Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Hold that thought, I’ll be right back to tell you why you’re wrong.”
Piper Walsh has spent her entire life trying to live down her family’s bad reputation. With her older brother currently serving time at Devil’s Rock, raising her younger sister, and being forced to work in a strip club doesn’t help. A chance meeting with the local sheriff only reinforces her opinion that people like her can’t ever win.
Sheriff Hale Walters has a bad habit of judging people, hence why he ended up with a lap full of ice water when he first met Piper. When he picks up her sister for loitering, it only reinforces his bad opinion of Piper and her family.
Piper and Hale continue to butt heads as their antagonism slowly turns to attraction but Hale doesn’t do relationships and Piper has no intention of becoming another notch on the sexy sheriff’s bedpost.
When Piper finds herself in need of a hero, Hale swoops in to rescue her but once he has her in his arms, he suddenly finds himself unable to let go. Now he just needs to convince her that they belong together.
Beautiful Lawman is the fourth book in Sophie Jordan’s romantic suspense series that revolves around the inmates of the prison-Devil’s Rock-and their journey towards redemption, forgiveness, and love. This is the first book in the series where the focus is not on one of the inmates. In here, the lead in the sister of an inmate and follows her on her own path toward growth and acceptance. Each book works as a standalone through they are loosely linked.
SPOILERS FROM BOOK 3!! We first met Piper Walsh in Fury on Fire. When North Callahan is released from prison, Piper’s brother, Cruz, asks him to check in on her. Those who read North’s story knows that North ends up with Faith Walters whose father sent North to prison and whose brother is the current Sheriff, Hale Walters. Intent on breaking Faith and North up, Hale follows North to a strip club and insults Piper by insinuating she is a whore. Piper retaliates by dumping ice water in his lap and telling him to go to hell. When Hale runs a background check on her, he learns about her family’s checked past and assumes she is cut from the same cloth.
The story picks up a few months after book three. We learn that 25-year-old Piper has a lot on sole guardianship over her younger sister, their parents are dead, and their name is mud in town. Piper can’t get a job anywhere decent and the only reason they haven’t moved is that Piper wants to stay close to their brother. She is fired from her job when the sheriff’s dept calls to tell her she needs to come pick up her sister. She runs into Hale who makes some judgemental comments
The story starts out strong and amusing-nothing beats antagonistic enemies to lovers romance. While this is a romance with a hint of mystery, this is primarily Piper’s story as she overcomes adversity, hardship, and a prejudicial town to emerge triumphantly. Jordan characterization of Piper is spot on as she is the perfect blend of defiance and vulnerability. She doesn’t allow anyone to make her feel bad or unworthy-not even local law enforcement.
“…this was Hale Walters. A rude, arrogant cop quick to judge. He was everything she despised.”
I’m not really sure how I felt about Hale. In the beginning, he is quite unlikable with his better than thou attitude towards Piper. The local golden boy whose family has upheld the law in town for years. Rather black and white in his worldviews, he judges without all the facts and makes all kinds of assumptions though in his favor, he readily admits when he’s wrong.
“She didn’t project the slightest deference as someone in her position might do…as someone should do.”
Jordan uses Piper and Hale’s relationship to discuss sexual harassment, assault, profiling, and misogyny as she divulges deeper into Piper’s family history. We gradually learn that her brother’s incarceration is suspect and has something to do with Piper.
The romance is slow to build; their attraction is the building block that helps to bridge the difference between them. Hot and spicy, Jordan has no problems writing intense chemically sizzling love scenes between their two different personalities. Office sex FTW!! It works to an extent though I never felt they ever graduated past the physical aspects to love. Even at the end, it felt more like lust than love though I liked that Piper never dropped her convictions to be with Hale. She wasn’t going to be his fling and that was that. He had to change and he does…rather easily for someone who for years refused to have anything more than a hit it and quick it attitude. I also found myself becoming distinctly put out with Piper’s gratitude towards Hale for his actions -when he was the cause of most of her issues.
The minor mystery plot was weak and unfulfilling. Jordan clears up everything with a simple explanation that could have been addressed years ago.
Though I enjoyed the first two books, I have felt the last two struggled to deliver. I enjoyed Piper and watching her evolution though I wish it hadn’t taken finding a man to make it happen.