We first met Ford Dixon in Love Irresistibly. He was Brooke’s best friend and totally needed a story of his own. He had some scenes in that book where he almost stole the show. To say I was excited when Julie James mentioned he would be next, is an understatement. He had such a fun personality combined with just enough issues to make him a very intriguing character so you just knew his story was going to be a good one.
Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade is successful, smart, happy and has her stuff together. Well except for the small issue of panic attacks she can’t seem to stave off or control. They were triggered by a break in that brought back some ugly childhood memories. Now she doesn’t feel safe in her home and is looking for somewhere else to live. Until the place she bought is ready she rents an apartment. Her apartment happens to be next door to a man with a revolving door of women. Based upon what she sees and mistakenly hears she judges him to be a bit of a manwhore. When that man turns out to be Ford, who is also the same man she had a connection to when she saw him across a bar, she is disappointed but her line of work has taught her that relationships do not last anyway so no big deal.
Ford is irritated with Victoria’s snap judgments but he doesn’t need her. So what they had a moment, he can have a moment with plenty of other women. He is surprised when she agrees to help his sister find the father of her baby and does it all pro bono. Their father recently died and Ford has been feeling more protective of his sister so maybe he is feeling softer toward Victoria. Since he is an investigative journalist he offers is help on the case causing the pair to spend a lot time together.
During that time, Ford and Victoria start to really like each other. In bed and out of bed. They have strong chemistry and both are smart, interesting characters. One thing you can always count on in a Julie James book is great dialogue. The back and forth between Ford and Victoria is classic. What I was missing though was them opening up to each other. Victoria had a lot going on in her head with the panic disorder. I can rationalize the non-sharing with both of them being relationship phobic. Victoria job and Ford’s alcoholic father ruined, respectively, ruined then from thinking long term.
At some point, I needed more. I felt their connection but it was only a surface connection. Even with the big misunderstanding came along and they agreed to stop seeing each other, Ford’s thinking had me wondering how deep their feelings really were.
Yes, it was over between them. And that realization stung a little. Maybe more than a little, although he wouldn’t allow himself to go there. But other than the abruptness of their breakup—if one could call it that—he really had no reason to be mad at Victoria. Not once, the entire time they’d been hooking up, had she given him any reason to believe that their relationship was anything except a fun, casual fling. So if he’d been starting to think . . . Well, he didn’t know what he’d been starting to think, and it didn’t matter now. The point was, she was his next-door neighbor, at least for the rest of the summer, and it was inevitable they would run into each other. He wasn’t going to be a jerk and make the situation even more awkward. “It’s fine. Really,” he said.
That question is answered a little later but it wasn’t answered to my satisfaction. The book ends with almost a HFN and I would love to see this couple in future books. I think they end on a tentative happy note but I might be used to more solid futures, more grand gestures and professions of love. I will say the ending was true to how Ms. James set the characters up during the book so maybe huge professions of love wouldn’t have made any sense either.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I mean, it is Julie James, of course I enjoyed it. It wasn’t my favorite of hers though. I was prepared to fall in love with Ford and he was great but not awesome. He wasn’t some of her other heroes and really Victoria wasn’t her other heroines. I would still recommend the book because Julie James is a fantastic writer and will engage you from the beginning. You can’t go wrong with her stories. Final grade- B-
Then she shook off the thought and refocused. “Look, I get that he’s good-looking. But he has this way of getting under my skin, and on top of that he’s . . .” She searched for the right word.
“He’s what?” Rachel beckoned with her hand. “Come on, let’s hear it. I’d like to know what snarky comment even you could possibly make about the good-looking man who gives you smoking-hot looks across a bar, makes you smile—yes, I saw that when you two were standing outside the elevator—
and who babysits his niece on a Saturday night so that his sister can go out with her friends.”
Victoria thought about that for a moment, and then finally answered. “He’s named after a car.” There. She nodded. Take that.
Rachel smiled. “Sweetie, if that’s the best you’ve got, you’re in serious trouble.”