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A Lot Like Love    by Julie James order for
Lot Like Love
by Julie James
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2011 (2011)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Agent Nick McCall has just come off a long undercover assignment and is eager to head home to New York for his mother's 60th birthday celebration. But his boss has other ideas. He wants Nick to consult on a case that will take down Robert Martino, Chicago's biggest syndicate boss. Martino has connections with Xander Eckhart, a prominent Chicago nightclub owner who the Feds know is laundering money for Martino. Nick figures he can spare a couple of hours, but when a fellow agent can't fulfill his role, Nick must step in and take his place.

The only reason wine storeowner Jordan Rhodes agrees to go along with the FBI's crazy plan to bring down Martino is to get her twin brother Kyle out of jail. A few hours of making nice with an agent posing as her escort is a small price to pay. Cozying up to Xander Eckhart, on the other hand, is another matter. The ubiquitous restaurateur/wine connoisseur gives her the creeps and distracting him for long enough that her agent boyfriend can plant a bug in his office will only strengthen Eckhart's misplaced notion that he and Jordan are the perfect couple.

Neither she or Nick ise happy when the simple sting goes completely south. Not only does Nick miss his mother's party, but his extended boyfriend duty forces him to continue interacting and pretending to be in love with Jordan for several more weeks. It should have been a simple assignment for the veteran agent, but there is just something about Jordan that rubs him the wrong way and is attractive as hell at the same time. Soon Nick is asking himself if he'll be able to walk away once his assignment is over.

Rising star James does another great turn with Jordan and Nick's characterizations and their smart and sexy dialogue, as they move from barely tolerating one another to a fiery attraction. The mild danger quotient as the initially simple sting takes a more complicated turn is also well done. Jame's lengthy wine business related scenes are overdone at times, but overall A Lot Like Love satisfies on all levels - watch for brother Kyle's story to hit the shelves later this year.

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