Laws of Attraction
Laws of Attraction, the third entry in Sarah Title’s Librarians in Love series, is a delightfully frothy concoction of a romantic comedy that often had me smiling and, once or twice, laughing out loud. Mild-mannered legal librarian Becky Schrader is fed up with falling for the wrong guy; she supposes it’s her own fault for constantly looking for Mr. Dream-Guy-picket-fence-and-a-dog, and her best friend is trying to convince her to let her hair down once in a while and have some fun with Mr. let-me-keep-you-up-all-night-screaming-my-name instead. Becky isn’t averse to the odd bout of anonymous hot monkey sex, but deep down she really does want a normal life, the picket fence and the great guy.
On a night out with her friend Dakota, Becky is about to leave to make her way home when a new arrival catches her eye and changes her mind. Dressed casually in a flannel shirt and jeans and sporting sexy face-scruff … forget the hot monkey, she’s picked herself out a hot lumberjack for the night. There’s an instant zing of heat between her and the guy she hears addressed as ‘Deke’, and before long, they’re on the way back to his place. The sex is every bit as toe-curlingly hot as she could have wanted, and Becky sneaks out of Mr. Lumberjack’s surprisingly chic apartment the next morning with head held high – mission accomplished – fully expecting never to see him again.
Becky obviously hasn’t read enough romance novels, because naturally, her scruffy, sexy lumberjack walks into the offices of the law firm where she works a couple of days later. Clean-shaven, designer-suited (and still sexy) he turns out to be none other than hotshot lawyer Foster Deacon, who has left his high-flying job in New York and returned home to Denver in order to prosecute a big intellectual property case. While Foster is pleased to see Becky and has hopes of picking up where they left off, Becky is little short of horrified. Foster is cute, funny and great in bed, but he’s a legal genius – and she’s sworn off lawyers and she’s doubly sworn off geniuses (genii?). Plus she’s not looking for another relationship; he was supposed to be a one-night-stand, not a potential Mr. Picket-Fence.
Okay, so being a little wary of jumping into a new relationship is understandable, but the romantic conflict in the story pretty much stems from Becky’s stance that she doesn’t want to date a lawyer, and the way she keeps avoiding Foster for basically no reason just makes her seem a bit silly and immature. There are a couple of work-related emails that piss her off for no discernible reason and after that she decides he’s an arrogant pig – which makes no sense and is obviously just an attempt to inject some tension into a story that has quite a bit going on and doesn’t really need it.
Fortunately, however, by this time, Ms. Title had set up both characters as decent, likeable individuals and thrown in plenty of humour and some interesting situations and secondary characters, so that although Becky’s attitude bugged me, I was sufficiently engaged by the story and the deftness and confidence of the writing that I was content to set those concerns aside and watch everything unfold.
While the developing romance between Becky and Foster is the focus of the book, there’s a secondary plotline featuring Foster’s sixteen year-old, tearaway sister, who has been in trouble with the law and is doing her community service sentence by helping out at the animal shelter run by Becky’s friend, Dakota. Part of Foster’s reason for coming back to Denver was to spend more time with Madison and maybe help keep her out of trouble, but she’s having a difficult time, especially as their parents have no idea how to approach her or talk to her. Or each other, really. Foster’s relationship with her is nicely done; he’s a caring big brother, and she obviously adores him, but neither of them are close to their workaholic father and self-absorbed mother.
Foster’s family issues, however, seem almost insignificant next to Becky’s. Her parents and her two sisters are scientists – real scientists, that is, who don’t view library science as proper science – one sister has just won a prestigious award, the other is on the International Space Station… it’s easy to understand Becky’s reluctance to become involved with a genius of any description! It also accounts for her desire for a normal life with a nice house, a dog, and a nongenius lumberjack. For her family, a nice Sunday night meal is a misnomer – why waste time cooking when they can eat something out of a box and get back to work? Birthdays? Um… when are they? Christmas? A nuisance because all the labs are shut, but at least it means they can catch up on their professional reading. They’re a bit over the top maybe, but I liked the way these tunnel-visioned individuals contrasted with Becky who is warm, witty and surprisingly well-adjusted.
Ultimately, however, Ms. Title doesn’t get too hung-up on the hang-ups and oh – I should mention the cute rescue dog for the dog-lovers out there; I’m more of a cat person, but I know there are many readers for whom a hot guy and a ball-of-fluff-mutt are a winning combination.
Laws of Attraction is a fast-paced, funny and light-hearted read featuring a likeable, well-matched central couple, witty dialogue and a nice bit of steam on the side. I haven’t read the other books in the series, so it works perfectly well as a standalone; and while it’s not something that’s going to stick with me, it was a lot of fun and might be just the thing if you’re looking for a pick-me-up on a grey Autumn afternoon.