Overruled (The Legal Briefs #1) by Emma ChaseOverruled by Emma Chase
Published April 2015
Series: The Legal Briefs #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Office Romance
one-star
Format: eBook
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As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.

That's definitely not part of the plan.

Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits" begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.

Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

What happens when you mix a one stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise and even the best laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.

Stanton Shaw is a hotshot DC defense lawyer and a master in his domain. Things are going great at work, and his regular “encounters” with his co-worker Sofia Marinda Santos help relieve the everyday pressure. Stanton also has a family living tucked away in the quite town of Sunshine, Mississippi. He has a 10-year old daughter (Presley), and has some sort of long-distance relationship his daughter’s mother Jenny. Their relationship is going great too, but sometimes things are not what they seem because Stanton is about to lose it when he discovers an unexpected wedding invitation from Jenny in his mail.

Sofia Santos knows not to get emotionally involved with her colleague Stanton, but as Stanton asks her to accompany her on a trip to his hometown to prevent this unexpected marriage from happening, she can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Yet, for the sake of her friend, she needs to put her feelings aside and support him in his decision to conquer back his childhood sweetheart.

What I loved about this book:

  • It is mainly set in the south

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The awful male main character
  • The unthinkable storyline the main character drives this book toward
  • The naiveté of the female main character

I am a huge fan of Emma Chase and of her Tangled Series featuring Drew Evans and his friends. It was only normal that Overruled would be on my auto-buy list, and I was quite eager to read it, even if it took me some time to get there. Overruled was not at all what I expected. I was expecting an office-romance, that’s for sure, but while the two main characters are colleagues, the book itself didn’t take place in their workplace at all. And I didn’t expect this book to sound so familiar to Tangled, which is neither a good nor a bad thing. It was definitely easy to get into the book because it had the standard Emma Chase style, and I was surprised to find that Drew Evans from Tangled also makes a little cameo appearance in this book.

However, I really can’t say I like it storywise. It’s actually not the storyline that bothered me, but what the main characters make of the given situation. I was actually mostly disappointed of Stanton because he was a despicable character. Well, he is made out to be handsome, fun, good in bed, and which a southern charm that makes me want to fan myself. He’s even quite cocky. And if it wasn’t for the southern charm, he would have been a carbon copy of Drew Evans. Only worse.

And that’s where I’ll get to the point. Stanton Shaw has had a baby with his childhood sweetheart when he was only 18. He ran off to college – leaving them behind – and then started his professional career in Washington, hours and hours away from Mississippi. Sure, the guy pays his baby momma on a monthly basis and he is very much involved in his daughter’s life doing daily Skype calls, and upholds a semblant of a long-distance relationship with the mother. But after 10 years (!!!) he still hasn’t asked his family to move over, or has thought about making the move to the south. And don’t talk about how “often” he comes to visit.

“How long’s it been since you’ve been home?”
“Fourteen months, twelve days.”

That’s not all: he and the mother have this “relationship” (although he never asked her to marry him in 10 years), but he still screws other women!!! And then, when he gets this unexpected wedding invitation from his childhood sweetheart, he thinks he can just storm down there and lay a claim on something and someone he practically dismissed and shoved into a proverbial compartmentalized box? Really?

Oh, but it gets better: so he does storm down to Mississippi and when he does, he asks his fuck buddy (sorry, Sofia) to come down with him and help him stand his ground. And while he is trying to conquer his old flame back, he still screws with his fuck buddy. Oh, and the reason why he took his fuck buddy with him to his hometown in the first place was also because he couldn’t stand someone else putting their hands on his her. Want to have your cake and eat it too, Stanton?

How sexy does that make this main character look? Not. Sexy. At. All. This guy is a total douchetard if I’ve ever seen one. It’s not even like he learned from his mistakes, no – he just carried on thinking all was right in the world. A little gut clenching here and a sour thought there, and he’s off thinking about something else. I can’t believe Emma Chase managed to write an even more despicable and disgusting character than Drew Evans. Stanton Chase is definitely where I draw the line. He ruined the book.

Sofia was great – at least in the start – and she helped bring things into perspective with Stanton. She’s another successful defence attorney working alongside him without any trace of rivalry, and has made it through an impressive parcours even though her family immigrated from Brazil with 2 other kids in tow. She’s the synonym of a self-made woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to go get it. She’s also got enough morals and loyalty to consider stepping back and helping Stanton through his “family crisis” even though it breaks her heart. And really, through the last part of the book, she started showing quite some doormat tendencies.

“Before anything else, Stanton is my friend. I wouldn’t say I’m self-sacrificing – but I’m loyal. And that’s what good friends do. They help each other.”

“For months, all I’ve heard is Jenny this and Jenny that. And now that she’s unavailable, you suddenly realize I’m the one you love?”

The only thing I really liked about this book though was the fact that 80% of it starred in Mississippi, and that most of the characters had the southern charm and fun banter that I love so much (especially in Abbi Glines books). But still, it is not enough to improve the rating of a book that features such a poor main character.

And in the end, the story ends on a quite uncommon epilogue which lasts over several months/years. That’s when I noticed that this would be a standalone book and that their story would not be continued (at least not as a main focus) because the next book in the series will be dealing with another character. Again, not sure whether it is a good or a bad thing, but I certainly could have used more closure.

Detailed Rating
Storyline
1 Stars
Characters
1 Stars
Writing
3 Stars
All the feels
1.5 Stars
Overall: one-star