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Blurred Lines – Lauren Layne ON SALE NOW FOR A LIMITED TIME!

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BLURRED LINES

Lauren Layne

Released Aug 25th, 2015

Loveswept

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

 

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EXCERPT

I scoop up the last bite of cereal from my bowl as I stand. “We should probably get going,” I say, still chewing. “IKEA gets crazy on Saturdays, and I don’t want to risk them being out of

stock on the extra-large shelves.”

“You have that many dolls?” Liz asks, looking torn between being creeped out and feeling completely sorry for me.

“Fifty-seven and counting,” I say, straight-faced. “And actually, Ben, if you’re going to be a while, I might just run upstairs and brush their hair? I noticed last night Polly was starting to develop a tangle.”

Ben drains his coffee, pushes back from the counter, and shakes his head at me. “You poor, sick weirdo.”

Then he turns to Liz, putting his hands on her skinny waist and pulling her forward with an apologetic smile. “You mind if I take a raincheck on breakfast?”

I barely hide the snort. In Ben’s world, raincheck is a synonym for I’m going to intentionally lose your phone number.

In under a minute, Ben is nudging Liz out onto the front porch, and, impressively, she doesn’t even look pissed. I follow them out, just to be annoying, watching as he whispers something in her ear. Her eyes go wide and sympathetic and she gives me an It’s gonna be okay, little buddy smile. She heads toward the sidewalk with a wave.

“What did you just tell her?” I ask, taking a sip of my coffee as we watch her leave.

“I told her you were an abandoned orphan and that the only thing your birth mother left you with was a doll named Polly. Hence the sad obsession.”

I shake my head. “You know I’m going to have to rewrite the house rules. And No dolls will so be going on there.”

Liz turns back and gives one last wave. Both Ben and I wave back, and I can’t help myself. “Enjoy your walk of shame!” I call after her, my voice sweet as sugar.

Liz’s head snaps back as though trying to determine if she heard me correctly, but Ben puts a hand over my face and shoves me back into the house before closing the front door.

He absently rubs a hand over his abs as he looks me up and down.

“You should change. You can’t wear your ratty booty shorts and that ugly T-shirt to IKEA.”

“First of all, you can absolutely wear your rattiest and ugliest T-shirts to IKEA. That’s pretty much the IKEA dress code. And second, we’re not going to IKEA. Really, are you getting so comfortable with your lies that they become fact in your mind?”

“We are going to IKEA,” he says, running both hands through his short brown hair before

heading toward the stairs.

“For what?” I ask.

“I need a new dresser.”

“What’s wrong with your old dresser?”

“It broke.”

I wrinkle my nose. “How the hell do you break a dresser?”

He shoots me a look over his shoulder and wiggles his eyebrows.

It takes me only seconds before I put the pieces together. “Airhead?” I hitch a thumb over my shoulder at the departed female. “You banged her against the dresser?”

“Hey, she was unusually tall, which gave me the unusual opportunity and prime angle to—”

I slap my hands over my ears and start singing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” my default protective gesture whenever Ben gets a little too colorful with descriptions of his sexual antics.

Another house rule: Parker absolutely does not want to know what happens in Ben’s bedroom.

“Hey, do you and Lance have plans today?” he asks.

“Maybe you should have asked that before you mandated an IKEA trip. But no, he’s got an all-day study group.”

Lance is getting his MBA from the University of Portland.

“Cool. Let’s grab lunch after.” He heads into his bedroom without looking at me.

Lunch, huh?

I narrow my eyes and sprint up the stairs after him, pushing open his door before he can shut it in my face.

Sure enough, his dresser is definitely leaning unhealthily to one side, and I count two, no make that three, condom wrappers.

He pulls a green polo from the tiny closet in the corner and looks around his messy floor until he finds his jeans.

I wait expectantly.

“What?” he asks.

“Lunch?” I lift my brows. And wait for the explanation.

Ben scratches idly at his slightly stubbled chin. Sharing a bathroom with the guy, I know he

shaves every morning, but the stubble seems to be perpetual.

“Well, you know that girl I dated a couple weeks ago? Kim?” he asks. “She wanted me to go to her sister’s engagement brunch, and I told her I was busy all day. But she’s just crazy enough to stop by and see if I’m actually out of the house, so I thought we should be elsewhere. . . .”

I hold up a hand. “Fine. I’ll be your alibi. But I get to pick the restaurant, and you’re buying. Oh, and you have to put the toilet seat down every day for an entire week.”

He raises his hand as though wanting to say something in class. “I’d like to add a house rule: Parker isn’t allowed to tell Ben how to pee.”

“You don’t make the house rules. I do. And I didn’t tell you how to pee,” I say exasperatedly as he wrenches open a dresser drawer and pulls out a pair of boxers. “I’m trying to do your future wife a favor by teaching you how not to be a pig.”

He inches by me into the hallway. “Another house rule: Parker shalt not say profanities as future wife to a dedicated bachelor.”

“You’re not a dedicated bachelor. You’re just a typical horny twenty-four-year-old dude, and, again, you don’t make the house rules—hey!”

He shuts the door to our shared bathroom in my face, and too late I realize that I’d missed all the classic signs of a skilled Ben Olsen diversion. He’d just wanted to beat me into the bathroom.

“Don’t use all the hot water!” I shout, pounding my palm on the door.

The door opens just enough for me to see one blue eye blinking back at me. “Didn’t you say Polly had a tangle? You better go get on that.”

The door shuts again, and I pound a second time. “Remember, the green towel is mine. The white one is yours.”

I wait for confirmation, but there’s only silence.

“Ben, I know you can hear me! Don’t ‘accidentally’ use mine just because yours smells funny.”

More silence.

Damn it. He is so planning to use my towel.

So, yeah, my best friend is a guy. Doesn’t mean I have to like it all the time.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

 

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I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) – Lauren Layne

VT-WishYouWereMine-LLayne_FINAL

I Wish You Were Mine Oxford #2

By: Lauren Layne

Releasing February 2, 2016 – Loveswept

Blurb – Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Link to Follow Tour | Goodreads Link | Goodreads Series Link


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REVIEW

When I started blogging, almost three years ago now (how time flies!), hands down one of the best discoveries I made on that horribly addictive place called Netgalley was Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne. Since then I have read all but two of her novels and quite frankly loved them all. Each time, and in particular with the Sex, Love & Stiletto books and even more so with the spin-off Oxford series, I am convinced that the characters I have just met are my absolute favourites.

Jackson is not adjusting well to life after the NFL, he is just marking time at Oxford. If sustaining a career ending injury in a car accident his wife left him and destroyed his reputation in the process. In New York he is just waiting to get back to his old life, if not on the field, he will settle for coaching. Jackson is determined not to settle in New York permanently it is just a place to lick his wounds until he can get back to where he is meant to be… Texas. He has no intention of making friends no matter how often his co-workers ask him to lunch but the one person he can’t resist is his former sister in law the only person who seems to understand him.

Mollie has come a long way from living in her older sister’s shadow, now she is a graduate student well on her way to achieving her dreams of becoming a scientist in the Big Apple. She has mostly learned to live with her feelings for her ex-brother in law. She knows nothing can come of her feelings for Jackson and despite what her sister says she can’t abandon him either.

What sets Lauren Layne’s writing aside is her ability to take the reader on a journey of self discovery with her characters without ever stepping into the territory of self indulgence or maudlin’ angst. As I read the synopsis for I Wish You Were Mine I couldn’t help but wonder how Ms. Layne was going to pull off a romance that on the surface seemed more than a little bit tawdry. I knew I would enjoy revisiting the Stiletto and Oxford staff members but I never should have should doubted as Mollie and Jackson’s story possessed every bit of the charm and appeal that I have come to expect from all of Ms. Layne’s stories and undoubtedly Jackson is my favourite character of ALL. Well at least until Someone Like You comes out in December.

EXCERPT

“You seriously didn’t have to hire movers,” Mollie said for the hundredth time as she watched two burly dudes easily maneuver yet another stack of boxes to Jackson’s guest room.

Jackson pointed at a barstool. “Sit. Relax. Want a beer?”

“No, I still need to unpack,” she muttered, reluctantly plopping onto the stool.

“Have a beer, Molls. Unpacking your night stand contents isn’t like operating heavy machinery,” he said, going to the fridge and pulling out two beers.

“Clearly you don’t know what’s in my nightstand.”

Jackson lifted his eyebrows. “Exactly how big is your vibrator?”

“I meant I have like a zillion books.”

“Which are not breakable,” he said, handing her a beer. “And is that a no on the vibrator?”

She gave him a look as she took the bottle from his hand. “I just want to state for the record that I have moved several times, on my own, without the help of movers, and I could have done it again.”

“Moving yourself is for college kids. You’re an adult. Hire movers.”

“No, moving yourself is for people without extra income,” she said. “Snob.”

“So what was the plan?” he asked, tipping the bottle to his lips. “You were just going to maneuver all those big-ass boxes around with those skinny sticks you call arms?”

“Don’t be silly. I was going to hire some big beefy dudes from campus to help me. Perk of working at a university.”

Jackson was about to set his bottle on the counter but his hand froze, just for a second, and Mollie felt a sting of regret as she realized she’d inadvertently hit a nerve. Not so long ago, Jackson Burke had been absolutely the type of muscled guy friend who’d’ve been really helpful to have around on moving day. Her eyes flitted to his shoulder. Now he was the guy who wouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting for a long time. Maybe ever.

She looked away, her brain scrambling to come up with a quick subject change.

Only maybe that wasn’t what he needed—for people to dance around his injury like it was the elephant in the room. Physically, he was on the road to recovery. He needed to get there mentally as well.

“You said the other night that it didn’t hurt,” she said. “Was that a big macho man moment?”

He stared at the counter. “I’ve told you. It’s fine.”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. Be a little more vague and manly.”

“Well, what do you want me to say, Molls?” he ground out. “That the pain wakes me up at night? That any motion more vigorous than brushing my teeth hurts like hell?”

“Are you going to physical therapy?” she asked, purposely ignoring the wounded-bear routine. That might scare off other people, but she was made of stronger stuff. Knew him better.

He looked away.

“Oh, Jackson.”

He shrugged. “What does it even matter? All the PT in the world isn’t going to help me play football again.”

“Well, gosh,” she said dramatically, “you may as well be dead.”

Jackson was in the process of taking a sip of beer and choked. “Jesus. You are such a smart-ass.”

“I’m just saying, you have a lot going for you,” she said, gentling her tone. “You don’t need a football in your hand or to help a girl move to be an amazing guy.”

“Yeah?” he said as he leaned on his forearms across the counter. “Want to tell me more about how I’m an amazing guy?”

If I did, I might never stop.

Author Info

Lauren_LayneLauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

.

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest 

 

FRISK ME (New York’s Finest #1) – Lauren Layne GET IT TODAY!

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FRISK ME (New York’s Finest #1)

Lauren Layne

Releasing July 28th,2015

Forever Romance

SYNOPSIS – After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York’s most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the “American Hero,” Luc’s boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn’t mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who’s been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC’s lead anchor-but to get there, she’ll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava’s doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York’s finest …

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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three).

Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

 

FRISK ME (New York’s Finest #1) – Lauren Layne NEVER DISAPPOINTS

No good deed goes unpunished.” – Proverb

FRISK ME (New York’s Finest #1)

Lauren Layne

Releasing July 28th,2015

Forever Romance

SYNOPSIS – After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York’s most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the “American Hero,” Luc’s boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn’t mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who’s been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC’s lead anchor-but to get there, she’ll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava’s doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York’s finest …

BUY NOW

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REVIEW

Lauren Layne has long been an auto buy for me, the woman can simply do no wrong writing wise in my world. Frisk Me was just another example of this writer’s vast appeal. After her angsty (but never over the top) N/A series Redemption and her fun and flirty Stiletto books New York’s Finest is a chimera of her past work. On the surface it is unapologetically fluffy yet with darker undertones throughout.

The Moretti family are all police officers with the exception of Luc’s defense attorney sister. Ava also has a family legacy to live up to, she and her brother and sister all are in journalism. Both are just doing what it takes to succeed in their chosen or predestined if you like careers. Luc is the shining star of the department after he is caught on video rescuing a drowning child. Later being seen giving his coat to a homeless man on the street doesn’t hurt his image any either. Ava is trying to attain the coveted spot of network anchor rumoured to be up for grabs and an expose on “America’s Hero is the story that will get her there.

Despite a sizzling initial attraction, one wouldn’t say that these characters like each other over much. Ava cynically believes that despite his protestations that Luc is just another fame hound out for his few minutes of fame. Whereas Luc just wants to do his job and leave the screen shots for others. The nation may think he’s hero but Luc knows he’s not that he failed the one time when he should have come through for his partner.

In Frisk Me, Lauren Layne has set the stage for a very entertaining series, complete with a grandmother straight out of a Janet Evanovich novel and a supporting cast of siblings who I look forward to reading about in upcoming installments of New York’s finest. Though Luc and Ava’s story may not have been my favorite Layne novel to date that is not to say that I won’t be waiting in anxious anticipation for the November release of Steal Me featuring Luc’s older brother Anthony and Cuff Me in 2016. If you are looking for a diverting “adversaries to lovers” story then Frisk Me is just the thing.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three).

Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

 

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Just One Night by Lauren Layne

Just One Night

By Lauren Layne

JON

  • Blog Stop: Penny Dreadful Books & Reviews
  • Post Date: 4.30.2014
  • Topic/Title: The Almost-Virgin Heroine

GUEST POST

One of the questions I get most often about Just One Night is why I made the decision to make Riley an “almost virgin.” (Note, that’s not a spoiler … it’s on the back of the book!) Despite her super-sexy reputation at Stiletto magazine, all of Riley’s sexual experiences are based on exceptionally good interview techniques, not personal experience. Readers want to know why … a couple have even claimed it’s unbelievable, and that’s where I’ll have to respectfully disagree. See, it’s not that Riley intended to have all sexual experience stop after her “first time” in college. But a few months passed after that first time, and then a year, and she didn’t meet the right guy, which is no big deal. But then Riley got a job at Stiletto and got assigned to a story about sexy-times. So to cover for her lack of experience, she did some research and made it really good. Too good. She got asked to write another. And then another. Before she knew it, Riley was a full on “sexpert“, and nobody seemed to notice that she never used “I” in her articles! Poor Riley … the longer she went without sex, the wider the gap between her magazine-advice and personal experience got. So she kept putting off making that admission, and alas … a vicious circle. It’s sort of like when you meet someone for the first time and get their name, only to promptly forget it. But then you run into them again … and then again, and again … now you REALLY should be asking their name, but you can’t because you waited too long, and they’ll know that you’ve been clueless this entire time! It’s like that for Riley, except it’s so much worse because instead of a name, it’s something sooo much more intimate on the line. BUT! Don’t worry about Riley … she’s about to make up for lost time 🙂

Author Info

Lauren LayneLauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Layne moved to New York City, where she now writes full-time. She lives with her husband and their plus-size Pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.

Connect with Lauren: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Author links http://laurenlayne.com/  https://www.facebook.com/LaurenLayneAuthor  https://twitter.com/_LaurenLayne

Just-One-Night-Lauren-Layne2 JUST ONE NIGHT: Sex, Love and Stiletto Series | Written by Lauren Layne Published by Loveswept | ISBN: 978-0-34554727-9 | On sale: April 22nd, 2014

Blurb

New York’s hottest “sexpert” has been living a lie—and it’s up to one man to keep her honest . . . all night long. Riley McKenna knows sex – good sex, bad sex, kinky sex…Her articles in Stiletto magazine are consistently the publication’s most scandalous—and the most read. But Riley has a secret…all that sexy talk? Not an ounce of it comes from personal experience. Her own bedroom escapades are more limited than even her best friends know. When her editor requests that all columnists write something more personal for Stiletto’s anniversary issue, Riley turns to the one man she’s always been able to count on and calls in the favor of a lifetime. Sam Compton would do anything for Riley McKenna. Anything except be her experimental sex toy. He refuses her request. At least until she tells him that it’ll either be him or she’ll go to someone else. And that, Sam can’t accept. Reluctantly he agrees to her terms—one night of completely meaningless sex in the name of research. Riley thinks she’s prepared for what awaits her in Sam’s bed.  After ten years of writing about sex, actually doing it shouldn’t be that different, right? So wrong. What starts as “one time only” becomes “just one more time.” And then one more. And before they know it, Riley and Sam learn first-hand that when it comes to love, there’s no such thing as just one night.

Buy Links

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/10/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_29.html

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REVIEW

To anyone who has read any of Lauren Layne’s work it will be no surprise that Just One Night is just plain adorable. Her characters are likeable and with each installment of her series you are eager to see what she has in store for the next member of the Stiletto staff. For Stiletto’s anniversary issue the staff is tasked with an assignment to write a personal account related to their life. This is a significant problem for Riley McKenna, who despite popular opinion is sadly lacking in the personal experience required for this assignment. She decides that the answer lies with Sam Compton the object of her affection. Sam feels the same about Riley but has convinced himself that they can’t be together…or can they?

I am continually awed and impressed at Ms Layne’s skill in depicting a story rife with emotion yet never straying into the maudlin soap operalike situations a less talented author might implement. Just One Night is just as fun as its predecessors and leaves the reader anxious to see what awaits Emma, the last man standing if you will and whether her ex-fiancé will be the one to complete her story.

Love the One You’re With (Stiletto #2) – Lauren Layne

cover-LoveTheOneYoureWithWe all have alter egos, don’t we? That part of ourselves with whom we have long drawn out discussions about all aspects of life. The proverbial “angel vs devil” on our shoulder if you will. Grace Brighton is a relationship expert, she is Stiletto magazine’s go to for advice on how to manage your man. As such it is a tremendous blow when she discovers her long time boyfriend has been unfaithful. She counters this devastating news with a personality overhaul, cue Grace 2.0 the better, savvier and street-wise edition.

As a leading columnist for Stiletto, Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancé would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men’s magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she’s not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses . . . or is she?

Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what’s-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job . . . except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto. But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously.

Grace’s resolve is tested the very first morning when her cab is hijacked by a not just attractive, but infinitely more rare and dangerous creature, an intelligent, charming man. That first hurdle easily crossed Grace doesn’t anticipate any challenge that the new “Grace” can’t handle. Until she returns to the office and gets her assignment, a “He Said, She Said” piece to end all with the spoils going to the publication who proves they know more about the opposite sex. Slam dunk, right? Not so much, of course Murphy’s Law dictates that the “He Said” component would be written by none other than the taxi terrorist more commonly known as Jake Malone confirmed bachelor and Kryptonite to women everywhere.

Too often nowadays I find I just don’t like one of the characters in the stories I read, this is not the case with Lauren Layne‘s writing and in particular Love the One You’re With. If I were to identify her greatest strength it would be in her realistic depictions of characters who are likable and equally relatable in this funny, witty gem of a story.

AUTHOR: Lauren Layne

RATING: 4 Stars

GENRE: Romance

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Isn’t She Lovely – Lauren Layne

I adored this book, Lauren Layne’s Isn’t She Lovely was that perfect combination of irreverent and serious. If this book was a dessert I would have to compare it to key lime pie that perfect blend of sweet without crossing the dreaded line into saccharine but with just enough tang to keep things interesting. Even if you don’t like key lime pie you still should take the time to read this stellar N/A offering.

Stephanie Kendrick is hiding, her wardrobe, if unrelieved black can be considered a disguise, her location, as far as possible from her father’s new life in North Carolina all carefully designed to avoid her reminders of her old life in Rhode Island.

Ethan Price, yes of THE Manhattan Price’s, is not hiding per se. Unable to enroll in a business course  to accommodate his last minute decision to skip the summer internship at his father’s company his only choice is a NYU film course. The vagaries of fate or at least his professor’s arbitrary partner selection pairs him with the surly Stephanie.

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund . . . or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating them. And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

Isn’t She Lovely was blissfully melodrama free, that is not to say that there was not a whole lot going on beneath this Pygmalion-esque story. You see, Stephanie was not ALWAYS the goth girl that she is now, and Evan is blissfully not another bad boy waiting for the right woman to redeem him.

Layne skillfully develops the relationship between these two unlikely characters, first as unwilling partners then as friends. When Stephanie becomes homeless, well it’s either that or room with her ex-boyfriend and the girl he cheated on with, Evan steps in with a plan. The result was an engaging thoroughly engrossing N/A that I raced through. I will definitely read more of this author’s work and look forward to what she comes up with in the future.

AUTHOR: Lauren Layne

RATING: 4 Stars

GENRE: New Adult

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.