Jake Becker is a high powered defense attorney for a prestigious law firm. He’s also a lover of women, and he ‘loves’ them every chance he gets. The thought of settling down, or even dating, has never crossed his mind. Jake was raised by his mom after his abusive dad left, and as a kid he was headed down the wrong path until he was taken under the wing of a workaholic judge who saw something redeemable in Jake.
Chelsea McQuaid is -was- a 26-year-old college student. Then her older brother and his wife died in a car accident, leaving Chelsea their six kids ranging in age from infant to 14 to take care of. Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to cover it, but she loves the kids and is doing the best she can.
When Jake’s wallet is pickpocketed, he chases the kid, Rory, until he catches him. Jake sees something of himself as a child in Rory, and decides to take Rory home to his parents and let them sort him out. What Jake finds at Rory’s home instead is Chelsea, obviously overwhelmed by caring for six children. Jake would love to get together with Chelsea, but he knows she’s got her hands full. Several incidents later, and the kids have drawn him in to the family and closer to Chelsea. Jake doesn’t want a family though, and is fighting the life lesson that ‘want’ and ‘need’ are two different things.
I enjoyed the small role Jake had in the first book, Overruled, and was looking forward to his story. Let me say here that you do not need to read Overruled to jump right in to Sustained. Yes, we do read about the couple from Overruled, and it’s nice to see how they’re doing, but it’s not necessary to read it to enjoy Sustained. I’m also going to say that if you didn’t like Overruled (the hero was an ass), don’t be afraid to give Sustained a read, it’s got a different feel to it.
I can’t say I was surprised that I enjoyed Sustained, because I fully expected to, but it’s always nice when a book lives up to your expectations. The hours that I spent with Chelsea, Jake, and the kids were a nice break from reality. Jake was a pretty amazing character – if you want a character that shows growth through the story, Jake is a great example. Does he have a few bumps in the road? Sure he does, but he gets there eventually and I (mostly) enjoyed his journey. Chelsea was a character I could identify with – she wasn’t perfect but she was a good person in a tough situation. She doesn’t always make the right choice in her personal life but she will do anything for the kids.
Let’s talk about the kids: I normally avoid books with kids in them. I find them annoying and too cutesy or ridiculous and read the ‘kid scenes’ rolling my eyes. This is not the case in Sustained – these kids were realistic, cute but not in a fake way, and essential to the story. Color me surprised but I genuinely liked these kids!
Sustained was a funny, sexy, quick (quick in that I couldn’t stop reading, the book is 267 pages) read that I didn’t want to put down. From humorous scenes like Jake going to a One Direction concert, to serious scenes involving Child Services, I wanted the best for Jake and Chelsea and the kids, and I wanted it to be together. Every time something happened I wanted to cheer them on with a “you can do this!”.
I almost gave Sustained 5 stars, but I took off 1 star for the following reasons:
- There is a scene in Sustained where it appears Jake drove drunk – there were no repercussions, he kind of noted it and went on, no “OMG that was dangerous/illegal/stupid”. Yes, fictional heroes have flaws, but this is a hot issue for me and it took the shine off the character in a major way.
- In the first few pages Jake gets an STD. He’s cured before he meets Chelsea, but Jake and Chelsea never talk about their sexual history except to say “I’m clean” and I kind of feel like they should have. He was clean, but…I just have mixed feelings about this.
So, in summary, Sustained was, for me, a great read with just a few grumbles. It left me happy with the ending for more than just the romance storyline, and highly anticipating the next book. Now, there is a sneak-peek of the next book, Appealed, at the end of Sustained. Of course I read it and it looks like it’s going to be fabulous. According to Amazon, we have to wait until January for Appealed – *cries* that’s too long!!!
Recommendation: Sustained is a solid read that will appeal to contemporary romance readers looking for an entertaining story. I would recommend Sustained to fans of Julie James, romance readers who love law settings, and readers who like the “instant family” trope.