Thursday, 5 April 2012

35. "About That Night" by Julie James

Page count: 304 pages
Date begun: April 3rd, 2012
Date finished: April 3rd, 2012

This is the third book in a series, but works fine without any previous knowledge of the preceding books.

Kyle Rhodes is the brilliant computer programmer son of IT billionaire Gray Rhodes. When his supermodel girlfriend cheats on him very publicly with a movie star and dumps him on Twitter, Kyle gets monstrously drunk, and hacks into Twitter determined to remove all traces of the video the model posted, not to mention the humiliating break-up message. He goes a wee bit further as well, and shuts down Twitter for 48 hours, then absconds to Mexico. Upon his return to the US, he's arrested, labelled an online terrorist, and sentenced to 11 months in prison. He's released after four months, thanks to a deal his twin sister makes with the FBI (see A Lot Like Love).

Assistant District Attorney Rylann Pierce has recently moved back to Chicago after ending a seven year relationship (She thought he was about to propose, he wanted them to move to Rome). Nine years ago, while still at college, she and Kyle Rhodes met in a bar and shared some witty banter, and a sizzling kiss after Kyle walked her home. They were supposed to go on a date the next evening, but Kyle's mother was killed in a car accident, so they never saw each other again. Until they face each other in the courtroom, where Rylann has to finalise the DA Office's deal, and release Kyle from prison.

Having been forever stamped as the "Twitter Terrorist", Kyle is naturally not on the best terms with the Chicago DA's Office. Yet he too remembers the night nine years ago, and when Rylann approaches him a few days after his release, needing him as a witness in a murder case she's prosecuting, he's unable to refuse. Especially if it means spending more time with her, even though their conversations are mostly strictly professional. As the new girl in the Chicago office, Rylann is determined not to screw up, and she certainly won't risk her reputation by dating a witness in a case she's prosecuting. But what happens once the case is over? Can she resist Kyle Rhodes' manifold charms? Will they finish what they started one night nearly a decade ago?

I don't read a lot of contemporary romance (I'm a sucker for history, me), but Julie James has written several that I greatly enjoy, and one that I absolutely love. In her previous two books, as well as romance, there is a criminal case, and a fair bit of suspense. That is not the case in this book, and the main conflict (can Rylann get over the fact that Kyle is an ex-con - what will her colleagues and family say?) is a bit unengaging.

Kyle freely admits that he made a huge drunken mistake. The DA's Office admits that Kyle was given a much harsher sentence than he deserved, and that the "terrorist" moniker was grossly inappropriate. He's charming, handsome, generous and kind, not to mention a brilliant, wealthy businessman (not just because his Dad is rich - he made his own money). He shut down Twitter - he didn't destroy people's lives. I thought Rylann's reservations were a bit rubbish, but hey, girl comes round in the end. The previous two books in this series (dealing with Rylann's boss Cameron Lynde, and Kyle's twin sister Jordan, respectively) were better, but this still had enough witty banter, a very charming and sexy hero, and some very steamy love scenes. Not bad at all, but not up to the high quality I've come to expect from James either.

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