TBR Challenge: Sustained by Emma Chase
A KNIGHT IN TARNISHED ARMOR IS STILL A KNIGHT.
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 by being 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 get you off. 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 needs someone to help her, to defend her...and the kids.
And that--that, I know how to do.
This book was on a ton of Best of 2015 posts on various book blogs that I follow so when the TBR challenge monthly motif was recommended read, I decided to pick up what should be a sure winner. While it didn't live up to all of my expectations, I am still glad that I finally read the book that seemed to get everyone talking last year.
Jake is all about no complications...he does his job really well, has an eye on partnership in fact, and spends his spare time looking for his next hook up. He is forced to take a two-week hiatus from his usual nocturnal activities when a previous lover comes to his office and informs him she has syphilis. I'll be honest, at this point I didn't really like Jake but his voice was so great that I continued reading. Soon after his two week affair with Hanna Hand, he is accosted by a short pickpocket; pissed that the kid targeted him, he charges after him. Turns out his thief is Rory, one of six children who have recently lost their parents in a car accident and who are now under the guardianship of their Aunt Chelsea.
When Chelsea learned that her beloved older brother and his wife died, she packed her things, broke the lease on her apartment, dropped out of graduate school and moved across the country to take care of her nieces and nephews--all of the family she has left. With ages spanning from six months to fourteen, Chelsea's world has turned upside down and she is doing the very best that she can but feels overwhelmed 99% of the time. The other 1% she is sleeping the sleep of the exhausted. When Jake shows up at her door with Rory, the pickpocket, she doesn't realize that she is looking at the man who will soon be helping her shoulder the responsibilities that have taken over her world.
Jake can't quite figure out how he went from taking a pickpocket home to chaperoning teenage girls to One Direction concerts, teaching a nine year old how to defend himself from a bully, playing nursemaid to a house full of sick kids (and a sick aunt), and being perfectly happy to just kiss a beautiful woman (of course, he would like more than kisses, but if that is the limit of what Chelsea will give him he'll make it be enough). Every once in a while the seriousness of what he is getting himself into hits him and he feels the need to back off, but generally he finds himself going back for more. When he isn't with Chelsea and the kids, he's thinking about them. He is a defender and he has chosen to defend them.
I loved the dialogue in this one--Jake has quite the potty mouth and even around the kids he doesn't rein it in, but somehow it works. While I love the dynamic between him and Chelsea, his conversations with the kids far outshine the romantic banter. Each of the kiddos have very distinct personalities and all of them interact with Jake in unique and varied ways...even Ronan, the infant gets his share of page time with Jake. When Jake tries to cool things off with Chelsea, he knows that he can't just walk away from the entire family; watching him babysit while Chelsea goes on a date with another man was poetic justice. When Jake finally pulls his head out of his ass, he does a good grovel and I truly believe in his HEA with Chelsea, Riley, Rory, Raymond, Rosaleen, Regan and Ronan.