Legal Attraction
by Jacquelin Thomas, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86281-8


I wonder how the Kimani editors decided which three authors would work on the Laws Of Love trilogy. Were these authors' names picked randomly from a jar? I have to ask because the authors involved - Pamela Yaye, Ann Christopher, and Jacquelin Thomas - have nothing in common when it comes to their writing styles. The result is a trilogy that goes from wickedly funny to mildly funny to this, not at all funny.

Despite being part of a trilogy, Legal Attraction can be read as a standalone just fine, provided the reader doesn't mind being bombarded with the standard padding moments involving secondary characters. In fact, I don't know why there need to be this kind of padding, unless there is going to a spin-off series featuring the remaining Hamilton family members.

Okay, this story. Marissa Hamilton is the baby of the family, and as of late, she is doing her best to prove that she is an independent woman who can be a good attorney in the family law firm Hamilton, Hamilton and Clark. Of course, that's what the author wants to tell me - that Marissa is a grown-up who can take care of herself, but Marissa's actions are a continuous downward spiral of immature behavior. Oh, and she's five months pregnant. Since her pregnancy doesn't show yet, she spends nearly the entire book hiding her pregnancy from the baby's father, Griffin Jackson.

Griffin is the standard rich and career-driven playboy archetype, and he's been in love with Marissa from way back. But since she was "too young" back then - his words, not mine, and this sort of puts the title of this book in a creepy light, doesn't it? - he decided to keep his rampant desire unzipped. Well, that resolution lasted until five months ago, and he told Marissa the morning after that he regretted their action and they should move on with their lives. Why does he do this, you ask? Well, he wants to focus on his career, even if he's crazy for Marissa.

What finally brings them together - again - is the drama of Marissa flailing her arms in despair because her mother had an affair with Marissa's uncle, which resulted in at least one child. Naturally, this revelation is all about Marissa because the poor darling is unable to think straight, knowing now that her parents' relationship is a big lie. She also can't tell Griff about her baby because Griff didn't want her, so oh, the poor darling spends the whole book reeling like a drunkard.

In this story, all the "drama" is mountains made out of molehills. Marissa can't stand that her mother had an affair, so she agonized over whether she should tell her father. Uh, why? She also can't tell Griff that he's her baby daddy because... well, she just can't! Can't! And why couldn't Griff commit to a relationship with the woman he loves back then? He just can't! So what makes him willing to commit now? Because he can!

As a result, this is basically a story of two silly people spending a long time to sort out their issues, which aren't really issues as much as they are the products of pointless waffling for sake of waffling. Worse, Marissa and Griff will proceed to think, explain, whine, and tell other people how they just can't - can't! - again and again. This story, therefore, is not only a tale with paper-thin conflict, it's stretched interminably by repetitive whining and hand-wringing. Making things even more tedious are meandering scenes involving secondary characters that do nothing but to bog the story down with irrelevant nonsense.

Just to highlight how ridiculous the sequel-baiting is, early on, Marissa can actually pause in the middle of her hysterical drama over her mother's adultery to describe to me several secondary characters' jobs. It is one thing if these secondary characters actually play important roles in this story, but no, these characters only have cameo appearances to chew scenery and tell me to... I don't know, get their books? But will they even get their books, as this book is the conclusion of the series? And if there are no books, why even bother to disrupt the story to tell me about them?

Legal Attraction has the best cover of the three books in this series, but it's not only the weakest story of the three, it's a meandering, meaningless, and interminable story that feels like a first draft. I guess when the folks at Kimani wanted to end a series, they asked this author to let me know with absolute certainty that the series is really, really done?

Rating: 48


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