|The guy looks like a mannequin|
At First Sight: Fresh off a long undercover assignment, Special Agent Nick McCall was supposed to head off to New York for his mother's 60th birthday party, but instead he got roped into helping with a high profile investigation to catch Xander Eckhart a successful Chicago restaurateur and wine snob who also happens to launder money for a mob boss.
Billionaire heiress and wine-shop owner Jordan Rhodes was also roped into the investigation, mostly because the subject of it - Xander Eckhart - is a costumer of hers, she has an invite to an exclusive party the FBI needs to have someone at, and because her beloved twin brother is currently in prison and Jordan would do anything to have him out of there, safe and sound.
What should have been an easy operation turned far more complicated, and soon Nick and Jordan are in a fake relationship trying to save the day while fending off some very real feelings.
Second Glance: In the past, I've really liked Julie James' books, even if I didn't love her previous book, Something About You.
However, I did like A Lot Like Love, a lot more. I enjoyed the plot - I felt it was more streamlined than the one from the previous book - and I found Jordan a very likable protagonist, same as Nick and I liked how, though they were very different, they shared certain important values, like how much both of them loved their families.
I loved Kyle - Jordan's twin brother and evil computer genius.
However, I did feel like it took forever to set-up the story, and though I enjoyed the beginning of the book, I was very easily distracted from it, and it wasn't until about mid-way through that things really began to speed up and take shape. The ending was a bit fast but I'm not really complaining about it.
Also, I have to mention A Lot Like Love is steamier than other works by Ms. James, which up to now had had very modest love scenes that mostly happened off the page. In this story, Ms James does turn up the heat, but it doesn't feel forced - I'm of the opinion that you can tell when an author is writing something she/he isn't comfortable with - and I really like seeing how her style is evolving.
Finally, we get to catch up with some people from Something About You, namely Jack Pallas and Cameron Lynde, and that was nice. I liked them a lot more this time around than I did in their own book.
Bottom Line: A Lot Like Love is easily the best contemporary romance I've read so far this year. It's funny, the writing is good and I really liked the characters. Sure, I had some issues with it, but over all it was a very good book.
Favorite Quote: "Ridiculously overpriced Ralph Lauren suit? Sixteen hundred dollars, all of which had better be reimbursed by the Bureau. Back up Man? Technically free, although he'd be hearing about this from Pallas for a long time. Nabbing a money man of the city's most notorious gangster while infiltrating an exclusive wine tasting?