by Julie James, contemporary (2010)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-23338-2
Something About You contains the same ingredients that make the author's previous two contemporary romances so much fun: a capable and tough yet realistic heroine, a guy's guy who nonetheless falls hard for the heroine in such a charming manner, and plenty of sexual as well as romantic chemistry. Unfortunately, I've my doubts about the suspense plot.
Cameron Lynde, Assistant US Attorney, and Special Agent Jack Pallas of the FBI have a past that is not exactly rosy. Three years ago, they worked together for the first time in a case involving crime boss Roberto Martino. She was the fresh-faced prosecutor, he was the undercover agent, and the chemistry was there... until he was forced to blow his cover and her boss, the US Attorney, decided not to press charges against Martino despite all Jack went through.
As things tended to be when it comes to how lawyers work, Cameron was forced to take the fall for her boss and become the bad guy in Jack's eyes. She knew this was one of those things she had to do if she wanted to keep working for her boss, not that it was an easy decision for her to make. When Jack made a rude outburst directed at her on TV shortly after, he was transferred from Chicago to Nebraska in disgrace.
They meet again when Cameron, by chance, happens to be given a hotel room in Peninsula that is right next to the one where a very married Senator is having a jolly good time with a woman who eventually turns out to be not his wife. Worse, this woman is a hooker who shows up dead soon enough. At around 4:08 am, Cameron, who had a hard time sleeping due to the ruckus created by the couple a few hours later, was rudely awakened once more by what she thought to be another round of shagging. She called the hotel folks and, by chance, took a peek out the peephole while waiting for the hotel folks to bust the party next door. She saw the back of someone leaving the room. When the hotel security people show up and discover the dead prostitute, Cameron becomes the sole witness to the whole thing. She realizes that what she thought was the next round of happy boinking was the sound of the woman being murdered and she could have very well seen the back of the murderer as he left the hotel room.
Guess who is the FBI Agent who gets assigned to this case. Hint: he doesn't miss Nebraska one bit.
Oh, don't worry about toxic screeching, long drawn misunderstanding, and deliberate refusal to communicate. You won't find any of that here. When these characters have to talk, they talk and they also listen to the other person.
Cameron is one of those rare heroines who have good friends, is very capable at her job which she loves, and ends the story not having to give up her career for love. She is also capable of coming up with quick decisions that help the hero in times of danger and she also doesn't protest when she has to be watched by the cops for her own safety. As for Jack, he could have been a typical action hero were not for his ability to listen to Cameron before he jumps into wild conclusions about her. These two have a great chemistry between them. If they do fall in a love a little too fast compared to the couples in the author's previous books, this is because the plot doesn't give them much wiggling room.
And this is where I feel that the story is weakened considerably. It isn't long before Jack and Cameron get all heavy-duty with each other, to the point that the villain could have won as Jack becomes really careless in his vigorous body checking of Cameron and it is sheer luck that allows Jack to catch the villain in time. If I were an impartial observer interested solely in the way the game is played, I'd say that the villain is robbed in this case because this person played a better game - the hero becomes careless because of his attraction to Cameron.
I'm also not sure about the presence of surprisingly soft-spoken action men who seem too interested in wanting Jack and Cameron hook up. At the very least, I'd expect them to point out Cameron's physical attributes in the crass manner that men have made into an art form, instead of pointing out how Jack can't take his eyes off Cameron. I can't believe that these guys are such Boy Scouts, in other words. A few choice profanities from them would have gone a long way in restoring my faith in these men.
Something About You has a likable couple with a capable and smart heroine who doesn't have to choose between her career and love, sizzling chemistry, and plenty of fun banter. Under normal circumstances, I would have given this book my two thumbs up. Still, I'm a little bit disappointed that the rather flimsy suspense subplot manages to bring this one down a little, making it lack that special spark that made the author's previous books such a wonderful treat.
This book at Amazon.com
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