Nine-Tenths of the Law by L.A. Witt
Zach Owens doesn’t even know who this angry stranger is, let alone what the man is talking about ~ until he learns what they have in common. Their boyfriend, Jake. Once Jake’s out of the picture, Zach’s apology to Nathan Forrester leads to a long conversation, a kiss, and a chemistry that goes far beyond revenge sex.
Nathan can’t help but fall for the sexy movie theater owner, but it’s a long way from sheet-tearing sex to mutual trust. And a series of “coincidences” that throws Zach into Jake’s company leaves him unconvinced Zach was the complete innocent in their previous love triangle.
Zach can’t seem to make Nathan believe that Jake is up to something. But protesting his innocence isn’t working, and Jake’s carefully orchestrated campaign to destroy their love could leave them both with nothing.
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
This book tackles the issue of jealousy but ultimately left me feeling frustrated. It has a good premise and lengthy build up but a rather weak resolution with no clear vision of a happy ending. It’s not horribly written per se, though it’s often slow and sex filled, but it’s more that the issues brought up are repetitive with no resolution each time and little final resolution. I think reader reaction and enjoyment will really depend on whether you like the characters and can buy into their relationship woes. This is likely to vary pretty widely so I’d suggest reading a couple of reviews to get an idea of what will resonate with you.
The story starts with Zach and his then boyfriend Jake out at a bar. All of a sudden their cozy party is interrupted by an angry Nathan who claims Jake is his boyfriend of four years. Disgusted and upset, both Zach and Nathan leave only to hook up later that night out of anger and a way to get back at Jake. Except neither Zach or Nathan can really forget that night and eventually they start dating. Unfortunately Nathan has some serious trust issues and Zach is wondering when the fling with Nathan turned serious and how he feels about that.
Told from Zach’s first person point of view, the plot is mostly character driven. This is a look at a relationship with unusual beginnings that may doom the entire thing. The conflict comes from Nathan’s trust issues and fear of being cheated on again clashes with Zach’s frustration at not being trusted. Compounding the issue is the joint ex Jake who tries to break the two up with some obvious manipulations. This doesn’t really do much to the couple except show over and over again how little trust the two have between them. This issue of trust is central and not very well dealt with. Nathan doesn’t trust anyone and he’s open about it. Zach has never done anything not to be trusted and thus doesn’t want to defend himself for others’ actions.
Both characters are sympathetic since they have good arguments. It’s understandable that Nathan wouldn’t get over being cheated on by two serious boyfriends back to back very easily. He’s open about this trust issues and claims he’s working on them. Zach is sympathetic, up to a point and then is frustrated. Part of where the book fails for me is right here since I understood both sides of the argument and really felt that they simply weren’t suited to each other. Zach runs out of sympathy pretty quickly and almost demands Nathan’s trust based on trust during sex. Nathan repeatedly questions Zach, even after recognizing his own issues, and can’t stop fearing the worst.
The two characters are decently developed but they just aren’t suited. I found Zach not very sympathetic and relied too much on sex as a fix. They two have numerous sex scenes and in fact the book is actually erotica with some emotional scenes thrown in since the sex is the resolution. The two fight – mildly – then have sex. No resolution and the issue comes up again and again. Zach tries to force trust through sex, which while a decent erotic scene, has nothing to do with Nathan’s emotional issues. So Nathan can bottom, why does that mean Zach won’t cheat on him? This kind of leap in logic slows the pace for me since the story turns into a vehicle for a lot of sex with weak resolution. The final resolution is perhaps the weakest of the entire story since there is no better understanding between the men and they seem to agree to drop it and get over it, just like that.
I found Nathan a more sympathetic character simply because he seems to be trying hard to be honest and upfront with his issues. While I can understand why Zach gets frustrated and fed up with Nathan’s suspicion, Zach seems unsympathetic and quick to expect trust. Ultimately the two feel really ill-suited to each other and I kept agreeing with them when they said perhaps they shouldn’t be together. But really that’s going to vary reader to reader. Some are likely to side with either Nathan or Zach more and likely be frustrated while the reader that can understand and sympathize with both is going to be more successful with the story. It was ok for me but I wanted to throw it at the end since they didn’t work as a couple for me. Try and see for yourself.
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One thought on “Nine-Tenths of the Law by L.A. Witt”
Great review, Kassa! This (the way that these two met) sounds like an unusual, creative, and difficult idea that not many writers could pull off. It’s too bad it apparently didn’t quite work here. As an idea, it’s impressive.