Hey, George Clooney got married! An Oscar-winning actor, Sexiest Man Alive, serial dater got married to a lawyer! Coincidentally I just listened to this audiobook about a fictional Oscar-winning, Sexiest Man serial dater who falls in love with a lawyer. Does this fictional man get married? If you don’t know the answer to that, then you fail at Romance Reading 101. This book was published in 2008, I wonder if George read it and had been searching for a lawyer to love ever since?
Jason Andrews is the celebrity of the title. He’s pretty much every woman’s fantasy, if that woman fantasizes about hot looks, wicked charm, celebrity status, buckets of money, and a man who won’t date you for more than a week.
Taylor Donovan is a lawyer from Chicago, temporarily transferred to her firm’s Los Angeles office to defend a company from a sexual harassment lawsuit. The million-dollar case is about to go to trial when her boss pulls her into his office for an extra assignment. It seems some actor wants to shadow a lawyer in preparation for his next part, and since Taylor is awesome (and a newbie) and competent (and a woman) and professional (and a workaholic), she gets to handle this matter as well.
Taylor “researches” Jason with a little help from the secretary pool at work, learning about his accomplishments and his reputation. When Jason blows off their first two appointments for a published-in-the-tabloids weekend in Vegas, Taylor is prepared to hate him. When he finally makes an appearance at court, where she’s arguing a motion, Taylor gives him a taste of cross-examination and then walks out on him. No woman has ever done that to him before, so of course Jason calls her boss and insists that she work with him.
Taylor was a fleshed-out character. She grew up with brothers in Chicago and learned how to act tough and fight back. She didn’t learn how to be a pretty girl until sometime in college when she met some best friends. Now she’s on her career path to partnership and she does not need or want an entitled actor messing with her work. She resents his attitude, and his infringement on her time, although she admits that he is nice to look at.
Jason didn’t make as much sense to me. He, of course, used to be a nobody, and he has a best friend from the Before Times who keeps him grounded, sort of. Otherwise, Jason has embraced the lifestyle. He has his people do all the busywork for him; he drives a flashy car; and he owns a plane so he can whisk people away to Vegas for a night. Every woman he meets offers to sleep with him, blow him in the car on the way to her place, or bring a friend for a threesome. And I don’t think he minded it very much until he spent time with a woman who rejected him.
I think my biggest problem with this book was Jason’s lack of a character arc. For most of the book, it seemed that his main goal was to sleep with Taylor. He wasn’t thinking long-term, or even day-after, he was just waiting to get into her business suit. I get that he liked her and liked spending time with her, but too many times he defaulted to that horny teenage boy mental state. Plus, he never apologizes for blowing off their first meetings, or lying to her a few times. It’s like Taylor just has to accept that as part of his personality, but I thought it showed immaturity on his part.
I was surprised that Taylor and Jason did not get it on until the end. There were lots of scenes of friends, and Hollywood parties, and glamorous people doing glamorous things, but there weren’t too many intimate moments for our main couple. Taylor kept things on a friends level for a long time, making Jason pretty desperate. And then she kept shooting him down. Those were times when I wondered if Jason was just in it for the chase.
This was pretty fun, though, especially for a glimpse into the Hollywood world of 2008. Some of the celebrity and media references were a bit old (like, who cares about Paris Hilton these days? And Whoopi Goldberg’s not on The View anymore), but they weren’t too intrusive. It worked on many levels, including a butt-kicking strong heroine, but the romance wasn’t as swoon-worthy as I would have liked.
*ARC Provided by Berkley
Click to purchase: Amazon
Just the Sexiest Man Alive
by Julie James
Release Date: October 7, 2008