Adult Romance published April 28, 2015
Author's website | Goodreads | Buy the Book on Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.
Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan. Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.
That's definitely not part of the plan.
Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.
But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits" begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.
Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.
What happens when you mix a one stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage and a gun-toting Nana?
The Bourbon flows, passions rise and even the best laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.
I skimmed through the reviews of this book on Goodreads before I read this book and there are a lot of mixed reviews for sure, but I tend to not let other review color my opinion of what I am reading. I am glad that I went ahead and read this book despite all that. I will preface this by saying that I am getting an ARC of the 2nd book in the series so I did want to read this one first even though they can be read as standalones.
This story starts out when Stanton is still in high school and he and Jenny find out that she is pregnant. Stanton and Jenny have been together for years and they truly do love each other and Stanton is ready to get married, but Jenny is determined that this baby will not alter Stanton's future. He's been accepted into a college that will give him the opportunity to become more that what their small town can offer him. Fast forward a couple times...Jenny has the baby a little girl that they name Presley. They graduate and Stanton moves away for college, but returns home to see his girls when he can. After just a little time Jenny decides that they should see other people during the times when they are apart. The years pass this way, but for Stanton at the end of the day Jenny is his girl no matter what.
In the present Stanton is an attorney still working far away from his small hometown. Sophia is another attorney that he works closely with and on the side they have a "friends with benefits" relationship that is working very well for both of them. Then Stanton gets a call that he isn't even remotely prepared for even though he's been separated from Jenny for over 10 years now. He decides to drop everything to go back home to Mississippi to win his girl back, but he doesn't want to go alone so he convinces Sophia to go. Things take an unexpected turn when he gets there and realizes that things you want when you are 18 aren't always the things you want or need when you are 18. People change and relationships do as well. Sometimes you have to let someone go in order to embrace the one person you need for the rest of your life.
If you have read Emma Chase's Tangled series then you will appreciate her writing style. The majority of this book is written from Stanton's POV, but about 1/3 of the chapters are from Sophia's. Chase does an excellent job writing from the male perspective. Also, we find out that Stanton and Drew, from the Tangled series, are Fraternity brothers and still friends so Drew does pop up in this book with some spoilers from that series (which I haven't finished yet!). There are some aspects of this book that readers may have issues with, particularly the odd love triangle. For me this wasn't an issue though. I didn't feel that connection with Jenny that I did with Sophia. It was clear to me that the relationship was over with Jenny and technically he wasn't cheating on Jenny at all. They had a clear understanding from the beginning and Stanton wasn't going back on that by seeing Sophia. The only thing that did bother me was that it took him SO long to realize that he really wasn't in love with Jenny any more. Other than that I loved the book and I loved Stanton!
Chase did introduce the characters that will make up the rest of this series and I can't wait to read the next book!