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Elite Ops #1

Wild Card

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It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong…and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is…even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

418 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Lora Leigh

235 books9,758 followers
Lora Leigh lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky, often found absorbing the ambience of this peaceful setting. She dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared. Lora’s family, and her writing life co-exist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a teenage son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora’s life is filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.



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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,050 reviews
Profile Image for Aquit.
109 reviews55 followers
July 19, 2012

I wish I can say how much I loved this book and how much the characters made me root for them ... but...

I can't, plain and simple. I refuse to call Lora’s characters as the "Hero" and "Heroine" since they are anything but that.

"Wild Card" was one of the first books I read from Lora Leigh and I admitted that I was anticipating an actual love story between the characters since the back cover seemed so interesting. But no, all I got was a book that was 418 pages long and half of them contained the words of "pussy" and "cock" and f**k. The sex scenes were intense but about halfway I was skipping them to make sure this was a romance novel and not the Kama Sutra with crappy dialog in-between.

When I read "Wild Card" I couldn't help but give in to the urge to cuss and throw the book across the room when I read just how cruel and disrespectful Noah was toward Bella. It took me awhile to pick up the book while wondering who the hell wants to constantly be told "you're the weaker sex therefore you're only good for f**king!" If my husband disrespected me just once he's in the dog house for a week; but in Bella's case she's just going to spread them wide.

Bella had no standard for herself and definitely no self-respect. Every time Noah would start "sexing" Bella up I wanted to clonk a hot frying pan at them; he seems to have a dick for a brain and Bella? Please, even a worm has better sense. She keeps getting aroused by his insulting words and big hard-on dick when what she should do is get some common sense and hit him in the groin--with a sledgehammer.

Noah and everyone around her kept telling Bella to have sex with Noah but NOBODY, not her friends nor her family, would tell her that he was her husband Nathan back from the dead. And Noah, this guy takes the cake and yes, he f**ks with it and gives it a great mind-blowing blow job and eats it too. Selfish and abusive. What a turn on. NOT. He didn't want Bella to know that he was her husband Nathan but oh no, it was alright to deceived her by telling her to "Get over your husband. I'm the man for you," as he's plowing into her like an animal in heat. I expected Bella to get mad as hell when she found out that Noah was actually Nathan but no, little Miss Sunshine just went along with his charade and still open her legs wide for him. It was unbelievable to the point of sickening. They truly deserved each other.

Noah and all of Lora's men have this anger management problem. They tend to jump into conclusion and say some pretty cruel stuff to the woman character and instead of leaving the idiots; these women go back to them. Reading her books are like: guy gets horny, girl is turn on, guy & girl fight, have sex, guy gets horny, girl is turn on, guy & girl fight, have sex, horny, fight, sex, horny, fight, sex, horny, fight, sex, fall in love, horny, fight, sex, and happy horny ending. Halfway through the book you would expect Bella to have a rat's nest for a head and Noah, a broken dick.

Lora Leigh has this fascination of verbally abusive men and weak willed women. Hell, she makes Diana Palmer's men look like angels with halos. All or most of her women are "untouched" and/or "virgins" and no offense but they make all virgins seem naive and desperate for sex. These "womanly virgins" are stupid, not realistic, has no standards, has no confidence, have a stick for a brain, and the only good usage for them is their pussy--according to the man of their dreams.

No wonder women, virgins in particular, are given a bad rep these days. They're only good for a quick laid, they would NEVER EVER get mad at their man no matter how much he deserves it and they're simply a doormat for anyone. I shudder to think that this is how all women want to be treated like.

Wild Card is just about a self-centered man and a dim-witted woman who distrusted each other from the beginning and through out the entire book. I want to point out that I find a hard time accepting their "relationship" if you can call it that as one that is based on a solid foundation of love and trust.
May 25, 2017
4 go síoraí Stars


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"A man that's whole. That's what you deserve, Sabella. And I'm not whole any longer. I haven't been in a long time."

So Wild Card is the first book in the Elite Ops Series, and the first book I have read by the author Lora Leigh, and I loved it. Life is good for Nathan Malone. He is a Navy Seal. Married to his beautiful, young, soul mate. When not out on missions for the Seals, he is running his mechanic shop. He goes out on what he thinks will be a simple in and out mission rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, but instead he is captured, beat, had almost every bone in his body broke, cut up, and pumped full of a drug called Whores dust for months and months before being rescued. By the time they get him out his wife Sabella was already told that he was dead. He is insane from all the drugs and pain, so he refuses to let the Seals tell his wife the truth that he is still alive and very messed up, instead he gives her up for her own good. He leaves the Seals for a group called The Elite Ops. Now Nathan is legally dead he takes on a the name Noah Blake, cold, super trained and deadly. It's been 6 years since his wife Sebella was told he was dead and he is being sent back to his home town to his home, and garage because his wife and brother are in danger, can he keep himself from feeling again. Will Noah be able to stay away from his bella, or will he find out he is not as dead inside as he thought?

"Why are you so frightened of this?" he whispered then. "Or are you just too frightened to live again?"

Noah /Nathan:

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Noah, Noah , Noah what am I gonna do with you!!!!!! Noah made me love him and want to beat him in equal measure! He was sexy, strong, all alpha , Irish, but he was also bull headed, prideful, and at times selfish. Don't get me wrong he was really messed up, lived through hell, but in my book letting your wife think your dead for years, because you are scared that she can't handle how messed up you are, or you don't want her to see how weak you are is selfish!!! I loved that he was a total dirty talking bad boy, Loved that he remained faithful to his wife, loved his protectiveness, and at the same time I wanted to beat the shit outta him because he wouldn't tell his wife who he really was. I think him hiding who he was from her for almost the whole book made him kind of a candy ass! Like I said equal amounts of love for him and wanting to beat him!!!! I think Lora Leigh did a really good job of making you understand what he was feeling . The fear that his wife wouldn't forgive him because he didn't send for her and let her know he was alive, the fear that he wouldn't be able to stay with her because he was part of the Elite Ops, and his pain and regret over his past mistakes. Fighting to win his wife's heart again from the ghost of himself.

"Tell me, Sabella. Did you ache? Did you dream of being taken hard and rough? Of getting wild and dirty with your husband? Were you too afraid to be the little wildcat you wanted to be?"

"Get that in your head, Sabella. I am not Nathan Malone. I am not the man you loved, but by God I am the man that's going to fuck you. That's going to hold you when you cry in the night, and the man that's going to bind you to him so tight, so hard, that you'll never think to hide even a partical of who and what you are from him."

"You're the best thing that ever happened to me," he finally said. "In my life, touching you, holding you, is the best thing I've ever done. But shit happens, baby. And shit blew up in my face a long damned time ago."


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I loved Sabella. I loved her name, loved her personality. She was strong when she needed to be, soft when she needed to be. Loyal, sweet, understanding , forgiving , but she wasn't a doormat. I could empathize with her, understand her pain, confusion and longing, she never felt fake to me. She was very brave and fought for her man. Smart figured out who he was right away and knew their was a important reason he wasn't telling her.

"If I wanted a manicure then I would have one. If I wanted to sit back and play receptionist all day then that's what the hell I would do. If I wanted another man to decide how I should act, dress, or present myself then I'd have one. That is not a part of your job description, Mr. Blake, and if you think you can make it happen then you can take a flying leap into hell."

"It was my right." She was back in his face. "Do you hear me, Noah? My fucking right to put up with it. And to do it gladly. You bastard!"

"You are my husband. My lover. And you hid that from me, Noah. I had the dark passion you hid from me while we were married, and I saw the ferocity of the man who would protect me in those mountains. It doesn't matter if your name is Nathan, Noah, or Hey Fucking You, you are my lover. My soul. My heart. And by God, you are not dead. Because if you were." Her lips trembled. "If you were, then I'd be dead. Don't you know that? Don't you see that? If the man that loved me was gone, then I'd be ashes now. Not standing here screaming at a moron with more pride than good sense."

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"I carried your scratches last week like other men carry a medal," he growled, then nipped her lips. "I jacked off remembering how hot you were in my arms. And then I imagined your mouth. Watching your eyes. Seeing how hungry you could get."

Noah and Bella together had tons of chemistry and tons of drama. I loved them together, and I was rooting for them to make it the whole book. I loved Rory, Noah's brother, he was great , so was nik and Jordan. This book had a great plot, and made me feel. There is only two reasons this book is a solid 4 star book instead of a 5.

1. there was 2 sex scenes too many!!!! My eyes kinda glazed over there was so much sex

2. I think Noah should have told her who he was sooner!

Other than that I think this is a great start to the series and I can't wait to read the next one. I leave my favorite moment in the book below:

"I'm telling you. I have to tell Grandpop, and we're all gonna pay. All of us. Tell him that one for me. He does it again and we're all screwed 'cause I'm squealin' like a pig to the old man and savin' my own ass first. You tell him that."

Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
December 21, 2014
Nathan Malone was one dirty talking guy. I loved him. I see the cover has been changed since I bought this book. Bought it 3 years ago. Bit of a cover whore, I am. Not sure what was wrong with the original cover... This is the new one.

It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong…and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

Now, I am happily married to my own "Irish" but he's not a patch on Nathan!! Sorry honey!!

These images are not mine. I did a quick search on Pinterest and came up with these so if they belong to someone on here, I hope you don't mind me using them.

One small quibble I would have is that it seemed to drag a bit towards the end. I mean, I love sex in books but Jeez Louise, this guy could keep it up 24/7.

Profile Image for Buggy.
489 reviews679 followers
July 22, 2010
Opening Line: "Nathan Malone stood in the clinical white office he had been brought to"

This one is a keeper. One of those books that you can't stop reading and then find yourself sad as you approach the end because you don't want it to be over. WILD CARD is a beautiful romance with scorching hot love scenes, plenty of action and a sexy alpha male hero that literally jumps off the pages at you. Bound in leather chaps and just daring you to get on the back of his Harley. What an escape, I loved it.

Navy Seal Nathan Malone was happily married to his young wife Sabella. His last mission was supposed to be simple, infiltrate a Columbian drug cartel and rescue three young girls. But things went disastrously wrong and Nathan finds himself at the hands of Diego Fuentes the evil crime lord. He is held captive for 3 years, pumped full of experimental drugs, tortured and beaten beyond recognition. When he's finally rescued there isn't much left of the man he used to be. Scared inside and out, Nathan now feels that he's too damaged and violent to ever return to his wife and joins a team of covert ops. After several reconstructive surgeries Nathan Malone becomes Noah Blake aka "Wildcard." The man his wife loved is now gone forever.

Several years later a new mission (ironically enough) takes Noah back to his hometown and puts him undercover as a mechanic in Sabella's garage. He'd assumed that after 6 years his wife would have moved on with her life but she hasn't ever let Nathan go. After learning of Nathan's death Sabella didn't leave the house for 3 years, barely functioning, she dreams of him. There's is a love that will last forever, she tells herself. Only after almost losing their home and business does she manage to pull herself together enough to rejoin the world. Sabella initially has no idea that the sexy new Harley riding mechanic is her dead husband but something draws her to him and awakens feelings she had thought long buried. Nathan is stunned that Sabella isn't the agreeable little wallflower that he remembers as his wife anymore. Where did this tough, no nonsense woman come from?

This establishes the characters into their plotlines and that's when the story really gets going. The sex scenes are amazingly hot but they are also filled with such tenderness and longing that you will simply sigh. Lora Leigh pushes the boundaries further each time Noah and Bella are together and just when you think they couldn't possibly do anything else sexually, that it's just going to be another sex scene, she manages to make it different and even more exciting. The running internal dialogue is also well done here and heartbreaking as Noah struggles with the ghost of the man he used to be and Sabella tries to not let on that she knows who he really is. The endings full of suspense and I wasn't certain until the last few pages if our couple would truly get their HEA or if our testosterone filled hero would leave again.

For an erotic Romance this is a very involved story and surprisingly long at 415 pages. Lora Leigh however had me enamoured from beginning to end and I feel that this is some of her best work. The unconditional love between the main characters was beautifully written, the story interesting and suspenseful. My only complaint would be the few sloppy mistakes overlooked by her editor.

This is a story that I won't soon forget. Highly recommended.

It's now been a few days since I finished reading Wildcard and an interesting thing has happened. I can no longer remember the sex scenes but I still find myself thinking about the love story.
Go Siorai, Forever my soul.
Profile Image for Aly is so frigging bored.
1,627 reviews274 followers
January 31, 2014
Where to start? … Where to start?
This was a completely disappointing book! Seriously! I expected some hot sex, action, some humor, likeable characters and I got a blend of angst and melodrama and idiots. I kid you not, both MCs were cretins.

To help you understand why I’m making those statements, let me tell you about the plot. We have the MCs living happily in a backwards town in Texas, he was a mechanic and a SEAL she was a… I have no idea because it was never said[or I might have missed it]. He was called away to a mission involving a drug cartel, it went horribly wrong: he was tortured, drugged, mind-fucked and every bad thing you can think about… Sabella, the heroine, gets news that he was killed and goes into tailspins of grief for 3 years. Meanwhile Nathan, the hero, was rescued after 19 months of imprisonment and put back together, literally and figuratively. You would expect that any time he might want to ask about his wife or something, well, he doesn’t! He lets her live thinking he’s dead, while he’s co-opted in a shadowy organization by his uncle and getting reports on her[that he doesn’t read, but that’s not important]; he also changes his name since, you know, he’s legally dead and all.

This goes on for years, until he and his unit get a mission in his hometown. Immigrants and the FBI agents sent to investigate are being killed, so they go undercover, Noha aka ex-Nathan working in his own garage, now run by his half brother and his wife. He gets there and it’s lust at first sight. They can’t wait to get into each other’s pants, they don’t talk about birth control or STDs because it would be so un-romantic. They fuck and regret it and keep fucking and not communicating[rhyme unintended].

What drove me insane was the way Noah/Nathan kept saying he still loved her and they were soul mates and every other crap you can think of, but he KEPT LYING TO HER! And the idiot was jealous of her loving her husband and not letting go. WTH is wrong with you?! How can you say you love someone and not want to be with them, especially knowing that they love you back and they kept faithful to you and that they still grieve? Every time he whined about forever or he glared at her for wanting to have a semblance of a normal life I kept yelling “you friggin’ idiot” or “you stupid moron” or “you are such a pea-brained mess” at my e-reader.

Not to say that Sabella aka misspelled Isabella was a paragon of communication. No, she was a mess as well. She was kind of catatonic for 3 years[while he was incarcerated and recovering I guess], then she decided to keep his dream alive: the garage. She kept parts of her hidden, her love of making cars work and her backbone being some examples, from her supposed soul mate, and then wanders why he didn’t come back. She keeps falling into bed with Noah/Nathan and torments herself with thoughts of him no longer loving her and using her and on keeping secrets. But she never decides to talk to the guy! The conversation could have gone like this:

“I know you are my husband, I hate you for never coming back so now I’m divorcing you so you can go on your merry way!”


“You fucking idiot! I know you didn’t die and you never even contacted me you asshole! How could you after promising me forever, and the first time you really need me you decide you’re better to me dead? I want a divorce!”

No, she’s kind of like this:

“Oh you’re so strong and your eyes and jaw and eyebrows remind me of my husband. Let’s fuck.”

I didn’t even like the sex that much! When you think Lora Leigh you expect some great love scenes, but I was disappointed there as well. Everything was so overblown from her honey sweet taste(right *rolls eyes*) to his incredible stamina(coming and still being hard). If I read a SF erotica or a fantasy one, I could have believed it since you can make your own rules there[she could have added a penis as well or something to make things interesting], but this was supposed to be a contemporary, in this world! How can a man be hard indifferently, even when he’s almost bleeding to death? I’ll never know the answer…

All in all I finished this just to know if will get better and to know if I was right about the mole person[I was btw]… As a friend summed it up perfectly:
“a bad porn with lots of angst”


PS:who thought Sabella was a good name? I totally didn’t!
PPS: Sorry for the pic explosion
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews402 followers
February 25, 2017
3.45 stars

Ok, Wild Card is definitely a 2016 favourite, but there are things that got on my nerves big time. This is a +400 pages book, so all the whining from both our main characters gets repetitive and extremely annoying. He's all oh! my baby can't handle the truth, and she's all I know the truth, but why doesn't he trust me enough to tell it to me himself.


Then he grunts, she silently cries, they have sex, he grunts, she cries, they have sex, he grunts... Stars! It just goes like this on and on and on....


Also, Noah (who is Belle's husband with a lot of plastic surgery after being tortured for 19 months) is jealous of Nathan (Belle's husband who had been declared death). And that leads to some major self-confidence issues if you ask me.

"Yeah, baby. Scream my name. Noah's f***ing you. Taking you."


"Damn right. Noah. Noah's f***ing you."


So far I talked only about what annoyed me. But let's get on to why this book is one of this year's favourites. Well, for starters, there's the dirty talk.


It's not too nasty, nor too disgusting, it's just enough to be very interesting. While Nathan had limits before his torture (and the Whore's Dust - a drug that gave him a constant state of arousal), Noah is constantly testing his and Belle's. There's even some anal play involved (so be warned if you're sensitive to that).


And although they are testing their limits and let their lust run wild, there is no gross stuff, no BDSM, no real pain inflicted. I don't like erotica with those kind of things. Belle and Noah are two consenting adults, enjoying each other.


Bottom line is I enjoyed the book and I'm going to read more from Lora Leigh.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
June 18, 2011

If you can't say anything else about Lora Leigh, you can at the very least acknowledge that she can write a hot and kinky scene as good as anyone. But be warned, she isn't into the vanilla and if you're looking for strait-laced 'nice' sex and love, don't even bother delving into her world. If you're okay with extreme, and I do really mean extreme, dirty talk and seriously hot sex, then you've found the right woman. There are also numerous elements of light (but incredibly hot) BDSM and mentions of anal sex.

I can understand why Lora Leigh's tendency to go over the top with the dirty talk can be off-putting for some, there were many times when I thought "damn, I can't believe he just said that!" But I'm ridiculously open-minded so I let it slide, especially because the author managed to do a convincing show of dirty talk one minute and sweet nothings the next - can't believe it worked so well, but it did.

The story is about Nathan Malone, a navy SEAL, who gets captured and tortured. Anyone would come out of this a different person but Nathan's case is unique, whilst in captivity he was subjected to a horror of a drug trial. The drug, known as 'Whore's Dust' is like Viagra but times a thousand, leaving Nathan completely out of his mind with lust (painfully so) and tortured physically beyond recognition (of course, he was still made sexy-looking after some serious plastic surgery). This series of events creates Noah Blake, the dark, angry side of Nathan Malone that he never knew existed and was sure his pretty, good-natured wife would never accept back into her life and bed.

But Bella has a dark side of her own that was never tapped into with Nathan. When the oh so familiar Noah Blake strolls into town, she is swept up into one hell of a wild romance and an even wilder set of sexcapades. Noah Blake is both the old man she loved and the new man who helps her realise all her greatest fantasies... and let me tell you now, our Bella likes it rough and dangerous.

The story was fantastic and the love between them only made the sex scenes even hotter. At first I found that I wanted Nathan Malone back and I thought the story would eventually lead to him being re-awakened into his former self through Bella's help. This soon changed as Noah became more than just a shadow of Nathan, and at the end I was rooting for Noah all the way. I've always found it hard to get into romances where the lead couple are already happily married but this novel puts an entirely new twist on that tale. Absolutely fantastic!

I felt confident enough about Ms Leigh after finishing this book that I have already ordered 3 of her other novels. I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us readers.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,280 reviews1,382 followers
August 25, 2008
Awesome. Suspenseful. Explicit. Romantic. And definitely erotic. Finally, the story of Navy SEAL Nathan Malone, the poor soul who was captured during a rescue mission early in the Tempting SEALs series by evil drug lord Diego Fuentes, and was tortured as a guinea pig to test a potent aphrodisiac known as "whore's dust", in order to break him to reveal government secrets. Nathan was held captive for nearly two years, and given up for dead, and was tortured and beaten and tempted with women while high on "whore's dust", but was never broken. He managed to stay true to his beloved wife, Sabella, even though he was in an agonizing state of arousal every day. And when he was finally rescued, he was a shell of the man he once was. His wife already thought he was dead, and physically he nearly was. But after years and countless surgeries to repair broken bones throughout his body (including his face), he was finally in fighting shape physically, if not mentally. Six years had passed since he last saw his beloved wife, and Nathan thought it best that he remained dead to her. He was not the man he once was; he looked different, and he had a dark sexual side now, one he thought his wife would never be able to handle. (Boy was he ever wrong!) So he became a new man, named Noah Blake. Since he couldn't be a SEAL any more, he became the next best thing--a member of a secret quasi-government unit called the Elite Ops.

Well, coincidentally, the Elite Ops are needed on a mission in Nathan/Noah's hometown of Alpine, Texas. It seems that a white supremicist group called the Black Collar Militia have set up shop in town. The BCM like to "hunt" and kill what they believe are "undesirables", namely, illegal aliens (and a few FBI agents who were sent in to stop them, too). In order to fund their little militia, they need a good business to launder the money for their illegal activities. So they set their sights on acquiring the garage/gas station business the deceased Nathan left behind to his widow Sabella. Well, Nathan/Noah isn't about to let Sabella get caught in the middle of this militia's activities, so he goes undercover and gets himself hired to work at the garage with Sabella. What happens after that is one surprise after another for Nathan, as he finds out the sweet helpless little wife he thought he married is a lot stronger and not as helpless as he thought. Nathan/Noah and Sabella engage in a hot, hot, hot affair, and Noah actually becomes jealous of Sabella's dead husband (Nathan) figuring she's still in love with him and always will be. It doesn't take Sabella long to realize that Noah is really Nathan, but why won't he tell her?

Oh, this was a hot one! This was all about Nathan and Sabella, and their love story. We find out how they first met, their early, passionate married life, and how devastated Sabella was when Nathan was 'killed'. We find out that each of them held something back in their marriage--that neither spouse totally revealed their true self to the other. Later we see how each character has grown, and how each of them react to the changes they see in their spouse. The love scenes are many and explicit--probably the most erotic and numerous in the whole series so far. They have sex everywhere imaginable, including the table, the countertop, the stairs, and in Nathan's truck. But at times it got a little frustrating--I wanted Sabella to tell Noah she knew he was really Nathan, but her pride stood in the way. And I wanted Noah to tell Sabella he was really Nathan, but he was too chicken and thought Sabella would kick him to the curb for not telling her he was alive years ago. He thought since she had an affair with him (Noah), that she was finally over Nathan, and would be ready to move on with a more deserving man. Stupid alpha. He didn't realize that practically the whole time she was with him, she realized that he was her long deceased husband.

Anyway, it all comes to a suspenseful end when the Elite Ops team finds the "wild card" person who is providing the leaks to the militia so that they can stay one step ahead of the authorities. To say I was surprised is an understatement--I just didn't see this one coming until right before it was revealed. And we also see if Nathan/Noah will walk away from his beloved Bella one more time. What do you think?

This book was pretty fast paced, but would have been even better if about 50 pages were eliminated. I started to get a little bored with all the sex scenes, and that's not a good thing! Still, it picked up at the end, and thankfully Noah's secret was finally revealed, and there was still a few chapters left. All in all, I'd say it was the best of the series, although technically this is the first book in the new Elite Ops series, with more to follow. A solid 4 1/2 stars!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tammy.
126 reviews
January 25, 2010
Wild Card is definitely a contributor to global warming. Very hot! But with that said, I was disappointed to see the same old formula used in other stories I've read by this author.

18-year-old virginal girl? Check!

Older man who lusts for her from afar? Check! Check!

He growls.

He snarls.

He's an uber-alpha and she's in need of his protection. Big Ole' Hairy Check!


I loved this plot in the first Lora Leigh book that I read, which probably explains my love for my man Clint. (HaHa!) However, I'm so over it and ready for something fresh and new from this author.

I originally thought the premise of the story was similar to the movie Bird on a Wire. Remember that one with Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson? (Not old, crazy Mel Gibson but the younger, hotter version a la' Lethal Weapon days.) It's about a couple reunited at the garage where he is working undercover after an accidental death. Nathan and Sabella's story has similar vibes, only in a nice twist they are married shortly before Nathan's "death".

All in all, this was a pretty decent book by the author. Probably my favorite if I were forced to pick one. The emotions and the suspense were there. There were well-planned twists to the plot. Nathan and Sabella were likable enough characters. In all honesty, if this had been my first book by LL, it probably would've survived my moodiness and made it's way on my keeper shelf.

Profile Image for Alex.
318 reviews67 followers
August 23, 2011
Let's sit down and talk about something for a minute. That one thing we all think about but don't really talk about. You know the one.


I'm not going to get into the romance is porn for women discussion. Not gonna do it. But obviously, I'm a girl that likes a good romance. I love the snap and sizzle. The gutting heartbreaks. The push and pull between people falling and fighting. The eccentric families that always seem to surround them. In all its shapes and forms, I love a good love story. And that usually includes some sexin'. There's a frat boy in me that can't deal with blue balls of the heart. I've invested in the back and forth, and there's got to be a reward. A FINALLY. There's a certain way to write a really good love scene, and that's where this differs from porn. There's an eloquence about it. A surgical, precise dance with the words. A way that can turn a kiss into a conversation that has a reader entranced by it all.

Lora Leigh's books don't do that. She just straight up drills you with it. And it becomes relentless. Like a marathon session you have to walk away from because damn it, you're tired, and this is all getting a little ridiculous.

There was a story here. Something. I was intrigued by the mystery and the brokenness of the hero and how does somebody come back from that. And his poor, supposedly widowed wife. I wanted to see how it would all pan out. And I did. But the emotion, heart and sex wasn't done with that precise touch that I love. More like a jackhammer.
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,391 reviews443 followers
February 10, 2019
I’m going for 4 stars because this hits a lot of points readers seem to want: drama, true love, sexual attraction and celibacy. I’ve read it twice, and for a soul mate romance it doesn’t make me want to gag.

Nathan/Noah is a hotter than hell Black Irish former Seal. Proclaimed dead after a mission gone wrong, Sabella has mourned him for six years, and has had to get on with life in Alpine, Texas and running his garage. For months, even years, Sabella has cried for him and even dreamed of him being tortured and has never truly believed he was dead. He has had a similar connection on his side, dreaming of her, but he's had bad guys to kill and does nothing about it.

Noah as he is called now did not die, but has kept away from the h in order to protect her from what he sees as the monster he has become. Lora Leigh does a very good job showing the pain, the loss and the angst of the two torn lovers without some of the real ickiness that comes with some of her other books. That said, the creatively made up whore’s dust, essentially a roofie with very, very long term effects, has turned Noah…how do I say this… a man that’s primed for action at any time. Don’t fear celibacy seekers, he and Sabella have both been celibate all this time.

Did I mention that he had mucho plastic surgery and the color of his eyes has changed. Hmmm? Plastic surgery I can see, but can you change the color of someone's eyes without contacts?

Noah arrives back in Alpine, TX in undercover work for an Elite team, and fireworks explode once again for the two. He’s not the only who has been hiding behind a mask. The sweet, feminine Southern babe he left behind has released her inner grease monkey, and Noah doesn’t know how to feel about it as obvious her tomboy independence was something she hid from him.

The couple before his last mission…
“Oh my God, Bella, what have you done?”

Bella jumped as she turned to face Nathan, seeing sweat, bits of the grass he had been cutting sticking to his jeans as he strode furiously to where her car met the back of his truck.

“It’s just a little dent, Nathan. I promise . . .” Her heart was in her throat. Not in fear. He would never hurt her. But he sure knew how to pout when he wanted to.

“A little dent.” He gripped her shoulders, moving her aside as he stared down at the crumpled fender as it sank into the bumper of his truck.

It was an accident. It was all his fault. If he hadn’t been wearing those butt-snug jeans and boots with no shirt as he cut the lawn, it would have never happened.

I thought that was cute.

Now that he's back he also doesn’t know how to feel about the fact that she is having lots of hot sex with him when she doesn’t know he is her husband. Spoiler! She does know because Sabella is about a thousand times smarter that Noah. She also knows how to make him suffer for lying to her.

Knowing she had held on to that damned truck filled him with more pleasure than he could express. Knowing she was going to let someone who wasn’t her husband drive it filled him with horror. The contradictory feelings clashed inside him, and he promised himself he was going to spank her for this.

“You’re being awful generous with your late husband’s possessions,” he told her.

She grinned back at him. “You’ve loosened me up maybe? Besides, you’ve already slept with his wife, why not drive his truck? Kira drank his 1925 Chateau Feytit Clinet red wine today.”

Did he look pale? Noah swore he could feel himself blanch. His 1925 Chateau Feytit Clinet? No. She hadn’t shared that with Kira Richards. The one person in the world besides Sabella who knew exactly how horrified he’d be to hear that Sabella had dipped into his treasure trove of wines?

“He had a 1925 Feytit Clinet?” He almost wheezed. How he kept his voice calm and level he didn’t know. Hell, his training had just been shot to hell. “And you shared it with Ian Richards’s wife?

And more inner monologuing. You big fat idiot!

She had taken a lover. It didn’t matter that her lover had also been her husband, and she didn’t know. She had exorcised her husband’s ghost in her bedroom, in her home, and in his pickup truck.

He lowered his head and stared at his oil-stained work boots. She’d moved on. He didn’t have the right to change that. Once he left this time, she might shed a few tears, but she’d pull herself up, and she would find someone who deserved her. Someone whole. Without demons. Without a past to hide or hell burning just behind his back.

A pretty decent side story of the investigation into essentially a White Supremacy group run amok, but the main focus is the DRAMA and ANGST between Sabella and Noah. The Will he, won’t he stay? argument goes on too long, and damages the story, but is still compelling reading if you can get over one thing. How incredibly stupid and selfish the hero was for sacrificing the love of his life, the woman he absolutely adores for his SEAL missions in the first place, and, more importantly, from staying away from her for six years. She finally admits that’s she known who he was, and he is still a stonewalling idiot. This is what Suspension of Disbelief is all about.

All in all a fun romance. Lots of raunchy sex.

With the hunky Elite team, the hero and heroine’s connection, and the downfall of the bad guys this would make a great substitute for those that were disappointed in Free.
Profile Image for Ivy H.
855 reviews
December 12, 2017
This novel represents Lora Leigh at her best. It was a tearjerker but I loved it. The heroine was such a strong woman who faced all the shitty tragedy life churned out and still kept her ideals and moral standards. I loved how hard she worked to keep her husband's legacy alive by refusing to part with the auto garage. Sabella was forced to become a strong tough woman after Nathan's "death." He had sheltered and protected her while he they were together and her descent into the reality of life after his "death" was sorrowful. I loved his little brother Rory and the loving Irish grandpop. He was the sweetest old man who had taught his grandsons that there is a perfect mate for each of them. Grandpop, of course knew that "Noah" was indeed his grandson Nathan. He knew it from the time he first saw Noah.

The hero loved her a lot but I hated his selfish decision to fake his death. That almost made me give it 4 stars instead of five, but then the novel would not have been so heart wrenching if he had not faked his death. That was so fucked up. He was lucky she hadn't remarried and had kids. The scenes where she would dream of him and get clear visions of the torture that he was experiencing were so sad too. They were like two halves of the same coin. A perfect couple. The H's obsessive jealousy of "himself" was fun to read too. He came back into his wife's life with a new face ( thanks to plastic surgery ) and wanted to be with Sabella but felt jealous of her love for her "dead" husband. That was a bit of a mind f*ck for the guy especially when she kept throwing in his face how much of a better man "Nathan" was. Sabella was able to figure it out eventually though because he shared far too many mannerisms with her "dead" husband and the chemistry she felt for him was the same she had shared with "Nathan".

This novel is why I have fond memories of Lora L as an author. It makes it easy to forget the heap of dog crap she churned out with her nasty menage bullshit trilogy that began with Marly's Choice. But I must say that I adore my hot SEAL heroes like Nathan/Noah. 😍. Now he's one prime specimen of delicious Irish-American hotness with his sexy eyes. The last Irish hero I adored was Lachlan Crow from A. Zavarelli's CROW. I got a special soft spot for my Irish and Scottish book boyfriends. I also liked the Irish nostalgia and folklore that was depicted in the novel. Damn I want to be on the receiving end of some sexy, whispered Gaelic love endearments, like what Nathan often spoke to Sabella. They were true soul mates. I cried many times while reading this novel.
Profile Image for Al George.
502 reviews309 followers
August 5, 2017
So there's over the top and then there's Over The Top. Guess which one we have here.

over the top

Let's go with OTT, shall we?

Series: Apparently

Sexy times:Every other flipping page.

Plan on reading more by the author: I have a few of her books in my TBR so yea.

Synopsis: Nathan is married to Isabella cum Sabella cum Bella cum Belle. Pick a fricking name already! Anyhoo, off to SEAL time he goes where he's captured by a bad, bad boy who sticks him full of drugs that turn him into a horndog on steroids. Of course, he doesn't give in, so he's tortured to hell and back and physically broken, as in literally. He's saved, because you can't have a fully broken hero, now can you?

Enter Noah. Nathan is dead he proclaims to the world. His wife already thinks him dead because he certainly will NOT inflict his broken a$$ on her. So, dead he is and Noah rises from the ashes.

rising from the ashes

Six years later he is sent back to her town with his elite group of misfits in tow as they must do battle with a white supremacist / homegrown terrorist sort of group. Of course, he can resist that magic pull of his widowed wife and eventually they start playing the bang, bang, bang on my drum all day game while she thinks him a different man (facial surgery, etc.).

Eventually, the bad guys are badded out and things happen that I can't really talk too much about lest you desire to read this book and I spoil it for you. Just remember, you've been warned about the massive banging.

bang the drum

Heroine: Isabella. So, guess what? I liked her. She kicks a$$. She's pretty hard core. That's not to say she doesn't have some annoying moments, but overall, she's the strong one here. I'd even say a bit domineering. Ring her Belle!

Hero: Noah / Nathan. Me thinks the man doth protesteth too much. Would someone shut his inner dialog up? It just goes on and on and on.

be quiet

He's all mine, mine, mine. Not mine. He's actually an asshole. There. I said it.

Why it did or didn't work for me: So believe it or not, the story was kinda good. I mean I was interested enough to see what happened with a) the widow who was not a widow, b) the bad guys and c) the rest of the characters and the family. So I kept turning the pages. Can I get a halleluiah?

What clearly did not work for me, other than the asshole, was the over the tip topiness of the last quarter of the book. I mean it was like kitchen sink of badness. Woman threatening to rape a woman, high on drugs, camp whore, all the bad dudes hanging out in one convenient place, just ALL of it. Too much. You lost me there.


be quiet
Profile Image for Dina.
1,324 reviews1,208 followers
May 2, 2011
Based on everything I'd heard about Lora Leigh's books, I started reading Wild Card with some caution. But I'd also heard that this book was very good and not too heavy on her usual "style", so I decided to give it a try. Well, I'm happy I did. :)

I loved the setting and the story. I was surprised by the identity of the villain who had been leaking all the info to the bad guys (I won't go into details here, for it would be a major spoiler) and I was literally sitting at the edge of my chair when the final showdown came. I knew everything would be alright in the end, of course, but I felt anxious nevertheless. I could see the whole scene in my mind, very exciting!

I liked the cast of characters too, even though there were so many secondary characters that I didn't know who was who sometimes. Although I haven't read the Tempting SEALs series yet, I know some of those characters had their stories told in those books and now I wonder if I should go back and read them. It was also quite obvious that other secondary characters are going to "star" in the following books of the Elite Ops series, and I'm definitely going to check them out. :)

Now, the "bad" news... Noah and Bella grated on my nerves more time than I'd care to count. I could understand how hard their lives had been, but they took their "silence" a bit too far. Why couldn't they talk about their past more openly? It was okay to hold a grudge at first, but it got tiresome after a while and I just wanted to smack both their heads.

As for the sex scenes, wow, can you have too much of a good thing? Well, you can! I confess, I skimmed through several of them because they were distracting me from the action. I like a hot, sexy "interlude" as anyone else, but there's no need to go "over the top".

All things considered, I've enjoyed reading this book and I'm open to try other books by this author - as long as it doesn't contain either BDSM or ménage, that is!
Profile Image for London.
725 reviews
November 24, 2019
Title: Wild Care (Elite Ops, #1)
Series: Yes but can be read as a standalone
Author: Lora Leigh
Rating: 1 star
POV: Third person, multiple POV
Cliffhanger: . No.
Intolerable Heroine .No.
Über Douchebagery .Yes.
Taboo Subject Matter .No.
Love Triangle

This book was such a let down and I really disliked the hero in this story. Nathan Malone (aka Noah Blake) is a Navy Seal presumed dead for 6 years after a rescue mission gone bad. His wife Sabella Malone has spent the past 6 years alone and grieving for her husband is barely managing to keep their mechanic business and her own life afloat. Instead of coming back to his wife he decides to stay away because of the negative effects of some new date rape drug he had been in drugged with for 19 months. Brutally tortured and no longer resembling the man he once was he decides that he knows what's best for the little woman and never looks back.
Oh btw he was so badly tortured that when they put his face back together he no longer resembles himself.

Queue the life threatening circumstances that send him back to his hometown and back into his wife's life.

I HATE Nathan/Noah. He sees that his wife is still holding on to the love she has for her husband and yet he pushes himself on her and forces himself into her life and back into her bed. He sees how difficult it is for her and how she feels guilty for feeling things for someone that's not her husband and yet he constantly throws her love for her husband in her face? BECAUSE HE'S JEALOUS OF HIMSELF.

She eventually realizes it's her husband because she's not the little bimbo he thought he married and in fact a very smart woman. THE ENTIRE TIME THE STUPID JERK NEVER TELLS HIS WIFE THE TRUTH. Most of their mutual friends and his brother know who he really is and yet he can't trust his own wife? He knows he's not going to stay after the mission is over and yet he uses her for his own pleasure only to throw her aside for a job, AGAIN? I don't think Nathan ever loved his wife and he sure as hell didn't deserve the love and devotion of such good woman.

In the end it's not even him that comes forward with the truth. She does! I hated how easily she was able to forgive him for leaving her to live a life alone, without financial support, and the love of her husband. He was such a hypocrite too. One minute he's wondering why the hell she didn't move on with her life and the next he's pissed at the idea of anyone else getting near her? I wish she had been with other men and had fallen in love with someone else. That would have been just what he deserved.

Don't even get me start on the sex scenes. LOOOOOOOOOOONGGGGGGG One of the scenes (the one in the truck) spans an entire damn chapter. I would not recommend this book at all. Save your $7.00!
Profile Image for Roksana.
393 reviews460 followers
October 28, 2015
OK where to start?

1. THE BOOK: It had a lot of the eroticism and sexual intensity that got to me right after Noah/Nathan had appeared. The chemistry between him and his wife was of the chart and there was one moment I thought I was going to melt from the heat! Put it simply their passion was really hot, you could feel it on our own skin. The author actually made me believe there was love between them..not just "saying" but "showing." Their connection was so intense and real, I was captivated by their interactions..how consuming feelings they had for one another and how destructive that was for them. However, the plot-line suffered a bit due to Belle's and Noah's main focus in the book and some scenes were repetitive and although the spicy sex scenes added that dark edge to it sometimes there was too much of it and I wish the author could have use that for more plot on the action side.

2.NOAH/NATHAN: I hated what he did to his wife...leaving her for 6 years and letting her suffer for what??? for his drug in his body??? he did not even gave her a chance to prove him that she was more than just a helpless blond, but his stupid pride was more important that his wife and she paid the ultimate price literally her life fell apart in front of her yes! No matter how much he tried to justify himself it was unforgivable what he did to her and I did not understand his reasoning...he left her in fear of losing her if she rejected who he have become, but she as well could have found someone and married that someone so he would lose her anyway? His logic was not convincing enough so i refused to sympathies with him. On the other hand, his transformation was really interesting to watch, especially when seeing his wife in a completely different light forcing him to admit his own stupidity and blindness that led him to leaving his wife at the first place! I liked his edgy side the possessiveness and intensiveness and man the bad boy in him was as exiting as his dirty talk! He carried that sexual magnetism that was hard to resist and i could not blamed Sabella for falling under that sexual magnetism. Noah was obsessed with his wife and I loved to see his inner tremor over his jealousy with himself, but I did not liked the fact that he was using his wife for sex knowing that he would leave her..NO that really make me angry a big time!!!..and i felt there was not enough suffering compere to his wife! But what saved him from being a total jackass was the fact that he was faithful to hid wife no matter what girl they thrown at him he fought and I liked that quality about him!

3. SABELLA: I like her, she was not stupid, but I wish she could have told him sooner that she new who he was and let him grovel more, compare to all the trauma she had to endure, his suffering was not enough...why did he had to make her feel guilty over sleeping with him, when she did nothing wrong? I was so angry with him and with her not pushing him hard enough for all the suffering he inflicted on her!

3. Sabella's brother RORY was my rok! I really hope he will get a chance to have his own story, as he was the most appealing character for me in this book...the fact that he stayed with Bella, look after her his brother Noah should kiss his a$$ for that and not being angry with him!

Overall the book deserves a solid 4 stars for the intensity and intriguing characterization of Rory, I will be tempted to look for other books in the Elite Ops series.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,567 followers
February 26, 2009
5+ stars - Romantic Suspense

Wild Card is the first book in Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops romantic suspense series that is a spin-off of her Tempting SEALS series. As a fan of Leigh’s Tempting SEALS novels, I was anxious for Nathan’s story, and I was not disappointed. Wild Card focuses on former Navy SEAL Nathan Malone, who was rescued in the novel Hidden Agendas after 19 months of captivity and torture, has been declared dead to his wife, friends, and family, assumed the new identity of Noah Blake (code name Wild Card), and joined a secret unit called Elite Ops. The story centers on Nathan/Noah’s return to his hometown after being “dead” for the past six years for a covert mission that involves his wife Sabella “Bella”. Wild Card has an intriguing plot and in-depth characters and is very intense, dramatic, and emotionally gripping. Nathan/Noah and Bella’s relationship is dynamic and passionate and the romance is erotic, explicit, and seriously hot. Bella is a strong, spirited, and likable heroine and my very favorite female character of the entire SEALS series so far. My only gripe is that I noticed a few editing errors in regards to continuity that were a tad distracting at times, but the storyline and romance are strong enough that I was able to overlook it. Wild Card is a riveting, emotional, and scorching read. I’m looking forward to the next story in the Elite Ops series. Big 5 stars!
Profile Image for LaFleurBleue.
841 reviews37 followers
July 8, 2013
When I stumbled across Wild Card at my usual thrift bookstore, I tried to be nice and give another chance to this author, considering I heard/read very good feedback on her book and especially this one, one of her highest rated outside the Breeds series (paranormal so not fit for my eyes).
I had tried two already: one Nauti Boy (rated 4.02) was one of the worst book I read ever; the second Hidden Agendas (rated 4.24) had some of the most idiotic passages ever, though I did not hate it so much.
From almost the first page of Wild Card (out of 418…), I felt it had been a mistake to pick this one up. If you're a huge fan of this author, please feel free to stop reading this review which might offend you but reflects my own personal feeling.
I finally finished this book, started 4.5 months ago, by reading one every two lines or 2 every 3 at most. It was getting on my nerve to see the paperback on top of the heap in my bedside table. Now it's safely wrapped with the other books waiting for new owners - though I have to admit to have put it on sale more than 4 months ago, after having read only a few pages. Prospective interested buyers, please you better not read my opinion about it;)
I really hate the author's style of writing, so repetitive, so shallow in terms of characters' analysis - well anyway her characters are much more in tune with a practice that just encompasses the 4 first letters of this last word than anything that would require them to use their brain, listen to their heart or try to be understanding to other people's feelings. The characters look like characters and have nothing real or likable. The writing style feels fake, very familiar, full of slang to make it look cool, young; some sentences are left almost unfinished as if the rhythm was too quick to have time to waste on writing correctly and finalizing own's thoughts. All the huge difficulties that have been hashed over and over every ten pages at least over an excrutiating 430 pages, finally get solved by just a few words and the inner conviction that suddenly and miraculously something has changed. The investigation is not even interesting. The climatic scene in which the heroine is captive of the bad guys (complain if you believe this was a non-announced spoiler, but it was obvious in a book so full of cliches that it would happen later rather than sooner), is just ridiculous, totally unbelievable and lame.
For real romantic suspense, go to Suzanne Brockmann and Cindy Gerard; for romantic suspense with additional sexiness, go to Shannon McKenna. But I cannot recommend other than going on your way and not stopping there. I know many, including reliable friends, like Lora Leigh, but I always get an immediate knee-jerk reaction to her prose that make me want to tear the book apart or throw it against the wall.
Profile Image for Julie (jjmachshev).
1,069 reviews282 followers
January 21, 2009
I'm not sure what it was about Lora Leigh's latest, "Wild Card", but something just didn't hit all my pleasure buttons with it. Maybe it was the hero's stubbornness that lasted just too long for me not to get irritated with it. Or maybe it was his push/pull tactics that drove me nuts...Either way, I just wasn't as thrilled with this book as I usually am with most everything Leigh writes.

Bella lost her soulmate three years ago when her SEAL husband didn't return from his last mission. Since then, she's had horrible nightmares and has only recently returned to 'living'...only to battle to save what's left of their life together, their home and business. So why now, when she's finally trying to move on, does she meet another man who makes her blood sizzle and reminds her in so many ways of her dead love?

Nathan was held prisoner and pumped full of drugs for months on end. When he was finally rescued, he was more animal than man. Even though his dreams of his wife were all that kept him alive, he decides to remain 'dead'. Instead of returning to his 'other' life, he undergoes innumerable surgeries and comes out a new man with a new identity...and he refuses to 'taint' his wife with the dark creature he is now. But when his wife is unknowingly dragged into danger, he can't NOT help her. And once, he's near her, he can't NOT want her. But if he won't reveal his past, how can the two of them have anything?

As I said, this book is very intense. The connection between the hero and heroine is at times a bit mystical, and always red hot. The difference between their 'younger' lives and their current lives provides a harsh glimpse of the reality of some relationships. And it's not until each individual can reveal their true selves, and be accepted by the other, that a relationship can really become deep and solid. I appreciated this extra hint of realism on Leigh's part. But by golly, I spent an awful lot of this book wanting to kick Nate's ass! His actions and motives seem awfully selfish for a full 2/3 of the book and I hated that. Of course, I DID keep reading and I will continue to read Lora Leigh's stories. She manages to touch something in me and bring something to her tales that other author's can't quite touch. So, Alpha jerks or no, I'll keep looking for her titles...
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,087 followers
October 19, 2012
BOOK DESCRIPTION: A fatal escape It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Columbia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong . . . and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.
A dangerous desire . . . Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is . . . even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

I have been a huge fan of Lora Leigh since I first read her Bound Hearts , Men of August and the Breeds Series, which I have absolutely loved reading. However, her Seals/Special Ops Series have never grabbed my interest enough to want to read them. But then, digging through my TBR pile found this book that I have no idea where or when I actually purchased it. So decided…why not???

What a pleasant surprise Wild Card, was, hooking me into the story from the first page!!!

It’s a heart-warming yet intense love story, where good triumphs over evil and that real and true love never dies.

Nathan/Noah is emotionally and physically broken after spending years of torture and pain at the ends of very wicked and evil monsters but the love for his wife never wavered. What he experiences are so horrendous and at times far too much to even imagine and still the most important thing for him is to ensure that Sabella is safe and happy and is prepared to do this even if it means giving up his own life for hers. Still tortured and trying to return to a normal life…what a hard and at the end, just a joyful journey for him.

Sabella has never given up hope that her husband is still alive, despite being told that he was killed during the mission to rescue him. Oh to feel such pain and loss and still have such a deep and undying love for Nathan. She’s a very engaging and admirable character, with a strong sense of right and wrong.

When Nathan/Noah & Sabella are reunited….emotional, having to come to terms with all the issues regarding his “death” and now appearance….and to realize how deep and strong their love was…how much more amazing could it be????

I liked the family storyline – Nathan’s family, his colleagues and their wives - these characters just keep pulling you in….you can’t help liking them. There are some great interactions between them that showed the love for each other and with a bit of added humor, which distracted you a bit from all the action and murders and plots in the story.

The plot was fast paced, action packed and some really beyond evil villains, twists and turns that kept me on my toes and surprised to the end. Even though the story had some wild and unbelievable moments, one is left with a feeling that …hey….who says it couldn’t happen!!!!

Naturally being a Lora Leigh book you just know that there is going to be some real hot, scorching, sizzling and erotic scenes….of course there are!!!!!! And a lot of them………one scene I remember takes almost 10 pages before finally having the two fall asleep!!!!!!!

Just a little “niggle” for me …..okay, I get Nathan is the uber alpha-male, wanting to protect his woman…but this woman is no weakling…she’s not going to break that easily…in saying that I did kind of forgive him…just a little…understandable after what he went through those dark years.

Well…turned the last page….and now off to start on book 2……as they say…I’m hooked on these men and their women!
Profile Image for Kathrynn.
1,170 reviews
October 5, 2008
What a ride! When I started this I was rolling my eyes: TWO prologues and several large leaps through time. But, I was riveted to the book from that point on. I had a lump in my throat at the PROLOGUE for crine out loud! The two main characters LOVED each other so deeply I felt it down to my toenails. They had a connection, a soul-deep connection that spanned miles and included shared dreams and horrors.

This is book #1 in a new series, but it is a spin-off from the Tempting SEALs series where Nathan/Noah's character originates. After he is rescued he is mentioned in later books of the latter series, going out on missions, etc. I think it is important to know him from the earlier books before reading this one.

Wasn't sure how the author was going to pull off a character like Nathan/Noah and link it to romance, but she did it beautifully. Very romantic. Intense. Erotic. Nathan was actually jealous of HIMSELF. Fool! Thought he could hide his true identity from his WIFE. His soul mate. They were only married two years and both very young when he was considered dead. They had yet to really learn each other's true passion, desires, dreams, personalities. Talk about a wake-up call.

I'm shocked that this one is mainstream fiction and want to warn people ahead of time that it should be considered erotic. The author showed both the love and emotional turmoil for great character development and had erotic scenes to back it up. Superbly done. Loved it and was sad when the book came to an end.

Another favorite for This Reader!
Profile Image for Pepa.
937 reviews236 followers
February 9, 2015
No me ha gustado mucho.
Es entretenido y se lee rápido pero cuando en una novela erótica te lees las escenas hot en diagonal, mal síntoma.
El protagonista es de los que no me gustan. Lo siento, este tipo de hombres no van conmigo. machistas y celosos y demasiaso posesivos
La protagonista en principio no me ha caido mal, pero a medida que iba avanzando la historia y desvelado como era su relación de pareja, pues se me ha chafado todo.
¿En serio un buen matrimonio es aquel en el que ella se comportas y esconde su verdadero carácter para que él esté contento?
¿En serio un buen matrimonio es aquel en el que él esconde sus pasiones porque piensa que su mujer es débil????
No me parece un buen mensaje para una novela romántica
Sobre el erotismo, porque sí, es una novela erótica.. pues las escenas muy repetitivas, la verdad.
Sobre el suspense. No está mal pero me he quedado que ni fu ni fa
Sobre el final, de risa, la verdad.... después de todo lo que se ha organizado resulta que no pasa nada de nada, así... sin más. Pues para matarlo!!!!

Un besote
Profile Image for Chantal ❤️.
1,361 reviews734 followers
July 25, 2016
Book is not for me 6 years and never telling her the truth and always putting himself and his job first is a big NO!
He does not really love her he just does not want to let anyone else have her or for her to be honestly happy with someone else.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jill.
738 reviews131 followers
February 13, 2013
We start off this book with heartbreaking scenes of a couple madly in love and then ripped apart when a mission goes wrong; Bella is told that her husband, Nathan "wild card" Malone is dead.
Truthfully in the beginning this is what everyone believes until Nathan is rescued after 19 months of torture.
In the seedy hole where he was kept, drugged, abused, the only thing that kept Nathan from bowing down to the demands of his captors was his vows to his wife. But in the end, Nathan feels that he is not the man he used to be and wants his wife to be kept in the dark to his rescue. Nathan Malone is "dead", Noah Blake has been created.

Six years go by and both Noah and Bella are living a bleak existence, until Noah is told that his next mission is in his home town and one of his objectives is to infiltrate his way into his old workplace and to keep his wife out of danger.

To me Lora Leigh will always be the "Queen of Steam", her books are my go to if I am after something raunchy, and she always delivers.
However, her storylines are in depth, the suspense and mystery in this novel kept me interested right up until the end and although I had my suspicions, the bad guys still managed to surprise me with just how bad they were. What I am trying to say is that these books are very steamy, I am fanning myself just thinking about it,but it is not all consuming, the story is solid enough and the sexy times do not take over.
This is a great start to the new Elite Ops series. It was an emotional roller coaster, but that just got my blood pumping more. The tension of what was going to happen, kept me right on the edge of my seat and I was very happy with the end outcome.
If you are a fan of the romantic suspense genre I would recommend this book, give it ago.
Profile Image for Holly.
304 reviews103 followers
June 12, 2009
Wild Card starts out with the love between Nathan and Sabella just blossoming. She's eighteen and he's about twenty seven so there is definitely an age gap between them. She hasn't had time to mature into the woman she's destined to be yet so when Nathan's job as a Navy Seal goes horribly wrong, he doesn't believe his soft, Southern Bella can handle the repercussions. He turns his back on the man he used to be and throws himself into healing his mind and body. After countless surgeries and numerous suicidal missions, Nathan, now known as Noah Blake, has to return home to the life he left and the wife he refused to see. Sabella is smack in the middle of a growing militia in his hometown who is targeting illegal immigrants and killing them. They might have gotten away with their activities, but the militia killed four FBI agents who were undercover. Their heinous actions brings about the attention of the organization that Noah sold his soul to. The Elite Ops. An organization of dead men who signed their lives away for the chance for vengeance. Noah has been with the group for six long years and during that time both he and Bella have gone through hell and back. Seeing Bella again is wreaking havoc on his control. He doesn't know how to handle seeing his formerly soft and deferential wife stand up to him as Noah Blake with a spine forged in steel and an attitude that leaves him spinning. During the years Noah was healing, Sabella grew up and took charge of her life. She's still very much in love with her deceased husband and hasn't been able to handle much in the way of day to day life, much less men, until Noah Blake roars into her shop on a the back of a Harley and suddenly she's come alive again. She's responding to him just as if he were her husband and at first it horrifies her, but soon she's helpless not to accept the comfort he gives her. With the timetable closing in, the Elite Ops need to uncover the mole who is leaking information and bring down the heads of the militia. The men and women Nathan Malone had trusted to take care of his wife if anything were to happen to him have not fulfilled their oaths. Sabella is practically alone and has no one to help her. Noah is desperate to do his job and protect the woman he regrets leaving. Too late he realizes the core of strength his Southern Bella held within her and wishes more than anything that he could turn back time and be the man she deserves. Bella doesn't want her fairy tale any longer though. She's grown up and been forced to stand on her own two feet and only wants the man who's in her life and who has always been in her heart.

Anyone expecting a raunchy read is going to be in for a shock with Wild Card. This was a beautifully written, emotionally loaded read with plentiful twists and turns. Lora Leigh did a fabulous job in bringing everything about slowly and carefully. Noah Blake is a dangerous wild card who has been in the Elite Ops for so long that he's practically ice. He shows no cracks in his exterior until he finds out the danger surrounding the wife he refuses to acknowledge. He roars back into town and after seeing her, can barely keep his hands off her, much less the men who dared to touch what was his. Be it old friends or his brother, his possessiveness towards Sabella reaches a breaking point and the cracks in his exterior show more and more. Noah is stunned to see that Sabella hid her true nature behind a facade of southern sweetness. When he sees the real her, he's aroused beyond all belief and as Noah Blake, he demands she give him everything she denied her husband. Their firestorm of passion awakens Sabella back to life, and also sparks remembrance in her heart. Noah Blake might not look like her deceased husband, but he sure does feel like it. Realizing though whoever he is inside doesn't change the fact that as soon as the mission is complete he's going to leave her again, and this time Sabella is not going to lose any more years to him. He's either going to stay or he's going to leave but she is not going to build any more shrines. She's going to have to fight for him though, fight against his own pride of not being the man he thought she needed and somehow convince him that she wants only him.

I really liked Sabella. It's rare that I sympathize or connect so wholly with a heroine. I found her extremely likable and her personality completely authentic for someone who had married someone older and much more forceful. I also understand her change in personality during the years, knowing it would have happened the same way with time if they had stayed married. I found her to be woman I could respect and would wish to befriend. Her long standing love for Nathan Malone was heartbreaking to read about as well as her confusion and sense of betrayal. Noah didn't trust her enough to tell her the truth and I empathize completely with her hurt. Noah was also a good character and I liked his whole bad boy persona. He had a little bit of a pity party going on in his head though, but he snaps out of it eventually. One thing I didn't like however was that one of his reasons for staying away from Sabella was the fear she couldn't accept what a dominant sexual being he was now. After reading so much about his new dark passions and the hungry beast that was awoken during his captivity, I was expecting a much hotter explosion when it finally came. Instead it seemed all talk, no follow through. This didn't deter from the excellence of the story however, just a minor irritation. They also elevate the act of anal sex to something spiritual that I thought was a little eye rolling, but, hey, whatever.

Lora Leigh has completely surprised me with how gripping and taut a tale this was. It wasn't a mindless romp in the sack, nor was it all suspense and no romance. She balanced everything out perfectly and it only goes to show how she's grown as an author and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for her new Elite Ops series.
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,065 reviews13.6k followers
July 20, 2021
4.5 “Irish” stars!

This book was erotic, to say the least. I haven’t read anything this explicit in a while. I listened to the audio, as well as reading the ebook, and I was constantly looking over my shoulder. Whew 🥵. The descriptions are what got me. Aside from that though, this book had an amazing storyline.

“You have the Irish eyes, boy. One of these days, you’ll see from eyes, not your own, feel with a heart outside your chest. Wild Irish eyes, Nathan. When you love, love well and love true, and take care, lad, because those Irish eyes are windows into not just your own soul, but the soul of the one you love.”

Nathan went off a seal on a dangerous mission. Died, and came back as Noah Blake. Nathan was no more, he was dead. This book had suspense, an undercover operation that Noah was sent back to his hometown for..he didn’t expect to fall back in love & lust with his wife..or Nathan’s wife. I loved how Bella had kept a part of herself hidden from her husband that this Noah Blake was able to uncover leaving her exposed and wanton. Noah, due to the torture he endured while being captured, and pumped full of drugs, also had a side that was bordering on a sex addict..for his wife. This is what I loved so much about this story. The way they craved and wanted each other all the time made me blush, pant and swoon at the same time. So many things happened in this book that had me on the edge of my seat. I loved this one a lot!!
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
January 4, 2011
Wild Card was an enjoyable diversion over the Christmas holidays.

Wild Card is the story of Sabella and Nathan Malone. The book begins with Sabella and Nathan, young and very much in love. Nathan is sent off on a mission and does not return. Sabella is crushed. So strong is her love for her man, that she is convinced he is still alive. After all, she is having vivid dreams of him, suffering, bloody, and tortured.
Nathan has been broken and horribly tortured. When he is finally rescued, he undergoes many months of surgeries and therapies and becomes Noah Blake.

Flash forward six years. Noah returns to his hometown and is surprised to find Sabella running the garage with help of his brother. She is struggling to keep her home and the garage running. Noah secures employment at the garage. After a while, Sabella begins to suspect that Noah is not who he seems to be.

At the same time a supremacist group is targeting illegal aliens and brutally murdering them. Noah’s team is investigating these murders. The investigation is proving difficult because there is a mole reporting every move. When his mission ends, he will have to leave his love, Sabella forever.

Let’s just say, this book is very steamy. The love scenes are hot. Noah is very possessive of his woman. His caveman/alpha male instincts exude sexiness, if that’s your type of thing.

Sabella is an interesting character. She seemed very “damsel in distress” at first, but she was a lot stronger than she looked. I loved how she stood up to Noah and put him in his place often. Sabella was also a very smart character and I loved how she figured Noah out so quickly, but never let on that she knew.

Aside from the steaminess, there is a lot of action in this book, especially at the end.

Realistic? No way. Enjoyable distraction? Definitely.

I’ll be hunting down the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Emily.
4,967 reviews524 followers
July 15, 2011
When Navy SEAL Nathan Malone left for his latest mission, he did not realize it would be the last time he saw his wife. Brutally tortured and left with only the shell of the man everyone knew, Nathan has kept away fearing his wife, Sabella, would never be able to accept the person he has become. When he is sent back to the place he left on a new mission as Noah Blake, he is not sure what to make of the hot blooded woman with a unyielding temper his wife has become.

Six years later Sabella is struggling to keep the shop her husband had built afloat, when a biker comes to town and her brother-in-law promises him a job. Something is off with Noah Blake, Sabella has not once felt passion for anyone since her husband, not to mention that he comes into her shop barking orders as if he owns it, she wants him gone. She has one hell of a fight on her hands as Noah plans to capture her heart and soul with or without a fight.

Wild Card=Wild Ride. I loved this book, just loved it. I cried, laughed, stressed myself out trying to figure out what was happening. Gritty, sexy, and a whole lot of fun.
Profile Image for jenjn79.
723 reviews241 followers
September 22, 2008
I couldn't wait to read this book once I got started on Leigh's Tempting SEALS series...and it mostly lived up to my expectations.

I enjoyed the overall storyline...SEAL Nathan Malone spent 19 months tortured by a drug lord, and when he's finally free, he's so messed up he doesn't let his wife know that he's alive. Years pass, Nathan takes on the identity of Noah Blake and signs up with an private sector Elite Ops groups. Then he finds out his wife is in danger from a militia group and returns home to protect her...only she has no idea that Noah is really Nathan. So it's a rather interesting dynamic.

Leigh really makes you feel for both characters. Nathan/Noah is so tortured. And poor Sabella can't get over the loss of her husband. I also liked how Leigh had both characters realizing that they'd held a lot back from each other in the first two years of their marriage.

I did at times get a little tired of the repetitiveness of everyone's thoughts/emotions...they always seemed to be thinking/feeling the same thing and it was described over and over again. It was a bit unnecessary.

And one thing that had me confused was Ian...at the end of Killer Secrets, and throughout the book, he knows he can never go back to being a SEAL. Not after what he'd done. And they talk about going back to Ian's hometown and settling in. But then in this book, it seems as though Ian is back with the SEALS (or maybe it was the Elite Ops...I was never quite sure of that). There was no explanation regarding his return to work, or what exactly Kira was doing, and that annoyed me to no end. I hate it when big details like that don't match up.

As for the sex in the book...well, it was definitely HOT and explicit, but honestly? It wasn't what I expected. There was all this talk about Nathan/Noah having really dark fantasies and whatnot, and personally, I thought the sex in the book was pretty basic. I mean, yeah, at times it was fast and a little rough, but there wasn't really anything all that extreme. I'm not saying the book wasn't hot, because it was. But because of what Nathan/Noah went through and the things he thinks, I thought Leigh would push the boundaries a little more.

But even though I had a few issues with the book, it was still good. The ending surprised me a little, and I enjoyed the characters. So it was a good edition to the series, and I'll be looking forward to reading more.
Profile Image for Lauren.
2,273 reviews162 followers
October 5, 2015
Wild Card
4 Stars

Captured and subjected to horrendous abuse by members of a Columbian drug cartel, Nathan Malone is believed dead by his beloved wife, Bella. Following his rescue, Nathan decides against coming back from the dead, assumes a new identity and takes up a position with a covert operations unit. But when danger begins stalking his wife, Nathan aka Noah Blake goes undercover to protect her. However, will their renewed desire for one another place them at even greater risk?

Series note: This is book #1 in the Elite Ops series, which is a spin-off of Tempting SEALs and the storyline is a direct continuation of events in the first series.

As to be expected from Lora Leigh's erotic romances, the sex in Wild Card is scorching hot, but this time the story is pretty good too.

Noah and Bella’s initial relationship before Nathan’s “death” was sweet, but barely touched the surface of their true personalities and it seems that they were both holding back. Now, years later, they have suffered lost and anguish, and have grown as individuals capable of revealing who they really are to one another, which makes their emotional and physical connection stronger and more intense. With this romance, Leigh demonstrates a deeper insight into human nature that is missing in many of her other books.

Leigh often touches on darker issues in her stories and this is no exception. The suspense plot revolves around a group of racist, white supremacists hunting illegal immigrants for sport and believe you me, they are a truly despicable bunch.

In sum, Wild Card is one of Leigh better book, but readers expecting a sweet and simple romance are bound to be disappointed as Noah is dark, angst ridden and possessive, and Bella can more than hold her own against him.
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