cover image His Secret Son

His Secret Son

Brenda Jackson. Harlequin Desire, $5.25 mass market (224p) ISBN 978-0-373-83884-4

At the start of this tepid addition to Jackson’s Westmoreland series (after The Rancher Returns), American artist Bristol Lockett learns that the father of her unborn child, with whom she’d had a three-day affair while visiting Paris months earlier, has been killed while on a mission. Fortunately, Navy SEAL Laramie Cooper was only captured, not killed, and after 11 months he’s rescued and brought to New York, where he and Bristol reunite. When Bristol introduces him to his now two-year-old son, Laramie falls easily into fatherhood despite having no idea the child existed. He becomes determined to play an active part in his son’s life—which means he’ll also see a lot of Bristol. The young boy (who has great speech skills for his age) embraces his father, without Bristol having to do any real explaining. Readers will applaud the couple’s good parenting skills, but Laramie’s wishy-washy behavior is as uninspiring as the colorless dialogue. The premise of this story is on the mark, but the delivery falls short. Agent: Pattie Steele-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary. (Dec.)