Review & Excerpt: The Thing About Love by @juljames

THE THING ABOUT LOVE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Julie James
Release Date: April 18, 2017

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

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Steeling himself, John turned around and smiled as Jessica approached. “Yes, Agent Harlow. How can I be of service?”In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.

“Look, I’m not thrilled about this, either.” Keeping her voice low, she came to a stop next to him at the elevator bank. “I thought you were supposed to be on the Hostage Rescue Team already.”

“And I thought you were supposed to be in L.A.”

There was a quick flash in her eyes before she shrugged off his question. “Change of plans.”

The elevator arrived at their floor, and they both stepped inside. She hit the button for the seventh floor, where the public corruption squad was located. Standing on the opposite side, he pressed the button for floor five.

They faced off as the doors shut. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him with those crystalline blue eyes that could so cleverly mask her emotions.

As he knew well.

“We’re going to have to figure this out,” she said. “We’re supposed to be business partners in this.”

Thank you, yes, being a professional, he was aware of that. He took a step closer. “It’s called “undercover” work, Harlow. If I can pretend to be a gun-buying, murder-for-hire thug, I think I can handle playing some rich investor-type who wants to skirt a few measly zoning laws.” Even a rich investor-type who was apparently masochistic enough to get in bed with the likes of her.

Professionally-speaking.

“Measly zoning laws?” she repeated.

Ooh, now he’d gone and pissed her off. How nice it was, really, that they could pick up like this, right where they’d left off.

She drew in closer, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. He was over a foot taller than her, although he noticed that she was heightening a bit with those expensive-looking three-inch heels she wore.

“Our target in this investigation is the mayor of the thirteenth largest city in the United States. That’s a pretty big deal in my book.” She gestured to his facial scruff and hair. “And while I appreciate that this . . . Sons of Anarchy motif you’ve got going might ingratiate yourself with the gun-buying, murder-for-hire, organized-crime thugs of the world, that’s not quite going to fly with this sting operation.”

“’Thirteenth largest city in the United States?’” he scoffed. “Just how many hours did you spend reviewing the case files last night?”

She smiled sweetly as the elevator arrived at her floor. “Enough to get the jump on you.”

Then the doors sprang open, and she gave him a friendly wave, once again stepping into the role of Ms. Congeniality. “So glad we got to catch up like this, Agent Shepherd. We’ll talk again soon.”

He watched her stride confidently down the hallway as the elevator doors closed between them.

Enough to get the jump on you.

Not for long, sweetheart.

Time for him to get cracking on that case file.

Nearly fifteen thousand special agents in the FBI, spread throughout the United States in fifty-six field offices, and she had to show up in Chicago for what was quite possibly his last undercover assignment. As his new partner.


God but I love this author. She writes stories that are funny, swoony, full of witty banter and humor, and they just keeps getting better and better! First of all, if you haven’t read anything by her yet, you need to rectify it immediately by reading her FBI/US Attorney series. One, because it’s AMAZING. And two, because you’ll definitely appreciate a few of the cameos in this book. But let’s get back to the matter at hand; all of the awesome that was this book.

So let’s see? We already know that enemies to lovers is my catnip, and no one seems to write it better than Julie James.

In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.


What makes it good is not just the humor interlaced flawlessly throughout the story, but the wit and sarcasm. Her characters are perfectly balanced and equals of each other. I love how James has a knack for writing incredibly endearing and strong female leads. They’re just the right amount of witty sarcasm and strength and Jessica Harlow was no exception. After her dedication to her job cost her her marriage, she’s looking to dive in further into her work and forget men. She doesn’t need them. She certainly doesn’t need an incredibly cocky, smart mouthed, Thor lookalike that made her months at Quantico training a living hell. Too bad it appears that he’s her new partner for an undercover sting and she’s stuck with him. He may know how to start a fire with two sticks and the ass end of a lightning bug, but he’s a royal pain in her butt and she won’t let him forget it. Digs and sarcasm galore, you guys!

John Shepher is on the track to make the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. He has one final assignment before he finds out, and it may be the longest assignment of his life because his new partner is as equally infuriating as she is sexy. The sparks flew between them when they first met but a simply misunderstanding of intentions turned them into rivals. Now they’re older, at a different point in their lives, but the spark hasn’t diminished even a little.

Feeling her body tremble, he leaned down and reached between her legs, the words pouring out of him in a low, possessive growl. “I love when you’re on the edge like this. You’re so goddamn sweet. So mine.”

The chemistry between theses two was through the roof hot. What I especially loved was how balanced to each other they both were. John didn’t come charging in and unermine Jessica’s ability as an agent. She was fully capable and he knew it. They were perfect equals and that’s so rare to find in today’s romance.

As per usual James fashion there was plenty of sexual tension and humor to keep you glued to the pages. The Thing About Love was a laugh out loud, swoon till you melt, keep you turning the pages well into the night sort of read. I adored it. I simply adored it. I will never get enough of this author and I can’t recommend her enough if you love smart contemporary romance with swoony heroes and capable, strong heroines. It was perfection!

Okay,” he repeated. She knew that look. “You’re going to kiss me, aren’t you?” He pretended to consider this. “Well, with all the emotions flying around, it just feels … expected.”


MEET JULIE JAMES

Review: First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Review-First Star I See TonightFIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT
Series: Chicago Stars #8
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: August 23, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

FSIST

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is . . . I’m your stalker.Not full-out barmy. Just . . . mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants of fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS | B&NReview-DGR4 starsFirst Star I See Tonight-DGR teaser

She was a woman who attacked life instead of waiting for it to unfold around her. And her general imperviousness to him had stirred up some kind of primitive bullshit need to conquer.

#HappyFeels
This book.
*Attempts to wipe goofy grin off of face*
*fails*
*grins even bigger*
I mean…THIS. BOOK.

As a long time fan of SEP and especially her Chicago Stars series, when I heard the news that she’ll be releasing another book in one of my most beloved contemporary romance series, I downright wet myself in fangirling excitement. True story. Well…maybe not the wetting myself part. But close. I was dang excited, mkay?!

I mean let’s face it, no one, and I do mean no one does an enemies to lovers romance quite like this author. She delivers these irresistible grumpy alphas that are just the perfect amount of endearing and sexy. They’re not perfect, but that’s what makes them perfect. Am I even making sense here? Let me put it this way; have you ever read about a hero that has a trigger happy moment yet manages to come off all the more endearingly sexy for it? Yeah? Didn’t think so.

If you love quirky, sassy, and adorably awkward heroines with just a dash of crazy to them, you will simply adore Piper. The woman is a downright nutter and I couldn’t get enough of her antics. If you’ve read any book in this series, you already know that SEP can deliver some of the best banter, and this book certainly didn’t disappoint in that department.

Did I ever mention what a bad lover I was when I first started out?”
“I don’t believe you did,” she said.
“I got lots of complaints, so I had to work at it. Treat it as a job.”
“Put in the extra practice time, right?”
“Precisely. When I think of the mistakes I made…”
“Mortifying, I’m sure.”
“But I kept my eye on the ball.”
“Only one? Curious. Oh, well, I hope your deformity didn’t make you too self-conscious. I’m sure you could still-”
“I finally got the hang of it when I was about-”
“Thirty-six?”
“Eighteen. I was a fast learner. All those older women willing to take a young kid like me into their loving arms…”
“Blessed are the merciful.”

20173970I love a slow burn, and that’s exactly what I got with this romance. Sparks flew between Cooper and Piper right away…but not of the sexual variety. Oh no! Piper is hilariously failing in her job to trail former Chicago Stars quarterback. The problem? He makes her right away and is not entirely pleased about the slightly deranged woman that seems to be everywhere he turns lately.

The fact is…” She released her breath in a whoosh. “I’m your stalker.”
“Stalker?”
“Not a dangerous one. Lord, no. Merely obsessed.”
“With me.” A statement, not a question. He’d been here before.
“I don’t make a habit of stalking people. This…quite got away from me, you see.” She didn’t know exactly how this tactic will save her, but she plunged on. “I’m not full-out barmy, you understand. Just…mildly unhinged.”
He cocked his head, but at least he was listening. And why not? Lunatics were always fascinating.

This book will make you laugh, and laugh some more. Piper’s antics are downright hilarious.

Watching the unwilling development of a relationship between these two go from antagonistic, to grudging respect, to something more, was pure gold. I couldn’t get enough of the two of them. Of course it didn’t hurt that I got plenty of cameos from one of my favorites. If you’ve read Match Me If You Can, you’ll definitely appreciate it.

First Star I See was everything I’ve come to love about this author and so much more. It was full of fun banter, swoony moments, fantastic secondary characters, and the perfect slow building romance.

What about your scruples? I’m still the hired help.”
He leaned forward and nibbled on her bottom lip. “You’re not the help. You’re the obstacle.”
She nuzzled the cleft in his chin. “To what?”
“My peace of mind.”

It was the perfect light hearted sort of read I needed and I loved every single page of it. It reminded me exactly why I fell in love with this series in the first place. SEP fans are in for one delicious treat with First Star I See Tonight. If you’re in the mood for laughs and swoons, this book has EVERYTHING. The perfect contemporary romance to satisfy any romance lovers!


CHICAGO STARS SERIES

IT HAD TO BE YOU (Chicago Stars #1)
Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars, #2)
Nobody’s Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3)
Dream a Little Dream (Chicago Stars, #4)
This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars, #5)
Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6)
Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7)

★DGR’s Ultimate List of Hate-To-Love Romance★

DGR-Ultimate list of hate-2-love Let’s talk about hate-to-love for a hot minute here, shall we? It just so happens that this is easily my favorite trope to read…EVAH. No joke. Something about the banter, that repressed sexual tension, the sparks that fly between the H & h when they argue yet you know they’re probably 2 seconds from jumping each other. *shivers* Delicious. So obviously what this means is that I’ve read a lot in this genre…like a lot. So much so, that when I started to put together my list, my brain began to hurt. There are so many books that I wanted to put on this list, but they’ve also been in my previous ones and so I decided not to mix genres. A lot of the hate-love I read in my dark romances, but since that’s not everyone’s cuppa and I already made my ultimate list of Anti-Heroes, I decided not to be redundant and skip this particular genre. If you’re curious about the Anti Hero list, you can read it HERE.

If you’re new to my blog, my Ultimate List is a monthly feature that I do on the last Saturday each month with my favorites in various categories, tropes, and whatever else. If you’ve missed any of my previous ones, you can read them all here:

★ULTIMATE LIST OF DIRTY TALKERS★

★ULTIMATE LIST OF ROCK STARS★

★ULTIMATE LIST OF FIGHTERS★

★ULTIMATE LIST OF ANTI-HEROES★

But let’s get back to hate-to-love. You’ll notice my list is random and features books that were recently published and some from quite a while ago. I’ve read all the books on the list and they’re my go-to recs for this trope. I loved them! Of course there’s probably plenty that I haven’t read yet, so I’d love to hear about any of your favorites that I may have missed in the comments below. Now without further ado, let’s get to the list!


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