In the second installment of Ms. Meader’s new Laws of Attraction series, two emotional powder kegs explode, then deal with the fallout, then live happily ever after. It’s an angsty insta-lust, enemies-to-lovers tale with the requisite steamy AF sexytimes we’ve come to expect from this author, alongside some healthy doses of Harry Potter references. If you’re in the mood for a contemporary romance with a bit of an opposites-attract flair, I think you’ll enjoy Illegally Yours.
Lucas Wright is the resident expat at the Chicago law firm we met in the previous instalment (Down With Love). Born and bred in England, Lucas set up shop in the U.S. many moons ago and has no intention of heading permanently back across the pond. He’s got a reputation around town as ruthless in the courtroom and outside of it… well, in other romances we would call him a rake. He’s the Good Time Guy who is zero percent asshole, but whom no one really knows. The firm specializes in divorces and Lucas is an equal opportunity attorney in that he’ll represent anyone as long as they’re paying their fee. Everyone deserves a fair trial, so he says.
Until that one case that messes with his idealized boundaries.
Trinity Jones has been the backbone of her family for many, many years. A trained Whiskey Sommelier (who knew that was a thing!), we meet her when she’s facilitating a tasting at a bachelor party that Lucas attends. From his perspective, we’re told she’s in a leather catsuit that sets off her black skin and brown eyes and that he’s hooked immediately. Her confidence and the verbal repartee is only the icing on the cake and our Lucas is soon a goner.
The ‘enemies’ bit in the intro comes when we’re introduced to this twist: Trinity’s sister Emily is in the middle of an acrimonious divorce from a dude who seems like The Worst, who is being represented by Lucas.
This forbidden-fruit take on the trope allows Ms. Meader to explore the emotions of these two, who they think they are and how they could possibly be together. Neither one of their pasts is free of trauma and neither’s present is as easy as they pretend. Trinity deals with micro and macroagressions around race and gender as she builds her career, as well as taking on the role of caregiver to her sister and letting no one take care of her. Lucas was raised by a mother who had little interest in being one and has a terminally ill sister who means more to him than anyone. Being white and poor in England is no easy feat and I appreciated how Ms. Meader unpacked that for us.
Lucas and Trinity have set up such walls around their hearts that to watch them careen into each other was quite something. The power kegs I mentioned at the opening felt apt to me – the tension kept building and building as they spent time together and had tons of sex and dealt with the conflict of interest and and and… and then it all went ‘boom!’ The clean-up is a little saccharine, but lands more firmly on swoony and I sighed happily at the idea of these two together forever and ever.
I wasn’t nearly as thrilled with the first installment in this series, but this one bounced back for me. I’m eager to read Avery and Sean’s story (now, there’s an enemies-to-lovers tale for the ages, I bet) and I’ll keep Ms. Meader firmly on the auto-buy shelf.