Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Title: A Lot Like Love
Series: FBI / US Attorney
Author: Julie James
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425240169
ISBN-13: 9780425240168

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more. . .

My rating:

The FBI needs ears in the office of a money-launderer for the mob. But they need a decoy to plant those ears. Enter Jordan Rhodes, gorgeous heiress and wine connoisseur. She’ll get them into a charity event, posing as an agent’s girlfriend in exchange for her brother’s freedom. Easy as pie. Especially when the agent posing as her boyfriend isn’t the asshat that gets on her nerves.

The big day comes and the nice agent is down with the stomach flu and Jordan is stuck with the asshat, Nick McCall. Okay, still easy as pie. Get him in, get him out, say goodbye forever.

Wrong-o. Because the money-launderer appears to have a major crush on our valiant Jordan and decides to put a tail on her “boyfriend”, determined to uncover some sort of dirt in the guy, because, let’s be frank, she’s so out of his league there must be something fishy going on.

So Jordan and Nick are stuck together for the immediate future. What a mess.

Wrong. Again. Because while it might sound like a mess, it was really a pretty amazing story, written with the JJ usual flair and panache, featuring a grouchy FBI agent (not unlike Jack Pallas from the previous story) and the first un-lawyer heroine in the JJ history.

And I loved every minute of it. Even the rather childish argument toward the end when neither spoke to the other, because they were both scared spitless of ending up with a broken heart. And this comes from me, someone who hates the H/h inability to communicate that inevitably leads to “conflict”, “misunderstanding”, and (unnecessary) “tension”.
This wasn’t such a case. Yes, they failed to communicate, but the setback didn’t last long enough for me to start gritting my teeth.

Loved the plot, loved the pacing, loved the style, loved the characters...Loved everything.

And I was so glad to see Jack Pallas and the new U.S. attorney Cameron Lynde make an appearance. It’s good to visit with old friends from time to time. And the trash-talking camaraderie between Jack and Nick was a real fun to read. And the convo about their “secret weapon looks”, the clash of titans between glowering-and-growly (Jack) and don’t-fuck-with-me-face (Nick) was hilarious.

When’s the next book coming out?

Note about the cover: Love the placement of his hand. 😃


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