Summary (from the publisher):Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.
The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.
Or so she thinks.
While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
If there’s one book series that I love to binge-read, it’s K.A. Tucker’s Wild series. There is something just so addicting about this romance series set in rural Alaska. While the first two books & novella series follow Calla and Jonah, Running Wild follows Jonah’s best friend, Marie. Marie appeared in the first books, as a veterinarian, and yes, Jonah’s best friend who has always had unrequited feelings for him and makes Calla jealous. While I know some readers aren’t big Marie fans, I personally never really hated her and was so excited to learn that Running Wild would be Marie’s love story!
Sidenote that I definitely do recommend picking up the first two Wild books & novella before picking up Running Wild, since there are spoilers for the first two books & nearly all of the characters from those books appear in Running Wild.
Running Wild follows Marie’s life as the best veterinarian in Trapper’s Crossing, well known for her expertise and care, especially towards sled dogs. At thirty eight years old, Marie feels pressure coming constantly from her family & friends, Jonah and Calla included, to settle down and start a family of her own. Marie wants these same things too, but after an ended engagement to another man and unrequited feelings from Jonah, Marie has always felt unlucky in love. Enter Tyler Brady, a competitive musher (in short, mushing is dogsled racing with dogs) who is new to Alaska and has recently suffered from two big losses in his personal life. After a rocky start, Tyler and Marie bond at the Iditarod Dog Sled Race and their relationship develops from there.
Running Wild is hands-down my FAVORITE book in the Wild series. An unpopular opinion, but I am not the biggest fan of Calla. At some point in Running Wild, one of the characters defends her personality as ‘going after what she wants,’ but there were points when she comes off as spoiled and very stubborn (which is seen in a scene or two in Running Wild, oops). I will be the first to admit that I absolutely prefer Marie as a main protagonist. She was very down-to-earth and I loved learning more about her career and family. Marie took over her family’s veterinary practice after her father retired & she is very close with her parents & sisters. I loved the focus on family, although Marie does receive a lot of pressure/criticism, especially from her sister, about her career and personal choices.
Did I mention yet how many dogs there are in this book? Did they influence my love for this book? Absolutely! I know absolutely nothing about mushing, and it was so interesting to learn about this sport. I do want to point out that Marie/K.A. Tucker bring up the many problems with the sport and its criticism, so it she doesn’t paint a completely sunning portrait of it. Part of Tyler’s charm absolutely comes from his love & care for his dogs, which Marie and Tyler bond over, especially during the Iditarod Race. Tyler was just such a swoony love interest. While he does have a very sad past & his own flaws, he was such a strong and mature love interest for Marie (and yes I do prefer him to Jonas, oops).
While I love their story & its ending, I will gladly read more books about Marie & Tyler – not that I want anything to get in the way of their relationship, I just want MORE. If anything, I want a sequel novella about their happily-ever-after.
Overall, I absolutely LOVED Running Wild. While K.A. Tucker has said on Instagram that she doesn’t have plans to continue the series right now, here’s to hoping to more, & I would love to read more contemporary-set romance books from her!
Have you read Running Wild? Have you read any books in the Wild series or any of K.A. Tucker’s other books? Share in the comments!