First, much thanks to my friend Janicu who introduced me to Julie James and sent me this book! I stayed up until 4 am reading it the very day I got it.
Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson started as associates at a big law firm together and are now both up for partnership. Payton concentrates on employment discrimination law, while J.D. focuses on class action lawsuits. Payton came from a hippie family, while J.D. is your typical privileged white male whose dad is a judge. Payton and J.D. can't stand each other, but must come together to win a client for the firm, their last hoop to jump through before reaching the partnership brass ring. They grudgingly begin to get to know each other, What they didn't realize is that only one will be made partner.
I enjoyed the book overall. But I confess, I wasn't the biggest J.D. Jameson fan. I mean, a white male attorney, whose dad is a judge, whining about reverse discrimination? Oh please! While I firmly believe people should be judged on their merits, the reality is, men and women, whites and minorities, straights and gays are not on an even playing field. We're not entirely color-blind, gender-blind, or sexual orientation-blind. We're trying (I think), but we're certainly not there yet. And yes, while it is possible that a white male will be passed over for a white female in a partnershp decision if the firm is trying to increase diversity, I think the reality is, female partners have to overcome a lot more obstacle along the way to get there. So J.D. annoyed me with his, oh-it's-so-unfair-you-just-have-to-wear-a-skirt-to-make-partner-even-though-I'm-more-qualified-than-you attitude.
But, in the spirit of reading a fun, entertaining romance novel, I moved past it and tried to get into the spirit of the oil and water with the simmering sexual tension underneath storyline. It was a bit predictable that Payton and J.D. couldn't stand each other, but are secretly attracted, and eventually came to realize both are dedicated and incredibly talented as lawyers. Ok, here's another minor rant – seriously, in the 8 years of practicing, neither of them has ever lost a case?! Not reality. I liked Payton a lot. She's smart, driven, and professional. I just wish J.D. suffered a bit more or groveled harder before the happily ever after, especially something we found out he did toward the end of the book.
Overall, it was a light, enjoyable read. I think I enjoyed Just the Sexiest Man Alive a bit more, but I'm looking forward to Julie James's next novel. It looks like it'll depart a bit from these two books, involving a female U.S. Attorney and an FBI agent.