Monday, May 30, 2011

My O My, Look At Her Now . . . "Her Wildest Dreams" by Shiloh Walker

Timid and shy, in her wildest dreams, Allie never imagined Alex would look at her with anything more than friendship and maybe a little pity in his eyes.

One horrible night Allie is attacked and Alex comes rushing to her rescue.
He wonders if he is really needed when he finds a little hellcat fighting off her attacker. Much later that night, Alex holds that little hellcat in his arms.

Months later, he runs into Allie again and he barely recognizes her. She's no longer the shy little wallflower she had once been.

Problem is…she doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with him. Allie's about to find out that Alex is the only man guaranteed to make her wildest dreams come true.

This novel is a sequel to Good Girls Don't and tells the story of Allie, a very quiet, shy young woman who has a nice job and keeps to herself and knuckles under to her over-protective and over-bearing cop brother. She is a nursing assistant in a convalescent facility and the patients have become her friends. Whenever someone wants to take some extra time off using a false excuse, Allie is always there to work the extra shifts. And then something happens to jar her out of this carefully orchestrated existence: a drug addict attempts to molest her and steal her purse in the dark area just outside the book store she visits weekly. Surprisingly, her efforts to fight off the attacker are successful, and in addition, the cop who responds to the call is her brother's partner Alex, a man she has known since she was a teen. (He is the man she has always had a crush on as well.)

The fact that she is so easily dismissed as a person comes home to her as she sits patiently in the police station waiting for Alex to take her home. After a while, she realizes that he has forgotten her. Only as she is waiting at the curb for a cab does Alex realize that she has left and catches her in time. He takes her home to his place in order to feed her and help her to talk out the traumatic events of the evening. Somehow, as she relaxes, Alex begins to see her differently, and lo and behold, she ends up in his arms and they make love. In the euphoria of the encounter, Alex's responses lead Allie to believe that he is disgusted with himself for even getting close to her, and in her hurt and upset, she dresses quickly and leaves. Allie begins to realize that her entire life has been as a doormat and she determines to change.

Some people make adjustments in their lives; others CHANGE! And Allie was one of those that really made some significant changes in her life. Over the next couple of years, she completely changed her looks with a new wardrobe, re-styling her hair, using a gym membership, going back to school and getting her R.N. certification, quiting that old dead-end job and now working in a vibrant Emergency Room environment, and taking a trip to Ireland, a journey she had long planned. While there she met a young man with whom she had a two-week affair--her first lover. Wow!! She was on her way. When she returned, at her brother's request, Alex met her plane and didn't even recognize her. He was still "knocked off his nine-pins" over the one time love-making that had occurred on that night years earlier, and unbeknownst to Allie, that encounter had refused to leave his memory--it was one of the most overwhelming encounters he had ever experienced. Now he sees a woman who has "come into herself" and not only has Allie changed within herself, she has also changed toward him. Now he had to treat her with respect--not just as the baby sister of his partner.

This is a compelling story of a woman who experienced a significant metamorphisis not only externally, but internally as well. Now she is not willing to settle for "whatever," but she has goals and dreams that she strives to achieve. She is no longer afraid to go after what she wants. In truth, her desire for a relationship with Alex has not diminished, but she is no longer willing to be that forgettable female who just hangs around the periphery of her brother's world. This is also a story about a police officer who has knocked around the dating world for years and is wanting something more and he wants Allie. But she is the baby sister of his partner and Mike's response to any involvement with Allie would not be positive. Oh brother!!

I found this story so very readable, and one that kept drawing me forward. Ms Walker's writing style keeps all the aspects of the story in balance between the external action and the internal monologue within the characters. And there is something that truly hold's the readers interest in watching these two people find their own path, realize their own goals, and eventually find each other and the ways in which their personalities, their dynamics as individuals and all that goes into an attraction come to the fore. Both Alex and Allie are fascinating in that I think there are so many people just like them. They were almost iconic in my mind and perhaps that was the deeper attraction for me to their stories. This book was published several years ago, but of the Walker writings I have read, it still stand out as one of the stories that "speaks" to me below the surface.

If you haven't encountered this book, it is well worth the time and effort to obtain and read. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

1 comment:

Carolyn Crane said...

Hey! Haven't been here in a while, and my goodness, you win the award for eclectic reading list this month! You have also convinced me to dig into Shiloh Walker's backlist. Good Girls Don't and some of these others sound wonderful. As does that Western with the Englishmen.

Oh, PS, yes that store Paperback Exchange IS the one we were at! We'll have to hit it again if you ever come back into town.