It Should Be a Crime
By Carsen Taite
Contemporary/ Crime/ Lesbian
Pub: Bold Strokes Books
Forbidden romance coupled with high-stakes courtroom drama.
Two women meet in an alley and fulfill their mutual desire with a night of passion, neither expecting more than the few lusty hours they shared. Weeks later Morgan Bradley and Parker Casey meet again, but this time one is a law professor and the other her student. A series of events lands them in the middle of a high-profile murder trial, but the twists and turns of the case are no match for the spiral of increasing attraction as they work side by side in the defense of justice.
This is my first Carsen Taite book. I’ve been meaning to read one for quite a while since my first love is mystery/crime/suspense and her books seem like good crime stories. I wasn’t disappointed; it was a great read all around.
Both Morgan and Parker are interesting characters in their own right. What I liked was that they were equally matched, both having some strengths and weaknesses that got balanced as their romance develops. Sometimes their reactions and actions contradicted their general personalities, which meant that both of them weren’t stuck in fixed ways of being, making them more fun as characters. Also, the power difference dynamic brought out some interesting qualities in both women, and not in expected ways.
Morgan is a famous and well known criminal lawyer. She’s pretty much at the top of her game and has become an expert at what she does. After seeing her long term (romantic) partner with someone else, she decides that a one night hook-up is just the ticket, something that’s totally out of character for her. Later on, she does say that she feels love is more about the practicalities of relationships: paying bills, mortgages, bank accounts, shared responsibilities and this is who I felt Morgan thinks she is, and who she’s probably been until now. But Parker brings out the more passionate, unpredictable and wild side of Morgan, which keeps Morgan on her toes, trying to keep her normally unflappable self, unflappable. It’s not easy though since Parker occupies her mind regularly, in ways she’s never known before.
Parker is also a complex and fun character. On the one hand, her only long term relationship ended in disaster due to differences in opinion about ethics and a definite betrayal, but on the other hand, she basically only has one night stands, never really going past the first time with someone. She’s a bit of a player and blows off those one night people, even if she does try to do it nicely. A former cop, she got disillusioned by the Blue code of Silence over unethical cop behavior and is now channeling her do the right thing standard into being a criminal lawyer. She’s more passionate though and less clinical in her way of thinking than Morgan is as well as being just a bit more soft and heartful in her approach. She’s much more willing than Morgan to see what her feelings are about in this and to cross her personal line to explore with Morgan.
Of course, outside of the excellently written crime drama of this story, which was perfectly paced to keep up some mystery, this is foremost a romance. And there are obstacles that both Morgan and Parker need to get over to eventually have their HEA. In this case, it’s a matter of ethics, a running theme throughout the book. Morgan is Parker’s professor as Parker is in her last semester of law school, and their feelings for each other are hard to keep separate from their personal rules about never getting involved with someone they work with or have a more business like relationship with.
This is a legitimate foil for them since they hooked up before they each knew they would have any kind of working relationship. And then there are a few other issues like Parker’s ex being the picture and a real estate agent helping Morgan find a house that seem derail their relationship even further. The blow hot/cold by Morgan, who is really uncertain about how to deal with this new development, did get drawn out a bit too much at times for me. But Carsen Taite managed to rein that element back in each time just when it would start to become too much.
I would have given this book five stars or an A+ because it’s a well written story that flows nicely. However, even though I liked the development of the romance between Morgan and Parker, it was missing some spice, or spark that I needed to feel that these two would die without each other. Other than that, I highly recommend this book. And for what it’s worth, I really got off on the lawyerly/crime technical part. As a crime drama it’s clear that Carsen Taite knows what she’s talking about.
Heat Level: 3- some sexual scenarios, nothing too graphically written.