Brave the Wild Wind - Johanna Lindsey Brave the Wild Wind was my second journey into the esteemed world of Ms. Lindsey's historical romance. My goodness, this is one shameless clusterfuck of godawful romance tropes in the Wild West! "No trope left behind!" Lindsey declared proudly right before dropping in a secret baby plot. Yet despite hating pretty much everyone and everything in this crazy little story, I was incredibly entertained. There's a charming quality to Lindsey's writing, a dedication to telling a colorful story no matter how off-the-tracks the plot gets, that made it hard to put the book down. So even though just about everything I have to say about this book is snarky and critical, I still have to rate it 3 stars. I can't rate it below the previous Lindsey book I read, which was tedious and just eeked out 2 stars. Plus, Brave the Wild Wind somehow got me to cheer for two idiotic, horrible people to find a Happily Ever After. So let's delve into this crazy little tale, shall we? And really, there's no way to write this without sharing the whole story. So if you don't want to be SPOILED, don't read beyond this point.

Meet Jessie, our heroine

Not the screaming woman, the velociraptor. Yes, seriously, the velociraptor.

As I mentioned in my reading updates, Jessie possesses the charm of a velociraptor. She's mean, crude, dirty most of the time, prone to foot-stomping temper tantrums, a little too eager to throw fists, and constantly takes off into the wilds of Wyoming when she gets pissed or something doesn't go exactly her way. Despite all of this, Jessie apparently looks like an angel and has pretty much every stupid guy in the book salivating after her. How many guys wanted to marry / have sex with her? Five. In one book. Considering that Jessie is frequently a filthy mess from horseback riding and running her dead father's ranch, I'll make a sweeping assumption that the menfolk in Jessie's world are really turned on by the scents of manure and sweat.

Jessie's been raised as a boy for the past ten years because her totally insane dad always wanted a boy and also beat the daylights out of her mom after blindly walking in on his maid and some dude having sex in her bedroom and just assuming his wife was an adulteress. So even though her dad was a mean old cuss who made her dress like a boy, Jessie still believes his drunken ramblings about her mom being a whore and how she deserved to get beaten nearly to death. So after the old man's death, Jessie throws a bitch fit when his will dictates that her mom return to the ranch and take over guardian duties until Jessie turns 20 in two years. Jessie isn't willing to budge an inch in her mission to be the most miserable brat ever, and that includes terrorizing any unsuspecting person with the misfortune of being acquainted with her mother.

Enter: Chase, the professional gambling hero

The scared little boy, not the velociraptor.

Chase is your typical aimless hero with daddy issues. He comes to help Jessie's mom because she was married to his dead step-dad and was always nice to him. This results in Chase being forced to chase after Jessie every time she throws a hissy, even though she's legitimately awful to him, yelling at and insulting him when she doesn't even know him. Of course, Chase responds to this by trying to be an even more awful person, arguing with Jessie and bossing her around even though it's never clear why he should even care about his pretty prehistoric nemesis. Naturally, Jessie responds to his high-handedness like any velociraptor who doesn't know how to use its words:

"Fuck you, and fuck your smash claw machine!"

After getting punched and slapped a few times, Chase decides that he can't live without having sex with Jessie. So they do, and he "accidentally" takes her virginity. You know what amazes me about the men in romance novels? The fact that they seem to have a hymen-detecting device attached to their peens. "He thrust forward and felt the tell-tale resistance of her innocence." (Paraphrase) Like. Hell. He. Did. Also: The way that Jessie travels by horse for days and days like a pro, I really doubt there was anything left for Chase to "detect." I call shenanigans on you, Romancelandia!

Because the one thing the world needs more than Jessie's bad attitude is her spawn, she ends up pregnant. Of course, she only finds out about this after Chase leaves because she refuses to marry him. This resulted in a very awkward spanking scene after she socks him in the face AGAIN. My squick tolerance can't take spankings. I find it demeaning and creepy. Eventually, even after Jessie's best efforts to keep her pregnancy a secret by riding off into the wilderness to experience morning sickness (like anyone can control when/where they experience morning sickness), Chase finds out he's going to be a daddy and bullies Jessie into marrying him.

But they still hate each other, so the story can't possibly be over! Jessie's ranch ends up getting torched by a rival rancher hours after she finally makes peace with her mom (she read her journal and found out that mom isn't REALLY a whore). For some reason, Jessie goes catatonic after that, so Chase decides there's no time like the present to take off for effing SPAIN to search for the guy he thinks is his birth father. Pregnant and fuming, Jessie chases Chase (lol) to Spain because she's decided she can't trust him. Oh, right! I forgot to mention that back in Wyoming, after Chase left the ranch, he tried to have sex with a prostitute while drunk but ended up stabbed instead. Jessie walked in on the scene and decided that this man with no attachments to any woman, let alone HER was a philandering bastard who would definitely fall into the nearest vagina the minute he gets some time alone.

So Jessie travels to Spain:


Even though Chase leaves first, Jessie beats him to his father's giant mansion by several days. While there, she catches the eye of Chase's cousin, and I seriously had to put the book down for a minute and shout, "Oh, REALLY?" at my wall several times. Chase arrives. They fight. They have sex. They fight again. Chase meets his long lost daddy, who was supposed to be on his death bed but ended up perfectly healthy. They fight. Skeezy Cousin makes his move on Jessie, and Chase witnesses it. Since the main characters are HORRIBLE, he jumps to all the wrong conclusions, and Jessie just lets him.

Months go by, and finally Jessie's about to have their baby. Since Jessie has the judgment of a toddler, she accompanies Skeezy Cousin (who's actually a pretty nice guy?) to his matador competition. Chase isn't talking to her, so Jessie ends up in a huge crowd ALONE when her baby decides to make a play for its birthday.

After months of wearing his ass as a hat, Chase rushes to Jessie's side and declares his love for her. They reunite just in time to welcome their baby, which I can only assume is half-human, half-T-Rex, into the world.

Isn't he a DARLING?

Although I'm supposed to believe that Chase and Jessie have a happily ever after, something tells me that two days later, Jessie chucks a boot at Chase's head after he spends a little too much time talking to that senorita with the hot body. That's just my theory, though.

So the story was ridiculous, but I can't lie and say I wasn't entertained. At least Lindsey can put a sentence or (gasp!) even a PARAGRAPH together without falling apart at the seams, which is frighteningly rare in a lot of writing these days. In addition, I liked the way that Jessie's sexuality is portrayed as a positive, natural thing. Sadly, she slut-shames every other woman on the page, but I'll take what I can get. Now I'm done with JL for awhile. Two books in a row was a lesson in WTF-ery for me. It's best to ingest just one at a time.