Berkley Sensation, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-24695-5
Contemporary Romance, 2012
Julie James continues her nefarious plot to demonstrate that lawyers are human beings that need love too, and so far, she’s succeeding. Like her previous efforts, About That Night features a lawyer character busting rear ends in the courtroom and coming out on top in the bedroom.
In this instance, we have Rylann Pierce, an assistant US attorney for whom the only way is up when it comes to her career. Her latest case sees her bumping into Kyle Rhodes, who could have been something to her nine years ago if they had something more than a sizzling kiss one fine night. Kyle had recently been released from prison, thanks to her sister who did her thing in the previous book by the author. Kyle is known as the Twitter Terrorist because he took down the social network in a drunken fit of pique after being publicly dumped and humiliated by his then-girlfriend. He’s never going to live that down, heh, at least for now, but before he can start getting his life back in order, he is called by Rylann to testify in a case involved a crooked prison guard who engineered the assault and eventual death of an inmate who crossed him. Of course, love comes up to complicates the oh-so-professional relationship between them.
This one has all the ingredients that make a book by this author so much fun: a competent heroine who makes no apologies for having ambitions and one who is very good at what she does, a hero who can be charmingly and exasperatingly male when he’s not being so adorable, plenty of chemistry and sexual tension, and, of course, lawyer stuff. I’m practically repeating here the same things I’ve said in my previous reviews of the author’s books, I know. But the author isn’t rocking her formula, and in this case, this is a good thing.
I especially like this formula because it is frustratingly rare to find a heroine who is sane, likable, has a sense of humor, and is allowed by the author to be great at her job. Rylann has a life that doesn’t hinge around the hero – she has her own friends, financial security, job security, confidence, et cetera. She doesn’t need the hero to rescue her. In this romance, the heroine is on equal footing with the hero, and their romance is so much fun to follow.
Still, this story could use a little more conflict. I’m surprised, actually, that the heroine dating an ex-con whose release she handled doesn’t seem to be much of an issue here. The romance turns out to be more about these two characters trying to figure out that they want something more permanent than a casual all-about-the-moment type of relationship. The court cases that bring them together don’t seem particularly challenging, and the main characters actually have a romance that is quite easy going. As a result, while this story is fun from start to finish, it doesn’t leave much of an emotional impact.
About That Night is, at the end of the day, a very entertaining read, but alas, the connection just isn’t there.