into it with no trouble. No need to fear if you haven't read the previous two books. This story is all about Tripp Wilde's journey to love and features familiar characters from the series. *eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
I really loved this one! It's the third in a series but I haven't read the prior books (yet) and had no problem. This one has a little mystery, a little suspense, and a whole lot of romance. It's very well written and once I started reading I couldn't put it down. Tripp Wilde doesn't like being on the sidelines but he knows if he wants to get back on the slopes he needs to do what the docs say! Being incredibly attracted to his new physical therapist is just a bonus! Hannah Ryder can't believe her new patient is Tripp Wilde. His sister is Hannah's best friend and Hannah had a serious crush on Tripp when they were younger. She needs to keep things strictly professional now though. After these two witness and unexplained event on the slopes, bizarre things begin to happen and they have no one to turn to but each other. I highly recommend this one.
Loved! This is a fun and quick contemporary romantic suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed. Tripp in a professional athlete that gets injured. This has him turning to Hannah, an elite physical therapist that only works with professional athletes. Hannah is also his little sister's best friend. Because Tripp is a bit of a player, Tripp's sister doesn't want him sniffing around Hannah. Unfortunately, Hannah has always had a crush on Tripp. She agrees to treat his injury while fighting her attraction to him. Then they witness something they shouldn't have and before long they are fighting for their lives. This is a quickly moving story that fans of the genre will love. I've actually loved each book in this series - the author has hit a home run with this series. Each book is a stand alone novel, however, they're so good that you really owe it to yourself to read them all.
Wilde Thing by Jannine Gallant Born to be Wilde #3 Tripp Wilde is the youngest of three adrenaline junkie brothers – his drug of choice is competitive freestyle skiing. During one of his competitions he is injured and put out of commission for a few weeks. Wanting the best physical therapist he can get he hires Hannah Ryder, his sister’s friend, to work for him. Hannah had a crush on Tripp in the past and still finds him desirable so it is a mixed bag for them to spend so much time together – especially since Tripp is a known flirt and player. Their relationship is professional BUT Tripp keeps hoping to change things. Add into the mix quite a few seeming accidents and near misses with a murder viewed by both of them and the plot heats up. Then, when their relationship is not quite so professional and much friendlier, there are issues with groupies that Hannah has to deal with that leave her less than confident self a rather unhappy. I liked both Tripp and Hannah. Their slow move to more than friendship seemed believable. The many “accidents” seemed a bit unbelievable and how long it took them to realize that someone was out to get one or both of them…not so believable, either. There was a reveal at the end that sort of explained Hannah’s inability to trust and commit that was a bit of a surprise. Of the stories of the three brother this was a good read but in third place. I look forward to reading Eden’s story and wonder who she will end up with. I also wonder if perhaps some of the men mentioned as skiers and trainers (Marco for sure) might end up in future books by this author. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. This is my honest review. 4 Stars