May 29 2012 10:30am

Zena Wynn: Love and Diversity in the Paranormal

Tameka’s Smile by Zena Wynn I discovered Zena Wynn when I picked up her novel Tameka’s Smile while searching for multiracial romance books. Later, I realized it’s the fourth novel in her True Mates series, featuring shapeshifters, so I decided to read the other books in the series.

The first book, True Mates, is about Alpha shifter Alex, who has waited most of his adult life for his one true mate to appear, refusing to settle on just mating any female in the pack.He meets his true mate Kiesha in an “meet odd” way (at least for her), but that first night blossoms  into love, acceptance and understanding.

Alex is not about to let Keisha waltz away from him. He’ll do what’s necessary  to convince her to stay with him and show her that their love is one worth embracing.

The third book in the series is Nikolai’s Wolf, which spotlights the controversial love mating between vampire Nikolai and shapeshifter Shannon. It also follows up on previous books in the series and introduces the main players for book five, Claiming Shayla, due out in late May. Vampires and shapeshifters rarely mate, so their love doesn’t unfold without obstacles both from within themselves and from outside sources.

My favorite of the series thus far, though, is Tameka’s Smile. Chad grew up a wolf without a pack or a family. As such, he’s unfamiliar with a lot of shapeshifter common knowledge, causing him to act on instinct more often than not in his dealings with Tameka, with mixed results. She’s feisty and intelligent, but has her own childhood ghosts to fight. Chad and Tameka definitely don’t meet cute as Chad’s wolf overtakes the man in its desire for mate with Tameka upon first glance. From there plays out a tumultuous relationship full of missteps and great passion while the specter of a predator hunting them lurks.

One of the things I most enjoy about Ms. Wynn’s True Mates series is the diversity. Reading the characters’ interactions, knowing that it’s just like a page from everyday life in terms of the different types of people in town gives it a little something extra. No one makes a big deal of the diversity in the novels; it just IS, and that makes me a happy reader. The variety of characters is an accurate reflection of the world, rather than whitewashing it or reserving characters of color to supporting roles or comic relief.

Seduced by a Wolf by Zena Wynn Ms. Wynn has also commenced another shapeshifter series called the Lycan Series but it’s set in a separate world with different rules to how Lycans work. The first book in that series, Seduced by a Wolf, is fun, if too short. I liked both the hero and heroine mostly due to seeing almost immediately how each needed the other even if she didn’t realize it as quickly as he did. The back stories of Von and Sean made sense in terms of how the characters approached their feelings for each other, even if the climax of the book was somewhat melodramatic.

Another of Ms. Wynn’s novels, The Question, isn’t a paranormal but deserves attention. What happens when a couple having trouble getting pregnant turns to the wife’s best friend to have a child for the couple using the friend’s egg? A lot of engrossing drama, for one, along with a slow burn love story that hits all the right beats. Add in the newly pregnant heroine meeting a good man who rocks her world and it’s a recipe for very good soap. When I began the book, I wasn’t sure how the author would pull off the story, but I have to say that she did it well and, more importantly, she did it believably.

For anyone looking for diversity in their paranormal, both with the characters and in trying a new author, I would recommend Zena Wynn’s books.  If you decide to try her out, I’d love to know what you think of whatever book you pick up.

What are some of your favorite multicultural paranormal books?


Miss D has been reading romance books for over 25 years. A native Californian making her way in the Big Apple, she likes to spend her downtime relaxing in front of the TV, chatting with friends, sitting in Central Park and playing beach volleyball. Miss D can be reached via Twitter @bonobochick.

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1. Zerline
Thanks for sharing! Your column definitely picques my interest in a series I was not aware of. Sounds intriguing! Can't wait for your next review!
2. Melissa B
I love Zena Wynn!! And Dana Marie Bell, and Shelley Laurenston, Lara Adrian, Nalini Singh....there are a few who just one or two multi cultural like Lara Adrian. But really, I just like a hot hero and sexy confident heroine. I don't really care about their race unless it adds to the story...it's THEIR story, and I just want to live it with them!
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