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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All’s Fair in Love and Law by K. M. Daughters

All’s Fair in Love and Law by K. M. Daughters
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (190 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

The enchantress on stage at an amusement park review captivates new Chicago Police Department Captain Patrick Sullivan. Stunned to learn she’s the infamous defense attorney, Charlie Demarco, who substituted for her twin at the performance, Pat battles Charlie in and out of the courtroom. With CPD cutbacks and a serial murderer to apprehend, Pat struggles to uphold the law and his reputation, while Charlie seems determined to undermine him. Chained to her job to restore her family’s finances, Charlie has no choice but to defend the criminals Pat wants behind bars. Her biggest battle yet involves defending her heart against Patrick Sullivan.

I was so thrilled to nab the next book in The Sullivan Boys series by K. M. Daughters. I’ve enjoyed all the previous ones, and couldn’t wait to open this.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when it begins with the announcement that one of the family members has died in a car accident (off screen), and the family is struggling to pick up the pieces. I was horrified, and have to admit that I closed my eReader and put it down for a while. How could the authors DO that to me?

Once I recovered from my shock, I started reading again. I’m sure there was a reason behind the death, though I’m not convinced that the story relied on it, and I know that things like that happen in real life, but I mourned his loss like he was my own friend. And you know what that means? It means the authors are skillful enough to completely wrap me up in their world and in their characters.

This story doesn’t revolve around that death. Instead it’s about the newly promoted Captain Patrick Sullivan and his attractive nemesis, defense attorney, Charlie Demarco. Her job is to get her clients off the hook, no matter what, and she’s very good at her job. Even so, Pat can’t help but be attracted to her. She’s gorgeous (and he meets her the first time before he knows who she is), she’s smart, she’s funny... she’s perfect all rolled up in a great package, if not for that pesky job.

To make matters worse, there’s a serial killer on the loose.

So, they have this push/pull relationship with each of them on the other side of the line. Still, they manage to fall in love despite that, until something comes up to tear them apart.

I admit, I’m struggling to write this review. I love the Sullivan family, and K. M. Daughters’ writing is tight, strong, descriptive and just well done. But ...

But I really struggled with Charlie’s character. I understood that she needed to work to pay off the debt she incurred on her family’s behalf, but I just couldn’t believe that she’d willingly get criminals off the hook. I couldn’t help but think that working anywhere else doing anything else (even if she couldn’t be a lawyer) would have been preferable because how do you live with yourself when you have to do something so contrary to your beliefs on a daily basis? It really made it difficult for me to like her and to understand how someone like Patrick Sullivan, with his strong set of morals, could set aside her job as though it really didn’t matter. It mattered to me. She redeems herself, of course, or she wouldn't be our heroine, but I still struggled with her choices at the start.

Even so, the rest of the story was strong enough for me to accept her at face value, try to like her and keep on reading. As with the other K. M. Daughters’ books, the mystery was secondary to the romance. It was still strong, and interesting, but the romance was at the fore – which is just fine with me.

Patrick is a woman’s dream: handsome, strong, trustworthy, sexy, thoughtful. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him fall in love. His determination to solve the serial killer crimes is fabulous, too. Really, aside from a bit of temper, he has very few flaws. And he comes with a great family.

Truly, it’s the characters that make this story (and the other books in the series) fabulous. I know them all, each individual, and am thoroughly wrapped up with them, which is why I mourned the death of the one who died. The authors have the knack for vivid, three-dimensional characters and I’m a sucker for a character driven story.

So, if you’re looking for some wonderfully written romances with a hint of mystery and populated with plenty of great folks, you won’t go wrong choosing the Sullivan Boys series by K. M. Daughters. I’m a solid fan and recommend them all.