Zane (The Westmorelands, #25) by Brenda Jackson
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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From New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson—The first of a new trilogy starring three Westmorelands who are impossible to resist: Zane, Canyon and Stern.
No woman walks away from Zane Westmoreland. But when Channing Hastings does just that, it leaves the rancher reeling—and then she returns to town engaged! Zane will do whatever it takes to show her that there is no man for her but him.
Brenda Jackson is one of those authors whose characters are alive and well in her head, and in the case of the Westmoreland family, they continue to come to life and please her readers enormously. I have long ago stopped trying to keep them all straight, am mildly familiar with family members who pop up in stories, but don’t much worry about whose kids they are or how they are all connected. Suffice it to say that I have enjoyed all the episodes in this family’s life experience and will probably continue to do so.
Zane is a man who loves women but that’s where it stops. He has never really loved a woman and has been the kind of man who brings a relationship to an end before it gets too involved. However, there is one woman who piques his interest, whose involvement in his life went on for far longer than is usual, but whose honesty about what she wanted for her future caused her to simply pick up and walk away, broken heart and all.
Now Channing has returned and the fact that she is engaged to another man brings out the worst in Zane and he pulls some stunts that are pretty low, even for him. However, I will say that the author has crafted a character in Zane that is a mixture of free-for-all love and honorable man, even though the honorable part seems to get smothered pretty routinely. He is professionally successful and seems prepared to live alone for the rest of his life, but Channing’s new love interest throws him off his romantic and emotional stride. Thankfully, Zane has some family members who are willing to help him see himself honestly and it’s perhaps the best part of this story to watch the changes that Zane knows he must make if he expects to win back a woman of quality and substance like Channing.
I make not bones about the fact that there has seldom been a Brenda Jackson story that I haven’t liked. Perhaps that makes me easily pleased, and there is no hiding the fact that there are some of her books that are fairly predictable. Every author seems to have some sort of formula, and in many of her stories the hero is a man of affluence who has either been hurt or who just refuses to make a commitment. But even so, it is still fun to read how these stalwart and determined bachelors fall victim to women who are not only beautiful externally, but are women who bring an inner beauty to the relationship, the kind of authenticity that demands and authentic response from the man in their lives. So it is in this novel and that’s what makes it for me.
I’ve read Harlequin stories for decades and no one will argue that their short novels of the past were pretty predictable. Yet Ms Jackson’s writing is honest in expressing the realities of human relationship, the pain and sizzle, the flaws and joys, and most of all, she never backs away from the heat that two very sexual beings can generate. I very much appreciate that she has showcased the lives and loves of people of color and brought their experiences into the mainstream of romantic fiction. I know that her determination to do so has inspired other writers to craft interracial romance fiction and we, the reading public, are richer for their efforts.
This is a very nice read–not too long but very hot, and one that romance fiction readers will enjoy. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.