May 29 2015 8:30am

First Look: Julie James’s Suddenly One Summer (June 2, 2015)

Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Julie James
Suddenly One Summer (Novel Series)
Penguin Publishing Group / June 2, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

From the New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Wedding comes a novel about a man and a woman whose summer is about to get very, very hot...

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford.... 

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for.  

Spring is the best time of the year—with the renewal of all things dormant—flowers blooming, trees putting on new leaves and growth, and gardens coming to life. The weather is perfect too. It’s not too cold or too hot. But the biggest reason to be excited about spring is a new Julie James’s book. 

James is taking a break from her FBI/U.S. Attorney series with Suddenly One Summer, but don’t worry, all her trademark characterization is still very much in evidence—competent, professional heroine who knows how to stand her ground, dealing with failure-is-not-an-option sexy hero. Plus her previous characters do make some cameos.

While James characterization is a prime reason readers kept returning again and again to her books, another reason is the conflict set-up—the initial meeting between the hero and heroine. It’s fun, lively and sometimes feisty. It’s the foreplay—you might say—to the hero and heroine’s recognition of danger—here is a person that might be able to get pass my barriers and walls. 

Like other Julie James’ heroes, Ford Dixon doesn’t make the best first impression. Now some of James’s other heroes sort of brought it on themselves–like Vaughn Roberts from It Happened One Wedding with his over-confident pick-up line or Cade Morgan from Love Irresistibly with his you-have-to do-what-I-say because-I’m-the-FBI- bluster, but Ford—he is just trying to be a good guy, do the right thing and it backfires on him, giving Victoria Slade an entirely wrong impression of his morals, his ethics, and his personality. And you know how difficult it is to change first impressions, but then again you know that first impressions are not always right.    

Both Ford and Victoria are out for drinks with friends at their favorite bar when they take notice of each other. Victoria is not a misandrist, although she is a jaded—consequence of her career as a divorce attorney, so when Ford makes eye contact, she’s not opposed to the idea of meeting him, just cautious. But when she sees a woman sit down right beside him, she and her friends assume the worst. 

Unable to resist, Victoria sneaked in one more peek. When his eyes met hers across the bar, boldly holding her gaze, she felt a thrill of attraction zip through her body. The corners of his lips curved in a smile, as if to say, Yeah, I felt that too.   

Ah. Well. So much for that. 

Victoria was just thinking about her next move, or how she might respond to his next move, when an attractive woman with short blond hair sat down in the seat next to him and whispered something in his ear. 

Victoria turned back to her friends. 

Audrey rolled her eyes. “What a jerk. Totally checking you out while he’s here with another woman.

Ford for his part is enjoying the view of the gorgeous brunette in the red heels, when an unknown woman asks if he wants to join their bachelorette party.  He doesn’t really want to do so because he is too intrigued by Victoria, but then Victoria and her friends get up and leave.   

Little does Ford know that the woman that he felt this instant attraction for is his new neighbor. If he knew, that he probably wouldn’t have wasted his time with people he had little in common with, or even agreed to have the party continue at his place—the suggestion of one of his pals—trying to make time with the redhead in the group.    

Victoria had a break-in a couple of months ago, while she was home, resulting in her feeling unsafe. The individuals bypassed her security alarm so she hasn’t had a good night sleep in ages. She can’t stop listening for intruders. Her solution—put her townhome on the market and find a new place. She’s already to purchase a condo in the Trump Towers, when she discovers it won’t be available until August. She ready to pass on the deal when her friend Rachel comes up with a solution, sublet a condo for three months. But her first night in her temporary home, it looks like she won’t be getting much sleep either—for a different reason—she is an unwilling eavesdropper to F. Dixon’s party: 

It wasn’t that the music was overly loud.  And, admittedly the voices were muted; presumably F. Dixon and Co. were hanging out in the living area of his/her loft—which, yes they were perfectly entitled to do. But it was two a.m., and Victoria had just been the middle of the longest stretch of sleep she’d had in a month.   

“Who wants a penis pop?” someone shouted.   

And...that was her cue to take her leave. 

She had no clue what a “Penis pop” was—although it sounded kinky and quite possibly a little painful for all parties involved-but these were not things she needed to be musing over at two a.m.

The next morning Victoria introduces herself to the woman coming out of the apartment next door, assuming it is her neighbor, only to discover she’s an overnight guest. The evidence only stacks up more. And then with the confirmation that the guy she thought was so attractive is the worst kind of player, Victoria’s animosity intensifies. As does Ford’s with Victoria’s disdain.

He cocked his head, seeing no reason not to be direct. “Sorry, but last Friday at the bar, I thought we had a vibe going.” 

“We did.” Her tone was surprisingly pleasant for someone who’d just rejected a guy without a second thought. “But unfortunately, I’m not interested in joining the cavalcade.” 

“The cavalcade?” No clue what that meant. 

“Of women coming in and out of your place.” 

He smiled, because, well, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Obviously, he needed to clear the air here. “That cavalcade. Look, I’m not sure what you—” 

She held up her hand. “Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against casual dating. I’m a big believer in it myself, actually. Between the blonde, the brunette, and the redhead you undoubtedly have on deck for tonight, it looks like you’ve got a nice arrangement for yourself here. And under different circumstances, I probably say, hey, roc on with your frisky self. But as the person who has to share a wall with you, these antics with the partying, and the penis pops, and the late-night hookups showing up on your doorstep—and mine—are starting to wear a touch thin. And frankly, it all seems a little . . . juvenile.                                                               

It’s only when both have a vested interested in helping Ford’s sister Nicole locate the father of her child that they agree to put aside their antagonism and work together. That is a lot easier to do than ignore the sexual tension that is generated whenever they are around each other.    

Suddenly One Summer has the conflict-filled beginning, magnetic attraction middle and happy ending that readers have come to expect from James’s books. It a pleasure to read about genuine scenarios and on-target characterization—you won’t want to miss it.


Learn more about or order a copy of Suddenly One Summer by Julie James, available June 2, 2015:

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Scarlettleigh, blogger

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1 comment
1. Kareni
I'm definitely looking forward to reading this! Thanks for the review.
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