The Thing About Love by Julie James + Exclusive Excerpt

02 May 2017

The Thing About Love
by Julie James (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Berkley on April 18th, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated...

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

Julie James has brought me back from the dead. Figuratively speaking. See, when I see a Julie James book, best believe, I would go the long mile just to get my hands on it. And lo behold, Berkley has been kind to grant me an ARC (thank you!) which I devoured in one sitting. I’ve been so obsessed with Julie James’ Attorney-FBI series and they’ve all made it to my favourites list! I can’t stress how much I adore this woman’s books—a perfect mix of action and romance!

I knew I was sold the moment I read the synopsis for James’ latest FBI romance, The Thing About Love. Ex-army turned FBI agent John Shepherd has been partnered with newly transferred agent Jessica Harlow in an undercover assignment, but the catch is these two have hated each other since their time at the Academy six years ago. Rivals turned FBI case partners? Academy arch enemies? Sounds like a ‘frenemies to lovers’ romance to me, so sign me the f*ck up! This trope is my absolute guilty pleasure. A secret obsession. And I’m definitely not sorry about it. Imagine all the sexual tension and witty banter as they try to push through with a professional relationship while working together!

John and Jessica would have to be my favourite characters and couple by Julie James. I loved the stark contrast between the two—John, big, burly and broody while Jessica stood pretty and sassy at five foot three—but both were incredibly strong, intelligent and kickass characters anybody wouldn’t want to mess with. Also, the sexual tension between these two is just off the charts hot! I loved how these two absolutely complemented each other. I enjoyed how John and Jessica slowly developed rapport through their daily trades of snarky barbs and their interchanging POVs, especially about how their time together at Quantico went down.

The only issue I had with this book was the information overload at the beginning. I thought there was a little too much of the FBI technical talk at the first few pages of the book, but the pace immediately picked up right after.

If you’re into books with a little mix of action and romance, Julie James’ books come highly recommended, especially The Thing About Love. It’s fast-paced and hilarious, not to mention cute, fluffy, hot and steamy! Also, it can be read as a standalone.

Massive thanks to Berkley for my ARC copy! 


Steeling himself, John turned around and smiled as Jessica approached. “Yes, Agent Harlow. How can I be of service?” 

In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.

 “Look, I’m not thrilled about this, either.” Keeping her voice low, she came to a stop next to him at the elevator bank. “I thought you were supposed to be on the Hostage Rescue Team already.”

“And I thought you were supposed to be in L.A.”

There was a quick flash in her eyes before she shrugged off his question. “Change of plans.” 

The elevator arrived at their floor, and they both stepped inside. She hit the button for the seventh floor, where the public corruption squad was located. Standing on the opposite side, he pressed the button for floor five. 

They faced off as the doors shut. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him with those crystalline blue eyes that could so cleverly mask her emotions. 

As he knew well.

“We’re going to have to figure this out,” she said. “We’re supposed to be business partners in this.”

Thank you, yes, being a professional, he was aware of that. He took a step closer. “It’s called “undercover” work, Harlow. If I can pretend to be a gun-buying, murder-for-hire thug, I think I can handle playing some rich investor-type who wants to skirt a few measly zoning laws.” Even a rich investor-type who was apparently masochistic enough to get in bed with the likes of her. Professionally-speaking.

“Measly zoning laws?” she repeated.

Ooh, now he’d gone and pissed her off. How nice it was, really, that they could pick up like this, right where they’d left off.

She drew in closer, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. He was over a foot taller than her, although he noticed that she was heightening a bit with those expensive-looking three-inch heels she wore.

“Our target in this investigation is the mayor of the thirteenth largest city in the United States. That’s a pretty big deal in my book.” She gestured to his facial scruff and hair. “And while I appreciate that this . . . Sons of Anarchy motif you’ve got going might ingratiate yourself with the gun-buying, murder-for-hire, organized-crime thugs of the world, that’s not quite going to fly with this sting operation.”

 “’Thirteenth largest city in the United States?’” he scoffed. “Just how many hours did you spend reviewing the case files last night?” 

She smiled sweetly as the elevator arrived at her floor. “Enough to get the jump on you.” 

Then the doors sprang open, and she gave him a friendly wave, once again stepping into the role of Ms. Congeniality. “So glad we got to catch up like this, Agent Shepherd. We’ll talk again soon.”

He watched her stride confidently down the hallway as the elevator doors closed between them. 
Enough to get the jump on you.

Not for long, sweetheart.

Time for him to get cracking on that case file.