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Автором Emma Chase

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Автором Emma Chase

4/5 (144 оценки)
326 pages
4 hours
Apr 28, 2015


Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with the first installment of the Legal Briefs series!

A Washington, DC, defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing—with his southern drawl, disarming smile, and captivating green eyes, he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him, and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart, the mother of his beloved ten-year-old daughter. Jenny is getting married—to someone who isn’t him.

That's definitely not part of the plan.


Sofia Santos is a city-raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits," begs her for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi, to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves. Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

What happens when you mix a one-stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage, and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise, and even the best-laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.
Apr 28, 2015

Об авторе

By day, Emma Chase is a devoted wife and mother who lives in a small, rural town in New Jersey. By night, she toils away bringing her colorful characters and their endless antics to life. Writing has always been her passion, and the release of her debut romantic comedy Tangled was nothing less than a dream come true. The subsequent books in her delightful, beloved series include Twisted, Tamed, and Tied. She is also the author of Sustained from her sexy new Legal Briefs series.

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Overruled - Emma Chase



Senior year high school, October

Sunshine, Mississippi

Most stories start at the beginning. But not this one. This one starts at the end. Or, at least, what I thought was the end—of my life, my dreams, my future. I thought it was all over because of two words.

It’s positive.

Two words. Two little blue lines.

My stomach free falls and my knees lose their will. My green Sunshine High School football jersey clings to my torso, stained with dark sweat spots under the pits—and it’s got nothing to do with the Mississippi sun. I take the stick from Jenny’s hand and shake it, hoping one blue line will disappear.

It doesn’t.


But even at seventeen, my debate skills are sharp. I offer a counterargument—an explanation. Reasonable doubt.

Maybe you did it wrong? Or maybe it’s defective? We should get another one.

Jenny sniffs as tears gather in her baby blues. I’ve been gettin’ sick every mornin’ for the last week, Stanton. I haven’t had my period in two months. It’s positive. She wipes at her cheeks and raises her chin. I’m not stealin’ another test from Mr. Hawkin’s store to tell us what we already know.

When you live in a small town—particularly a small southern town—everybody knows everybody. They know your granddaddy, your momma, your wild big brother and sweet baby sister; they know all about your uncle who got locked up in the federal penitentiary and the cousin who was never quite right after that unfortunate tractor incident. Small towns make it too awkward to get condoms, too hard to go on birth control pills, and impossible to buy a pregnancy test.

Unless you want your parents to hear all about it before your girl even has time to piss on the stick.

Jenny wraps her arms around her waist with trembling hands. As scared shitless as I am, I know it’s nothing compared to what she’s feeling. And that’s on me. I did this—my eagerness, my horniness. Fucking stupidity.

People can say what they want about feminism and equality and that’s all fine and good. But I was raised on the idea that men are protectors. Where the buck stops. The ones who go down with the ship. So the fact that my girl is in trouble is no one’s fault but mine.

Hey, c’mere. I pull her small body against my chest, holding her tight. It’s gonna be okay. Everything’s gonna be all right.

Her shoulders shake as she weeps. I’m so sorry, Stanton.

I met Jenny Monroe in the first grade. I put a toad in her backpack because my brother dared me to. For two months she shot spitballs at the back of my head in retribution. In third grade I thought I was in love with her—by sixth grade I was sure of it. She was beautiful, funny, and she could throw a football better than any girl—and half the boys—I knew. We broke up in eighth grade when Tara-Mae Forrester offered to let me touch her boobs.

And I did.

We got back together that next summer, when I won her a bear at the county fair.

She’s more than just my first kiss—my first everything. Jenny’s my best friend. And I’m hers.

I rear back so I can look into her eyes. I touch her face and stroke her silky blond hair. You’ve got nothing to be sorry for. You didn’t do this by yourself. I wiggle my eyebrows and grin. I was there too, remember?

That makes her laugh. She swipes a finger under both eyes. Yeah, it was a good night.

I cup her cheek. Sure was.

It wasn’t our first time—or our tenth—but it was one of the best. The kind of night you never forget—a full moon and a flannel blanket. Just a few feet from where we are right now—next to the river with a six-pack of beer kicked and music floating out of the open windows of my pickup. It was all soft kisses, hot whispers, sweaty bodies, and grasping hands. Joined so deep I couldn’t tell where I ended and she began. Pleasure so intense I wanted it to last forever—and prayed out loud that it would.

We would’ve thought about it—tried to relive it—years from now, even if we weren’t having a baby to commemorate it.

A baby.

Fuck me. As the reality truly starts to set in, my stomach drops all the way to China.

Like a mind reader, Jenny asks, What are we gonna do?

My father always told me being scared was nothing to be ashamed of. It was how you reacted to that fear that mattered. Cowards run. Men step up.

And I’m no coward.

I swallow roughly, and all my aspirations, hopes, and plans for leaving this town get swallowed too. I look out over the river, watching the sun sparkle off the water, and make the only choice I can.

We’re gettin’ married. We’ll stay with my parents at first. I’ll work on the farm, go to night school—we’ll save up. You’ll have to put off nursin’ school for a little while. Eventually we’ll get our own place. I’ll take care of you. I put my hand on her still-flat stomach. Both of you.

Her reaction isn’t what I imagine.

Jenny steps back out of my arms, eyes wide and head shaking. What? No! No, you’re supposed to leave for New York right after graduation.

I know.

You gave up your Ole Miss football scholarship to go to Columbia. It’s Ivy League.

I shake my head. And lie.

Jenn, none of that matters now.

There’s not a single guy in this town who wouldn’t give his eye teeth to play ball at Ole Miss . . . but not me. I’ve always wanted different—bigger, brighter, farther.

Jenny’s flip-flopped feet kick up sand as she paces on the riverbank. Her white sundress flares as she turns a final time to me, finger pointing. You’re goin’ and that’s all there is to it. Just like we planned. Nothin’s changed.

My voice rails with resentment she doesn’t deserve. "What are you talkin’ about—everything’s changed! You can’t come visit me once a month with a baby! We can’t bring a baby to a dorm room."

Resigned, she whispers, I know.

I take my own step back. You expect me to leave you here? That was gonna be hard enough before, but now . . . I’m not gonna fucking walk away when you’re pregnant. What kinda man do you think I am?

She grasps my hands and gives me a speech that rivals win one for the Gipper. You’re the kind of man who’s gonna go to Columbia University and graduate with honors. A man who’s gonna be able to name his salary when he does. You’re not walkin’ away, you’re doin’ what’s best for us. For our family, our future.

I’m not goin’ anywhere.

Oh yes you are.

And what about your future?

I’ll stay with my parents—they’ll help me with the baby. They’re practically raising the twins anyway.

Jenny’s older sister, Ruby, is the proud mother of twins, with baby number three on the way. She attracts losers like cow shit attracts flies. The unemployed, the alcoholic, the lazy—she can’t get enough of them.

Between them and your parents, I’ll still be able to go to nursin’ school. Jenny wraps her slender arms around my neck.

And, God, she’s pretty.

I don’t want to leave you, I murmur.

But my girl’s mind is made up. You’ll go and come home when you can. And when you can, it’ll get us through until the next time.

I kiss her lips—they’re soft and full and taste like cherry. I love you. I’ll never love anyone the way I love you.

She smiles. And I love you, Stanton Shaw—there’s only ever gonna be you.

Young love is strong. First love is powerful. But what you don’t know when you’re young—what you can’t know—is how long life actually is. And the only dependable thing about it, besides death and taxes, is change.

Jenny and I had a whole lot of change headed our way.

She takes my hand and we walk to my truck. I open the door for her and she asks, Who are we gonna tell first? Yours or mine?

I blow out a breath. Yours. Get the crazy side over with first.

She’s not offended. Let’s just hope Nana never finds the shells to that shotgun.

•   •   •

Seven months later


This can’t be normal. Dr. Higgens keeps saying it is, but there’s no way.


I grew up on a farm. I’ve seen all types of births—cows, horses, sheep. None of them sounded like this.


This? This is like a horror movie. Like Saw . . . a massacre.


If this is what women go through to have a baby, why would they ever risk having sex at all?


I’m not sure I want to risk having sex again. Jerking off looks a lot better now than it did yesterday.

Jenny screams so loud my ears ring. And I groan as her grip tightens on my already tender hand. The air is thick with sweat—and panic. But Dr. Higgens just sits there on a stool adjusting his glasses. Then he braces his hands on his knees and peers between Jenny’s spread, stirrupped legs—the way my mother squints into the oven on Thanksgiving, trying to decide if the turkey’s done.

Gasping, Jenny collapses back against the pillows and moans, I’m dyin’, Stanton! Promise me you’ll take care of the baby when I’m gone. Don’t let it grow up to be an idiot like your brother, or a slut like my sister.

Her blond bangs are dark with sweat. I push them back from her forehead. Oh, I don’t know. Idiots are funny and sluts have their good points.

Don’t patronize me, dammit! I’m dyin’!

Fear and exhaustion put an extra snap in my voice. Listen up—there is no way in hell you’re leavin’ me to do this on my own. You’re not dying.

Then I turn to Dr. Higgens. Isn’t there somethin’ you can do? Drugs you can give her?

And me?

I’m not usually much of a stoner, but at this moment I’d sell my soul for a hit of pot.

Higgens shakes his head. Won’t do any good. Contractions are comin’ too fast—you got an impatient one here.

Fast? Fast? If five hours is fast, I don’t want to know what slow looks like.

What the hell are we doing?

This isn’t how our lives were supposed to go. I’m the quarterback. I’m the fucking valedictorian—the smart one. Jenny’s the homecoming queen and head cheerleader.

Or at least she was—until the baby bump got too big for her uniform.

We’re supposed to go to prom next month. We should be thinking about graduation parties and bonfires, screwing in the backseat of my truck and having as many good times with our friends as we can before college. Instead we’re having a baby.

A real one—not the hard-boiled-egg kind they make you carry around for a week in school. I cracked mine, by the way.

I’m gonna throw up.

No! Jenny screeches like a mad cow. You’re not allowed to throw up while I’m bein’ ripped in half! You just suck it up! And if I survive and you touch me again, I’m gonna cut your pecker off and feed it into the wood chipper! Do you hear me?

That’s something a man only needs to hear once.


I learned a few hours ago it’s best to agree with anything she says. Alright, alright, alright.

Lynn, the perky nurse, wipes Jenny’s brow. "Now, now, there’ll be no cutting off of things. You’ll forget all about this nasty business when your baby is here. Everyone loooves babies—they’re blessin’s from Jesus."

Lynn’s way too happy to be real. I bet she took all the drugs—now there’s none left for the rest of us.

Another contraction hits. Jenny’s teeth grind as she pushes and grunts through it.

Baby’s crownin’, Higgens announces. He pats her knee. A nice big push on the next one should do it.

I stand up and glance over Jenny’s leg, and I see the top of the head, pushing against my favorite place in the whole world. It’s bizarre and disgusting, but . . . but kind of incredible too.

Jenny falls back, pale and drained. Her sobs make my throat want to close. I can’t. I thought I could do it, but I can’t. Please, no more. I’m so tired.

Her momma wanted to be here in the delivery room—they argued about it. Because Jenny said she only wanted it to be us. Her and me—together.

Gently, I lift Jenn’s shoulders and slide behind her onto the bed, bracing my legs on either side of her. My arms encircle her stomach, my chest supports her back, and her head rests against my collarbone. I brush my lips against her temple, her cheek, murmuring soft nonsensical words, the same way I’d whisper to a skittish horse.

Shh, don’t cry, darlin’. You’re doin’ so good. We’re almost there. Just one more push. I know you’re tired, and I’m sorry it hurts. One more and you can rest. I’m right here with you—we’ll do it together.

Her head turns to me wearily. One more?

I give her a smile. You’re the toughest girl I know. You always have been. I wink. You got this.

She takes a few deep breaths, psyching herself up. Okay. She breathes. Okay. She sits up straighter, bending toward her raised knees. Her fingers clamp down on my hands when the next contraction comes. The room fills with long, guttural groans for a dozen seconds and then . . . a sharp cry pierces the air. A baby’s cry.

Our baby.

Jenny pants and gasps with sudden relief. And Dr. Higgens holds up our squirming, cheesy child and pronounces, It’s a girl.

My vision blurs and Jenny laughs. With her own tears streaming down her face she turns to me. We have a baby girl, Stanton.

Ho-ly shit.

And we laugh and cry and hold on to each other all at the same time. A few minutes later, Happy Nurse Lynn carries the pink bundle over and places her in Jenny’s arms.

Oh my God, she’s perfect, Jenny sighs. My awed silence must worry her, because she asks, You’re not disappointed she’s not a boy, are you?

Nah . . . boys are useless . . . nothin’ but trouble. She’s . . . she’s everything I wanted.

I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know it would feel like this. A tiny nose, two perfect lips, long lashes, a wisp of blond hair, and hands that I can already tell are miniature versions of my own. In an instant, my world shifts and I’m at her mercy. From this moment on, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for this beautiful little creature.

I brush my fingertip against her soft cheek, and even though men aren’t supposed to coo, I do. Hey, baby girl.

Y’all got a name for her? Nurse Lynn asks.

Jenny’s smiling eyes meet mine before turning back to Nurse Lynn. Presley. Presley Evelynn Shaw.

Evelynn is after Jenny’s nana. We figured it might go a long way if she ever finds those shotgun shells. She’s been searching particularly hard since Jenny and I announced we weren’t getting ­married—yet.

Too soon Nurse Lynn takes the baby back so she can get printed and poked. I climb off the bed while Dr. Higgens busies himself between Jenn’s legs. Then he suggests, Why don’t you go outside and give your family the good news, son? They’ve been out there waitin’ all night.

I look to Jenny, who nods her approval. I pick up her hand and kiss the back of it. I love you.

She grins, weary but joyous. I love you too.

I walk down the hallway, through the security doors to the waiting area. There, I find a dozen of the closest people in our lives wearing varying masks of anticipation and impatience.

Before I can get a word out, my little brother, Marshall—the nonidiot one—demands, Well? What is it?

I crouch down eye level with him and I smile. "It . . . is a she."

•   •   •

Two days later, I strapped the car seat into my pickup—checking it four times, to make sure it was in right—and I brought Jenny and Presley home.

Home to her parents’ house.

And just two months after that, I left them. Traveling twelve hundred miles away to Columbia University, New York.


One year later

She was too precious, Stanton, Jenny laughs. She didn’t want to touch the icing at all, didn’t like it stickin’ to her fingers, so she just planted her whole face right in the cake! And she was so mad when I took it back to cut it. I wish you could’ve seen her—this child’s got attitude that puts Nana’s to shame!" She dissolves in a fit of giggles.

Could’ve seen.

Guilt rides me hard. Because I should’ve seen the way Presley tore into her first birthday cake. The way she squealed over the bows and was more fascinated by the wrapping paper than any present it covered. I should’ve been there to light the candles, to take the pictures. To be in the pictures.

But I wasn’t. Couldn’t. Because it’s finals week, so the only place I can be is here—in New York. I force a smile—trying to infuse my tone with enthusiasm. That’s great, Jenn. Sounds like it was an awesome party. I’m glad she enjoyed it.

Try as I might, Jenny can still tell. Baby, stop beatin’ yourself up. I’ll email you all the pictures and the video. It’ll be like you were right here with us.

Yeah. Except I wasn’t.

She sighs. You wanna say good night to her? Sing her your song?

In the short time I spent with our daughter after she was born, and the weeks I was able to have with her over Christmas break, we discovered that Presley has an affinity for the sound of my voice. Even over the telephone, it soothes her when she’s teething, lulls her when she’s fussy. It’s become our ritual, every night.


It’s amazing how two tiny syllables can have so much power. They warm my chest and bring the first genuine grin I’ve had on my face all day.

Happy birthday, baby girl.


I chuckle. Daddy misses you, Presley. You ready for your song? Quietly, I sing,

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

You make me happy when skies are gray . . .

In her sweet, adorably garbled voice, she tries to sing the words with me. After two verses, my eyes are misty and my voice cracks. Because I miss her so much.

I miss them.

I clear my throat. Time for bed. Sweet dreams.

Jenny comes back on the line. Good luck with your exam tomorrow.


Good night, Stanton.

Night, Jenn.

I toss the phone to the foot of the bed and stare at the ceiling. From somewhere down below, there’s raucous laughter and calls to chug—most likely from the marathon beer-pong game that started two days ago. In my first week at Columbia I learned that careers aren’t just built on what you know. They’re built on who you know.

So I pledged a fraternity—to make those lifelong connections. Psi Kappa Epsilon. It’s a good frat, filled with white-collar majors—business, economics, prelaw. Most come from money, but still good people, boys who work hard, study hard, and play hard.

Last semester a member graduated early, then got shipped abroad by his Fortune 500 company. My fraternity big brother lobbied strongly for me to get a room here in the house. A big brother is the guy you’re paired with when you’re pledging a frat. He’s the guy who gives you the hardest time. You’re his bitch—his slave.

But after you become a brother he’s your best friend. Your mentor.

As self-loathing threatens to swamp me, my big brother just happens to walk past my open door. Out of the corner of my eye I see his dark head pass, pause, and back up.

Then Drew Evans strolls into my room.

Drew is like no one I’ve ever known. It’s as if there’s a spotlight on him that never dims—he demands your notice. Claims your full attention. He acts like he owns the world, and when you’re with him? You feel like you own it too.

Deep blue eyes that all the girls go stupid for look down on me disapprovingly.

What’s wrong with you?

I wipe my nose. Nothin’.

His eyebrows rise. "Doesn’t look like nothing. You’re practically crying into your pillow, for Christ’s sake. I’m fucking embarrassed for you."

Drew is relentless. Whether it’s pussy or answers he’s going after, he doesn’t let up until he gets his way. It’s a quality I admire.

My phone pings with incoming email—the pictures Jenny sent me of the party. With a resigned sigh I sit up and access the photos. You know my daughter, Presley?

He nods. Sure. Cute kid, hot mom. Unfortunate name.

Today was her birthday. I flash him one particularly endearing shot of my little angel with a face full of cake. "Her first birthday."

He smiles. Looks like she had fun.

I don’t smile. She did. But I missed it. I scrub my eyes with the palms of my hands. What the fuck am I doin’ here, man? It’s hard . . . harder than I ever thought it’d be.

I’m good at everything I do—always have been. Football, school, bein’ a kick-ass boyfriend. In high school all the girls envied Jenny. Every one wanted to screw me and all the guys wanted to be me. And everything about it was too easy.

I just feel . . . I feel like I’m failin’ . . . everythin’, I confess. Maybe I should throw in the towel, go to a shit community college back home. At least then I’d see them more than three times a year. With anger I bite out, What kind of father misses his child’s first fuckin’ birthday?

Not all guys feel like I do. I know boys back home who knocked up girls and were perfectly content to walk away and never look back. They send a check only after their asses get hauled into court, sometimes not even then. Hell, neither of Ruby’s kids’ fathers have seen their children more than once.

But that could never be me.

Jesus, you’re a mess, Drew exclaims, his face horrified. You’re not going to start singing John Denver songs, are you?

I stew in silence.

He sighs. And perches himself on the edge of my bed. You want the truth, Shaw?

Evans is big on the truth—the harsh, crude, dick-in-your-face truth. Another quality I respect, though it’s not much fun when his critical eye is aimed at you.

I guess, I reply hesitantly.

"My old man is the best father I know, no contest. I don’t remember if he was at my first birthday party, or my second . . . and I really don’t give

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144 оценки / 17 Обзоры
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  • (3/5)
    I read this series in reverse order. While I still really enjoyed all the books, the writing got better as the series progressed. It makes sense to start with this and build to the much better books in the series. In addition to Chase's growth as a writer, Jake and Brent (in books 2 and 3) were just better male leads than Stanton is in this book. Stanton is a narcissistic ass, and Sophia deserves better. The fact that he asks Sophia, the woman he is sleeping with and whom he considers a friend, to go help him woo another woman makes him pretty irredeemable. I still enjoyed the side characters so much it made up for it. All in all I enjoyed but did not love the read (actually the listen), and it is at the bottom of my Emma Chase list, not because it is bad, but because the others are SO GOOD!
  • (4/5)
    This has an down home country boy that becomes a high class lawyer and is all that up North, but when he returns home he is just that country boy. He leaves his high school sweetheart and his baby back home while he goes to college and law school and pledges he will love his sweetheart forever. So, you probably know what happens next....people get older and find others. Stanton is a very hot alpha male and he is now all grown and a big time lawyer in DC with a friends with benefits lawyer at his firm. Things are great until his high school sweetheart decides to move on and Stanton tries to go back and change things. This has funny moments and lots of hot moments. Things on the surface are not always what they seem and this book is a perfect example of that. The characters may think they know what they want, but you never know what fate and your heart have in store for you. This is another great read from Emma Chase.
  • (5/5)
    4.5 "Different Shades of Love" Stars! Wow, can Emma Chase write! Somehow she managed to take an untenable situation, a four-way love triangle, and made it work. Witty, heart stirring, comical and immensely entertaining, Overruled is a book to be savored one word at a time. Perhaps what I loved the best is how this book captures how we can feel love for different people in our lives, particularly when they have played an important role in our past, even if we are no longer "in love" with them. Ms. Chase cleverly pens this an "echo" of love, a reflection of past passion/promises that is "not real--you can't build a life on it." At the same time, I have to say there were a few times, that I just wanted to shake the heroine and hero, as the echo seemed to drown out the real music of their love. But, I guess that is truly the real sign of a good book. One that can get a rise out of you, whether good or heart wrenching, particularly when those coerced feelings ultimately end on a high.Growing up, there was only one girl Stanton had eyes for, Jenny. They practically grew up together in his small hometown in Mississippi. And when in high school, he the star quarterback and she the head cheerleader, became high school sweethearts, no one batted an eyelash. Stanton, however, had a dream. He forewent a football scholarship at Ole Miss, to attend Columbia, his first step on his way to becoming a hot shot defense attorney. Jenny, however, never had plans of leaving Mississippi; and when an unexpected pregnancy in their senior year nearly derailed Stanton's plans, it was Jenny who convinced Stanton to pursue his dreams. They determined that she would stay home, go to nursing school, and raise their daughter; while Stanton focused on building his career so that he could provide for their future. Additionally, while she would wait for him, she was adamant that they have an open relationship until their reunion. Flash forward 10 years later. Stanton is living his dream in DC. He's well on his way to becoming a partner, has a fantastic friends with benefits relationship with his fellow associate, Sofia Santos (who is also on the partnership fast track, and way too busy working on her career to ever have time for more in a relationship), and his daughter and Jenny are happily living in Mississippi. He financially supports them and continues to visit from time to time when his grueling work schedule allows. For those few days a year, he can come home, all is like it ever was with Jenny. They are right on schedule on the plan. One day they will eventually be together.Then Stanton gets a wedding invitation to none other than Jenny's wedding! Say what? Incredulous he packs his bags, but not before convincing Sofia, his trust worthy friend, and amazing co-worker, again "with benefits", to come with him. After all, Sofia is always the one he strategizes with about cases, and he's about the argue the biggest case of his life: convincing Jenny not to get married, and, if need be, marry him instead.As you can imagine, the fireworks begin to explode as Stanton arrives in his home town with his "friend" Sofia in tow. All the while as Stanton steps up his game to convince Jenny to become a runaway bride, the passion and understanding of the true importance of his "relationship" with Sofia begins to ignite. Will Stanton realize the true extent of his feelings for Sofia before its too late?Sometimes its the most obvious things that we refuse to see when it comes to love. Overruled proves this adage in spades. I can't wait to read more of The Legal Briefs Series!Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Great story! It had some good humor to it. There was some bittersweet. Personally, I thought it was a bit much what Sophia put up with. There were a few things that could have been less drug out to me. Carter was hilarious. I could picture the guy easily especially having known similar people in real life. Even with the few negativities, overall it was a good read, kept me entertained, and therefore deserves four stars in my opinion.
  • (4/5)
    Oh and there was a Drew sighting! I love Emma Chase's works. The fact she gets so deep into the male mind how it works- not so well at times - has me rolling in laughter. I feel like her other series, this one will improve with each one.

    I could connect with the Hero- I want this and can't see the hand in front of my face. Typical alpha dude. However, I felt like the heroine was a bit of a doormat. She gave in too easy. And maybe in real life that's what we do, hang on for crumbs. I just wish she would have had Stanton work for the HEA a little harder.

    Edit: after reading a few other reviews, wish I could do 1/2 stars. I would say this is 3.5 stars. Only because Drew was d*uchy but honest. Whereas Stanton wanted his cake and eat it too. I didn't think Jenny was a doormat; she was happy with status quo until she knew she could have better. And she went for it. I read the excerpt for Jake- and I have high hopes.
  • (5/5)
    Loved the start of this series. Laughed a lot, cried a little but couldn't put this book down. One of my best authors. Thank you Emma for a great read with fabulous characters.
  • (3/5)
    I was simultaneously nervous and excited to crack this open. I'm a Hollows fan, and as such was worried that such a large shift in material would only lead to disappointment. I half-expected Rachel, Jenks, Ivy, Trent, and Al to show up in these pages. Admittedly this is very different than the Hollows. It's no use comparing the two. There are no supernatural creatures (yet?) contained within these pages. Everything is fairly normal and much like our own world with the exception of the Drafters and a few "futuristic" technologies scattered throughout. For the most part I wasn't disappointed. This is an introductory story which does what most introductory stories do-introduce. Characters, settings, conflict. It's a foundation upon which Harrison will build on. She's good at that. I enjoyed Peri and her inner conflict. I could picture a Lucy Liu-esque woman kicking butt and taking names. I wish there were a few more details on her history and relationship with the other characters, namely Silas, but that may be material saved for another day. I read Sideswiped prior, but I feel as if that only created more questions in my mind than answers.I had to warm up to the Hollows and I imagine I'll have to do the same here. That said, it's a good story. Full of action, adventure, plot-twists and suprises. I'm curious to see where Harrison will take things. I feel that her stories and heroines are strongest with solid supporting characters and that potential is definitely here. All in all this was a very satisfying read and I'm grateful to Goodreads and Gallery Books for the opportunity to review this latest work from Kim Harrison.
  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Stanton is a jerk. Both Jenny and Sofia could have done better.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    I didn't care for the ending. Loved the worldbuilding, had some really interesting twists and changes...but the ending felt weak and I was really unsatisfied. I'm stuck waiting for the next book, and not really in a good way. It's not a "You must give me the next book, because I MUST KNOW". It's I don't like the way this book ended, so what happens next?" This sucks.
  • (2/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    Another case of a jerk hero who stayed that way for pretty much the whole entire book, and the ever faithful doormat heroine who allows herself to be second best.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Leaving the high finance world of investment bankers and crazy rocket scientists in Manhattan, Ms. Chase introduces readers to the high stakes world of defense attorney’s in our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. Stanton Shaw is a Southern boy who’s made good out in the big world beyond honeyed drawls, magnolias, azaleas, BBQ, and sweet tea. Though he’s out of the South, Stanton uses his smooth Southern charm to finesse everything from juries to women. Honestly, it’s hard to beat a Southern man for charm when he turns it on and cranks it up.Sofia Santos easily holds her own with Stanton. With three older brothers and parents who valued and stressed education, Sofia’s beautiful, no nonsense, and rising fast in the law firm she and Stanton work for. Learning from her brother’s conversations and examples she knows men’s minds, how they think, and what sends them running. She hasn’t the time for attachments. The friends with fringe benefits arrangement with Stanton is just the ticket. When Stanton discovers “his girl”, Jenny~first love, high school sweetheart, and mother of his daughter, is getting married it rocks the foundation of his world. The living large life of having his cake and eating it too is about to end, throwing Stanton into a bit of a spin. He thinks he knows what he needs to do and Sofia is a key part of his plan. He has to convince her to go back home with him. Her guidance is crucial, at least that’s what he tells himself…Sofia must be out of her cotton picking mind, agreeing to go home with Stanton to Sunshine, Mississippi and help stop Jenny’s wedding. As Stanton’s friend first and lover second she’s got this covered. She’s always known exactly where they stand. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves…. Ms. Chase consistently delivers contemporaries brimming with humor, heart, heat, and details that give the story and characters authenticity. Like Stanton’s BBQ sauce (BBQ is a high art form in the South) and telling the weather by the cows (Papa taught me). This winning combination never fails to make me laugh, give me a warm glow, and lift my mood. It’s a testament to Stanton’s charm that after Drew’s cameo, early on, I didn’t spend the rest of the book pining for his return. Stanton and Sofia easily hold their own. Then there’s the added bonus of a whole new wonderful, occasionally quirky, cast of characters I’m looking forward to getting to know better. Like a kid anticipating Christmas morning, that’s how I feel when an Emma Chase book is set for release. When the book’s finally in my hands it’s like Santa put me at the top of the nice list as everything I could ask for is ticked off. Can hardly wait to get my eager lil’ hands on the next book!4 stars Reviewed for Miss Ivy’s Book Nook Take II, Manic Readers, and Novels Alive TV
  • (2/5)
    When I saw this book advertised as part of a giveaway, I jumped at the opportunity to put my name in the drawing. I never expected that I would win a copy. So I was really looking forward to reading this book. While I was not fully intrigued or invested in the book as a whole in the beginning, I went with it as I was still holding high hopes for it to get better. For a brief moment it did but then it was fleeting. After getting to chapter sixteen which is about almost walf way, I put the book down. I read some other readers thoughts to see what they thought of the book and most liked it. So I might go back and see if the book does get any better but for now, I have moved on to another book.
  • (2/5)
    Interesting premise and world building. Unfortunately, Kim Harrison is unable to transcend the central premise of her novel, with the story becoming trapped in a repetitive loop. The result of all this is an almost complete lack of character development, particularly notable in the protagonist, Peri, but seen across the entire cast. In cases where characters do appear to develop, this development is often arbitrarily undone later in mere sentences, resulting in characters that feel paper thin and subject to the whims of the author, not the world she is building. One of many examples occurs right at the end, when the author, after having spent the bulk of the novel convincing us that Allen is untrustworthy, and with Peri in a position to know the degree of evil actions perpetrated by Allen against her, has Peri not only let Allen off the hook but into her mind, within a few pages, and with no reason given for her returning this trust to him. Overall, an utterly mediocre thriller that even the most intriguing world building doesn’t have a hope of rescuing.
  • (2/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    I love Emma Chase, so it's hard for me to admit that this is the least favorite of all her novels. I just couldn't get behind the character of Stanton, the must annoying leading man that I've read in a while. 2.5 *

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    THE DRAFTER begins a new series set in Detroit in the year 2030. The main character is Peri Reed who is a drafter. She can change time but as a consequence needs an anchor to help her reconcile the two memories. She works for an organization called Opti which uses drafters and anchors to maintain political stability, fight terrorists, and do other things for the good of humanity. At least, that is what Peri believes is Opti's mission and she is proud to be one of their soldiers.The Alliance is an organization of drafters and anchors who are trying to bring Opti down because they know that Opti is not working for the good of humanity but for the good of a handful of rich families. When Peri comes upon the Alliance in the person of Silas she comes to question the memories that she has.This was a twisty story and, since it was told from Peri's viewpoint, we only know what she knows. Since her memory is being manipulated, what she knows keeps changing. I found it confusing at first but really came to like Peri who was trying so hard to find out what was real and to reclaim herself.I will be eager to find out what happens next for her.
  • (4/5)
    Set in the future with the sci-fi aspects only coming in the form of upgrades to technology, this psychological thriller is vastly different from anything the author has exposed us to in the past.Imagine that you have the ability to go back thirty seconds in time—drafting—to change an event. The problem is that you now have memories of two different timelines and to compensate, you lose minutes or more of your memory. Another person, an anchor, is required to defragment the two timelines and bring back your lost memory.Peri Reed is a super trained, kick butt officer for a covert government agency called Opti, sent out with her partner to do things that she believes are important for her country. She’s one of their strongest drafters and she’s starting to remember things that just don’t jive. And she’s hearing that many of the Opti agents, including her, are corrupt. She should know if she’s corrupt, shouldn’t she? It turns out a lot more has been done to her mind than she’d been aware of, and she’s out to discover the truth while not knowing who to trust as another group called the Alliance, is working to shut down Opti’s corruption.The world building when it comes to how the drafting works as well as the resulting dangers to the mind and person as it’s manipulated is both detailed and deep, and a huge part of the story. Plenty of detailed action, the story has a lot of twists and intrigue. But for me it also had a lot of repetition.Some confusion in the first few chapters as the reader gets a handle on what Peri experiences due to a draft as well as her own confusion when things don’t jive for her and she starts to question what she thinks she knows. Hang in there.The futuristic personal marketing in stores the author came up with is both scary and unfortunately, all too believable.5 stars for the world created, the action, twists and intrigue. But I’m taking away a star due to the repetitiousness that had me setting the book aside a couple of times.Read as an ARC via Edelweiss/Above the Treeline.
  • (5/5)
    This thriller had it all – suspense, paranormal in a futuristic timeline, romance and the ever-present manipulation humankind bring down on each other.Full of creative talent, Kim Harrison riveted me to the page building this world—I loved it. Never had read Ms. Harrison before, I’m keeping my eyes open for further books from her. I’m a believer of this dynamic and ever changing world Peri Reed is in and can’t wait to experience the rest of the series.I think the most exciting part about the story is its complexity, so well described. I wasn’t able to figure out who the bad guy/guys was/were. There were so many who appeared in sheep’s clothing (believably so), but you just knew there was something off-kilter.The heroine, Peri Reed, very well-trained and extremely intelligent, didn’t know who to trust. She didn’t have true memories to help her. Who were feeding her lies? Her memories were partially erased or manipulated – only her intuition could guide her. Jack was Peri’s love. He was also her anchor. But Allen was her anchor, too. Then there was Silas. All anchors. Peri could trust no one.When Peri drafted she changed what is. It was like rewinding a scene and replaying the outcome. With each draft she would lose time, she would also lose a little more of herself. If she were killed, she’d draft for sure to save her life and she’d be aware of two timelines, not able to know which one was real, because they both were. That’s why anchors were so important to drafters–they kept them sane. Her anchor would help her focus in a one timeline – the one they wanted her to remember. Peri was manipulated, made over many times, and slowly was losing who she really was. Could she find herself? Could she live without an anchor?The writer writes an intense, riveting, compelling story. And as a reader, I loved every minute of it. The confusion and emotions swirling through Peri swirled through me. When the dust settled, it’s hard to grasp it all. Boy, am I ready for book two!