by Lauren Layne
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They hugged, and Brynn tucked a wayward curl behind Sophie’s ear. “Soph, you know all that stuff you were saying about just wanting to be happy?”
“Well…are you happy?”
Sophie looked out at the pouring rain and considered. “No. Not yet. But I’m learning how to be.”
Once again I am amazed to say that no matter how skeptical I am at the start of one of this woman’s books, I came out at the end with a huge smile on my face and in the giddiest of moods. It’s no secret that if a story is handled correctly I become a heaping pile of goo. But, as I’ve said on repeat recently, normally I don’t like contemporary romance novels anymore. They’ve become cliched, predictable and altogether forgettable-so when I find an author who can write the shit out of a contemporary romance, I feel as though I’ve hit the lottery. But the kicker is, I haven’t found an author in this genre recently who can make me feel much less cry or laugh or swoon. Now, what you’re about to read is going to be a major gush session about this author and this work of fiction-and I’m not afraid to admit it. Lauren Layne is highly underrated and I truly believe that when an author can write books that are fun, quirky, and hot without being trashy, they deserve recognition. Now, there is always, of course, some predictability or some cliche moments, but that comes with 90% of romance novels-I never claimed that her books are without those-but with her, they feel wholly unique (to me) and they make me happy.
And that’s all that’s important to me-being happy when I read a book. So, what you’re about to read may sound like an all out gush session, but that’s what it is. When I read a book I love, I tend to, well, gush. So, despite it’s mixed ratings, here is a positive review about how perfect (to me) this book was.
“Then absolutely. I’m in. Ugh, I don’t suppose you have a handkerchief,” she said, struggling to right her appearance.
He pulled one from his pocket, predictable as ever. “I thought you were supposed to save the one I gave you last time as a memento,” he said as she carefully removed her smeared lipstick.
“I believe what I said was that I wasn’t keeping it.”
“I thought you women were supposed to be attuned to romantic inklings.”
She snorted, “Maybe. Doesn’t mean I didn’t set your handkerchief on fire.”
Lauren Layne ripped my heart out and made me tear up when I least expected it. My heart expanded to such large proportions that I thought I might choke from the sheer velocity of it, but most of all-as I said above-she made me feel. Sadness, happiness, anger, angst, giddiness…you name it, I felt it. Even now as I type this my heart hurts from the capacity with which she made me fall for her characters.
“I am not working for your boyfriend,” Sophie said harshly, cutting off Gray’s babbling. “And I’m not working in a godforsaken office.”
“Now, Sophie,” her mother said, apparently coming around to the idea, “it could be a great opportunity…”
“An opportunity to what, learn how to staple?”
“You don’t know how to staple?” Will asked.
There were tears of both unexpected happiness and tears for a family that, while not wholly like my own, the bond between sisters, mother, and father when things go downhill had tears running down my cheeks as they consoled and defended Sophie. That bond can’t be faked, and I know for a fact that my family would react the same way and that this whole situation felt so authentic when life got messy near the end. And, most especially, I loved seeing the new and not-so-improved Brynn, her sister, falling apart at the seams while still giving her baby sister the undeterred support she deserves and helping (or attempting to help) to mend her fragile heart.
She waited for him to look back. Waited for him to realize that at the very least, some verbal acknowledgement of their minicatastrophe was required. But he kept walking.
A gorgeous shithead in a beautiful suit.
Sophie and Gray were so cute because they meet in such an unconventional way. Sophie is at a bachelorette party and she decides to wear thigh-high boots with only scraps for clothing (this seems to be the theme of the party) when she runs into Gray in the elevator. Naturally he dubs her a hooker-go figure lol. They go their separate ways and Gray is none the wiser of what his accusation has done to Sophie. But what happens when the girl you call a hooker becomes your closest employee? What ensues next is funny, not completely realistic, and over the top fun-I adored seeing Gray’s demons and how he handled them. It melted my heart and made me fall for him further…and Sophie was just the quirky, zany girl he needed. It was hilarious seeing how he wished she was quiet but then longed for her company when she wasn’t around.
“Nobody can see us here, right?” he asked.
“Nah, I think they designed this as a reprieve. It lets the oldies like us catch our breath without prying eyes.”
“Good,” he said firmly.
And then he rolled toward her, and before she knew what was happening, Sophie found herself pinned between the padded floor and a hard male body. His mouth took hers with such fierce possession she gasped from the shock of it.
Layne has created the funny college frat boy, the broken, tortured war hero, the struggling to find himself and his path business man, and now this cold, closed off CEO who won’t let another woman stomp on his heart-She broke my heart and pieced it back together again with her male lead. I laughed. I pouted. I teared up and I rooted for them to inevitably fall for one another. This is probably the longest it’s taken for two people in her books to quit being so stubborn, but I LOVE that. I LOVE how she can change her books up and make them seem completely individual and unlike her others. I love that I expected it to go one way, but it went another. So many authors I fall for start to sound so repetitive and I inevitably begin to lose that magical awe I once felt for them, but it hasn’t happened yet with Layne and I can’t help but to be grateful. In my life, it’s so nice to have an author I know I can turn to and read books by when I’m in a bad mood and I’ll feel better for doing so. I become jaded with with my favorite authors and I am so grateful to have found this one. Sure, I can see her style in each and every work, every author has a tell, but Layne has managed to work everything she loves to write about in each and every book without making me roll my eyes (or want to).
“Are you calling yourself pretty?” he teased.
She smiled back. “Aren’t I?”
His eyes roamed over her face, warming every spot they touched. “You’re beautiful.”
I have, admittedly, been trying to stay away from her books so I can space them out before I don’t have any left and so I don’t get tired of her characters and writing-but, and this happens every time, maybe half a week will pass and I’m instantly one-clicking all of her works because I just. Can’t. Stay. Away. It’s like crack-that’s it-these books are MY CRACK. It’s a perfect metaphor, really. Some people might not love her like I do, get addicted to her beautiful, broken, jealous characters, but I do-it’s my vice to read her books and an individual obsession. I’m a glutton for these books and I can’t stop.
By the time she exited the elevator, she was a sobbing mess.
This job at Brayburn was supposed to be her path toward respectability, and she was messing everything up.
Nobody would respect the girl who fell in love with the boss.
Another non-problem with reading her books is that I take so long reading them because I am on a continuous high-lighting frenzy. Everything makes me want to highlight and nothing deserves to be forgotten. I swear, in each story I’ve read there is more highlighting than actual plain page. And I’m always so satisfied with the conclusions and feel contented and happy. She is the queen of HEAs. Her men are so stubborn but end up being the best, sweetest BBFs ever, and I have adored each and every one of them.
“Why are you yelling?” she asked.
“I don’t yell.”
“Your voice was raised.”
“I had to raise my voice to get your attention,” he ground out.
“You’ve never raised your voice before to get my attention when I’m at my desk. I can hear you just fine with your normal voice-of-doom volume.”
“You are possibly the most annoying assistant ever. I should fire you.”
An amazing author with not one bad book to date, she creates characters that don’t easily leave your mind but give you just enough fluff to get through the day. The characters that surrounded Sophie were some of my favorite by her yet, but her best friend Will took the cake-I LOVED him. He was funny, witty and I found myself giggling every time he was around. I can’t wait for his book, because I know he is next. I’m devouring these books in a shocking manner and at an alarming rate. I just can’t wait for all of her new releases…I can hardly stand that I have to wait from now on. It’s going to be a struggle-a struggle I’ll have to bear each and every time from this moment forth when I choose to read these incomplete series.