Wilder Hearts by Lilly Gayle

Phew! I feel like I can finally take a breath after finishing this book. What with all the murder, mystery, and sexual awakening going on here.

What’s it About?

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Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.

When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.

Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

First Impressions

Mkay, so I have to admit I had a slight history nerd-out moment with this book. And by slight, of course, I mean I squealed like an idiot, and was incredibly happy nobody was around to witness my silliness. A few weeks ago I was watching one of my fav TV shows ever, Mysteries at the Museum, and they featured a segment on the Servant Girl Annihilator in Austin, TX during 1885. Lo and behold my surprise when I start reading this book and it revolves around that same set of murders. I flipped out! I was like, OMG are they gonna mention the cook as a suspect? They’re after Maurice! Are they gonna make the link between the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper?! Gah, they totally do!! Sorry, I’m done.

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Murder, Oil, Undercover

Now I’ll admit that at first there was almost too much going on story-wise with this book. Ellie and her sister, Ida, leave their grandfather in Philadelphia to live with their father in Texas. Once they arrive you’ve got the Austin murders that Jake is trying to solve, but Ellie thinks he may also be an outlaw that ran with Billy the Kid, so she does some sleuthing of her own. Ellie’s dad is searching for oil in a small town, and murders start happening there too, so Jake goes undercover to try and find the killer. All we’re missing is a partridge in a pear tree.

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However, I will say that the story really got good and going once they all arrive in the small town of Harmony. This is where everything starts to focus on one particular set of murders, and the suspect list starts growing. Who in this small town could be responsible for such grisly murders? There’s also an added level of suspense because, let’s face it, we know it’s just a matter of time before Ellie and her family get mixed up in all the murdery mayhem. Will they manage to escape the clutches of the Annihilator, or become his next victims?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: A Western Hearts Novel, Book 2.

Should you read it? For all you history buffs out there who might have an interest in true crime, you’ll prolly like this one! That being said, consider yourself warned it’s a pretty gruesome tale. For those of you who know the real story of the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper, you’ll know that a lot of innocent people end up butchered. Kind of depressing. Gotta love the simmering sexual tension between Jake and Ellie though.

Smut Level: OMG Jake and Ellie!! Love ’em! And their first time together was just oh so wonderful. Ellie gets caught in the rain, stumbles across a cabin, and oh, whose cabin should it be but Jake’s? Oh my, I wonder what could ever happen as they wait for their clothes to dry as the storm passes? It’s like the Notebook rain scene, but in late 19th century Texas.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Glass Slipper Press. 254 Pages.

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2 thoughts on “Wilder Hearts by Lilly Gayle

  1. Mysteries at the Museum is one of my favs also. I get a lot of my inspiration from that show and a book my hubby bought me years ago: The Chronicle of Crime by Martin Fido. Thanks for taking the time to read my book and write a review. I don’t know how you do it all!

    Liked by 2 people

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