Romancing wine and FBI

A Lot like Love - Julie James

Reading about a mucho FBI agent is almost as thrilling as dating one – as I found out while enjoying this romantic novel. Thank you, MrsJoseph (, for introducing me to this wonderful writer.

Just back from a six-month undercover assignment, FBI agent Nick is looking forward to a relaxing weekend with his parents and siblings. When his boss asks him to consult for one more case before heading out, he agrees: consulting is easy. But when the agent in charge of the case falls sick with the flu, Nick has to step in and play a date to the glamorous billionaire heiress Jordan.

While it’s true that Jordan’s father is a billionaire, she doesn’t have access to his money, nor does she want to. Instead, she owns a trendy wine store in Chicago. She doesn’t like FBI either; they put her brother in prison. But when FBI makes a deal with her – she cooperates with their current investigation in exchange for her brother’s earlier release – she agrees. Her undercover role is a date for Nick.

As the two try to figure out the difference between role-playing and real love, the investigation is proceeding, and the bad guys stir uneasily, ready to pounce.

Jordan is a great female lead. Sarcastic and loyal, she is a businesswoman with savvy and sense. The only snag in her character, in my opinion, is her father’s billions. They dangle around her like frills on a skirt. Not instrumental for the plot, they just divert the readers’ sympathy from her. After all, what problems could such a rich woman possibly have?

Nick is more grounded. A tough guy and a son of a police officer, Nick is steeped in the law enforcement ambience. He can’t possibly have a relationship with a woman – any woman. He must be ready for the next undercover job at a moment’s notice, and then the next one, and so on. He doesn’t come home for months at a time. No woman should be subjected to such a relationship, he is sure.

But love ambushes them both, and both are forced to reevaluate their stance on love and FBI agents by the end of the novel.

The writing is clean and professional – kudos to the Berkley editors. I haven’t spotted one spelling mistake in the entire book. It was a pleasure to read, fast paced and swirling like fine wine. The author’s subtle humor and the wine flavor lifted this story above the average romance. I read about wine tastings and Jordan’s descriptions of some wines, and I wanted to try them too, even though I’m not a wine connoisseur.

Recommended to all modern romance buffs.