Crooked Bookshelf: WILD ONES by Kristine Wyllys

When it comes to talking books, I mean business. This is blood, guts, calluses, and broken hearts we’re talking here. Whatever you like, I’m for it. The madness of make-believe. Pretty prose and unforgettable scenes. We die on the page and there’s nothing better. My fingers are still stained from how hard I highlighted text in college, and when I started working at the library, the business of books became it for me. Whatever it was, I shelved it. I talked it. I scanned it when it came back to the library and total side note, but some of you need to double check what you’re using as bookmarks.

For me, YA (Young Adult) is where I drowned pages in tears and through weird choke-sobs hung posters in the forever bedroom of my heart. There are daisies painted on the wall and maps of places I’ve lived, notes with scrawled handwriting and feverish words. I graduated and flew from assigned books to the rich, darkened hallways of adult romances. This is where I built my house and it was sweaty, breathless and unforgettable. But alas, there was something missing. I needed a bridge.

And this is where New Adult kicked the door open.

I love the world New Adult has opened readers to, this new twist in the map. It can be so many things, but my favorite is when its fearless. When it steps out onto the page, shoulders back, a hand trailing behind, tearing at the words it’s already told. There’s something to that time in our lives, something still unsure even as we throw ourselves forward. It’s terrifying, exhilarating and riddled with gorgeous mistakes. I fell in love with the possibility of New Adult last year.

I became sure of it when I read WILD ONES by Kristine Wyllys.

Bri Martin likes her skirts too short, her heels too high, and trouble close at hand. So when big, brooding underground boxer Luke Turner comes into the bar where she works and starts a fight before she brings his first drink, she can’t help being intrigued. Luke is everything she never wanted and everything she can’t resist.

Soon, Luke is showing up everywhere Bri is, and she can’t break free of his hold on her, nor does she want to. When her best friend turns on her, it’s Luke who is there. When Luke’s opponent comes after her to send Luke a message, it’s he who comes to her rescue.

Before Bri knows it, she’s caught in the midst of a rivalry between her boyfriend and her boss, both of whom are not content to settle their scores inside the ring. She swore she’d never live this life, so like the one she once ran from. But only by confronting her past can she decide where her future lies…and whether Luke can be a part of it.

Image Cards on the table, Kristine is my CP. That’s the simplest term I can use for her, because this is someone whose brain I climbed inside of and found so many stories brewing there. We were readers who were born to be fangirls. We obsess and build theories and we imagine. When New Adult went from whispers to battle cries, I looked over at her, because I knew she had a story. I knew it was gritty and it would break bones even as it pushed its readers into a maddening love.

She wrote the story and pitched it to Carina Press, a digital first imprint from Harlequin. Like wildfire, from one breath to the next, her manuscript caught and spiraled into the blistering book it is now.

This is a brutal story of passion and redemption told with powerful prose. Bri Martin is not a heroine waiting to be rescued. From the very first chapter you’ll understand that this is a girl who will save herself. She will work her way into your heart– by breaking your ribs. She is funny, loyal and determined to never become her mother. Then there’s gorgeous Luke Turner who makes his way in their crumbling concrete life of hustling by being the most fierce boxer to enter the underground ring. He is all sharp edges and bruised knuckles. He’s the bass line vibrating through the room, pulling eyes and stirring fear.

In everyone but Bri.

When they meet it’s an immediate rush. Reading them together is like testing yourself as you pour one element onto another, knowing they’ll explode when they touch, but you HAVE to see this. You have to know, because these two are never potential energy. From their first sighting across the smoky, SPEAKEASY bar, they’re kinetic. They’re motion and chaos and to watch forces of nature fall into a desperate, manic love that neither of them even want, both living young, dangerous lives feels like a Lana Del Ray song. It’s sexy and sweaty. It’s furious and relentless.

WILD ONES invites the rush of New Adult to come along down this shadowed alley. Maybe there will be two people losing their minds and skirts up against a brick wall, or a brutal, underground fight for territory. Or maybe it’ll be the devil himself making back alley deals with a crooked smile.

It’s all possible here in this wild, shadowed world of fighters and survivors where everyone is playing with fire.

Welcome to The Lane.

WILD ONES releases from Carina on January 13th, 2014. You can pre-order it here.

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