REVIEW: “Legally Charming” by Lauren Smith

“Legally Charming” is a thoughtful, sexy, almost instant love romance.  Lauren Smith’s writing style is beautiful.  Her descriptions have a lyric quality that sometimes make me catch my breath.  The Hero, Jared Redmond, is a stressed out, workaholic attorney who takes little time to live and smell the roses.  Once he meets the Heroine, Felicity Hart, everything changes for him in an instant even though he fights his feelings.  Felicity, is getting her masters in Art History with the plan of being a curator at a museum.  She’s worked hard to get her scholarship and pay her own way to earn her living expenses in Chicago.  Felicity’s friend lives in nice apartment but she doesn’t even make enough money to share the rent with her.  The pace is brisk, the storyline captivating, and the characters are engaging.  The Heroine’s over-thinking is justified so that’s not a truly irritating issue.

Felicity Hart’s birthday is on Halloween and it’s her favorite holiday.  Her best friend, Layla, and her boyfriend, Tanner, are having a party at his apartment.  The apartment Tanner, shares with his older brother, an attorney who won’t be home until the end of the weekend.  Felicity isn’t the typical college girl.  She’s a serious hardworking girl working on her masters degree with a mid-term due the next day.  Also she’s not a social animal and not dressed like the other party goers.  She not a sexy nurse, or sexy kitty, she’s a princess.  A period accurate princess, down to the bustle and corset.  However, Layla sees her exhaustion and tells her to sleep in her boyfriend’s brother, Jared’s bedroom.  Although Felicity protests she’s so tired she lays down and falls asleep.

Jared is exhausted.  The real estate deal he has been slaving over goes off without a hitch.  Consequently the senior partners want to celebrate it’s success, although he’s wants to go home he goes along.  That’s what you have to do if you want to go from associate to full partner.  Now all he wants to do is go to his apartment, fall into his bed, and sleep through the weekend.  Tanner said that he and his girlfriend were going partying for Halloween so his plan is perfect.  Until he reaches his floor and realizes that Tanner is throwing the party.  Jared’s irritated but is still determined to head to his bed, until his Tanner’s girlfriend intercepts him.  She tells him he can’t go to his own bedroom because she gave it to someone else.  He doesn’t care the girl can find somewhere else to go.

When Jared opens his bedroom door he finds a princess in his bed, an honest to God princess.  Layla hisses at him not to wake her.  He tells her he’s not going to wake her, he’s just going to share his bed with her.  Jared’s mesmerized Felicity. Felicity looks so much like a princess he wants to kiss her to see if she’ll wake up.  But that’s creepy.  Instead he puts on pajama pants, climbs into bed and goes to sleep.  He’s awaked by the princess struggling to breathe and wakes her.  He loans her a pajama top and boxers to sleep in.  Jared promises he’ll sleep on his side of the bed and she can have her side.  True to his word nothing happens between them even though they wake up snuggled together.  They believe that’s the last they’ll see of each other.

Despite the fact Jared thinks Felicity’s too young for him he comes up with a reason to see her again.  He gets her phone number and address from Layla.  Layla knows a flimsy excuse when she hears one and threatens Jared to not break Felicity’s heart.  Jared brings pizza to Felicity’s rundown apartment.  Since he has the day off Jared tells her he doesn’t want to go back to his apartment.  He give the excuse that Tanner and Layla are sexually out of control.  They spend some time at a museum.  Jared keeps trying to convince himself that he just likes to tease and spend time with a nice girl.  That’s all.  They pick up dinner at a restaurant his friend Angelo owns and go back to his apartment.  They share the food with Layla and Tanner and he and Felicity snuggle on the couch and watch a video.

A playful tickling session turns to steamy kisses and an orgasm for Felicity.  The next morning Felicity wakes in Jared’s bed mortified he’ll see that’s she just a silly virgin.  She has to go to her job with the designer she works for.  Therefore she leaves him a note and rushes out.  Felicity’s boss, Sabine, has a lot of contacts in the art world.  And though there’s no openings for curators in Chicago there’s a possible opening for one in Los Angeles.  Right now however there is an opportunity to purchase and work revive an old 1920s era hotel.  The men working purchasing the real estate are a friend of Jared’s, Thad Worthington, and his father.  The law firm Jared works at wants the Worthington account.  Thad is going to have Jared work on this job.  If he does a good job his firm will get their business.

When Thad sees Felicity he’s smitten and tries asking her out to a club where he has a VIP room.  Thad calls Jared to meet him and his father at Sabine’s.  He wants Jared to look over the plans for the old hotel they want to buy.  Jared’s not in a good mood, because Felicity left without saying goodbye and the note she left was impersonal.  Jared’s surprised to see Felicity there and he’s not happy Thad expresses his interest in Felicity.  Thad and Jared are friends so Jared knows Thad’s a player.  He’ll chew Felicity up and spit her out.  Plus Jared is feeling extremely possessive of her now.  Felicity doesn’t think a relationship between her and Jared would work.  She’s not thin or sophisticated and his work is in Chicago while she’ll be leaving for LA in the spring.

Jared realizes that Felicity doesn’t know how to take a leap of faith.  He want to give their relationship a chance and see if they’ll work out.  Felicity is giving up before they even start.  He gets angry when he sees that Felicity doesn’t think she’s pretty enough.  Felicity’s surprised to learn that Jared really wants to be with her.  However, things get off to a rocky start for the couple, with threats and conflicts for Jared at work.  The issue regarding Felicity moving to California for work because there aren’t positions in Chicago is ever present.  Especially since Jared is so close to becoming a full partner at his firm in Chicago makes his moving unfeasible.  More issues cause Felicity to finally break-up with Jared because of the obstacles and their differences are just too overwhelming.

Lauren Smith has written a romance that straddles the line between New Adult and a straight Contemporary Romance.  Although I think “Legally Charming” leans more toward New Adult.  This isn’t a typical “Insta-Love” romance but it’s close, it’s a whirlwind attraction to love story.  Jared is the one who initially fights his feelings for Felicity.  But then it’s mainly Felicity who’s insecurity and doubts cause the relationship to reel with starts and stops.  Considering what this couple goes through I don’t think Felicity’s doubts about their “staying power” are unfounded.  As I’ve said, Lauren Smith has a way with her descriptive language that paints an almost otherworldly picture.  A combination of poetry and prose.  Jared’s most definitely ass over teakettle in love with Felicity which makes “Legally Charming” a truly lovely and romantic read.

I’m giving “Legally Charming” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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