Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I’m certain that anyone reading Rebecca Jenshak’s Campus Nights series was ready for Johnny Maverick’s story. As the women of their friend group were whittled down in pairings to the guys in the friend group, it was clear that Dakota would be the last woman standing for Maverick. Anyone ready for Wild Love was anticipatory for their pairing because (1) Maverick didn’t seem like the “settling down type,” happy to continue his extracurricular activities and (2) Dakota, a challenge to Maverick, but also incredibly sensible wouldn’t be bowled over by all that is Johnny Maverick.
So Jenshak had a task ahead of her: to make Maverick and Dakota more than friends. In Wild Love, she does this brilliantly, isolating them, turning them into roommates, and creating a secret wedding in Vegas to help them fall in love. Even more, it introduces new characters into Jenshak’s romance universe, igniting a brand new hockey romance series, one that this reader is excited for, especially in the promise of one Jack Wylde.
Wild Love is a perfect ending to the Campus Nights series. It brings all of the characters from those stories together (I would still love a novella for Heath and Ginny and Reagan and Adam…we need some marriages). I will say that there were times with Wild Love where I struggled with Dakota and Maverick’s chemistry, and this had more to do with Maverick’s characterization than Dakota’s. Maverick is such a “feel good” kind of hero that emotional gravitas seems to escape him. Even with a past that includes parents who struggle to love him as himself, I wanted a bit more emotionally from Maverick sooner in the story. Jenshak gets us there, but it takes most of the story to do so. Even then, it’s couched in Maverick terms.
Thankfully, Maverick’s want to give Dakota the world creates a story ending that is a true fairytale. I love how he loves her, and Dakota is worth every bit of it. Through Dakota, Jenshak infuses some real-world issues relating to sexual harassment. It adds depth to Dakota and Maverick’s story.
Wild Love is simply the best introduction to Rebecca Jenshak’s forthcoming Wildcat Hockey series. If you read Wild Love, and you don’t fall in love with Maverick and Dakota, then you need to see a heart doctor…because it’s sweet, steamy, and a chef’s kiss ending for the Campus Night’s series.
In love and romance,