Julie James is one of my favorite contemporary romance writers, and I consider her one of the best. San Francisco Book Reviews has described her as having “cemented her place as one of contemporary romance’s superstars,” and I couldn’t agree more. I honestly don’t remember when and how I got introduced to Julie and her books, but boy am I glad I did!
Julie’s books and characters are known for being lively, smart, witty, sassy, and fun-all words that describe Julie herself. Her FBI/US Attorneys series is full of yummy heroes who you can’t help but fall in love with, and fabulous heroines who you immediately relate to and root for. Love Irresistibly is the latest book in the series, and it’s another winner by Julie. Here’s the blurb:
FBI / US ATTORNEY SERIES, BOOK 4
HE’S USED TO GETTING WHAT HE WANTS
A former football star and one of Chicago’s top prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan will do anything to nail a corrupt state senator, which means he needs Brooke Parker’s help. As general counsel for a restaurant company, she can get a bug to the senator’s table at one of her five-star restaurants so the FBI can eavesdrop on him. All Cade has to do is convince Brooke to cooperate—and he’s not afraid to use a little charm, or the power of his office, to do just that.
AND WHAT HE WANTS IS HER.
A savvy businesswoman, Brooke knows she needs to play ball with the U.S. Attorney’s office—even if it means working with Cade. No doubt there’s a sizzling attraction beneath all their sarcastic quips, but Brooke is determined to keep things casual. Cade agrees—until a surprising turn of events throws his life into turmoil, and he realizes that he wants more than just a good time from the one woman with whom he could fall terrifyingly, irresistibly in love . . .
When I found out that Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan was the hero of Love Irresistibly, I was immediately sold. I mean, how can you NOT love a hero visually inspired by Matt Bomer, of White Collar fame? We first got introduced to Cade in About That Night, as the AUSA who argued the government’s case during Kyle’s original trial. Right off the bat, you knew he was a smart, confident, charismatic, ambitious, and experienced prosecutor who was on the fast track to the top. We still see that side of him in Love Irresistibly, but Julie delves deeper and paints a more complete and complex picture of Cade and what motivates him. A college football star whose career was cut short by a bad injury, Cade has always been driven to succeed. He has simply turned his focus from football to the law. But this success has come at a price. Cade has little time for anything outside his work, and all his relationships have crashed and burned because he wasn’t willing to be emotionally open and available.
It’s more than his dedication to his career that has Cade keeping people at a distance. He carries scars and emotional baggage from his childhood. Abandoned by his father at a young age, you quickly see how his father and the loss of his football career shaped him into the man he is today. Even though Cade thought he’d put this all behind him, his world is turned upside down when he meets his half-brother Zach. Cade and Zach’s interactions are some of my favorite parts of the book-for example, I LOVE the scene when Cade is determined to help Zach get some game and get a date with Paige, a girl Zach has a crush on. Julie does a great job of using Cade and Zach’s growing relationship as brothers as a vehicle for Cade making peace with his past and moving forward. I loved the realization that Cade comes to-keeping people at arms length may prevent you from getting hurt, but a life without trust, true emotional connections, and intimacy is no life at all. I fell completely in love with Cade after seeing what was underneath the confident exterior, and I guarantee you will too. Julie put Cade through quite a bit throughout the book, but he came out the other side a stronger and better person. Cade really is the whole package-a intelligent, gorgeous, successful, kind, and fair man who is tough when necessary, committed to his job, and looks out for those he cares about. And he can cook! What’s not to love?
We first get introduced to the heroine Brooke Parker, when Cade goes to her office with a cadre of FBI agents to “ensure” her cooperation in a sting operation. Smart, hardworking, talented, loyal, dedicated, and in possession of a fabulous shoe collection, Brooke is the quintessential Julie James heroine. Julie has said that her test for her heroines is if she would be friends with the heroine, and go out and have a drink with her. For me, Brooke passes the test. I admired her work ethic, confidence, and that she made no apologies for the fact that she’s put her career first. I particularly enjoyed her unconventional friendship with her best friend Ford. Ford’s constant reminder “Your best friend comes with a penis” cracks me up. Every. Time. But Brooke has a problem. None of her relationships seem to last beyond the 4 month mark because none of the guys are willing to put up with her insane schedule, and don’t see her as the settling down type. Sound familiar? Obviously, she and Cade have so much in common and are made for each other.
I found Brooke’s character journey very interesting. As strong modern empowered women of the 21st century, we are told constantly that we can have it all-marriage, career, family, etc. Whatever it is we want, we can have it. We just have to work hard and figure out a way to juggle and make it work. In Love Irresistibly, Julie explores the idea of what “having it all” means and what the costs are. Brooke comes to see that while all of success she achieved in her career was satisfying, it wasn’t making her happy. Her job was taking a toll on her time, energy, and her relationships with friends and loved ones, and it was a price Brooke was no longer willing to pay. I cheered for Brooke when she came to the decision to do what’s right for her and make the changes in her life she needed to gain some balance and happiness in her life. For me, Julie’s heroines exemplify what girl power and feminism should be-women who are strong, support each other, have the right and power to make the best choices for themselves, and to have those choices respected.
Julie’s books are known for witty banter and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine, and Love Irresistibly is no exception. Sparks fly between Brooke and Cade from the first moment they met. Whether it’s their first meeting where they go toe-to-toe in a battle of the sexes showdown, to flirty texts, to Brooke ribbing Cade about his famous Denver omelettes, their relationship is all about the banter and teasing. The love scenes in the book are also extremely hot and sexy! Despite all that, Brooke and Cade are guarded characters who use sarcastic quips and banter as a smokescreen to keep things from getting too deep and serious. But Julie does a great job of gradually breaking down the walls Cade and Brooke have put up. Little by little, they begin to open up to each other, let each other in, and put down the “Tough Guy” and “Tough Girl” masks they’ve been wearing. The moment when Cade asks to be a part of Brooke’s life and be part of her “Inner Circle” was sweet, moving, and really well done, as was the scene when Brooke got up the courage to go be by Cade’s side when he was dealing with a tough personal situation. Both Cade and Brooke learn that while it’s scary to be open and vulnerable with someone, it’s worth it when you find the right person to take that leap of faith for. Love is worth it.
I highly recommend Love Irresistibly. It’s a fun, fast-paced, and delightful read with characters who are sure to win you over right from the start. With Love Irresistibly, Julie has really delved into her characters’ pasts and grounded the book with a lot of emotional depth without losing the wit and sexy chemistry that she’s known for. I can’t wait to read her next book. All of the books in Julie’s FBI/US Attorneys series are keepers, and she has long been an auto-buy for me. I have my guesses/theories as to who the next hero will be. Can’t wait to see if I’m right!
FIVE OUT OF FIVE CUPS OF TEA
To celebrate the release of Julie’s new book, I’ll be giving one lucky commenter a Nook or Kindle version of Love Irresistibly, winner’s choice. To enter, just comment below, or tell us: Are you a big football fan? If you were called upon to assist the FBI in an undercover op, would you rise to the occasion like Brooke, or would you be more likely to crumble under the pressure?
To learn more about Julie and her books, visit her website HERE