Author: Lorraine Nelson
Title: Zakia and the Cowboy
With a stalker following her every move Zakia has no choice but to flee the city. With her options limited she runs to the only place she's ever felt safe...the Thunder Creek Ranch and her ex-husband, Lucas.
Will he protect Zakia from the stalker? And if he does will either of them be able to ignore the feelings that have simmered for so long, ready to explode...before danger either draws them together or pulls them apart.
What I Thought
The positive points:
From the beginning, Ms. Nelson kept the tension high, and the story flowed smoothly from the first page. The characters of Luke, Blake, and Samantha were clear, sympathetic, and diverse. Their behavior was, for the most part, believable, and though they were placed in difficult and confusing situations, their actions were always consistent. The resolution with the heroine's stalker was satisfactory, and his identity was also believable. The interest did not flag, and Ms. Nelson's prose kept pace with her plot.
The negative points:
In a story which calls for more than the usual suspension of disbelief, whether a paranormal story or -- as in this case -- something more akin to a suspense or thriller, the details are more important than ever. Throughout the story, money is required, and in large amounts. Zakia's father is described as wealthy, but unless he was bankrolling everyone in the story, heroes and villains alike, there are unanswered questions, such as how Luke was able to afford to purchase a bullet-proof, air-conditioned covered wagon. The other primary negative in the story was the character of Zakia, as well as other characters' responses to her. Zakia clearly loved Luke, but she stayed away from him for six years. She went six years without contact -- and she was the one who left him. Luke's silence was more understandable, given that he was the one left and that Zakia's news of her pregnancy never reached him. Despite Zakia's convenient illness after the births of their twins, her six-year silence is insufficiently explained. If she loved Luke as described in that early period of marriage, then she would have at some point contacted him. In addition, Luke's friends and family accept Zakia with open arms, despite her betrayal of him, despite her having kept his sons from him. Luke's father, who is described as close to Luke, welcomes Zakia like a long-lost daughter, but Zakia broke his son's heart and kept his grandchildren a secret from him for six years. This is brushed aside. Everyone bends over backwards to accomodate Zakia, to be understanding of her. This romantic-fantasy heroine, who is beloved by all, whose wrongdoings are forgiven and excused by all, is at odds with the grittier action-story of a stalking victim.
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