Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side by Christine Warren

Kitty Sugarman lived almost her entire life without realizing she was half Werelion, or as they like to call themselves, Leo. Until she was in a car accident with her mother and shifted to get out of the wreck without realizing it. For all her life, she'd thought her father was dead, and now it's worse- she knows he left without giving a damn about her. But her grandfather, Papaw, made her contact her father so that she could learn about the part of herself that she's suddenly discovered- and to learn how to control it.

Max is the baas of the Red Rock Leo Pride, the second in command of Martin Lowe, Kitty's father. Martin is sick and dying and he asks Max to look after Kitty while she's in town. But almost as soon as she arrives, she's attacked in the women's restroom and transforms without meaning to to save her life from a man attempting to mug her, and needs Max's help to transform back into a human- and after he helps her, he can't get the sight of her naked body out of his mind.

Max had already formed an idea of what Kitty would be like without meeting her- hard, proud, cold and demanding, but the true Kitty takes him by surprise, as she's warm, innocent and spontaneous. Instead of coming to welch off her wealthy father's money, she's here to meet him, yell at him, learn to control her powers, and leave- in that order. All that Kitty cares about is learning not to be a danger to the people she loves- she wants nothing to do with the father who abandoned her and her mother. Admittedly, her mother slept around with everyone, but he left Kitty as if she didn't matter, and that's how she judges him.

Max, on the other hand, was raised by Martin as he would have been by his father- if he had a real father. He wants to help and protect Kitty from Max's other family, well aware that they are not going to like her, and will give her a hard time. He wants to give her time with her father, but her father's other family doesn't want Martin to like her, spend time with her or give her any of his fortune, and now that Max has met her, he's become increasingly sure that Kitty is destined to be his mate- but the only way to know if she feels the same is if she starts ovulating after he makes love to her for the first time- and while he's busy falling in love with her, someone is seeking to take her life. But who? And why? And can Max keep her safe long enough for her and Martin to have time to bond before Martin dies?

Kitty finds Max attractive, but she doesn't like the way he tries to run her life, or the way he blunts her sense of self-reliance by always stepping in to try and protect her when she doesn't feel she needs protecting. But as irritated as she gets at him, her instinct to step in and try to help him seem to only get her more slagging from Martin's family, and after a while, she's just had enough. But can she stand up to the female Leos in Martin's family without the more experienced at changing women killing her? And when Max wants her to give up her old life to join him in Vegas as his mate, will she be able to do so with a whole heart?

This book made me irritated, because it reminded me of a lot of romances published in the late 70's and early 80's. Not to put too fine a point on it. Max is always right and Kitty is always wrong. About everything. And to put the perfect "Ugh!" topping on the book, he's so protective and over-protective, he risks taking away her ability to be a strong woman by overriding her when she chooses to try and protect herself in a way that he doesn't like.

This book crossed the line between a protective hero and an overprotective hero. And he's damned overbearing as well. His character put my back up to the point where I wanted to smack the hell out of him. Not that Kitty is perfect, either. She does some pretty stupid things, but it's more excusable because of her extreme ignorance of Leo society- she literally knows nothing about it when she arrives, and not that much more by the end of the book- except that it combines human and lion society. Max is pushy and overbearing, which is usually pegged as "Alpha" behavior, but is more Alpha wannabe. Real Alphas don't have to get all pushy- they dominate effortlessly. If you have to be pushy? Not an Alpha. And the references to Max continually wanting to spank Kitty's ass to keep her in line? a real turn-off for me. It's like the only way he could think of to keep her in line was physical abuse, and that raised a whole other set of red flags for me. Thinking of the man as a woman-beater is so not conducive to romance in my book. The whole thing just left a very bad taste in my mouth.

In the end, we find out who has been trying to kill Kitty, and it won't be much of a surprise to say... it's no surprise. I didn't find many characters to like in this book, as all of them were pretty much jackasses, portrayed as greedy, shiftless and evil. Only Martin redeemed himself, and he was dying. If Max was real and I was Kitty, I'd be running in the opposite direction from his controlling self. Not recommended at all.

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