Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:
14) Work more hours. Read a romance set at the work place, whether in an office or other place of business. The protagonists can be co-workers or have a less equal relationship.
For this part of the challenge, I picked up Julie James’ The Thing About Love, published in 2017.
Anyone familiar with James’ work knows that many of her characters usually work in law enforcement, either lawyers, detectives, FBI agents, etc. However she also interjects a lot of fun and romance as well.
Chicagoans John Shepherd and Jessica Harlow were both in the same class at Quantico training to be FBI agents. Jessica came to the FBI via the practice of law and John came via the military as a former Army Ranger. As such their strengths and approaches couldn’t be more different and they clashed repeatedly, masking an underlying attraction. Fortunately, they went in different directions upon graduation — John to an organized crime squad in the East and Jessica to white collar crime in the West.
However, coincidences have brought them together again in their hometown of Chicago — Jessica’s L.A. marriage ends in divorce and John’s latest undercover case ends, allowing him to return to his “long suffering” family and girlfriend — except John’s return comes a little too late. He finds his girlfriend and one of his best friends in bed together. Both suffering from recent heartache but glad for the distraction, John and Jessica are teamed up for an undercover assignment, involving travel to Florida to catch a corrupt, popular mayor. Working together for the first time since FBI training at Quantico, will their clash of personalities rear its head again? Or, will their attraction take the forefront? And, if the latter, how will John’s longtime goal of entering the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team program, taking him around the world, affect a budding romance when his job already ruined one relationship.
This story is a fun, enjoyable enemies to lovers romance. Initially, you get a good he-said, she-said type backstory covering the characters’ conflict as young FBI recruits, as well as their later, separate relationship problems — both related to their jobs. This sets up their ongoing tension but also allows for some sympathetic bonding. The undercover assignment brings our couple together, not only working toward the same goal but allowing for flirtation and romance. Of course, the big elephant in the room is John’s prestige assignment to a high-powered FBI job that would take him away again and make even a relationship with another FBI agent hard to maintain. Although I could’ve predicted what ultimately happened with that, it wasn’t entirely clear. More than that, I thought the resolution of the undercover work they did together was a bigger twist and kept me guessing. Furthermore, I thought all the supporting characters were used well. This was a satisfying read. I’d give it an A.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 8 down, 10 to go