Jada McLean is about to get married in nine days, when she walks in on her fiancé in a little more than a compromising position. Days later, she’s on a trip that she intends to be relaxing and a prelude to her fresh start, when she runs into the rude, obnoxious, but gorgeous Jonathan Kole.
Jonathan Kole is San Francisco’s newest District Attorney. When he finds himself deeply attracted to a stunning beauty, he has no idea that she’s about to get into BIG trouble with the law—and he’ll be the one presiding over her trial. To make matters worse, his father is the lawyer representing her in the high-profile case.
When a series of events force them together over New Year’s weekend, Jonathan’s feelings and ethics will come into question, while Jada comes to terms with the fact that she is falling for the man that will be responsible for attempting to put her behind bars… Little do they know, they’re both about to fall into a whirlwind so deep, it will send both their lives spiraling out of control.
Every once in a while you come across a book that sucker punches you in the gut. You get frustrated with the characters, their actions, their thoughts. You want to throw the book against the wall, you get angry, sad, you think you’ve had enough. But somewhere along the way you fell in love, and you don’t remember when it happened.
I’ve had two days since finishing this book to let the story sink in fully, but I’m still a little at odds with how I really felt about it. I loved it but with reservations. This book was nearly 500 pages long. That’s a lot of book to cover, so I’ll try and break it down into what worked and what didn’t really do it for me.
I liked Jada. She was a young entrepreneur, polite, caring, compassionate and cheeky around Jonathan. Her immediate reaction after catching her fiance buried to the hilt in her best friend of fifteen years gave me the impression that she might be a cold fish. Though I applauded her capacity to shove aside the horrible incident long enough to make a very thorough checklist of erasing her fiance from her life, I couldn’t help but feel that would have been the last thing on anyone’s mind in that situation. It was okay that this heroine was tougher than most I’ve read in similar situations, however this kind of “tough cookie” attitude seemed to be the first and last display from her for the rest of the story. Every scary incident made her sway, shake, nauseous and made her knees buckle. For me, she didn’t really take all those threats seriously enough. At least not enough to continuously drive back and forth between places and show herself in public, even while under FBI surveillance (and there were instances I wanted to shout “Where are the Feds?!”) As for her interaction with the hero, I understood her motivations for not rushing into things with a man who intrigued her but who she barely knew. She was smart about those choices and it was a realistic expectation. What I loved the most about her character was her no-nonsense approach to communication. She spoke what was on her mind, whether it was something trivial or when she was opening up to Jonathan.
Jonathan did not make a good first impression, nor a second, nor a third. He was an arrogant jerk up until the point he learned of her legal troubles and when his father got involved. From then on he underwent a character arc that kept climbing steadily until even I fell in love with him. I loved his growth from entitled playboy to a loving, caring, protective and patient man.
I didn’t feel their chemistry from their first meeting, although the story wanted me to believe that there was a strong attraction backed up by claims from Jonathan’s father and Jada’s brother. At that point, nothing that had been said would have led me to believe that she was genuinely attracted.
This story was told in the first person from both the hero and heroine’s POV. At first I found the transitions from Jada’s POV to Jonathan’s POV a little jarring because the switch caught me off guard. I suppose I was just too engrossed in reading to catch the *** signaling a change. I got pulled out of the story at different times on account of the switching back and forth, but I eventually grew accustomed to it. In the very early stages of the story I had a hard time pushing through because of repetitions. One example would be a conversation between Jada and her brother. He wanted to know what was said between her and Jonathan and she proceeded to repeat the conversation almost word for word instead of summarizing, so it felt like a copy & paste of a prior passage.
I mentioned before that this was a very long novel. Even though I couldn’t put the book down, there were passages that bored me almost to the point of quitting. The passages in question all involved their routines. It was always the same pattern: driving between San Fran and Lake Tahoe, going out somewhere fancy for dinner, the sleepovers. Interspersed with those were the suspense portions which, in my option, were just too many:(show spoiler)
I’m still not sure if I feel there was an over use of danger to the characters. When I think about it, all of this could well have happened at the pace this story was told, but as a reader, I wanted things to move a little faster. Also, with the exception of one of the points above, none of those incidents were orchestrated by the true villain of this story. The big reveal at the end gave us a villain that had not ever been mentioned once in the story.
I enjoyed the plot of this story because it married quite a few different obstacles: falling for the person whose job it might become to tear you apart in a court of law, and the idea of being so horribly betrayed by someone you were supposed to love and marry. Not just the cheating, but getting caught in a web of illegal activity not of your own doing. That just sounded like a recipe for disaster and made this even more intriguing to me.
For well over half of the book, the only intimate scenes with the hero and heroine are make-out sessions and a lot of sexual tension. That was realistically in line with the development of their characters. The few scenes that came much later felt like a huge exhale. All I could think at the time was “Finally!” I loved seeing this couple get to that place where they were ready to take the next step.
The Bottom Line
Yes, I had some problems with this book, but my review is based on what I read – an uncorrected proof. Despite my consternation with certain sections, the emotional journey of this couple kind of made up for it. It wasn’t badly written by any means. What the author did extremely well was evoke a gamut of emotions. That was most evident during the climax of the story when I began crying and I thought my heart was going to crack. I can’t even claim that the ending was predictable or that I knew what the outcome was going to be. That’s how uncertain I was as to the direction it was going to take, which I found rather impressive.
If you’re looking for a story filled with danger and anxiety and a lovely love story weaved throughout, you should definitely give this book a try. I would definitely read more from this author. With proper editing in place, I would have given this a 4-4.5. As it stands, my rating of this ARC is 3 stars.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author for the purpose of an honest review. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.