August 25, 2015

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Sustained (The Legal Briefs #2)

Sustained (The Legal Briefs #2), by Emma Chase
Publish Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.

Oh my gosh. How does Emma Chase do it? How does she so effortlessly weave a tale that is in equal measures hilarious and heartbreaking? Okay - maybe not equal parts. SUSTAINED was definitely more hilarious than heartbreak.  

Remember Tangled? Remember how hard you fell in love with Drew when he was telling the story of he and Kate and how much of a douchebag he was at times along the way? Well, I think Jake and Drew were twins separated at birth. Don't get me wrong - Jake's and Chelsea's story is nothing like Drew's and Kate's. It's got a different vibe, and for sure the side characters are totally different. But, reading Sustained, which is told from Jake's POV, I just felt the same sort of feeling as I did when I read Tangled - that, despite Jake's less-than chivalrous attitude toward women, there was an amazing man underneath it all. And I couldn't wait to get to him. 

The only thing Jake loves more than himself is going in for the kill. He's a defense attorney, and he routinely and swiftly gets his rich clients off for the various infractions they commit. At night, he has his pick of women, so long as they don't expect him to ever put a ring on it. As long as both parties get off, he considers it a check in the win column, and heaven forbid if they even show so much as a hint of attachment. 

Sorry, Cinderella, but the clock struck twelve. The coach has turned back into a pumpkin and its time to collect your glass slipper. I never pretended to be Prince Charming.

And then, he meets Chelsea - aunt to six orphaned children ranging in age from 6 months to 14 years. She gave up her life on the west coast to come to the DC area to raise them when her brother and his wife are killed in a car accident. She's doing a great job, all things considered, but one of the middle boys is giving her an especially hard time, and as it turns out, Jake can relate to him. This little boy put the first crack in Jake's stone cold veneer, and Chelsea's plight, along with her sweetness, strength and beauty blew the rest of it apart. 

Jake was so... likeable... when he was with Chelsea and the kids. You take the suit out of the stone and glass building and put him in the middle of a messy kitchen with screaming children, and as one would expect, he doesn't exactly fit in. But, while most men in his position would run for the hills, it is absolutely not in Jake's nature to give up. If that means he has to Google how to change a diaper or accompany a bunch of teenage girls to a One Direction concert, then he does it. Because Jake Becker does not give up. He does not say die. He does not turn away from something he wants. And, Jake has decided he wants Chelsea. 

Well, that is, until Jake is faced with the very real fact that a life with Chelsea and six kids doesn't really fit with the persona he's worked his entire professional life to cultivate. He starts thinking maybe he doesn't want to work 100 hour weeks and defend scumbags anymore. And that rocks him to his very core. 

Jake might be a strong guy, but Chelsea is even stronger. It takes some kind of woman to give up everything to come raise six kids that she didn't give birth to. All while grieving her brother's death and the death of the life she had mapped out for herself. She asks for help when she needs it. She steals moments with Jake when she can. And, when she can't, she makes the best of it. Jake was exactly what she needed. And she was exactly what he needed. 

I. Loved. This. Book. Every single minute of it. I loved Jake and when he showed those pieces of himself that you knew were special. I loved Chelsea and her quiet strength and her big love. And I loved all the kids - each one had a different personality and quirk that made him or her memorable and special, and I loved reading about the different ways that Chelsea and Jake dealt with them. 

The humor you have come to expect from Emma Chase is there in spades. This is a hysterical book! I laughed out loud during most of it - it was just such an enjoyable read. It was also hot as hell. Jake is an intense guy, and when he and Chelsea finally give in and get together, holy crap. SO. GOOD. And, yes, there was heartbreak. As you can imagine, Jake doesn't always do the right thing. And the kids' situation is anything but happy. There were times I was close to tears. 

Please read this book. I want you to experience Jake and fall in love with him the same way I did. And, after you finish, you'll see that there's absolutely no way to avoid it.

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