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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: I Think I Love You (Oxford #5) by Lauren Layne

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: I Think I Love You (Oxford #5) by Lauren Layne

Over the years, I have fallen so hard for the Stiletto and then the Oxford series. I absolutely adore all of the characters and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. While this can be read as a standalone, if you’re familiar with the previous books then you will get to see all of your favorites! So check out my 4 Star Review below and enter to win a copy of this fabulous book! Enjoy!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: I Think I Love You (Oxford #5) by Lauren LayneI Think I Love You (Oxford #5)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

 
Review:

I Think I Love You was a wonderful end to the Stiletto/Oxford Series.  We got to catch up with every couple from the previous books, and I loved seeing all of the people I had fallen in love with.  And while his book could easily be read as a standalone, I definitely recommend going back to the very beginning with Julie and Mitchell in After the Kiss from the Stiletto Series.  Trust me, it’s so worth it! This final book was about Hunter and Brit and their story was sexy, charismatic, funny and charming!

“Brit.” He waited until she looked at him. “That dress you’re wearing. I approve.”
“Yeah?” She mimicked his question from when she’d complimented his glasses.
Oh yeah.”
Brit suddenly couldn’t breathe, and her hands felt a little shaky, her face hot.
Well, then . . .
Well, then . . .
What did she do with
that?
And why did it make her feel like
this?

If you’ve read the previous books, you know that Hunter and Brit both work at Oxford and have been best friends for the last six years.  But over that time, Brit’s dating life had been dismal. She was desperate to figure out how to secure that second date, how to find a spark with someone else and ultimately feel sexy.  Who better to ask to help her than her bff, Hunter!  Right?

She stretched, the hem of her shirt riding up just enough to show a sliver of skin. A couple of weeks ago, he wouldn’t have noticed.
Now? He noticed.
And it wasn’t just that. He noticed the way she walked. The way a strand of hair tended to fall across her lips after she’d applied lip gloss and then laughed. He noticed the way she was with his family, as though she was a part of it. . . .
Brit tilted her head and gave him a curious look. “You okay?”
No. Not even fucking close.

While I ultimately knew how this book was going to end, I loved watching the journey.  You see, Hunter and Brit didn’t see each other as anything more than best friends. So while Hunter was helping Brit work on her dating skills, I loved how a moment or feeling would make them pause.  And even second guess what happened. Because they shouldn’t be feeling sexual tension or interest in each other right? They were just best friends, that was it. But the further they went down the road of helping Brit’s dating life, there were more and more moments where electricity seemed to course between them.

Brit skated away, doing a little half jump, but Hunter remained still for a moment longer, a bit jarred by the fact that he hadn’t touched her because of her plan; he hadn’t been trying to teach her anything.
He’d touched her because he wanted to.
And he wanted to do it again.

From the previous book, I Knew You Were Trouble, I liked Brit.  It was impossible not to like her loving, friendly attitude.  She had this way of making you comfortable while also wanting to be her friend.  She definitely rocked the girl next door vibe hard and I loved her for it. And when she was around Hunter, I loved their moments together.  Their friendship felt so solid and real and I loved watching it slowly turn into something more.

Brit turned toward him, catching his eye and giving a wide smile.
Hunter’s chest tightened, and for an awful moment he wondered if it wasn’t his dick that was going to cause him the real trouble.
What if it was his heart?

Hunter at times tested my patience.  He didn’t always make the best choices and he could be clueless when it came to Brit.  But he had a good heart and he loved her, so I was patient with him.  Thank goodness he had great friends to help steer him in the right direction when needed!  I actually loved being in Hunter’s head, when we alternated between them, because his thoughts were so complicated. Yes he was sexy, loyal and tried to do right by Brit but I loved how honest he was with himself.  So I easily saw all of the good that Brit saw in him and I kept my fingers crossed that it would all end up good in the end!

“Hunter,” Brit said with a laugh. This time she put her hands on his arms and actually tried to move him aside.
He still didn’t move.
She looked up, her expression confused. “Hunter?”
He stared down at her.
Don’t do it. Don’t do it, man.
Fuck it.

Hunter bent down and captured her mouth with his.

I Think I Love You is definitely for those that love friends to lovers romances and who want to see what all of their favorites, from the previous books, are up to.  This book was such a wonderful end to the Oxford and Stiletto saga and I’m so thankful that I got to go on this journey and discover so many books that I treasure with my whole heart.  And if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, I can’t recommend them enough. They were absolutely amazing!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by Random House – Loveswept. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 
Now Available:

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Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)
***Each book can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed in order.***
irresistibly yours lauren layne
Irresistibly Yours #1
Reviews:
Jen

Chelsea
i wish you were mine lauren layne
I Wish You Were Mine #2
Reviews:

Jen

Someone Like You #3
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea
i-knew-you-were-trouble-lauren-layne
I Knew You Were Trouble #4
Reviews:
Jen

I Think I Love You #5
Reviews:
Jen
 
About Lauren Layne:

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 nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers WeeklyGlamourThe Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

 

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | AMAZON

 
 

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BOOK REVIEW – I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford #4) by Lauren Layne

BOOK REVIEW – I Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford #4) by Lauren LayneI Knew You Were Trouble (Oxford #4)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

I Knew You Were Trouble was flirty, sexy, angsty and absolutely fabulous!  This was a classic LL book, and I devoured it in one night.  And when I finished the epilogue, I was left feeling beyond ecstatic and happy.  I had the hugest smile on my face.  So if you are a fan of enemies to lovers, or if you have fallen for any of her past releases, then you definitely want to pick this one up!

“If you weren’t dating him, would you have dinner with me?”
“I don’t like you,” she whispered.
He eased closer until his mouth was inches from her ear. “Liar.”
It was a whisper, and it sent shivers down her spine and then back up again. The good kind of shivers, the kind that made her want to lean into him and beg him to put his mouth all over her.

I was suprised that the beginning started out a little bit different.  It was a brilliant idea that quickly connected me to all of the characters, and it made me feel like I’d known them forever.  So the first 6 “chapters” was a countdown from over a year ago in Taylor Carr’s life to present day.  We got to watch Taylor transition into the Oxford world, make friends, and interact with her coworkers.  We also got to see how her hate relationship with Nick Ballentine started, and we watched how Bradley Calloway became her boyfriend.  When the official first chapter started, I felt as though I completely understood and loved her inside out.

She hated being the newcomer— hated feeling vulnerable in any way for fear that someone would see right through her shield of confidence and call her out as a fraud. To expose her as what she really was on the inside: lonely. Maybe a little unlovable, if she wanted to get melodramatic about it.

Which I’m so thankful for, because I was a little nervous at first.  You see, I thought Taylor was going to be too harsh for me.  She could be so brutal at times, and I didn’t think I could relate or connect.  Oh how wrong I was!  While she portrayed herself as this tough, strong female, which she was, she was also so much more.  She was a kind, wonderful friend…..I adored the friendships she had with Brit and Daisy!  And I loved that she faltered, that she broke down and that she could be unsure of herself at times.  But what I loved most about Taylor, was how she threw fire and ice at Nick!

Damn, but she really was beautiful.
“And I don’t get to be happy?” she said. “Bitchy Taylor deserves to be miserable, is that it?”
“Nah,” he said quietly, studying her. “I’m just not sure you’d recognize actual happiness if it bit you in your perfectly shaped ass.”
She slapped his hand away from her face. “Get. Out.”
He did.
Not because she’d told him to. But because for one idiotic moment, Nick had wanted nothing more than to kiss all that pouty anger right off Taylor Carr’s saucy mouth.

You see, Nick knew how to push Taylor’s buttons.  And yes he could be a complete jerk at times.  But oh my gosh, the man was charming and oh so sexy.  Even when you didn’t want him to be.  And underneath it all, you got glimpses of his beautiful, kind heart.  So I was beyond ecstatic that Nick was going to move in with Taylor, since her boyfriend dumped her on move in day and she needed a roommate.  Because them moving in together meant that there would be even more fireworks.  And I also assumed that the sexual tension would get turned up a notch or ten.  And that’s exactly what happened.

He’d been kind to her last night— hell, he’d been kind to her a lot more often than she deserved. But he’d never shown any interest in her as a woman, and . . . well, it bothered her.

While they were a roller coaster of emotions that I definitely enjoyed riding, I also had fun watching them learn more about each other.  Especially since their enemy status almost started to look friendly at times.  And lucky for us, we got to know what both of them were thinking, since we spent chapters with both of them.  So yes, I definitely recommend this book!  And I’m going to hold out hope and think positive that Brit Robbins and Hunter Cross are going to get their own book some day!  Fingers crossed!!

PS I loved that Lincoln and Cassidy gave Nick advice from time to time.  I adore those Oxford men!

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing – Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)
***Each book can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed in order.***
irresistibly yours lauren layne
Irresistibly Yours #1
Reviews:
Jen

Chelsea
i wish you were mine lauren layne
I Wish You Were Mine #2
Reviews:

Jen

Someone Like You #3
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea
i-knew-you-were-trouble-lauren-layne
I Knew You Were Trouble #4
Reviews:
Jen

I Think I Love You #5
Reviews:
Jen

REVIEW – Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne

REVIEW – Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren LayneSomeone Like You (Oxford #3)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

I have been patiently waiting for Lincoln’s book since I fell head over heels in love with him in The Trouble With Love (Emma & Cassidy).  I couldn’t wait to see how his story played out, and while I had a few guesses, I never once grasped how emotionally challenging Lincoln’s story would be.  Someone Like You is definitely LL’s most emotionally intense book!  It’s weighted perfectly though, since moments of lightness can be found in Daisy’s disposition, their friends popping into their lives, and the scenes where Daisy and Lincoln bonded.  But the heavier, darker moments, I wasn’t mentally prepared for.  Please know that I usually adore stories like this, but I read this while I watched someone I love slowly pass away.  So while I thought I was stepping into smiling, laughter and banter, what I got was something entirely different.  And while that’s not necessarily bad, it was too hard for me.  So please take my rating with a grain of salt since Someone Like You was too emotionally gutting for me to handle during this time in my life.  

Not once did he reach for the toilet paper. Not once did he spill a tear.
He was too broken for that.

As I said, I fell for Lincoln back in the Stiletto Series.  He was known for being a player and entirely addicting.  He was seen as some type of legend, since the woman still loved him even after they hooked up with him, and he would move onto someone else.  I was more than intrigued!  And while he had let a hint of his true self show a time or two, I never had a good grasp of who Lincoln truly was.  Until now.  And Lincoln broke my heart.  His past and present were beyond depressing.  The secret in his life, if you want to call it that, oh my gosh it hurt so much to see what he was going through.  Lincoln was gutted and tortured.  He was broken.  And I desperately wanted him to get a happily ever after!

“Why not Daisy?” Lincoln asked, before he could stop himself.
“Because she’s just as damaged as you are,” Cassidy said quietly.

We met Daisy back in the Stiletto Series too, since she is Emma’s twin.  Remember Emma and Cassidy – he stood her up at the altar and then years later he was her temporary boss and he made her write an article on her exes.  Well Daisy had quite a few scenes in Emma’s book.  Ironically though, I never had a good grasp on her either, just like Lincoln.  While she came across as this sweet southern belle who had some sass, it always felt as though there was something lurking below her surface.  That she was hiding something.  And oh yeah, she was!  While her pain is entirely different from Lincoln’s, it’s still horrific life changing pain, just like his.

Lincoln opened the closet door and pulled out her pink dress.
“I hung it up!” she said in surprise.
He lifted a teasing eyebrow.
“Or you hung it up,” she amended, fresh embarrassment running anew.
“If it makes you feel better, I turned my back while you stripteased your way out it.”
Daisy let out a horrified laugh. “I did not.”
“I can’t say for sure, what with my back turned and all, but there was quite a bit of humming of what seemed to be Britney Spears.”
Daisy groaned into the coffee. “If this mug were bigger, I’d try to drown myself.”

So watching them together, they were two peas in a pod.  Their friendship felt natural and the progression it took seemed realistic.  I loved that they became each others confidants.  I loved that they created such a strong bond in such a short amount of time, and I loved the heat that you felt between them.  It was so refreshing seeing a solid friendship that was based on trust.  

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

Oh my goodness, I was so giddy catching up on everyone’s lives from the previous Stiletto and Oxford books!  The surprises?!  *soooo good!!!*  And I absolutely adored Lincoln’s dog, Kiwi.  She was so cute in the scenes where she graced us with her presence.  So if you’re a Stiletto and Oxford fan, I do believe that you’ll truly love Lincoln’s story!  Just make sure to pick it up when you’re not going through something too dark and depressing, or else you could struggle and sob hysterically at times like me.  

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)
***Each book can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed in order.***
irresistibly yours lauren layne
Irresistibly Yours #1
Reviews:
Jen

Chelsea
i wish you were mine lauren layne
I Wish You Were Mine #2
Reviews:

Jen

Someone Like You #3
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea
i-knew-you-were-trouble-lauren-layne
I Knew You Were Trouble #4
Reviews:
Jen

I Think I Love You #5
Reviews:
Jen

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne

Lincoln's book is here! Check out my review below, read an excerpt of when Lincoln and Daisy meet, and enter a fabulous giveaway! Enjoy!

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: Someone Like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren LayneSomeone Like You (Oxford #3)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Lauren Layne has done many things since I began reading her books, and it’s nothing short of impressive. I’ve followed her through almost everything, I’d say, and she has never failed to produce a book that makes me smile. But, on the flip side of that, she’s only ever once brought tears to my eyes-whether from cruelty like in Good Girl, or from happiness in, well, many of her novels. But never once has she brought me to choking, knot in the throat tears…until now. Let me preface this short review by saying that my heart is in the worst shape its ever probably been in, emotional wise. I won’t get into the details, because I don’t think I’m strong enough to type it out for a bunch of people I barely know so soon. But, just know, I have not been myself since November 1st, and I really don’t know when I’ll be my happy go lucky self again. I miss being carefree…life seemed so much simpler, lighter. And, even with 4 long months of morning sickness, nothing has compared to the heartache I feel now-That was nothing. I’ll stop here, lest I begin to cry at my desk, but just know that this review isn’t easy for me, nor was the content of this story. Maybe this was a five star read, maybe in a different time I’d have gobbled this up without any reservations…but, as it is, my heart is guarded and I didn’t let myself fully immerse the whole time, because I quite frankly can’t take that kind of emotion, at the moment. And that’s not the book’s fault, it’s mine. So, anyway, my point is, I am rating this four stars, but the content is by far heavier than anything I could handle, so my rating may not be what it normally would.

In response, Cole ambled over to the counter, picked up the eggroll, took an enormous bite, and knelt to offer the rest to Kiwi, who wagged happily. “There you go, baby. Who’s your favorite uncle now?”
“It should be me,” Mitchell grumbled as he helped himself to a beer from Lincoln’s fridge. “I’m the one that took her to do her business. Lincoln, you know they make crap bags in colors other than pink and purple.”

So, anyway. This book isn’t what you’d normally expect from LL, and that’s most likely a good thing. The depth here is astounding, and whether you can relate or not (I imagine most can’t), there is something tangible here that will resonate deeply within you and make you feel deeper than perhaps you ever have before in an LL novel. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, its life and lessons and learning and doing what you can to get by-Now hey, this? This I can relate to-that endless blur of each passing day, just doing your best not to crumble to the floor and leave your heart in pieces for everyone to see.

Daisy put a hand over her heart. “You wound me. Say Anything. I’m due for a rewatch. You could come.”
Emma made a gagging motion. “Pass.” “Oh come on. I don’t know how twenty-two-year-old John Cusack didn’t steal your heart in that scene.”
“Um, no. Nothing against the actor, but any guy holding a boom box outside my bedroom at dawn is going to get a swift kick to the balls. And I don’t know how you can possibly find it romantic. You’re the least morning person I know.”

I was truly shocked with the direction this took, but humbled in a way that was grounding. My only complaint stems from the ‘three months later,’ and ‘two weeks later’ stuff. I’ve never been a huge fan of that, but I did understand the need not to dwell on current circumstances the whole novel. But perhaps one or two times less of this happening would have helped the book seem less like we were on fast forward so much.

“This is where you’re supposed to tell me I’m not broken,” she said, nudging his arm with hers.
He took a sip of beer. “Well, shit. I’m not sure I’m the person to know what’s broken and what’s not. I’ll tell you this though . . . nothing wrong with being confused.”

This was a good mix of hero and heroine, an extremely good pairing. Emma’s sister is the heroine, and I really liked her personality-Of course, I loved Emma so this completely makes sense. She and Lincoln were absolutely adorable together and I enjoyed their relationship-She has her own past she is trying to forget and he is stuck in his own whirlwind of emotions. You can see they are both broken in different ways, but by both of them having issues, its easier (if anything like this can be easy) to deal with it together-it almost makes them whole. My only issue with the relationship is probably Lincoln…but how could I possibly gauge that with this special circumstance? I don’t think it is possible. Again, I’m sorry I’m not my happy go lucky self, but I can’t be any other way. Lincoln was a wonderful hero who deserved the best story he could get, and I think LL nailed a diverse range of emotions in a very short span of a book-that’s hard to do. We’ve all been waiting forever to find out his big secret, and now that we will know, it’s certainly worth the wait-well…you know what I mean. I hope everyone finds something to love in this story, because we not only have a new heroine that is hard not to love, but we get the whole crew again…and it’s like coming home.

 

 

 

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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.”

 

About Lauren Layne:

Lauren LayneLauren 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!

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REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY – I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY - I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne

I Wish You Were Mine was a forbidden love story that made me so giddy and happy. I can’t wait for you to meet Jackson and Molly! So please check out my 5 Star Review below, read an excerpt that pulled at my heartstrings and enter a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY – I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren LayneI Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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

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

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

Review:

I Wish You Were Mine was fun, sexy, and sweet with its to die for males and females that I would love to have as my friends.  This is part of The Oxford Series, a spin-off from The Stiletto Series, and all of these stories have made me feel something I haven’t felt in years.  You see, my favorite show ever is Friends…of course I have the DVDs, the game, and can quote for hours, but these two series are the first time since Friends has ended that I’ve felt back in a world somewhat similar to theirs.  Because I adore this group!  Their friendships are heartwarming, their love lives are emotional and sigh worthy, and each time I find myself being pulled in by their joy, heartache, and laughter!

This time we got to meet Jackson Burke, Oxford’s newest team member at the country’s leading men’s magazine.  His world was flipped upside down after a horrific car accident.  He went from a married quarterback in Texas, to a single fitness editor in New York.  But before you jump into his life as it is now, the first chapter gives you a glance back at 8 years ago.  Where he had stepped away from his own wedding to talk to Molly, his wife’s younger sister.  Going into this book I was a little squeamish.  Not only because of the synopsis, but also because in that first chapter Molly admitted to herself that she had fallen for her sister’s husband.  Eeks!  I didn’t think I’d be ok with watching them forge into the unknown…..or so I thought, because I became their biggest cheerleader.

Lauren Layne has perfected the tortured male with Jackson.  And I love tortured males!  Jackson was charming and seductive, but also utterly lonely and completely unsure of himself in his new life.  His inner turmoil about what happened to him created little tears in my heart.  He was so hard on himself for something he had no control over.  But then, he also became his own worst enemy at times with Molly.  Molly who was always his friend and confident.  And even though there was a spark between them, he refused to allow himself happiness with her since Molly is his ex’s sister.

Oh, I adored Molly!  And while I felt her inner struggle over not wanting to betray her older sister, since she wanted her ex, I also wanted to shake some sense into her.  I don’t want to say why, because of spoilers.  But just know that while at first I was against Jackson and Molly being together, those feelings went flying out the window.  Like sailing so far away, that they were long forgotten and irrelevant.

I Wish You Were Mine was a forbidden love story that made me so giddy and happy.  Not only because it had the perfect balance of banter and sexual tension, but also since it had so many of the people from Stiletto that I love!  And I have to say that while I can’t wait for Lincoln’s story, I’m so glad his book wasn’t in this books place.  I loved watching the slow reveal of learning who Lincoln truly is, since there are moments in this story where you can see beyond his facade.  It left me even more excited for his book, which is next in line.  So yes, this was another Lauren Layne win in my eyes, and I can’t wait to read her next release!

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)
***Each book can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed in order.***
irresistibly yours lauren layne
Irresistibly Yours #1
Reviews:
Jen

Chelsea
i wish you were mine lauren layne
I Wish You Were Mine #2
Reviews:

Jen

Someone Like You #3
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea
i-knew-you-were-trouble-lauren-layne
I Knew You Were Trouble #4
Reviews:
Jen

I Think I Love You #5
Reviews:
Jen

 

IWYWM_3

 
Excerpt:
“I thought I might find you out here,” he said quietly as he took a sip of his own champagne.

Mollie snuck a look out of the corner of her eye. He’d come looking for her? She hadn’t thought anyone had noticed she’d slipped away.

“I messed up the toast,” she said quietly.

“Nah,” he said, stretching his long legs out in front of him and slouching down a bit to get comfortable. “Just think how many people you educated on the mating ritual of parasitic worms.  They should be thanking you.”

Mollie groaned. “It was supposed to be romantic. I did a paper about them for my systematics and biotics diversity final. They’re unusual because they’re bonded for life. Most organisms sleep around or, you know, the male dies after mating—”

Jackson winced, and Mollie wished she could wither and die just like a male bee.

Mollie knew she had lots of useless trivia in her head, but she didn’t normally go spouting it out like this. Not that she was a smooth talker or anything, but she was usually pretty quiet and normal, if a bit nerdy.

But tonight she felt . . . off. Starting with the fact that the dress Madison had picked for her was the exact color of Mollie’s complexion, so she looked like a mole rat. And then there was the fact that she’d tripped a bit as she’d been going down the aisle, courtesy of the five-inch stilettos her sister had insisted on.

Add in an awkward maid-of-honor speech where she’d gone on for a good five minutes about Schistosoma mansoni worms and how they mated for life, just like the bride and groom, and . . . oh God. Why had nobody stopped her?

Mollie scrunched down on the bench with a moan as she took a sip of champagne.

“Madison’s going to kill me.”

Madison was in a mood anyway. She’d been a bridezilla from the moment Jackson had put a ring on it, but Mollie had figured when the actual day came around, her sister would relax.

Nope.

She’d been pissed about the flowers being ivory instead of true white to match her dress.  Had bitched about the fact that Lily, one of her bridesmaids, had styled her hair in a way that was too close to the bride’s style.

Then Madison had vented about how the bracelet Jackson’s mother had shyly presented as Maddie’s “something old” was dumpy.

That one had gotten under Mollie’s skin. Mrs. Burke was the closest thing to a mother that either of them had. Their own mother had died of an overdose years ago, and Mollie would have given a kidney to have a surrogate as lovely and kind as Jackson’s mom.

“Maddie won’t kill you,” Jackson said, putting an arm around the back of the park bench and smiling down at her. “She loves you, even if she doesn’t get your whole triple-major, science-camp vibe.”

Mollie withheld a snort. That was an understatement. She loved her sister, but the closest Madison ever got to science was her monthly chemical peel.

Still, Mollie felt a fierce need to make sure that Jackson Burke knew she was an adult. “I’m twenty. I do not go to science camp.”

He lifted an eyebrow, and Mollie pointed her champagne flute at him. “Okay, I used to go to science camp. But I’m not the one who used the word ‘lactation’ in relation to a mermaid.”

“Hey, you’re not the only one who took bio in college.”

“But you were a communications major. Journalism,” she said.

He gave her a surprised look, and Mollie looked away, mentally kicking herself. That was exactly what Jackson Burke didn’t need—another groupie stalker.

She snuck another glance and saw that he’d slumped even farther, matching her own crappy posture, and Mollie was surprised to see that he looked . . . exhausted.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Because she couldn’t not ask. Not after she’d seen the weariness around his eyes, the slight tension in his shoulders.

Jackson turned his head so their eyes locked and he frowned before returning his attention to the mermaid. “Nobody ever asks me that.”

Her heart squeezed at the lost note in his voice. It was strange to think of someone as big and important as Jackson Burke being lonely, but somehow . . . somehow she knew he was.

Even here, among all these people, he was somehow alone. Apart.

Like her.

 

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About Lauren Layne:

Lauren Layne

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

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish thirteen books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

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

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Giveaway:

In Honor of Superbowl Winning Quarterback Jackson Burke, Enter to Win your choice of a  Ladies “TEAM” T-Shirt from Lady Fanatics Sports Apparel.

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