Blog Tour w/Review – Hard Sell

 

 

Hard Sell

21 Wall Street

By: Lauren Layne

Releasing Sept 4th, 2018
Montlake

 

Blurb:

 

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

 

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

 

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.

 

“Layne can always be counted on to create an engaging, steamy, and thoroughly rewarding reading experience.” —RT Book Reviews

 

 

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32978572-hard-sell

 

Buy Links:

 

 

KINDLE: https://amzn.to/2PnfWdV

PAPERBACK:  https://amzn.to/2C2Uedr

AUDIO BOOK: https://amzn.to/2PQCS6k

MP3 CD: https://amzn.to/2C1RvAV

 

 

 

 

 

I narrow my eyes, because there’s something just beyond the usual stubborn determinedness in her eyes. Something . . .

 

She starts to move away, and I grab her arm as I realize what that something is. “You’re scared.”

 

Sabrina scoffs. “Of what?”

 

I have no idea, but I do know her well enough to know what’ll spur her into action—the action I want.

 

I lean forward slightly. “You’re terrified that you can’t do it. That you can’t pretend we’re a couple without wanting it for real.”

 

This time I get a snort. “Reverse psychology? Really?”

 

I give her a slow, taunting smile. “Prove it. Prove that you’re not completely terrified you’ll fall in love with me.”

 

“Oh my God,” she says on a laugh, tugging her arm free. “That’s so not going to work on me.”

 

I shrug, letting my expression go deliberately skeptical as I sip my drink.

 

The silence stretches on, and she lets out an indignant huff. “You’re not that irresistible, you know. This whole I can’t break the little lady’s heart routine is a bit nauseating.”

 

I ignore this and go to her fridge, even though I’m not hungry. “Got anything to eat?”

Exactly as I expect, Sabrina stomps toward me, slaps her palm against the fridge door, and glares up at me. “You’re the last person I’d ever fall in love with.”

 

“Have you ever been in love?” I ask, a little curious.

 

“Of course not,” she says.

 

“You don’t believe in it?”

 

She bites her lip, as though unsure of her response. “Not lasting romantic love like you see in the movies, no.”

 

“Excellent.”

 

“Why is that excellent?”

 

“Because it means there should be no problem with you posing as my girlfriend.”

 

She laughs a little and rests the side of her head against the fridge. “You’re relentless.”

“And you’re stubborn. Seriously, though . . . What are you so afraid of?” I ask it quietly.

For a moment, her expression’s unreadable. Then she gives a slow smile and leans in slightly. “You know, for someone so decidedly antirelationship, you’re pretty obsessed with the idea of my falling for you.”

 

She’s clearly not going to answer my question, and I shove aside my disappointment. Figuring out what the hell makes Sabrina tick was never going to be easy. I’ve always known that.

 

“What can I say, the apocalypse fascinates me.” I lean a shoulder against the fridge, mirroring her posture.

 

“At least you acknowledge that it’ll be the end of the world before I feel anything other than tolerant loathing for you.”

 

“Or I you,” I say, lifting my glass in a toast.

 

She clinks her glass to mine, even as she frowns, a tiny line appearing between her dark eyebrows. “You really think I can’t do it? Spend a month as your companion without falling all over myself?”

 

I push away from the refrigerator and go to the counter, setting aside my drink. “Doesn’t matter what I think.”

 

She follows me, fingers wrapping around my wrist. “Could you do it?”

 

“Do what?”

 

“Spend an entire month in my company without falling for my charms.” She says it mockingly, but the question is clearly a challenge.

 

I’ve never been good at backing down from a challenge, and one issued by her? Forget it.

 

“I think I’d manage.”

 

“You know,” she says, studying my face, “you’ve got me thinking.”

 

“Dangerous,” I mutter.

 

“Perhaps this could be good for us.”

 

My heart tightens in my chest as I realize that she’s actually considering going along with my plan. “Yeah?”

 

Sabrina nods. “This weird thing between us . . . the fact that we can’t coexist without tearing each other down or tearing off each other’s clothes—”

 

“For the record, I’m always a fan of the last one.”

 

 

 

 

Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2)Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the 21 Wall Street series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoiler, I recommend reading this series in order.

Matt is good at his job. He also good at playing in his down time. The only real woman he is interested lately is Samantha. Now he needs her help or he could lose everything.

Samantha wants Matt. All the time. She hates that she does, but cannot turn it off. The sparks between them are strong. If she agreed to help him, can they build the trust that can bring the joy of a future as well?

This author never ever disappoints. This story has the heart, heat, and suspense to make you turn each page eagerly. I know I did. I loved the banter and sexy times that this couple could not resist. They are so drawn to one another that their future just seems inevitable. I am excited to see the next book in this incredible series.

***This ARC copy was provided in return for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

Author Info:

 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in eight languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers WeeklyGlamourThe Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

 

Author Links:   

 

Website:  http://www.laurenlayne.com/

GoodReads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6969772.Lauren_Layne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_laurenlayne/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lauren-layne

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/LLayneAuthor/

Lauren Layne Library: http://laurenlaynelibrary.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Blog Tour w/Review – Runaway Groom

  
 
“Lauren Layne gets the red rose for this one, and fans of The Bachelor will fall in love with this thoroughly charming story.”Kate O’Keeffe, bestselling author
 
 
 
RUNAWAY GROOM
I Do, I Don’t – Book 2
Lauren Layne
Releasing Jan 30, 2018
Loveswept
 

 

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it.
 
Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .
 
Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.
 
NOW AVAILABLE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don't, #2)Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the I Do, I Don’t series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fab series in order.

Ellie goes against everything she wants, when she auditions for a reality show to help promote her business. Gage is conned into being the star of the reality show. Neither want to be there. Now they both are glad they came.

This series just keeps getting better! This book has a little something for everyone. Want heat? Got it. Competition, and to learn what petty business woman can get up to with one another? Got it. Passion? Got it. Laugh out loud humor? Got it. Sparks that fly off the page? Got it. This series should be called Romance 101. I just very literally loved it and eagerly turned each page.

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
 
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 signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Tour w/Review – An Ex For Christmas

 
 
 Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon
 
 
AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
Love Unexpectedly
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017
Loveswept
 

 

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

 
NOW AVAILABLE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

As I walk, I check the weather app on my phone, delighted to see that while it’s nothing but rain today, there’s a chance of a snow shower tomorrow. Nothing says Christmas break like snow.

 

I just miss my train, but there’s a decent-ish voice singing “White Christmas” nearby, and the platform’s not too crowded, so waiting’s not as bad as it could be.

 

My eye catches on a middle-aged woman who’s set up camp under one of the stairwells. It’s not unusual to see all manner of people under the streets of New York, although this one’s better dressed than most. She’s wearing a blousy red shirt, jeans, and ankle boots, and is sitting cross-legged on a plaid blanket. She’s got twigs of what seem to be fake roses in her hair.

 

None of that’s the weird part.

 

What’s weird is that she’s watching me. Intently.

 

We make awkward eye contact, and I give a quick smile before turning my attention back to my phone.

 

But I still feel her eyes on me.

 

Not in an unfriendly way, not in the way that makes me mentally catalog whether or not I saw any cops on my way down here who would hear me if I scream. She doesn’t seem eager to push me onto the train tracks either, and since that’s every New Yorker’s secret fear, that’s a plus.

 

Still, the focus is unsettling. I glance up again, and her eyes lock on mine. Her dark gaze is clear and focused, and I can’t decide if that’s more or less disturbing than if she seemed sort of hazy.

 

Then she smiles right at me. “Kelly.”

 

I get immediate goosebumps for reasons that have nothing to do with the winter weather. She knows my name.

 

“Come.” She beckons. “Come. I see.

 

Now you’re thinking, Hell, no. Run!

 

I should be thinking the same, and on some level, I am, but . . .

 

There are a couple dozen people around. None are paying attention to me, but it’s not like I’m all alone in a dark alley.

 

And look, we’ve already established that I believe in fate expressing itself through a Magic 8 ball and horoscopes, and though I haven’t mentioned it yet, I totally avoid black cats, the number thirteen, and walking under ladders.

 

I also believe that there’s such a thing as sight. I know, because my grandma had it.

 

Grandma Shirley was one of those delightfully batty old ladies that most people dismissed as quirky, but nobody can deny that she seemed to know stuff. She knew when I’d win my soccer game, and by how many points. She knew when her cat’s litter of kittens would be born, down to the minute. Once she’d even predicted an earthquake, even though they’re really rare in New York.

 

She’d passed away when I was in eleventh grade (she’d predicted the when and how of that too), and though I didn’t inherit her talents, I’ve never stopped believing that some people see and know things that they shouldn’t. I call it the Sight.

 

I step closer, and the woman grins and beckons me even nearer.

 

I stop a healthy few feet away. I’m superstitious, not crazy.

 

The woman leans forward. “You seek love.”

 

Huh. Color me unimpressed. I mean, don’t most humans seek love? Sure, I’m recently single, and I don’t particularly want to be. And maybe I sometimes try a little too hard to find my forever guy.

 

But I’m not hearing anything other than generic lucky guesses from this lady.

 

“Sure,” I say, already starting to back away.

 

She holds up a hand. “The one you seek? Your forever guy, the love of your life . . .”

 

I freeze, because her phrasing echoes my thoughts almost exactly. A coincidence? Maybe. I don’t move away just yet, willing to hear her out.

 

She smiles again. “You’ve already met him.”

 

I blink. “What? I think you may want to recheck that crystal ball. I’m single.”

 

Her smile merely grows. “I didn’t say you weren’t single. I said you’d already met him. You just let him go. He’ll come back to you before Christmas.”

 

Whoa whoa whoa. This is . . .

 

Huh.

 

“You’re telling me that the love of my life is one of my exes?”

 

She extends both of her palms as though to say, There you have it!

 

I stifle a little surge of disappointment. Clearly she hasn’t met my exes. There are some decent ones in the mix, but mostly they’re duds, and none of them make my heart beat faster. Well, maybe—

 

Nope. No. Do not go there.

 

Thankfully, I feel the rumble of an oncoming train, and a glance over my shoulder tells me my ride outta here is approaching.

 

“Thanks very much,” I say with a strained smile. “Merry Christmas.”

 

“Happy holidays,” she says with a nod, standing and gathering up her blanket.  Apparently she’s taken a cue from Madison Meyers and is sticking close to the PC route. Fair enough.

 

I lift a hand in a wave and move toward the train, but her next words give me a fresh wave of new goosebumps.

 

“Tell your parents happy anniversary. Thirty’s going to be a magical year for them.”

 

I whip my head around. “How did you—”

 

The woman is gone.

 

Like vanished gone.

 

Leaving me to wonder . . .

 

If a woman I’d never met was right about my parents’ anniversary, was she also right about other stuff?

 

Have I already met my one true love?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An Ex for ChristmasAn Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #5 in the Love Unexpectedly series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Kelly & Mark have been best friends for so long. They can finish each other’s sentences. They can tell when a relationship is not working. What Kelly cannot seem to notice is their attraction to one another.

Mark has been waiting for the right moment to sweep her off her feet. Kelly is always in another city, with another man, or just plain oblivious. Will Mark ever get his chance to be the man Kelly really needs?

This was such a great story. I laughed, cried and even laughed while I cried. This author never disappoints. Such a truly sweet read about best friends and why they are truly the. best for you. I loved every page and honestly hope we see these characters again.

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 

 
  
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
 
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 signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 
 
 
 

 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Review Tour – Ready To Run

 
 
 
Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon and iBooks 
 
 
 
 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept
 

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


NOW AVAILABLE!
 
 
 
 

 

Luke started to load up the gear and, realizing he was doing it alone, glanced over his shoulder to see where the hell his partner was.

 

Unsurprisingly, his friend was chatting up City Girl. Neither Charlie nor Ryan seemed to mind in the least that these two fancy pants had swooped into their town to capitalize on Luke’s past.

 

What was more surprising was that Jordan Carpenter was chatting right back, her smile seemingly genuine, her laugh real.

 

Luke ground his teeth.

 

He couldn’t say he’d put much thought into the woman behind the name as he’d been unceremoniously deleting her emails and voice messages, but if forced to assume, he’d have guessed aggressive shrew.

 

He suspected he was wrong there. Because while there was no mistaking the ambition in the woman, it wasn’t the cutthroat, ball-busting kind.

 

Her lean body might be all angles and long lines, but there was a softness to her as well. The way her hair did its own thing. The easiness of her smile, the quick laugh. The small but pert breasts.

 

Damn. He was staring.

 

He slammed the door shut. “Bander,” he shouted at Charlie across the lawn. “Let’s clear out.”

 

Charlie leaned into Jordan, whispering something in her ear that made her laugh, before walking away with a last wink.

 

Luke rolled his eyes. Really? This was happening?

 

Hey, Elliott,” Ryan called. “You want to come over for a barbecue tonight?”

 

Luke crossed his arms and studied his friend suspiciously, waiting for the catch. “Who’s on the guest list?”

 

He saw Jordan and her purple-shirt friend exchange a look. Well, that answered that question.

 

Damn. Ryan never had been able to resist the urge to stir up trouble.

 

It’s no problem if you don’t want to join us,” Jordan called out, lifting her hand to shield the afternoon sun from her eyes. “I’m sure your friends here can fill me in on everything there is to know about Luke Elliott.”

 

All about Luke Elliott’s romantic history was more like it. City Girl wasn’t even pretending to be coy about the reason she was here.

 

All former positive thoughts about her evaporated. Only the worst sort of human would use another’s failed relationships to advance her own career—for entertainment.

 

Luke turned away without another word, hauling himself into the driver’s seat of the truck as he waited impatiently for Charlie to get done shouting goodbye to every single person within earshot.

 

He drummed his thumbs against the steering wheel, refusing to even think about going to the BBQ tonight. If his friends wanted to stir up trouble, they could do so without his cooperation.

 

As for the two New Yorkers, they’d flame out all on their own. Weren’t East Coasters known for being impatient and fast moving?

 

Surely they’d be off to find some other glory-seeking asshole if he ignored them. One of the other guys could play the role for all he cared.

 

As Charlie hauled his ass up, Luke started the truck, his eye catching on Jordan Carpenter, who was watching him with a stubborn, determined look on her pretty face.

 

Damn it. She’d stir up all sorts of trouble unless he ran interference.

 

Luke pulled out his phone to text Ryan.

 

I’ll be there. Have beer.

 

Charlie leaned over, unabashedly reading Luke’s iPhone screen. “Ha. Knew it.”

 

What?” Luke glared at his friend.

 

Charlie grinned wider, gesturing over his shoulder. “You’ve got a boner for the hot blonde.”

 

Are you kidding me with this? She wants me to be the next bachelor.”

 

How were Ryan and Charlie not getting the absurdity of this?

 

Charlie shrugged. “So? Maybe it’d be good for you.”

 

Luke stared at his friend for a moment longer before putting the truck in drive. “The only thing that would be good for me is to push you out of this truck.”

 

Charlie was waving goodbye to Jordan and Simon. “See you tonight!”

 

Luke ground his teeth harder. He was already dreading the BBQ, but not going would only make matters worse. Clearly he needed to have a very blunt conversation with Jordan Carpenter.

 

 

 

  

Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't)Ready to Run by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jordan is a producer on a TV reality series. She is searching for the perfect man to attract the women. Also, he needs to have left them at the altar. Why would she be attracted to that?

Luke is the man in question. Talking to him, and the folks around him, only brings more questions. If he is a runaway groom – why are the ladies loving him?

This is a seriously sweet and hot story. I love the characters and cannot wait for more in the I Do, I Don’t series. So much fun, and yet plenty of heat to still call it romance.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
 
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 signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Excerpt Reveal – Ready To Run

 
 
A reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: 
a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show. 
 
 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept
 

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


PRE-ORDER TODAY!
 
 
 
 
 
Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about the hot blonde.
 
The woman walking straight toward him was all tight jeans, high heels, and confi-dence. And hot. Very, very hot.
 
Charlie muttered something admiring under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to place him. Couldn’t.
 
Not too many guys around here who wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.
 
No doubt about it—neither was from around here. Not by a long shot.
 
The man was a half step behind the woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.
 
His eyes narrowed as he realized that she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.
 
She knew what she was after:
 
Him.
 
She got closer and Luke saw that the face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that way—to want to be the one to muss it.
 
Her gaze flicked over him, and Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out, man.”
 
She had indeed, but Luke was far from flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much as a predator evaluating its prey.
 
As though she was evaluating him for . . . something.
 
Blondie stopped in front of him, and the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so aware of a woman.
 
Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.
These days, though, he was having a hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke was.
 
He had zero use for attraction to a pretty, bold woman in high heels.
 
Luke noticed that for a sheer moment she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.
Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This is my colleague, Simon Nash.”
 
Good manners had him setting down his equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught on her name. Familiar, and . . .
 
Shit. Shit!
 
He managed to stop from jerking his hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time, Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”
 
Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did get my emails.”
 
Those. The voicemails. The letters.
 
“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I didn’t want to be a part of your show.”
 
Charlie looked from the woman to Luke and back again. “Show?”
 
Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”
 
“International,” said the blond guy in the purple shirt.
 
Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her companion, but all three firefighters did.
 
The other man gave the sort of easy smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new friend.
 
Especially not one who wanted to use his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.

 

 
 
 
 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
 
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 signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Review Tour – I Knew You Were Trouble

  
 
 
A feisty beauty must choose between winning back Mr. Right 
or giving in to Mr. Wrong.
 
 
 
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
Oxford Series #4
Lauren Layne
Releasing June 13, 2017
Loveswept
 

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.


AVAILABLE NOW!
 
 
 
 

Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.

 

Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.

 

Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.

 

Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.

 

Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.

 

Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.

 

Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.

 

He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”

 

Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”

 

Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.

 

Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.

 

She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.

 

Coward.

 

It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.

 

Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.

 

She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Don’t.

 

He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.

 

Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.

 

Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .

 

What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.

 

Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”

 

Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.

 

Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.

 

His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.

 

Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”

 

Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.

 

Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”

 

Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.

 

Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”

 

Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.

 

She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”

 

Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”

 

She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”

 

His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”

 
 
 
 I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford, #4)I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is #4, in the incredible Oxford series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and enjoyment, I recommend reading this series in order.

From the time Taylor & Nick met, they were like oil and water. They occasional had to work together. They had mutual friends. It was all they could do not to kill one another, some days.

Nick has been attracted to Taylor from the very moment they met. Taylor would claim the same, if forced to do so. Their timing never seemed to click. Until one day….

This series is just phenomenal! Gets better and better with each story. I loved these characters. I loved that they did not want to be attracted to – or even like one another. It felt very real. Easy to read with a great HEA.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews

 
 
 

 
 
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. 
 

 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Excerpt Reveal – I Knew You Were Trouble

  
 
 
A feisty beauty must choose between winning back Mr. Right 
or giving in to Mr. Wrong.
 
 
 
 
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
Oxford Series #4
Lauren Layne
Releasing June 13, 2017
Loveswept
 

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.


PRE-ORDER TODAY!
 
 
Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.
 
Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.
 
Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.
 
Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.
 
“Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.
 
Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.
 
“Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.
 
He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”
 
“Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”
 
“Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.
 
“Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.
She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.
 
Coward.
 
It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.
 
Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.
 
She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Dont.
 
He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.
 
“Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.
 
Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .
 
“What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.
 
“Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”
 
Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.
 
Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.
His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.
 
Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”
 
Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.
“Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”
 
“Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.
 
Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”
 
“Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.
 
She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”
 
“Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”
 
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”
 
His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”
 
 
 
 
 
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. 
 

 
*No Purchase Necessary*
 
 
 
 

Pre-Release Blitz – I Knew You Were Trouble

A feisty beauty must choose between winning back Mr. Right 
or giving in to Mr. Wrong.
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
Oxford Series #4
Lauren Layne
Releasing June 13, 2017
Loveswept

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.

 

 

 
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. 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Blast w/Review – Walk Of Shame

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.
 
 

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.

Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly)Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 4th book in the Love Unexpectedly series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, I recommend reading this series in order.

Andrew & Georgianna have a frenemy sort of rivalry going on. Sparked by attraction that neither knows is mutual. Their need to get under the other’s skin is what makes the book smooth.

Georgianna AKA Georgie to her friends, is majorly hot for Andrew, but he does not seem to notice her unless she is showing him her “ridiculous” side. (You’ll see when you read it.) With being a celebrity in her own right, maybe she should show him who’s boss?

This was just such a fun read. I laughed and cried. Basically this one is a total keeper! It has a little bit of something for everyone. I loved all the banter, and the heat explodes off the page. Really good addition to the Love Unexpectedly series.

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews

 

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. 
 

 

WalkOfShame_Square3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt Reveal – Walk Of Shame

   
 
The City’s HOTTEST Cold War!
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
Georgie
 

Tuesday morning

Let’s talk about five a.m. for a second.

Also known as the worst hour of the day, am I right?

Here’s why:

If you’re awake to see five in the freaking morning, it means one of a few things, all of them heinous.

Scenario one: You’re on your way to the airport for an early morning flight. Heinous.

Scenario two: You’ve been out all night, and now your vodka buzz is fading, and you’re just sober enough to realize that the rest of your day will likely involve Excedrin, carbs, and indoor voices. Heinous.

Scenario three: You’ve got a crap-ton on your mind, and you’re lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, hating your life. Maybe hating yourself a little bit, I dunno, who am I to judge? Heinous.

Now brace yourself, because scenario four is the most heinous of them all: You’re awake at five a.m. because you’re an uptight prick whose schedule is even more rigid than your posture, and your life is an endless string of working out, the corner office, repeat. You’re also likely the type of person who subsists on protein shakes and kale smoothies, and you have been known to utter the phrase the body is a temple, thus solidifying what we already knew about you.

You have no friends.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

See, it’s five a.m., and I, Georgie Watkins, am . . . kind of excited about it.

I know. I know. Four months ago I’d have bet my favorite vintage Chanel bag that there was exactly zero chance I’d actually look forward to the ghoulish hour of five in the morning.

And yet here we are.

I guess you could say there’s a scenario five on reasons to be up this early.

“Good morning, Ramon,” I sing, pushing through the revolving doors of the luxury high-rise on 56th and Park, the place I call home.

The concierge/security guard/all-around good guy glances up and gives me a friendly smile. “Ms. Watkins. Good morning.”

Usually the massive front desk is a bustling, busy affair. Starting at around seven, an army of well-dressed concierges will be smoothly facilitating the needs of impatient residents, as tiny dogs let out sharp, high-pitched barks of greeting from their Louis Vuitton carriers.

But that’s later.

Right now, the luxurious lobby is mostly silent, with just the lone overnight guy working the front desk, holding down the fort until the day guys arrive to handle the morning crush.

My new Tory Burch clutch tucked into my armpit, I hold up the box in my hands and waggle my eyebrows. “Brought you something.”

Ramon’s smile grows wider, brown eyes lighting. “My wife says you’re going to make me fat.”

“Tell Marta that the dad bod is totally in style right now,” I say, setting the box of donuts on the counter and lifting the lid. “Unless, of course, you don’t want a maple bacon donut?”

Ramon is already reaching inside the box, shaking his head in reverence as he lifts the sugary treat. “Still warm.”

“Well, technically the shop doesn’t open until five, but I’m such a loyal customer, they let me in a bit early,” I say, surveying the array of donuts and trying to decide if I’m in a chocolate kind of mood or if I want to risk the powdered sugar one.

Since my Alexander McQueen minidress is black (the archnemesis of powdered sugar), I reach for the chocolate as I set my clutch on the counter and fish out my phone: 4:58 a.m.

Two more minutes.

“How’s Marta dealing with the pregnancy of baby number three?” I ask, taking a bite of the donut and shifting attention back to Ramon, who’s already polished off his donut and is contemplating a second. I nudge the box toward him.

“She’s good,” he says. “Excited that we’re finally having a girl.”

“A girl!” I say, reaching across the counter and squeezing his massive forearm. “Congratulations, I hadn’t heard!”

“Just found out yesterday,” he says with a happy smile, apparently deciding that the occasion calls for another donut.

“Oh my gosh, I have the perfect baby gift,” I say, nibbling at a piece of my donut. “I saw this adorable Burberry onesie in Bergdorf’s the other day, with this precious little red bow—”

“Yes, because that’s what every infant needs,” a low voice interrupts. “A four-hundred-dollar piece of fabric that needs to be dry-cleaned. Don’t be ridiculous, Georgiana.”

I don’t have to look at my clock to know what time it is.

Five o’clock.

On the dot.

Not even bothering to turn around, I roll my eyes as my red nails tear off another piece of donut and pop it into my mouth. “Ramon, do you think you could talk to maintenance about adjusting the temp? It just got a little cold in here.”

Ramon’s been working here long enough to know my request isn’t for real. He’s not even paying attention to me. He’s already set his donut aside and has straightened up, practically saluting the newcomer.

“Mr. Mulroney. Good morning, sir.”

“Mr. Ramirez.” The voice is low and serious, a touch impatient, although not quite rude.

You know that adage that you catch more flies with honey? I’m not so sure it’s true. I bring donuts to the front desk guys just about every morning, and they adore me. I know they do.

But they respect him.

Giving in to the inevitable, I finally let my eyes flick to the side, my gaze colliding with a stern brown scowl.

I put on my widest, sparkliest smile, only because I know it drives him crazy.

As always, I see a muscle in his jaw twitch as I flutter my eyelashes.

“Good morning, Andrew,” I say sweetly.

“Georgiana.”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes. Only my late grandmother has ever called me that, and I’m pretty sure that’s because I was her namesake. Everyone else calls me Georgie. Well, okay, not everyone. Ramon and the other guys still insist on calling me Ms. Watkins, but I’m working on it. See: daily donuts.

I smile wider and push the box in Andrew’s direction. “Donut?”

His lip curls. In case you haven’t already gotten a read on this guy, he’s the type that sneers at donuts.

He lifts a boring black travel mug. “Already have my breakfast.”

“Blended-up quinoa sprinkled with a few bits of spinach and pretension?” I ask.

“Whey powder protein shake.”

“Sounds immensely satisfying.”

He takes a sip of the nastiness and watches me with cold brown eyes. “The body is a temple, Georgiana.”

There it is.

Full circle to my above commentary about what sort of people are up and about at five a.m.

 

 
 
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. 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway