Title: The Thing About Love
Author: Julie James
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .
This is the first time I've ever gotten to read a Julie James novel, and I went in with pretty high expectations because I've heard great things about her books. I am very happy to say that I wasn't disappointed at all. I'm a big fan of secret agent romances with some suspense, and this one also happens to be an enemies to lovers story so I was really excited.
FBI agents Jessica and John meet during training in Quantico and immediately get off on the wrong foot. Jessica is a very hard worker and feels the need to prove herself among all of the men in their training group. John also wants to prove himself, but he is trying to prove that he isn't just a "grunt" and that he has a good brain behind it all. Throughout the training they constantly butt heads and their rivalry begins, always trying to be the better agent. After graduating they both go there separate ways, until six years later they are picked to work together as partners on an undercover assignment. There is still a lot of tension between the two of them, but they both start to realize that maybe it's a different kind of tension this time around. Jessica has just ended her marriage and isn't looking for anything serious. John has also recently left his relationship after catching his girlfriend cheating with his friend.
Jessica was a great strong character. I've read a lot of books where they try to make a strong female character but push it a little too hard and either make it completely unbelievable, or just end up making them really unlikable. Jessica wasn't either of those things. She was a hard-working agent, that had some great witty banter with John's character but never came off as a "man hater" type. She was aware that her height and weight had her at a disadvantage but never complained about it and found a different way to overcome the situation.
John is a former Army Ranger for whom that has had little to no trouble with the physical aspects of FBI training. John had some struggles early on in the academic department, but he worked harder in those areas, just as Jessica had to work harder to succeed when it came to the more athletic areas of their training. The competitive streak in them both pushed them to work harder and become even better agents, even if they resented each other in the process. John also has a bit of a protective streak when it comes to Jessica, that I found really sweet but not overbearing.
When these two first see each other again after six years, they pick up right where they left off with the bickering, and I have to say I loved it! Their banter back and forth was one of my favorite parts of this book, and it continues even after they start to get along. It's more of teasing at that point, but it was cute. I liked watching them working out their problems and work together, and watch those sparks between them build and build. This is a slow burn romance, but it was worth the wait, in my opinion. They had great chemistry together.
I've read a couple reviews that talk about the police procedure scenes taking up too much of the story, but I actually really enjoyed reading about that aspect of their work. I thought it was all really interesting. I feel like this was a little bit more light-hearted and less gritty than other FBI/secret agent type of romances that I've read. I really enjoyed this one a lot and look forward to reading more from Julie James in the future.
* I received an ARC of this title via First to Read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *
Find It Here: