The Thing About Love by Julie James
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
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 was the first book by Julie James that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. Jessica and John are two FBI agents who get assigned as partners for an undercover assignment. Twist is, they’ve met before, and they don’t have the rosiest of pasts.
They first met at the training academy for FBI agents. Even though they are both from Chicago, their competitive natures, and some misunderstandings, made them not so friendly towards each other. We get both sides of the story; one from Jessica’s perspective and the other from John’s. It was a great touch, and helped me understand both characters better. After training was over, they went their separate ways. Now it is six years later, and they find themselves at the same field office, assigned to the same undercover job as partners.
I loved how strong and capable Jessica was. She didn’t let the fact that she was a woman, and petite, stand in her way of becoming an agent —> a predominately male job. She did put her walls up during training as a protective measure, which definitely contributed to the tense relationship between her and John.
Speaking of John, what a great guy! I felt terrible for him at the beginning of the book when that very unfortunate encounter occurs. (Leaving it vague so I don’t spoil anything.) I could tell John was a good guy right from the start. Once he’s in the field with Jessica, and their feelings about each other start to change, he struggles with the agent vs the man side of himself. Wanting to protect Jessica, but also knowing she’s capable of protecting herself. I loved seeing that complexity in his character.
This book was heavy handed in FBI talk. Which was somewhat necessary for the reader to understand what was going on, but at times felt like over-explaining. I may have liked the book better if it focused more on their relationship than the case.
I particularly liked how it ended, and where Jessica and John ended up. It was nice that the typical gender roles was changed up. Overall it was an enjoyable and fun read!
I received an ARC from the publisher via the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.