Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with an old 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 together—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 lot more complicated…
There’s simply nothing quite like a Julie James novel. The Thing About Love has everything I’ve come to love about Ms. James’s work: intelligent, interesting characters, crackling chemistry, an engaging romance, and sharp attention to detail. It’s a story that feels light on its feet but also has substance, and I loved every bit of it.
John and Jessica are irresistible characters who grabbed my attention from the first. Jessica is quite possibly my favorite of Ms. James’s heroines. Not only is she incredibly smart, she’s the best example I have ever seen in a contemporary romance of a woman working to build a successful career in a male-dominated field. From the moment she starts training at Quantico, Jessica is aware that her gender and height are working against her. Jessica doesn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself because she has a disadvantage. She works hard to overcome the obstacles in her path and I have an incredible amount of respect for her dedication, strength, and resourcefulness. Her nemesis at the Academy is John, a former Army Ranger for whom the more physical aspects of FBI training are a breeze. John is no slouch in the academic department, but there are areas where he has to work just as hard to succeed as Jessica does when it comes to the more athletic areas of their training. The two of them push each other constantly, their competitiveness bringing out the best agents in them – though they’d be loath to admit it.
The flashbacks to Quantico set the stage for John and Jessica’s reunion six years later when she transfers to the Chicago FBI office. When the two of them meet again, they pick up bickering right where they’d left off at the Academy. But having to work together undercover means they need to play nice, and I loved watching them work through their issues and come to understand one another. With that understanding comes increasingly strong sexual tension. Theirs is a slow-burn romance, and the payoff is worth it. John and Jessica have fantastic chemistry both as partners and as lovers. I honestly enjoyed watching them work together as much as I adored their romance. They complement one another perfectly, and there’s no false drama to detract from their story. The obstacles hampering John and Jessica’s romance feel realistic to the characters and their jobs and the resolution that gives these two their happily ever after left me with a huge smile on my face.
Every Julie James novel I’ve picked up features characters who feel whole and real, with fully developed personal and professional lives. The Thing About Love is no exception and it makes Jessica and John’s story all the better. When you combine Ms. James’s well-developed characters with her snappy dialogue and a romance that’s both spicy and sweet, it’s easy to see why I adored this book. I highly recommend The Thing About Love to any contemporary romance fan!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.