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This is the second book in The Legal Briefs Series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book in the series, and I never felt lost or as though I was missing any crucial information in order to enjoy this novel.
This is actually my first time reading a book by Emma Chase. If you read a lot of romance novels, you may find that Jake Becker sounds a tad familiar. He’s a successful, career-oriented man who enjoys the company of beautiful women, but prefers that their company be kept to one night. Yup, you guessed it, he’s not interested in having a relationship. But don’t be fooled by this common trope. While the story is told completely from Jake’s point-of-view, in my opinion, it’s the children in this book who truly steal the show.
Chelsea McQuaid’s life has completely changed in the blink of an eye. After the death of her brother and his wife, Chelsea is left as sole caregiver for their six children. Yes, six children! I felt for Chelsea. She had to leave her life behind, move across the country, take care of six children…and she’s only twenty-six. I’m sorry, but even Mary Poppins would probably open up her parasol and fly away from the responsibility of caring for that many children. But Chelsea loves those children. Despite having to completely adjust her own life, she is more than willing to be there for her nieces and nephews. And let me tell you, those kids are adorable.
From the way that Jake first meets one of the McQuaid kids to his subsequent interactions with them, it is hilarious, sweet, and heartwarming. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have much experience with kids, they not only take to him pretty quickly but they also infiltrate his life. Jake is also pretty taken with their aunt. His help and attention during this big transition in the McQuaid household has made him a familiar, welcome, and frequent guest. Of course, the interactions between Chelsea and Jake have also developed into something a bit friendlier.
While Sustained is a romance story at its core, I enjoyed watching Jake transform from a rigid, all-business type of man into more of a family man. It’s always interesting to witness a big, tough, cold guy become completely smitten and warm to a bunch of kids. But while he seemed to be warming up to new possibilities in his life, fear seemed to be holding him back from having a different kind of life than he had originally planned on. This provided for some romantic tension between Jake and Chelsea. His heart may have grown two sizes since he met the McQuaids, but it was difficult to completely exorcise the jerk out of him.
Sustained was a good, solid, well-written story that had plenty of heart, humor, and romance. It may not be a story that stays on my mind for days or weeks after reading it, but it was certainly an enjoyable read that kept me entertained from start to finish.