New Release – Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

 

The City’s HOTTEST Cold War is here!

 

WALK OF SHAME
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Loveswept

 

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

 

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

 

AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO

 

Excerpt

And who is he, you ask?

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.

I know this because we moved into the building on the exact same day, and right before we got into a horrendous fight over whose movers should have access to the building loading dock first, he handed me his business card.

The thick white card stock declared that he had a fancy law degree to go along with the fancy suit he was wearing on a Saturday.

Andrew handed it over with such superiority, I actually wished for a half second that I had a business card of my own that would somehow be better than his. Like, lined with gold or something. No, platinum. With a diamond in the corner. It would be too heavy for him to hold, and he’d drop it, thus having to kneel at my feet to pick it up.

But then I realized it was just as well that I didn’t have a business card.

Because it would say . . . what? Georgie Watkins, professional party girl?

Anyway, I digress. Despite the high temps of that swampy July morning, the encounter had been the start of an epic cold war.

Me, the socialite in apartment 86A against the uptight esquire in apartment 79B.

I’m not entirely sure I’m winning the war, but I’ll never tell him that.

I let my gaze drift over Andrew, even though his appearance rarely holds any surprises. The man’s a lesson in sameness, like some sort of anal-retentive version of Groundhog Day.

There’s always the black mug with some healthy gunk inside held in his right hand, Tom Ford briefcase and Armani garment bag in his left, containing what I know to be a perfectly tailored three-piece suit.

Andrew’s coppery hair is perfectly styled, although I’d swear that there’s some natural curl in there threatening to disrupt his perfect order. I imagine that annoys him, so it therefore makes me happy.

Let’s see, what else about my nemesis?

He’s got a hard, unfriendly jawline that’s perfectly shaven.

Dark brown eyes, cold and flat. Black gym bag over one shoulder.

I suppose you could say he changes up his attire, because he does alternate between black and gray gym shirts. But considering that they seem to be the exact same fit, both colors molding perfectly to his impressively sculpted upper body, we’re not giving him any points for variety there.

Same goes for the lower half. The black shorts worn in summer have given way to sleek black sweatpants now that October’s upon us, but they’re both black and Nike, so we’ll give him no credit for changing it up there either.

The shoes, though . . .

I do a double take.

Well, well, well . . .

Instead of the usual black gym shoes, the man’s shoes are red. I don’t know how I missed it before.

I drag my eyes back up his body with a grin, and he gives just the slightest roll of his eyes to indicate that he’s noticed my slow perusal and isn’t fazed in the least.

“You went shopping, Dorothy!” I say happily.

He stares at me. “I don’t shop.”

Of course not. Far too frivolous.

“No, that makes sense,” I say, pointing at his feet. “Glinda would have given these to you.”

Andrew looks down at his Rolex watch. “I’ve got to go. Have a good day, Mr. Ramirez.”

“You too, Mr. Mulroney,” Ramon says with a deferential nod. “Enjoy your workout.”

“Yes, do,” I say, turning and watching as Andrew moves toward the front door of our building. “What’s on the schedule today? Treadmill, or just skipping down the Yellow Brick Road?”

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even turn before pushing through the revolving doors and stepping out into the still-dark autumn morning.

Now come on. Tell me that wasn’t at least a little bit fun, despite the ungodly hour.

Giveaway

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.


 

 

 

Review – Love Story by Lauren Layne

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.

 

 

LOVE STORY
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Released February 14th, 2017
Loveswept

 

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

 

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

 

 

BFF K’s Review of Love Story

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Love Story is a road trip, second chance, romance told with bits of flashback tucked into current scenes. It’s full of tension and lust and frustrating bits. In the end, it is the story of two people who are destined to be together.

 

Lucy fell in love with Reece at a very young age. One day, she learned the love and affection wasn’t one-sided, but mutual. She and Reece began a brief but consuming love affair that ended badly. They went their separate ways but fate and family meddling have brought them together again for a cross country road trip to start the next chapter of their lives.

 

There is so much tension involved in this story. I wouldn’t say it rises to the level of angst but there are some heartbreaking bits where the characters go back and forth about their feelings for one another. In the end, their desire for one another and wish to be together is stronger than the personal issues that have kept them apart.

 

Love Story is the tale of two people searching for their place in the world and with one another. It is full of both tension and light-hearted-moments in equal measure and it’s an enjoyable read. I am a big fan of Lauren Layne’s writing and this is another solid story added to her catalog of great romances.

 

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 

 

Release Day Blitz – Love Story by Lauren Layne

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.
BFF K’s review of Love Story coming soon!
LOVE STORY
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14th, 2017
Loveswept

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

 

AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO

Excerpt from Love Story

“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.

Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.

“I, um . . . you’re giving me the car?” I ask.

“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.

“And this one’s . . . not broken down?” I ask skeptically.

Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just . . .

Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.

I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.

But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.

“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.

“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”

“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.

“Like, as in he actually starts?”

“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”

I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.

“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.

“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.

“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.

“Reece agreed to fix him up.”

I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”

“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”

And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.

I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.

“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.

They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.

Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”

Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.

He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .

I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.

And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.

Giveaway

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 

 

 

 

Review – Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

A man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

 

SOMEONE LIKE YOU

Oxford #3

Lauren Layne

Releasing Dec 6th, 2016

Loveswept

 

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Buy Links     

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BFF K’s Review of Someone Like You

rating_4.5

Since the first book in the Oxford Series, I have been drawn to Lincoln Mathis. He has been an enigma. The ladies man with a heart of gold, just a little too polished and a little too perfect. Lincoln seemed to romance half of Manhattan, but that character never quite meshed with the wonderful person who created deep and meaningful relationships with his charming group of friends.

Enter Daisy Sinclair (twin sister of Emma and new sister-in-law of Cassidy, Lincoln’s boss.) Lincoln and Daisy meet serving as Best Man and Maid of Honor at the wedding and their connection is instant but not romantic. As the backstories of both characters are revealed, your heart will break for them. But, the way they heal themselves and each other is what makes this book a wonderful read. The first moment they ALMOST give into their attraction is one of the hottest no-sex-sexy-scenes I’ve read. But, don’t worry, there’s plenty of steam!

There is angst and tears, but also hope and sweetness and romance and love. It is all wrapped up in this wonderful group of “friends as family.” Lincoln and Daisy are one of my most favorite couples in the series. I’m not ready to say goodbye, so I’m glad that Lauren Layne has announced one more book in the Oxford Series. I have read all of them and highly recommend them (as I do everything by Lauren Layne) BUT you don’t need to read the other books in the series to thoroughly enjoy Lincoln and Daisy’s love story.

Someone Like You is a solid, sweet, romance with terrific characters and all the feels. You definitely want to add this book (the whole series really) to your TBR today! Lincoln and Daisy’s story was worth the wait!

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An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

Giveaway

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Advance praise for Someone Like You

“Fun and flirty, sassy and steamy, with a deep emotional pull that will keep you turning the pages.”—Kelly Jamieson, author of Top Shelf

“An unsung hero with a story that touched my heart. Emotional and gripping. A top favorite of 2016 for me.”New York Times bestselling author Melanie Moreland

About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

 

Release Day Blitz – Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

A man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
Oxford #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing Dec 6th, 2016
Loveswept

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Excerpt

“Lincoln, you know that I love you like a brother, but if you make a move on my sister, I will end you.”

Lincoln Mathis took a slow sip of his cocktail as he studied the fierce bride-to-be. “I hope Cassidy knows how lucky he is. You’re so delicate and gentle.”

Emma Sinclair, soon to be Emma Cassidy as of this time tomorrow, lifted one elegantly manicured fingernail and flicked his chest. “Promise, Lincoln. No hitting on Daisy.”

“I don’t hit on women.”

Emma gave him a look.

He held up his free hand in surrender. “I don’t. They come to me. I’m like the stamen.”

Emma stared at him with wide, slightly accusatory brown eyes. “The what?”

“The stamen. The pollen-producing part of a flower, Sinclair. Don’t you watch the Discovery Channel? Animal Planet? I just saw a fascinating documentary on bees. See, when the bees land on a flower, their little feet pick up pollen from the stamen— “

“Mathis. Are you talking to my fiancée about semen?” Alex Cassidy asked, coming up beside Emma and setting a possessive hand on her waist.

“Stamen,” Lincoln clarified. “Not semen. Honestly, is sex all you people think about?”

“Yes.” This came from Riley Compton, a brunette bombshell whose status as New York’s foremost “sexpert” meant she had zero qualms about discussing sex at her best friend’s rehearsal dinner. “And you know, actually, the stamen is rather sexual. I saw that bee documentary too, because these are the sort of things you do when you’re nursing a never-satisfied baby, by the way, and the stamen is a flower’s male reproductive organ. Sexy, right?”

Emma inserted the arm not holding her champagne flute between the two of them. “Guys, it’s my wedding weekend. Can we not talk about flower boners?”

“Fair enough, Bride,” Lincoln said. “What do you want to talk about? Cassidy’s boner?”

Alex Cassidy choked into his champagne.

“There will be no boner discussion,” Emma said. “Lincoln and I were just having a chat about how Lincoln will be maintaining his distance from my sister.”

“Speaking of flowers, where is Daisy?” Riley asked, scanning the room.

“Running late. Knowing my sister, her dress had a slight crease from the suitcase, and she won’t make an appearance until every wrinkle’s banished, every hair’s in place, and there’s not a speck of lint anywhere.”

“Gosh, however will I keep my hands to myself?” Lincoln muttered.

“Lincoln, I swear to God—”

“He’s messing with you, Em,” Cassidy said, carefully tugging his fiancée away from Lincoln. “Don’t let him press your buttons. And Lincoln, man, what is with that drink?”

Lincoln glanced down. “It’s called a Jasmine. Gin, lemon, some Campari—”

“It’s pink,” Cassidy observed.

“Right? You want one?”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “I’ll stick with wine, thanks. Ah shit, there’s my grandma waving us over. Emma, you up for talk about the state of your uterus?”

Emma groaned. “Oh no. I thought she’d agreed to wait until after the wedding to talk about my eggs.”

“I’ll go with you,” Riley said. “As the only one in our little group of friends who’s ever pushed a human skull out my—”

“Okay, I’m going to expand my taboo list,” Emma said. “No talking about boners, flowers, or vaginas.”

“Fine,” Riley said, as she entwined her arm in Emma’s and started leading her toward Cassidy’s grandma. “But if Grams starts talking about fertility, just follow my lead . . . ”

Lincoln smiled as he watched his friends walk away. He could follow, certainly, help run interference, but new mom Riley was a far better choice for this particular bridal-party duty.

Besides, as best man, Lincoln had enough to worry about. The ring, reconfirming transportation to the church tomorrow, the speech that he was going to slay tomorrow, the—

Lincoln’s best man to-do list scattered as his eyes landed on a woman standing in the doorway to the private event room. He did a double take. When had Emma found time to change? Generally speaking, he didn’t consider himself particularly in tune with his friends’ clothes. Especially the women, because, well . . . he didn’t really give a crap. But he was pretty damn sure Emma had been wearing a white dress just ten seconds ago.

Now she was wearing a short yellow dress, with fussy, flowy sleeves, high-necked and a bit demure—

No, not demure, Lincoln amended as she turned. Hot. The dress was backless, showing a smooth expanse of lightly tanned skin from the small of her back all the way up to long dark blond hair.

. . . Blond hair.

Emma had shoulder-length brown hair. A wardrobe swap, he might be able to buy, but the hair?

You idiot.

He was looking at none other than Daisy Sinclair, the forbidden fruit, in the flesh.

He’d forgotten that Daisy wasn’t just Emma’s sister—she was Emma’s identical twin.

Other than the fact that she was, apparently, not to be hit on, Lincoln didn’t know much about her.

Well, he supposed he now knew that she dyed her hair blond.

Or maybe Emma dyed hers brown?

Whatever. Girl stuff he didn’t care about one way or the other.

And yet he didn’t look away, captivated somehow. He racked his brain for everything he’d heard about Daisy Sinclair.

He knew that she and Emma had grown up in North Carolina. But Emma left for New York City shortly after college, and Daisy had stayed. He thought he remembered talk of a recent divorce, although he didn’t recall the details.

Didn’t need to, really. Lincoln knew better than anyone that not all relationships had happy endings.

Lincoln watched as Daisy hesitated just inside the doorway, unnoticed yet by the rest of the bridal party and out-of-town guests.

Making people comfortable was a particular skill of his. Normally he’d be over there in a heartbeat with a glass of wine and some of his best banter until her shoulders relaxed and he’d coaxed a smile from her pretty face.

But he wasn’t entirely convinced Emma wouldn’t make good on her castration threats, so instead Lincoln merely studied Daisy. The woman was beautiful. No surprise there, since Emma was gorgeous. Yet, though their features were identical, they were attractive in entirely different ways.

Emma was all polished confidence, stunning in an untouchable sort of way.

Daisy was softer somehow. Gentler. She seemed . . . touchable.

Lincoln’s cocktail froze on its way to his mouth as the forbidden rocked him back on his heels. Daisy Sinclair was not for him to touch for reasons that had nothing to do with Emma’s threats.

As though sensing a man’s brooding thoughts on her, Daisy turned slightly, her eyes locking on his. Eyes that he’d known would be dark brown like Emma’s, and yet eye contact with Emma had never felt like this.

Lincoln felt something akin to panic, because for a heart-stopping moment, it felt like Daisy Sinclair was seeing him. Not seeing the Lincoln he wanted everyone to see.

The real him.

He gave himself a little mental shake. Get it together, Mathis. The woman doesn’t even know you.

None of them did.

Not really.

He saw the moment of answering shock in her own gaze, sensed that for a split second, she considered turning and running. From him, from the party, all of it.

Then he saw something else. Something familiar, because he’d done it a thousand times himself. She squared her shoulders, and he watched as a mask slid into place.

He knew even before she approached that Daisy was exactly like him—good at being around people only because she chose to be. Knew that perhaps once it had been second nature, and now it was nothing but a deliberate attempt to make sure everyone thought she was okay.

Daisy began making her way toward him, and he tensed for reasons he couldn’t identify before ordering himself to chill out.

It was just his friend’s sister. The maid of honor to his best man.

She stopped in front of him, and he caught just the faintest whiff of her perfume, a surprisingly elegant scent for someone named Daisy, before she extended her hand.

“You must be Lincoln Mathis, The Manwhore of Whom I Should Beware?”

Her voice was a surprise. It had the same low huskiness as her sister’s, but years in New York had all but erased the Southern from Emma’s whiskey-raspy voice. Daisy’s drawl was very much intact—a mint julep on a hot day.

He grinned and took her smaller hand in his. “Which would make you Daisy Sinclair, Delicate Flower to Whom I’m Not to Speak.”

She grinned. “Nailed it.”

Giveaway

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Advance praise for Someone Like You

“Fun and flirty, sassy and steamy, with a deep emotional pull that will keep you turning the pages.”—Kelly Jamieson, author of Top Shelf

“An unsung hero with a story that touched my heart. Emotional and gripping. A top favorite of 2016 for me.”New York Times bestselling author Melanie Moreland

About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!
 

 

Excerpt – Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

A man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
Oxford #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing Dec 6th, 2016
Loveswept

 

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain. Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

 

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Advance praise for Someone Like You

“Fun and flirty, sassy and steamy, with a deep emotional pull that will keep you turning the pages.”—Kelly Jamieson, author of Top Shelf

“An unsung hero with a story that touched my heart. Emotional and gripping. A top favorite of 2016 for me.”New York Times bestselling author Melanie Moreland

Excerpt

Daisy took another sip of her wine, watching as wedding guests took their places on the dance floor, warding off her boredom by trying to guess how long each couple had been together based on body language.

She was a little amused to see that Emma and all of her Stiletto friends still seemed to be in the handsy honeymoon stage with their significant others, even though she knew they’d mostly been with their respective spouses for years.

Daisy felt a little twist of her heart. Once upon a time, she’d thought that’d be her and Gary. As much in love on someone else’s wedding day as they had been on their own. At least she’d been in love on that day. She wasn’t sure someone like Gary knew what love was.

Still, she was glad to be here. Glad to be surrounded by all of this happiness, even if it was bittersweet. Daisy wished her father could be here to see this. He’d died of a heart attack a year ago, and though their dad had wreaked plenty of havoc on Emma and Cassidy’s relationship all those years ago, Daisy wished he could have walked Emma down the aisle and had a chance at the father-daughter dance.

The way it had worked out was rather lovely, though. Cole Sharpe, yet another Oxford writer, had walked Emma down the aisle, and a whole slew of the Oxford guys had twirled a laughing Emma around the dance floor in place of the father-daughter dance.

It struck Daisy that this was Emma’s family. Sure, the twins were close, but they were orphans now, and they’d never been particularly close to the rest of their extended family. So Emma had built a family here in New York, with a network of tight-knit friendships.

And though Daisy was happy for Emma she was also . . . jealous.

“I hate to break it to you, pet, but you’re pulling off the wallflower routine a little too convincingly over here.”

Daisy turned, somehow unsurprised to see Lincoln Mathis standing beside her, blue eyes twinkling above the pink bow tie that he pulled off with impressive masculinity.

“You cheated,” she said, by way of greeting.

He smiled, slow and flirty, as he rested one shoulder against the wall she was leaning on, looking down at her. “How’s that?”

“You made them laugh and cry in your speech. I thought we agreed that you were just going to be the funny guy.”

He smiled wider. “What can I say, I’m alluring in a multitude of ways.”

“Speaking of,” she said, nodding her chin slightly to the sultry brunette making her way towards them, “I believe your previous dance partner is wanting an encore.”

He let out the subtlest of groans, so quiet she thought she might have imagined it.

“Dance with me,” he said suddenly to Daisy, straightening and looking down at her.

She jolted in surprise, then in panic. “I can’t.”

He smiled and held out a hand. “Come on now, Wallflower. I’m very good at dancing.”

Wallflower. Daisy had never been a wallflower in her life. Although he had a point. She did seem to be lurking in the corner a bit. She silently scolded herself. This was everything she’d been coaching herself not to do. Not to let Gary win . . .

“I don’t doubt your dancing prowess,” she replied saucily, “but—”

She broke off. What could she possibly say? I don’t like being touched?

It’s not that she couldn’t be touched. She wasn’t that broken. She didn’t freak out. She’d endured Cassidy’s hug when she’d greeted him last night; she’d danced earlier with her uncle. But those men were family.

Lincoln Mathis was . . . not family.

Dance with him, she commanded herself. Don’t be that broken woman Gary tried to make you.

She didn’t move, and slowly Lincoln’s hand dropped to his side, just as the brunette reached them.

“I love this song,” the woman said, running a possessive hand up Lincoln’s arm. “Dance?”

Lincoln held Daisy’s gaze and she shrugged before blowing him a teasing good-bye kiss. “Bye bye.”

His eyes narrowed. “Actually,” Lincoln said, turning and giving the other woman a regretful smile, “I need to step out for a moment.”

The woman’s perfectly shaped brows folded into a frown. “Step out? For what?”

“I need to show Daisy something,” he said, bending and kissing the other woman’s cheek. “Next time, love.”

Before Daisy could register that she’d been commandeered as part of Lincoln Mathis’s escape, he’d plucked the champagne flute out of her hand, setting it aside before clasping her fingers in his and pulling her toward the door.

“Wait, we’re really leaving?” she asked with a laugh as he tugged her through the throng of wedding guests.

“Yep.”

“I can’t,” she said. “It’s my sister’s wedding, I have family here, and . . .”

“But you want to leave,” he said, turning and facing her.

She narrowed her gaze. “Why would I want that?”

He met her eyes. “Because you don’t like weddings any more than I do.”

 

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

 

 

Pre-Release Blitz – Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

A man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
Oxford #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing Dec 6th, 2016
Loveswept

 

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain. Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Advance praise for Someone Like You

“Fun and flirty, sassy and steamy, with a deep emotional pull that will keep you turning the pages.”—Kelly Jamieson, author of Top Shelf

“An unsung hero with a story that touched my heart. Emotional and gripping. A top favorite of 2016 for me.”New York Times bestselling author Melanie Moreland

 
 

Read BFF K’s Reviews of the other Oxford Series Novels

Irresistibly Yours

I Wish You Were Mine

Giveaway

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

 

 

 

 

 

Review – To Love and To Cherish by Lauren Layne

After 8 years of waiting…he’s got 1 month to make her his.

 

TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH
The Wedding Belles #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing Oct 18th, 2016
Pocket Books

 

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, a contemporary and witty romance series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.
 
Alexis Morgan has spent the past six years devoted to turning her tiny start-up into Manhattan’s premiere wedding planning company, The Wedding Belles. Now that her business is thriving, it’s time to turn towards her much neglected personal life, and Alexis approaches her relationships like she does everything else: with a plan. Not a part of that plan is Logan Harris, the silent partner in the Belles, and the one person who’s been there for her since the very beginning. But Alexis needs someone fun, and Logan’s all business, all the time—except when a late night at the office ends with an unexpected kiss that leaves the usually cool and together Alexis reeling.
Logan has lusted after Alexis since the day he walked into the tiny Harlem apartment that used to double as her office. But the ambitious wedding planner has always been untouchable…until now. Alexis has made it clear that she’s on the dating market—and equally clear that he’s not in the running. But when Alexis finds herself in need of a date for her sister’s last minute wedding in Florida, Logan knows it’s the perfect time to show Alexis that there’s more to him than numbers and spreadsheets—and beneath the pinstripes and glasses lies a hot-blooded heartthrob. As Florida’s sultry days turn into even hotter nights, Logan’s out to convince Alexis that the fling of a lifetime could just maybe turn into forever…


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BFF K’s Review of To Love and To Cherish

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To Love and To Cherish is the sweet and wonderful conclusion to the Wedding Belles Series by Lauren Layne and it is absolutely terrific! I’ve enjoyed every book in this series and while I was most excited for Alexis and Logan’s story, I am also sad to see the series come to an end. These are all standalone books, but the interconnected characters make for a wonderful series!

Alexis is tough, driven and determined. She has built a very successful wedding planning business through sheer will and countless hours of hard work. But, that success has come at a price. She has no big love of her own and struggles with the weight of a past relationship.

Logan is patient. I’m not even sure there’s a phrase or analogy to describe just how incredibly patient Logan has been. But, he’s forced to make a decision and make some moves where Alexis is concerned. After 8 years of waiting, he has a short amount of time to convince her what he’s always known, they are perfect for each other. Logan’s careful and tender seduction of Alexis is sweet and emotional. And, Alexis needs to figure out if and how she can move Logan from ‘Accountant’ to ‘Love of My Life.’

To Love and To Cherish is a wonderful, well-written, thoroughly enjoyable Romance. I have come to expect just this kind of story and reading experience from Lauren Layne. She always delivers emotional, and heartfelt stories that are sure to leave you content and fulfilled! If you haven’t read The Wedding Belles Series, you should start today. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

Don’t Miss Any of the Wedding Belles Novels

Read BFF K’s Reviews of the entire Wedding Belles Series

From This Day Forward (Prequel Novella)

Excerpt

“Hello.”

The sexy British accented startled Alexis out of her thoughts, and she glanced up, both alarmed and intrigued to find that the face that awaited her was every bit as appealing as the voice.

The man was about her age—early, maybe midtwenties—and ridiculously cute. His hair was dark and maybe just a touch too long, as though he intended to get a haircut but kept forgetting. The eyes were brown and friendly, accented by trendy black-framed glasses.

The chunky cable-knit sweater with elbow patches—for real—bordered on dorky, but then, Alexis had always had a soft spot for dorky. He had a bit of the Clark Kent thing going on, which had always been far more her type than the overrated Superman.

“Hi,” she replied quickly, realizing that she’d been staring.

His smile grew wider as he extended a hand. “Logan Harris.”

Darn. Even the name was good.             

“Alexis,” she said.

“Does that come with a last name?” he teased, lowering himself to the vacant barstool beside her.

“Not to strange men,” she retorted.

“I could buy you a drink. Get rid of the ‘strange’ part.”

Alexis’s smile slipped as she remembered that romance, even flirting, wasn’t part of her plan. She’d learned the hard way that she could have one or the other—her own business or a boyfriend—not both. And even if she wanted the latter, the latter didn’t want her back.

“No thanks; I’m fine,” she said, letting the slightest amount of chill enter her voice. The ice-princess treatment, Roxanne called it.

Logan shrugged, undeterred. “All right then. May I borrow your menu?”

She nodded, and he picked it up, perusing it for several moments and paying her no attention.

It was both a relief and also a bit of an insult, if she was being entirely honest, to be given up on so easily.

Alexis tried to turn her attention back to her laptop but watched out of the corner of her eye as he finally shut the menu, waiting patiently to catch the bartender’s eye.

“Hi there,” he said, when the bartender ambled back over. “I’d like a Stella, and a maybe bite to eat?”

Alexis didn’t miss the once-over that the bartender gave Logan before the curvy redhead leaned over the bar, displaying perky boobs as she clicked her pen and pulled a notepad out of her back pocket.

“Shoot,” the bartender said flirtatiously, looking a good deal friendlier than she had when she’d spoken to Alexis.

Not that Alexis blamed her. A cute Brit could do that to a girl.

“All right then,” Logan said. “I’d like the burger, medium, with Swiss. Fish and chips, extra tartar, and . . . how’s your chicken club?”

The bartender blinked. “It’s good. But you want all that?”

“I do. Thank you.”

“Suit yourself,” she said, scribbling Logan’s order on the pad.

“Hungry?” Alexis couldn’t resist asking after the bartender moved away.

Logan gave a sheepish smile. “I’m a recovering student. I sometimes get so wrapped up in my day that I forget to eat.”

“A recovering student. What does that mean?”

He turned slightly toward her. “Someone’s showing plenty of interest in a strange man.”

She bit her lip. “I’m sorry if I was rude before. I’m just not really in the market for . . . you know.”

He gave her an easy smile. “Everyone’s in the market for a friend, Alexis.”

She opened her mouth and then shut it as she realized he was right. She could use a friend. She’d spent her entire life in Boston and knew almost nobody in New York. This guy seemed nice and nonthreatening enough—what would be the harm in a little conversation over dinner? It had been too long since she’d had somebody to share a meal with.

Logan seemed to know the moment she capitulated, because he turned more fully toward her. “A recovering student, Alexis, is a recent graduate. One who hasn’t quite absorbed that there will be no more finals, no more requisite all-nighters, and no more dorm sex.”

Alexis laughed. “Undergrad, then?”

He gave her a wry look. “How young do I look, darling? MBA from Columbia. Just finished up end of last year.”

She felt a little stab of relief that he wasn’t twenty-two.

He leaned toward her slightly. “Twenty-five next month, just in case you were wondering. As a friend.”

She tried to hide her smile and failed. “Columbia, huh? You’re a long way from home.”

“Noticed that, did ya?” He winked. “I came out here for undergrad, also Columbia. Always figured I’d go back to London and maybe someday I will, but . . .” He shrugged. “Seems I have stuff to do here first.”

“Such as?” She took a sip of her wine, dismayed to see that it was half-empty.

“Well, this will probably shock you, given my vast amount of brawn, but I’m an accountant. Or at least I will be, once I get my business up and running.”

Alexis was impressed. “Your own business?”

Most twentysomethings, even those with an entrepreneurial bent, opted to get a few years of work under their belts for someone else before branching out on their own.

He nodded. “I’m working out of my flat for now, but I’m hoping to lease some office space soon, get some legitimacy. If nothing else to get my father off my back.”

“He’s not a fan of your plan?” Alexis asked.

Logan’s shoulder lifted, and for the first time he seemed a little sad. “Both parents have had it in their head that I’d come home. Run the family business in London.”

“Which is . . . ?”

He spun his beer glass idly. “Financial consulting firm. My father’s the CEO, Mum’s the COO.”

“Wow, that’s . . .”

“Scary?” Logan supplied.

“I was going to say impressive. That they work together—without killing each other, I mean.”

“They’re in love. It’s atrocious,” he said with a wink. “What about your folks?”

Alexis laughed. “Not in love. They divorced when I was in high school. Dad’s remarried and happy now, I think. Mom not so much.”

“And you?” he said. “Are you happy, Alexis?”

She pursed her lips, surprised and yet not entirely unsettled by the personal question. “It’s been a while since anyone asked me that. Since I even thought about it, really.”

“Think it out. I’ll wait,” he said with a wink.

She didn’t have to think that long. “I’m almost happy.”

“You sound quite confident on that.”

She shrugged. “Let’s just say that I need a few things to fall into place in my professional life, but once that happens . . . yeah. I’ll be happy.”

She’d make sure of it.

Giveaway

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

 

 

 

 

 

Review – For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor 
stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells?
FOR BETTER OR WORSE
The Wedding Belles #2
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 30th, 2016
Pocket Books

 

Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.


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BFF K’s Review of For Better or Worse

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A swoony, romance-filled, love story about a wedding planner and a cancer survivor? Sign me up! This book is everything you hope for when you pick up a romance novel by one of your favorite authors!

Josh is living a life that embraces the here and now. There’s a beautiful woman every day, a different beautiful woman. He’s embracing music and doing what he loves every day. But when he meets his feisty, sassy and sexy next door neighbor, he begins to wonder if he should hope for more. Heather is a successful wedding planner with everything she’s ever dreamed of within her reach. She’s determined not to let her sexy and carefree, playboy neighbor derail any of her plans or goals.

Josh and Heather are so fantastic! Their witty banter and snappy dialogue will keep the pages turning at a brisk pace even while the steamy scenes threaten to fog-up your Kindle! The premise is fun and unique and the characters and story are clean, concise and so well-written. It’s a quick read that’s thoroughly delightful from beginning to end! If you’re a sucker for a sweet romance with great characters and a fantastic HEA, this is a definite one-click!

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An advance copy was received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Don’t Miss Any of the Wedding Belles Novels

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

 

 

 

 

 

Review – To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles!

 

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
The Wedding Belles #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing July 26th, 2016
Pocket Books

 

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new
contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancé is an international conman just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Burke’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a
pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled, hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse springs.

 

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

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BFF K’s Review of To Have and To Hold

rating_4.5

What a wonderful book! To Have and to Hold is an emotional, sweet, steamy read. The character development is fantastic and the multiple story lines, with similar themes, blend so well and deliver a really satisfying conclusion.

Seth Tyler is having to be involved in his little sister’s wedding planning. He loathes the planning and his sister’s fiance. But, the wedding planner stirs some other strong emotions in the sometimes-stodgy businessman. Brooke is beautiful, but Seth knows there is so much more to her than meets the eye. If they could only get out of each others’ way long enough to allow love to take hold!

There is some wonderful tension that exists in this back and forth dance between Seth and Brooke. There are a few steamy scenes and lots of love and butterflies! Lauren Layne delivers consistently reliable and enjoyable love stories and she’s quickly become one of my go-to-favorites! You can’t go wrong with To Have and To Hold! This book delivers everything promised in the synopsis and so much more! I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series.

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An Advance Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Excerpt

Hold on. Back up. Back all the way up. What do you mean you’re getting married?”

It was eleven p.m. on a Wednesday, and Seth Tyler was exactly where he always was these days: behind his expansive mahogany desk at the Tyler Hotel Group, suit jacket slung over the back of his ergonomic chair, tie begging to be undone, impeccably pressed white shirt cuffed at the wrists.

He raked a hand through his thick light brown hair in frustration and fixed his younger sister with his best no-nonsense glare, an approximation—like everything else he seemed to do lately—of his deceased father.

When Seth’s father dropped dead of a heart attack eight months ago, Seth had thought the hardest part about his father’s passing—other than the mourning, of course—would be taking over the family company.

Sure, Seth had been groomed for the role. He’d wanted the president and CEO title. He’d always wanted it.

Eventually.

But not yet, for God’s sake.

Seth had no problem admitting that he was a perfectionist, and he’d been bound and determined to take over the family company his way. The right way.

And the right way, as Seth had determined it, was spending at least a year shadowing each of the senior-level Tyler Hotel Group executives. Seth had wanted to learn every possible detail, every in and out of the business, before even thinking about taking over the reins of the Fortune 500 company.

But his father’s heart had had other plans. Mainly, up and quitting during a routine round of golf. And so, quietly, per his father’s wishes, Seth had become CEO two years ahead of schedule.

Not a day passed that Seth didn’t wish his father was still with him, but in truth, taking his place at the head of the boardroom table had been easier than Seth had anticipated. The investors hadn’t freaked out. The executive team hadn’t left in mass exodus. Even Hank’s longtime assistant, Etta, had stuck around, seemingly content to call Seth boss even as she busted his balls about not eating enough vegetables, getting enough sleep, or getting his hair cut.

But if taking over the family company was easier than Seth had expected, there was one ramification of Hank Tyler’s death that Seth hadn’t been in the least prepared for:

A wedding.

Maya Tyler inhaled a long, patient breath, as though preparing to deal with a difficult child. “Well see, marriage, Seth, is when two people fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives—”

“Yes, I’m aware of how marriage works,” Seth interrupted. Although, not as aware as well as he’d like, as it turned out. He wouldn’t be getting any firsthand knowledge of how marriage worked any time soon.

Maya bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you of Nadia.”

Seth glanced down at his desk to avoid his sister’s too-perceptive gaze. She wasn’t wrong. He’d gotten to the point where he could go most days without thinking of his ex, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to think about marriage without hearing the incredulous laugh she’d let out when he’d gone on one knee and showed her the ring he’d spent months picking out.

“Can we not?” he said curtly.

“Don’t get pissed. It’s a wedding. You’re supposed to be happy.”

“I’m not pissed; I’m just surprised.”

That was an understatement. Seth had not seen this coming, and for a man who exercised precision in all things, he couldn’t say he was enjoying the shock value of Maya’s announcement. Especially not on the heels of his father’s death. A death that everyone but Seth had seen coming, because Seth had been the lone outsider on the knowledge that was his father’s longtime heart condition.

Apparently, Hank had considered his only son a control freak—had known that Seth would have stopped at nothing to try to halt death in its tracks.

His father had been, well, right. It was hard to admit, but if Seth had known about his father’s condition, he’d have devoted every waking hour to researching experimental treatment and the best doctors.

Hank Tyler hadn’t wanted that for his final months. Not for himself or for Seth.

Still, Seth resented not having the choice. Resented his father nearly as much as he missed him.

But he’d put that behind him. Mostly.

Hank was gone, and Maya was still here. Maya was all he had.

He had known she was dating a new guy—Neil something or other. But Seth hadn’t thought a thing about it. Maya had whipped through a constant string of casual boyfriends since high school, and other than a two-year relationship in college, they had never been serious.

And it certainly hadn’t gotten close to marriage.

What’s worse, Seth hadn’t even met this man that was apparently to be his brother-in-law.

But none of this would have mattered, not really, if Seth’s instincts hadn’t been buzzing that something was amiss with the way this was all going down. Something was off. He knew it down to his gut.

“How long have you been seeing this guy?” he asked.

Maya slumped back in the plush chair facing Seth’s desk with a groan. “Don’t do this. I knew you were going to do this.”

He frowned. “Do what?”

“The big brother thing,” she said.

“Hard not to, what with me being six years older and all,” Seth said.

He didn’t add that he was doubly obligated to be protective given Hank’s death just months earlier. Maya had definitely been Daddy’s Little Princess. She still got tears in her eyes every time their father’s name was mentioned.

Maya leaned forward, her pale blue eyes much like his own, although her blond hair was lighter than his, thanks to her frequent trips to the salon.

“I love him, Seth. I know you’re jaded these days, but Neil is exactly the type of guy we women spend our entire lives dreaming about.”

Seth bit his tongue to stop from saying that he bet Maya was exactly the type of girl that guys like Neil dreamed about, too. Young, pretty . . . and filthy rich.

Or so Neil likely thought.

 

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About the Author

 

Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.

She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst.