Author: Missy Johnson
Publication Date: December 14, 2015
*previously released as a three-part serial*
That’s the number of women I’ve shagged in the last twelve months.
I’m Ryder Stevens.
Don’t pretend you don’t know me. I’m a god.
I’m hot, I’m British and I take what I want. I’m also the number one ranked tennis player in the world. But it’s my off court antics that gain the most attention. I cruise through life, running from one scandal to the next. Hell I can’t even take a piss without the world knowing about it.
Rules? Who gives a shit?
Rules are there to be broken and I’m the king of breaking them.
But even the king can be bought to his knees. I’m sidelined with an injury that changes everything.
Maybe my life isn’t so perfect after all…
Wildcard is the story of tennis pro Ryder Stevens and Scarlett, young mother to Jake. Their lives seem about as far apart as they can get but a series of events brings their worlds together. Wildcard is a fast paced story, there’s a lot to cover in a short amount of time. These two don’t know each other very long before sparks are flying and things get physical. They’re both stuck in their own lives, in need of reminding that it’s ok to be imperfect, to feel. It only takes a seven year old to get them both to start questioning their carefully constructed worlds.
I already adore Scarlett. She’s the epitome of strength and selflessness. Being the mother of a sick child, she has had to learn to be tough and take life day-by-day, ready for the unexpected. I love her protective instincts, her sassy nature and that she hasn’t let life make her bitter. She is honest, sometimes embarrassingly so and says what she feels, never forgetting to appreciate what she has. Ryder can learn a lot from her and even though they’ve only known each other a short time, we can already see the potential personal evolutions in store for them.
This unique storyline is fun and sweet with just the right amount of heat throw in. A cocky professional athlete and the young mother of a sick child seem like an unlikely pair, but their different perspectives on life have already set the tone for this story to be one of growth and transformation. Ryder and Scarlett’s phone and Skype conversations were hilarious. Seeing them push each other’s buttons put a huge smile on my face. When they’re face-to-face you can practically feel the tension surrounding them and it made the emotions of this story that much more intense. I hate that we’re left with a huge cliffhanger, because I have to see what happens next for these two. Bring on part two!! Rating — 4 Stars
This installment picks up right where the last one left off. Ryder is fuming about the situation with Scarlett and despite his best efforts, he can’t seem to get her off his mind. We’ve heard so much about Ryder’s reputation with women that I kind of enjoyed seeing him pissed off and in full bad boy mode. On the other hand, things in Scarlett’s life seem to be unraveling quickly and I absolutely felt for her. Waiting for them to face the music was a tad uncomfortable. I knew the lust was building between them the longer they avoided the inevitable confrontation. Missy certainly did not disappoint. When these two finally break the silence, things are explosive (like get the fire extinguisher hot)! It was a satisfying moment to say the least.
Missy also throws in a bit of a mystery element in this novella. Scarlett’s past comes knocking on her door, threatening to ruin everything she’s struggled to hold onto. I was incredibly intrigued by her questionable past and wondering what could have possibly set current events in motion. Ryder’s insistence on finding out the truth makes me nervous. He has a lot to lose and everything in his life happens very publically. There were moments where I felt like I wanted more. I realize that this is the nature of serial novellas sometimes, but parts of this novella felt rushed. The quick pace of this story kept me from becoming completely consumed because just as I was settling into one twist of the story, another was being thrown our way. I wanted things to slow down so the characters could enjoy the good moments and really be allowed to feel in the not-so-good ones. I wanted to experience these feelings right along with them and at times things moved too quickly for me to completely immerse myself in the emotions.
I really am enjoying the journey Missy has laid out for Ryder and Scarlett. I think it’s unique and has the perfect mixture of storytelling, suspense and steam. I hate being left on a cliffhanger, because if it were up to me I’d already know how this story ends. I am anxious to see the sparks fly when Scarlett realizes that Ryder hasn’t backed down from inserting himself in her life, problems and all. I’m also dying to know what it is that Scarlett is trying to keep hidden away. They both have so much left to figure out, individually, as well as together and I need to know what happens to this couple when the dust settles. Bring on part three! Rating — 4 Star
As part three begins, things with Tony have officially reached the point of no return. Both Ryder and Scarlett have made their moves and now all they can do is wait to see how things shake out. This volume is completely driven by Scarlett’s secret, as Ryder tries to unearth the truth while Scarlett struggles to keep her past concealed. I felt like I was counting down to the minute when everything would just explode. Missy did a good job at building the suspense and keeping me guessing until the moment when all hell broke loose. I enjoyed the emotions she created around this whole situation. I could definitely sense the anxiety and fear that the characters struggled with.
Ryder continued to show significant character growth throughout this novel. The man Missy leaves us with is far from the irresponsible, nonchalant playboy from the first volume. I would have liked to see a little more growth in their overall relationship. I felt like too much time was spent lying and hiding things from each other and not enough time spent on their relationship after her secret is revealed. Because of this the end of the story seemed to wrap up fairly quickly and I felt it took something away from how much struggle and strife they had endured. However, the author did resolve things in a satisfactory manner and gave us an epilogue to enjoy as well. All in all, Ryder and Scarlett’s journey was sexy, complicated, littered with secrets and full of emotion. Wildcard was a fun serial and I hope we will see more of Scarlett and Ryder in the future because I feel like their story just can’t be over. Rating — 4 Stars
Wildcard was definitely a hot, sexy read that will leave you wanting more and more! It’s the story of Ryder; a frisky tennis player who happens to live on the side of trouble. After a risqué night, he finds himself injured and temporarily unable to play the sport anymore. Now that he has time to focus on something other than himself, he actually reads his fan mail and discovers a letter to which he feels he must defend himself.
Through this defense, he meets the lovely Scarlett who is a ball-busting, independent woman. The two strike up a friendship and the story unfolds from there. I really did enjoy this book because not only were some scenes HOT as sin, but also somewhat reflective. I liked that we got a lot of both the main characters individually, because it allowed us to see their personality and who they were before they’d presumably change one another; who they were then they were together. It’s interesting to see this dynamic because we don’t often get that in novels. However, the little we did get of them together was utter perfection. They were challenging, sweet (in a way), and clearly already molding to each other. I also really enjoyed the fact that Missy wrote this installment purely from Ryder’s point of view. She has a knack for getting inside the male psyche and writing a fantastic story. It’s a true talent that she has and I’m glad she continuously utilizes it! There was a pretty brutal cliffhanger that she left us hanging on, but it certainly left me watering at the mouth for the next installment! 😉 Rating — 4 Star
After the cliffhanger that we were left with in Volume 1, I was on pins and needles to get this next installment. Volume 2 picks up right where the first one ended so readers don’t miss a single beat. Ryder is now left to navigate his way through a heartbreak, while stuck in the U.S. to help at a tennis camp. After several days of no communication with Scarlett, she comes to see him and eventually learns a cold, hard truth. However, with that single truth just comes other hidden truths.
I was definitely glad that we got answers in this second installment. While some of the scenes were sexy and reminiscent of the first book, this one took on an entirely different feeling. Where the first one was attraction and the coming together, this was more anger and ferocity – even when they were together. It definitely gave us a different dynamic to the characters to see a more vulnerable side of both of them. I also loved the added twist of intrigue. I definitely was not expecting to have this whole mysterious background of Scarlett’s, but my curiosity is officially piqued!
My only real complaint is that, as a whole, the story felt a little rushed. Sometimes I felt like I was missing the more in depth conversations, and therefore emotions, which left me somewhat bereft. However, I did still truly enjoy Wildcard, Vol 2. I missed not getting as much of Scarlett’s son, but it made sense with the direction the storyline took. We are once again left on a cliffhanger, but this one definitely wasn’t as bad as the first book. I can’t wait for the third volume to figure out how Missy Johnson brings it all together – and to solve all these undiscovered things! Rating — 4 Star
Volume Three of Wildcard takes us on quite a journey. At the end of Volume 2, Ryder has paid Tony off, unbeknownst to Scarlett. She has been pushed too far and finally took Penny’s advice and made the call to have Tony threatened. Both are harboring these secrets and dealing with the consequences of not communicating. However, with secrets comes distrust. Ryder begins to know when Scar is lying and hiding things, which naturally leads him to become curious about what she could be hiding and how bad it truly is. Scarlett does end up coming clean and her secret is one to not be missed! It was not something I would have ever predicted!
I felt like there was a lot going on in this final installment of Wildcard. There were so many subplots so we were getting a lot of action happening. First, I loved seeing more of Jake in this one, since that was my issue with the second one. He is such a major part of Scar’s life that not seeing him as much just didn’t make sense. I also adore seeing Ryder with Jake because in those moments, you really get to see the growth of his character. Furthermore, I appreciated the story line with Cally for this same reason. Through these secondary characters, we were able to see all the changes that Ryder was striving for. As for Scar, we saw a lot of her moral dilemma and guilt in this piece of Wildcard. She had a lot of internal struggling happening in this one, so I was incredibly grateful for her points of view, even more so than in the previous parts.
Overall, I liked this installment but I was left feeling a little like “that’s it?” at the end. There was so much build up of the secret and what could potentially happen, then we get answers and within a couple chapters it just seemed to be over. It was a great twist and I wish that there had just been a little more exploration into that issue, particularly with Tony. I think Missy Johnson did a wonderful job with the individual pieces in the books, but the overall greater arc fell a little flat for me. However, that is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the suspense and the characters, because I really did. I just wish that the serial went out with a bigger bang, like I’m used to with this author’s writing. Rating — 4 Star
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Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture).
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.