Review of AFTERBURN by Zane (see her website)
Atria Books, January 2005
Rayne Waters didn't want to be her mother's daughter. Her mother believed men wanted only two things--money and sex. And Rayne's mother indulged them, but wanted something better for her daughter. Rayne enjoyed sex when she discovered it, but she quickly learned that her mother had a point. The man she gave her virginity to didn't even walk her to her door. As an adult, Rayne had tried to line up with a man who would respect her, but found herself dating a man who intended to stay a virgin until he was married, and another man who wanted to user her for cover as he pursued guys. That's when Yardley Brown walked into her life.
Yardley was different from his friends. Sure, he liked sex as much as the next guy, but he was looking for a relationship. He'd thought he had found the magic a couple of times--but one girlfriend preferred her girlfriend, and he caught another sexing it up with his best friend--during his own superbowl party. Still, Rayne seemed different. It didn't take Yardley long to realize that Rayne was the woman he was looking for. Persuading her, though, wouldn't be easy.
Author Zane (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Zane) always delivers a steamy read and AFTERBURN doesn't disappoint. Unlike some of her earlier books, however, AFTERBURN has a more serious point. Rayne is older than some of her other protagonists--and ready to settle down with the right man. Of course, it's only fair that a girl try him out first and make sure he's the right man in bed as well as upright. Still, commitment and its risks play a major role.
Zane slips a huge twist in at the end, changing the tone of the story and hammering home a message that, while not completely at odds with the rest of the story, certainly shows it from a different perspective.
Zane's writing is highly approachable, but she doesn't hesitate to use the language of contemporary African-American culture--language that some readers will find offensive.
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