What do you get when you cross an ex-journalist, and failed politician with a marine biologist? A heck of an entertaining book! In Bachelor Unclaimed, by Brenda Jackson, Ainsley St. James was off on one of South Carolina’s islands, licking her wounds after being defeated for mayor of a New Jersey town her ancestor had founded. She was a native daughter, knew everyone, a great candidate…she’d thought she had it in the bag! So much so that she’d quit her job at the New York Times because she was that sure she was going to win the election. And then, she didn’t win the election.
Lies and dirty politics sealed her fate, and she finds herself at loose ends. She meets Winston Coletrane in a bar, they share a dance—and a bed—and then she runs away the next morning while he’s in the shower. As she is attempting to get her job back, her ex-boss gives her a damn near impossible assignment: get an interview with the elusive scientist who has developed a new drug on the cusp of being a breakout product. The scientist doesn’t give interviews. Ever. As luck (bad or good, depending on your perspective) would have it, the scientist she’s chasing happens to be her one-night stand.
I read this book immediately after reading one of Brenda Jackson’s older titles and wow, was I surprised. The sex was much hotter than I was expecting, and there was a lot more of it! If you were under the impression that Jackson couldn’t, or wouldn’t, write hot sex scenes, let me disabuse you of that idea here and now. She can and she does! I loved this story because it didn’t unfold the way I expected it to. I enjoyed the twists and turns as Ainsley tried to worm her way in to see the elusive scientist to get her story. She was everything I like in a heroine: a little bit vulnerable, a little bit feisty, and willing to do what it takes to get the story. Yes, there were times when I wanted to smack the back of her head, but that’s because I expected better which means I was invested in her success. And, as a person who is usually more interested in the hero than the heroine, that was a definite plus.
Winston Coletrane grew on me as the book went on. I wasn’t impressed with his swag as the book began, and it was only when it dissipated that I really felt like he was worthy of his heroine. He was a little too confident and a little, I hate to say this, but smarmy at the start of the book. Definitely had all the signs of someone who was used to getting whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, because he was just that impressed with him…and you should be too. But, as the book went on, a little of that wore off, and you got to see the man underneath. Thank goodness for that, because I was beginning to wonder why anyone would bother with him beyond a few rolls in the hay.
An area where Jackson excels is in telling the story of families, and this book is no exception. The history of Winston’s family is fascinating, and well worth the reading of this book. I’m not sure how much of it is true, and how much was made up for this book, but it was good all the same. Also, the secondary characters in this book are fun to read about. I look forward to reading about how the rest of bachelors meet the end of their single lives.