Narrator: Karen White
Published by Jove on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
From the New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Wedding comes a novel about a man and a woman whose summer is about to get very, very steamy…
Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…
Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for…
I just love Julie James. Her FBI/US Attorney series is a lot of fun. This book, while in the same universe as those books, isn’t really a part of that series. Ford, our Summer hero, is the best friend of Brooke, the heroine of Love Irresistibly. So while there’s a connection to that series, neither Ford nor Victoria is part of the FBI or the US Attorney’s office.
One of my favorite parts of Julie James’ books are always her heroines. These women are fabulous. They’re strong, confident, they have great careers, they know what they want, and they do not apologize for it. When I finish James’ books, I always feel like the heroines have made a decision to include the hero in their lives because their lives would be enhanced, not because their lives would be completed or made whole. If the hero wasn’t ok with it, or if he didn’t treat her well or fit into the world and life she’s created for herself, a Julie James heroine would move on. There may be some tears, some wine, (or whiskey), and definitely some ice cream and girlfriends, but she would be ok. These women are who I want to be when I grow up.
That said, her heroes are great, too. I liked the glimpse of Ford I got in Brooke’s book, and I was thrilled to hear he was getting his own book. And, as usual, Julie James did not let me down. Ford and Victoria each had their own issues to deal with, and I really wanted them to deal with them together. I both did and didn’t understand Victoria’s reluctance to tell Ford what was going on with her. I certainly understand the impulse to keep him in the dark, to not want to admit to a weakness and have him potentially laugh at her or make her feel bad about her issues. But I also really wanted her to talk to him and take the sanctuary he was offering. I knew he wasn’t going to laugh at her or make her feel bad (he’s a romance hero, after all), and she hadn’t even told her best friends about her panic attacks. I was happy she was getting therapy for them, but she needed people in her life who knew about them, too.
Ford’s issues were less of a focus of the book, but they were no less important or deep-seated. His complicated relationship with his alcoholic father was left permanently unresolved when his father died just before the start of the book, and he’s struggling with knowing they’ll never be able to repair it. He never really dealt with it, and it affects him and his relationships more than he wants to admit.
The side story with Ford and Victoria trying to track down the father of Ford’s niece was relatively harmless, a cute way to force those two to spend time together while confronting their own feelings about love and relationships. I was half expecting this to set up Nicole, Ford’s sister, for her own book, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to go that way. And I don’t see anything on Julie James’ site about an upcoming book, so I don’t know if it’s going to be in this same universe again or not. Ford each had two best friends, and Nicole is still single, so those are all possibilities for future books. Whatever it is, I’ll be reading it for sure. There’s really nothing Julie James will put out that I won’t read.
Narration – Karen White did a good job with the narration. I didn’t really notice her very much at all, which for an audiobook narrator is high praise, I think. Ford had two good friends, and her narration for them was a little Goofy-like (literally sounding like Goofy, the character), but that was the only thing I really noticed. Ford himself and the other men in the book sounded fine.