Review: Wild Abandon Box Set by Jeannine Colette (Abandon #3-#3.5)


Note: An advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Wordsmith Publicity.

I have waited my entire life to find my soul mate. To love and to be loved so deeply that it would never be replicated. I would take one night of this intensity than a lifetime of loneliness. 
So, I am going to take it. At least until the sun comes up.

One of my favorite author discoveries this year is Jeannine Colette. Her writing resonates with me, allowing me to feel like I'm getting to know the main characters--the good, the bad, and the ugly--and becoming emotionally invested in their story is a no-brainer. With the release of her Wild Abandon Box Set, I dove into the story of Crystal Reid and Nathaniel Teller expecting yet another well-written novel alongside a companion novella. What I got, however, was a love story that had me falling in love alongside Crystal and Nate and feeling their heartbreak while hoping for a resolution to what seemed like the most insurmountable and heartrending of obstacles to overcome.

This box set is composed of two stories featuring the same couple, Wild Abandon and Wild Abandon Christmas, with the first book being a full-length novel and the second one a holiday novella. They're both part of the author's Abandon series, and yes, there are certain characters whom I believe have their stories told in the other books, but other than being quite curious about how they got their happily-ever-afters, Crystal and Nate's story stands alone quite well. Wild Abandon has a far heavier and more angsty feel to it compared to Wild Abandon Christmas, although it is peppered quite liberally with lighthearted humor throughout, so it isn't overwhelmingly angst-ridden.

In Wild Abandon, we meet thirty-year-old Crystal Reid who decides to head to Napa Valley, it's in hopes of finding more to life as well as the love of her life. She's already been married once, but she believes her happily-ever-after is still somewhere out there. While going through the ups and downs of dating, it's thirty-two-year-old bartender Nate Teller who becomes her sounding board. They become good friends, but soon, they're falling madly and deeply in love with each other. Neither of them had planned for it to happen, but happen it did. The only problem is, a happy ending may not be in the cards--not when Nate has been keeping something monumental from Crystal.

In the follow-up holiday novella, Wild Abandon Christmas, Crystal and Nate are off to New York to mix business with pleasure. Nate's thrilled to have the opportunity to sell his wine to a very interested buyer, but things become all too complicated when someone sets their sights on him. On the other hand, Crystal spends her time checking out what New York has to offer, but she wishes she could be sharing all the sights and sounds with Nate. They've been through so much already as a couple, but could Nate find himself spending the holidays all by his lonesome or will he and Crystal be able to make up and simply get over this particular hump before returning to California?

Before you continue reading this review, I'm going to give you fair warning that I'm going to mention something here that I know is a spoiler for those of you who have yet to read the book. Obviously, we know that these two end up together given that the blurb for Wild Abandon Christmas makes it clear they're a committed couple, so that's not the spoilery part. Okay, so I'm only mentioning this because I know quite a few readers consider this particular thing either a hard limit or a trigger, so I couldn't in good conscience not add it here just for the sake of keeping this spoiler-free: There is cheating--emotional and physical. I won't say how, but it's also very complicated.

I loved Crystal and Nate. These two were so perfectly matched and seeing them progress in their relationship had me feel all swoony. I had a feeling that Nate's secret was exactly what it was, but that isn't a hard limit for me, and the way his circumstances were presented made my heart break for everyone involved. There are no easy answers or solutions here, and it's easy to come up with "what if" scenarios, but allow me to point out two things: first, this is fiction, and two, there are no what-ifs here because what we get is the story the author has given us, and it is one hell of a beautiful story of love and the conflicting emotions it can stir within us. Five-plus stars for this box set. ♥

Date Read: 12 December 2019

Learn more about Jeannine Colette.

Purchase the Wild Abandon Box Set on Amazon | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo.

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