Katrissa Murphy has been Sam Parrish's legal assistant for two years, and during that time, she's fallen for him. Unfortunately, she started her job at a time when Sam's grief over his wife's death was still very fresh. His more recent heated looks tell her he's interested, but he always masks them quickly, making her think that he's still not over his wife. Believing he'll never heal enough to make good on those looks, Kat quits her job and heads for a quiet beach vacation. But when Sam follows her and shows her just how much heat they can generate, she's forced to look at things in a whole new light.
Until picking up Perfect for the Beach, the anthology in which this novellette is found, I'd never really heard of Morgan Leigh before. As I discovered, it appears she's only published a handful of novellas in anthologies like this, so that would probably account for me not knowing her. With that being the case, I went into reading Murphy's Law with no idea what to expect. I ended up having rather mixed feelings about this little novelette. The writing itself is reasonably strong and the story has some other positives going for it, which I'll get to in a moment, but I had a hard time fully liking the heroine. I'm not a fan of game-playing in relationships. I'm also not a fan of misunderstandings in romance, and that seemed to be the primary conflict here. That, as well as the hero and heroine starting off the story in a heated argument, kind of dampened my enthusiasm right out of the gate. However, the things I did like mostly saved it for me in the end.
As I said, Kat wasn't the easiest of heroines for me to like. She's basically been Sam's legal assistant for two years. She was attracted to him immediately, but she started the job right after his wife died. Therefore nothing happened between them for quite a while. Then she began to notice him giving her heated glances, which he would then instantly mask. This frustrated her, because she believed he was still grieving for his wife and experiencing guilt over having feelings for another woman. So she starts making him think she's a loose woman, supposedly so that he doesn't have to feel that guilt anymore, which didn't make a lot of sense to me. Of course, we find out later that she sabotaged herself by doing this, because Sam wanted a woman who was his and only his. Then Kat accidentally found an invoice for a standing order to have flowers delivered to the cemetery every year. This was a personal paper that she admitted she shouldn't have read in the first place. Not to mention, this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for a man in his shoes to do. But again, she takes this to mean that he's still grieving for his wife and will never be hers, so she quits her job and takes a little beach vacation, during which he comes after her. I can't help feeling like Kat was being a bit selfish. Yes, it had been two years since Sam's wife died, but everyone grieves at their own pace. If she knew him well, she should have known where he was in that process, but instead, she makes all these wild assumptions that very nearly kills her chances of getting the relationship she was hoping for. When something could be cleared up with a simple heart-to-heart discussion, as this could have been, it seems like a weak excuse for conflict.
Sam, on the other hand, was a pretty great guy. I'll admit that he was maybe just a teensy bit too alpha for my taste with it mostly coming out in his cockiness and demanding demeanor, but when I found out what kind of guy he was, I couldn't help but like him anyway. First of all, he's been celibate since his wife died and now he wants to turn all that pent-up sexual energy on one woman, which is a heady brew. Not to mention, I find it extremely romantic that he loved his wife that much. Like I said, he's been falling for Kat for a while, but thought she was a party girl and that's not what he was looking for. But when she walked out, without saying a word to him, that made him angry enough to go after her, which again was pretty romantic. Unfortunately, though, without help from their friends, he wouldn't have even known why she left or that she had feelings for him. Sam is also a scrumptious lover. Their love scene is super-hot. and his proposal was top-notch. I couldn't help but agree with him, however, that Kat was being a "crazy woman." While I'm not quite sure what he saw in her or whether she fully deserved him, Sam's overall awesomeness definitely saved this little story from Kat's irrational behavior.
Although I couldn't find any information about this novella being part of a series, it obviously is. Even though the series doesn't seem to have a title to designate it (Actually I found someone on LibraryThing calling it Parish/McCauley, so I guess I'll go with that since I haven't found anything else.), it appears to be about three law partners and their respective legal assistants with whom they all fall in love. I could tell it was a series right from the start when Kat mentions her best friend, Camelot, and Sam's law partner, Jonah, and how they're happily engaged. It just felt like I was missing something. I've since discovered that they were the hero and heroine of Voices Carry from the anthology, Wildest Dreams. Then the final chapter, which is more of an epilogue, is mostly devoted to Kat receiving a phone call from her other friend, Summer, saying that she's in jail due to a misunderstanding and Sam getting his other law partner, Elliot, who it's said has a thing for Summer, to go help her out. These two sounded particularly interesting to me, but sadly it doesn't appear that their story has been published yet. Overall, despite some shaky parts, I mostly enjoyed Murphy's Law and might consider checking out the other connected novella at some point.
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