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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

Trouble Turning Off the Inner Skeptic

About That Night - Julie James

I had a really hard time tuning out my Inner Skeptic as I read this. Kyle and Rylann (pet peeve: characters with names I can't pronounce) met nine years ago at a bar in grad school. They made a date, but Kyle's mom died and he couldn't keep it. Somehow, they both still remember the night they met after all this time.


Fast forward to present day: Rylann is an ambitious federal prosecutor who has just relocated to Chicago after breaking up with the guy she thought she'd marry. She is organized and driven and likes to make Life Plans. Kyle is a computer genius who got dumped, got drunk, and hacked into Twitter, shutting it down for two days and breaking a slew of Federal laws. He's just been released from jail because his sister cooperated with the FBI in exchange for a reduction in his sentence... something Rylann says out loud in court during Kyle's re-sentencing hearing.


That's when my Inner Skeptic started to cringe. I'm a prosecutor, too, and when prosecutors say in open court, on the record, "So-and-so cooperated with the cops," So-and-so runs an unreasonably high risk of winding up dead. The identity of a cooperating witness would never be so cavalierly exposed.


The main romantic conflict between the couple is that, as a big shot Assistant U.S. Attorney, Rylann just can't date an ex-con, especially not a hacker ex-con like Kyle. And that's true: she can't. She'd lose the respect of her boss and coworkers, the cops and agents she works with, the defense attorneys she goes up against. She'd probably lose whatever security clearance she has as a Federal employee, and then she'd lose her job. Someone as driven and ambitious as Rylann would never, ever risk it... But of course she does, and of course the fallout is nothing like as bad as she'd feared, and they all live HAE.


I call bullshit.