Rating: 4 out of 5
A while back, I read Julie James' About That Night, a romance between ex-con Kyle Rhodes and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rylann Pierce. I realized that I had skipped a novel in her FBI series, so now I've filled in the gap!
This book stars Kyle's twin sister Jordan, who manages an upscale wine store in Chicago. Every year she attends a swanky party hosted by Xander Eckhart, who has made a fortune in the restaurant and nightclub business.
When the FBI learns that Eckhart is supplying that fortune with the mob's drug money, agent Nick McCall is assigned to an undercover mission to plant bugs in Eckhart's office to gain crucial evidence to convict him. His way in? Acting as Jordan's date to the party.
However, when the mission is compromised, Nick and Jordan must continue behaving like a couple, and soon the the line blurs between what is work and what is real.
Julie James is one of my favorite romance novelists because she excels at drawing from her own legal career experience and creating great stories. In fact, if I were to make a checklist of what I'm looking for in this genre, here's what it would look like:
Strong female characters with lives outside their relationships
Great chemistry with plenty of witty banter and innuendos
Electrifying sexual tension building up to hot and heavy love scenes
A suspenseful plot with believable obstacles and antagonism
A satisfying happily-ever-after conclusion
James meets all of those qualifications in her stories--all of which would make fantastic chick flicks--which is why I keep coming back for more. I always know that I'm jumping into a fun, light-hearted read.
This one in particular is excellent, because I loved the power play between Jordan and Nick. Both are used to being in control, and throughout the novel, they must learn to trust and be vulnerable around one another. They also realize the importance of honest communication, and that at the end of the day, your career isn't worth sacrificing love and family.
I also preferred A Lot Like Love to About That Night, because Jordan was my favorite Rhodes twin, but I'm glad that I now know both sides of their story. Out of Julie James' seven novels (one that is being released on Tuesday!), I have now read five of them.