Note to self: When a book sounds good, ignore the advice of friends. Before I began reading this several friends told me it was a big disappointment and found it mediocre at best. This not only made me nervous, I avoided reading it for months. I just wasn’t in the mood for mediocre. That’ll teach me. I really enjoyed this and can definitely recommend it.
Cade Morgan, a former college football star, is now an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago. He’s currently paired with a couple of FBI agents investigating political corruption in the area (it’s Chicago, of course there’s corruption). They’ve learned that two key players in the investigation will be having dinner at one of Chicago’s most exclusive restaurants and want to listen in on the conversation. But to do that they need inside help from Brooke Parker.
Brooke is a workaholic corporate lawyer for the growing restaurant company that owns the restaurant where the meet will occur. Brooke doesn’t make things easy for Cade and agrees to the setup after making Cade squirm and promise to give her unspecified future help. The chemistry sizzles between them, as do their intellectual abilities; I like that. They’re equals in every way, and neither is going to be pushed around.
Brooke quickly has to call in the favor when an anonymous employee does some hateful computer hacking. Brooke and Cade discuss the favor over a drink at a bar, but once their business concludes they continue drinking and talking, and learn they have a fair amount in common. Brooke’s just been dumped by her latest lover who said dating her was like dating a guy because she’s all work. Cade’s also currently single, labeled “emotionally unavailable.” The relationship begins casually, but spirals into much more, leaving both Cade and Brooke conflicted.
This tapped into so many of my emotions and memories of living in Chicago. Set during my favorite Chicago season — summer — the author drew me in with relatively simple scenes of Brooke walking along Michigan Avenue, going to a restaurant on Oak Street Beach, spending an afternoon in Wrigley Field. And the end, when Brooke and Cade walk by the carriages near Water Tower Place in the evening? I just sighed.
But I like more than just the setting. I really like Brooke and Cade. They’re bright, confident, incredibly successful at their jobs, and they work a lot. They’re also both self-made, driven to rise far beyond their rather humble beginnings.
I love the mix of humor and serious issues. There are some really funny moments such as when Brooke inadvertently “likes” the “Ten Rules of Casual Sex,” only to find her Facebook feed filled with men eager to help her out with the rules. Conversely, both Cade and Brooke face some serious issues and choices. I particularly enjoyed the plot involving Cade and his newly discovered half-brother.
I also like that Cade doesn’t try to get Brooke to change for him. Without going into spoilers, the changes Brooke decides to make in her life are all about her, and what she wants out of life, and they don’t all revolve around Cade.
Normally I avoid other reviews and don’t talk to friends about books I’m assigned for review. I’m going to try and stick with that plan in the future. I truly enjoyed this book and wish I had read it much sooner.