REVIEW w/ EXCERPT: Steal by Rachel Van Dyken

Seaside Pictures Book Three; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

It’s easy to lose yourself in someone you love.
Easier to lose yourself in someone you hate…
I didn’t think it could get any worse than having to babysit a bunch of spoiled musicians on set — keeping them out of trouble is a cakewalk compared to seeing my ex every day.
Seaside, Oregon isn’t big enough for the both of us.
She hates me.
I loathe her.
The plan was simple — stay the hell away and make sure she gets to set on time.
What I didn’t expect was to be faced with our past in front of an audience — and be forced to face it again.
It’s torture.
The way she looks at me.
The way I try to look through her.
Words left unsaid.
The lingering aftermath still as powerful as ever.
I feed the chasm between us, for fear that she’ll make me feel again — and steal the last shred of heart I have left.
We have everything but each other.
It’s not enough.
Not when you’ve lost love.
And replaced it with the only thing left — hate.

♦3.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Steal was a story of forgiveness and the power of love. There aren’t many books out there with a heroine who has such a steep path to redemption, but RVD beautifully penned a tale of a woman stuck on the outside watching everyone else through an unbreakable barrier; one filled with sadness, heartbreak, and lost relationships.

Will and Angelica’s tumultuous history not only affected them, but the friends around them. Her mistakes, ones which caused so much damage, left her hated, but she was written in such a way that she didn’t seem pitiful or beyond redemption, and yet her mistakes weren’t glossed over or easily forgiven either. There was a great balance in how she came across, straddling the line of both sides, where a reader could actually like and accept her instead of find her beyond help. The hate-lust Will still carried for her helped; that a man whose heart was broken could still find her desirable (not just physically), gave her character a reparable quality. And while his situation forced him to react in off-color ways, as hate usually does, beneath it all one could see his actions bore from pain rather than evil.

Filled with lusty hate and heartbreak, this second-chance romance carried a beautifully inspiring love story that was so very moving. Had I read the prior books, and gotten a bit of the backstory of this group of friends since they were featured pretty heavily, I might’ve been affected more deeply than I was. But even without all of that, it’s impossible to deny how great RVD was in creating both of these characters and their way back to one another.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

I blinked up at the white ceiling, willing the tears to dry. Praying they wouldn’t slip free — because once they were loose there was no stopping the onslaught of emotion that would follow, the devastation, the earth-shattering realization that nothing would ever be the same between us. Not if he could help it — and not with me constantly pushing him.

But at least pushing him got me a reaction that proved he wasn’t a complete indifferent sociopath.

I refused to let him get to me.

With a sigh I turned onto my side and stared out the window imagining a different time a different place, where he was by my side — and promised to never leave.

That and the way his hands ran down my skin like he was getting ready to worship me the way he used to.

Only his face hadn’t been filled with wonder — disgust was more like it.

I clung to the anger like a blanket. It was the only way to sleep, the only way I was able to close my eyes and pray the sickness in my chest away.

Anger forced me to focus on doing my job and getting as far away from my past as possible.

Weakness would just make me sad.

It would make me that — weak;

And I knew where that road led.

It led me directly back to all the things that turned me down that road in the first place.

Not being good enough.

Pretty enough.

Funny enough.

Weakness led me to a false sense of strength.

And my number one weakness had always been Will Sutherland.

It was possible — to give so much of your heart and soul to a person that you lost who you were.

I became a different person with him — a person I thought I needed to be in order to compete in our world. A person our world told me I had no choice but to become in order to stay relevant.

I punched my pillow one last time and attempted to sleep.

Two hours later, when sleep still wouldn’t come, I padded my way into the kitchen and made coffee, then laid my head against the couch and thought about the way his lips felt on my ear.

Inches from my neck.

Breaths from my body.

I ached for him in ways I never knew existed.

And I relished in the ache just like I relished in the anger, because at least that meant it had happened, and at least that meant I knew he was a bad choice I wasn’t willing to make again.

A weakness that wouldn’t just hurt me.

But kill me.

Sometime around one in the morning when the clock on the microwave blinked at me with an intensity that started a pulsing headache to form — I stumbled over to the couch and face planted — the last thought in my head was of the Sutherland Sunset — and how it had once been my anchor until it turned into my hell.

What a joke.

What a cruel joke.

“You made coffee.” Will’s smooth voice interrupted what had been a completely dreamless sleep.

I didn’t have the energy to respond with anything other than a grunt.

“Still not a morning person,” he commented. His footsteps might as well be sledgehammers drilling into the wood floor.

“Why?” I croaked.

The walking stopped. Lights flicked on. I shivered and cursed him to Hell as he poked his head over the couch and had the audacity to smile. “Why what?”

My eyes narrowed. “Talking.”

“Why talking?” He took a sip out of the blue mug I’d been drinking out of earlier that morning; he must have reheated the coffee. “Still really eloquent in the morning I see.” Another annoying sip. The terrorist didn’t even offer me any! Just kept loudly sipping while staring at me with a stupid ass grin on his face like it was a joy to be awake at… wait, what time was it?

I jolted to a sitting position, my pounding headache still wasn’t gone, in fact it was worse, probably brought on by Will’s cheerful demeanor and loud walking. “What time is it?”

“You have twenty minutes until you’re expected on set.” His voice was calm behind me, warm. If I closed my eyes I could almost imagine his body was about to wrap around me like a blanket, I’d tuck my feet under my body and rest my head on his shoulder, we’d share a cup of coffee like we used to and watch the news before work.

It took us one date to become inseparable.

Our trailers side by side.

Cohabitating.

Finishing sentences.

Eating off each other’s plates.

Sharing inside jokes.

Not to mention, Will had been my first.

I shivered as his footsteps moved away from me taking his body right along with them.

That was the past.

It needed to stay there.

With a sigh, I shot up to my feet and started making my way back to my room.

I only made it about one foot before Will started cursing.

Panicked, I froze and then turned around. “What’s wrong?”

His eyes narrowed over the rim of the blue cup, “I’m just trying to decide if you’re doing it on purpose.”

“Doing what?” Okay now I was getting annoyed. And the man wouldn’t stop slurping his coffee as though he didn’t know how to sip like a grown up!

He shrugged one of his shoulders. “Wearing no clothes.”

 

♦SERIES♦


Free

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

rachelborder

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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REVIEW & EXCERPT w/ GIVEAWAY: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 27, 2017

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♦BLURB♦

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

The Impossible Vastness of Us is a wide-reaching, hard-hitting Young Adult novel that bravely takes on varying painful topics. It’s moving and powerful and simply told. One that hurts to experience, but the kind that mends your soul in a very romantic, but tough-love kind of way. That feeling will continue to resonate long after the book has closed.

From self-esteem issues to the intricacies of status and the teenage ego, this novel traverses much without feeling overwhelming or shallow on the issues at hand. I’ve yet to read a YA novel like this with such closely-knitted female characters fighting the odds against them in becoming more than what is expected of them as ‘rivals’ or non-equals. Young easily crafted an entire cast of characters who all played their parts perfectly. I usually love novels for their love stories, but I have to say that while I loved the love story here, I fell harder for the bond of family, blood or not, that radiated from this story. Each character brought such depth and vividness to this story, a kind of 3-D nature to it, that it was a joy to experience every aspect of it.

It’s easy to connect with a character like India, even if your experiences were nothing like hers. Young made her tough, but likable, a hardass, but a joyful smartass. She wasn’t a typical YA heroine; her compassion and inherent need for justice never wavered, instead consistently proving her selflessness and rationality even in moments where it benefited her in the least. There’s something powerfully magnetic about that, something we can admire. What made her an outsider radiated strength instead of weakness, and those like Finn and Eloise were drawn to that.

I originally fell for Young with her earlier YA series and have been hoping she’d venture back to the genre one day; I can tell you it came with the perfect story. A beautiful cover that matches the story within, one overflowing with the beauty of love, family, and, most of all, friendship, The Impossible Vastness of Us was a poignantly moving and compassionate tale of acceptance, hope, and self-love. Love comes in many forms as does what one can take away from this novel. I could’ve kept going and I do hope there comes a day when we meet these characters again.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“Headmaster Vanderbilt would like to introduce himself.”

Headmaster Vanderbilt turned out to be a guy probably only five years or so older than Theo. I expected someone stuffy, pretentious and more than a little condescending, but Headmaster Vanderbilt—a tall, reed-thin man who wore a tiny pair of rimless glasses perched on his big Roman nose—was warm and welcoming.

His welcome, in fact, would be the warmest I’d receive that day.

My first class was Microeconomics and to my horror Eloise, Finn and their whole crew took the class. I hadn’t been expecting to see them all together in one class and while the teacher introduced me I had to quickly put my mask of indifference on.

Eloise didn’t acknowledge my presence as I took a seat on the other side of the classroom. My eyes drifted to Finn but he was staring at the teacher, almost too studiously, like he was trying to avoid my gaze. I shook that suspicion off, knowing Finn thought he was superior to me—I probably wasn’t even on his radar.

Not that I cared if I was on his radar or not.

My Microeconomics teacher was pretty cool and I got through the class not feeling totally out of my depth. I considered that a positive for the day.

Fiction Writing was next and Charlotte was in my class. When I walked in, her eyes lit up and I thought I detected the beginnings of a smile before a thought passed over her expression. Her shoulders slumped, and she looked like she wanted to blend into the background.

I decided to ignore her weirdness and waved at her as the teacher approached to introduce herself. The teacher saw my exchange with Charlotte and insisted I sit with her.

“Hey,” I said as I took the seat beside her.

Charlotte gave me a half smile, half grimace. “Hi.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t cheat off you.”

Her answer was a tremulous smile.

Encouraged, I nodded at her violet dress. “That color looks awesome on you.”

Appearing almost taken aback, Charlotte glanced down at the dress and ran her fingertips over it. “Really? Bryce said it washed me out. She said I look trash in it.”

Of course she did. I got more than a few mean girl vibes off that girl. “Well, she’s wrong. It’s really cute.”

“Thanks.” Charlotte gave me a shy smile before wariness replaced it and she turned determinedly to face the front.

Her body language told me not to push talking to her, but I felt hope.

Smiling inwardly, I faced forward, too, and listened to the teacher as she started class.

Two classes passed and I already had more homework than I’d ever had back at Fair Oaks High. I wasn’t freaking out about it just yet, considering I had no friends and no extracurricular activities to distract me from all the schoolwork, but once I did I’d have to find a way to juggle it all.

As I was walking toward my next class I noticed the glances and full-on stares from my new schoolmates. Their looks varied from curious to sneering and I felt a tingle of wariness across the back of my neck. Turning a corner on my search for my Modern European History class, I came face-to-face with my stepsister-to-be and her girls. They sashayed down the hall like an ad for a TV show about beautiful popular high school kids, long hair fluttering out behind them like silk, long trim legs on display in their designer dresses and elongated by their Jimmy Choo sandals.

Eloise saw me, looked right through me and kept on walking without a word.

My skin felt hot with embarrassment at her obvious cut.

I watched her disappear around the corner with her best friends before looking around the hallway. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been imagining the sneers of my classmates.

A sick feeling settled in my gut as I wondered what the hell was going on.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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♦GIVEAWAY♦

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BLOG TOUR w/ EXCERPT: Tycoon by Katy Evans

Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.
Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.
That man is gone.
In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.
He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.
The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.
It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.
I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.
And he doesn’t.
Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.
Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.
He’s assessing every piece of me, to the point I’ve never felt so bare.
I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.
Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.
Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.

♦EXCERPT♦

I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building.

It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town.

My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective.

See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it.

I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study.

I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves.

It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one.

I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips.

He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him.

I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful.

Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise.

He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile.

All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker.

He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket…

I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize…

The boy you knew is gone.

I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.”

He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me.

And he waits.

In silence.

But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent.

“You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous.

“What do you want?”

There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember.

“I was told you sometimes invest in startups.”

“I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better.

Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me.

It’s just a smile.

But the world tilts under its impact.

“Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger.

Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before.

But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks.

“I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying.

He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly.

“Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now.

He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.”

“Why?”

“Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes.

A shiver runs through me. Because…

Christos recognized me.

“I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me.

“I try to be,” he purrs dangerously.

I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once.

He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt.

“Really. How so?” he asks.

“You grew into your nose.”

“Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself.

“Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add.

“Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising.

“You learned how to dress.”

He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen.

“So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.”

“Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering.

“No. Well, you know that was never….I mean…” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.”

“Go on.”

“I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.”

“She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.”

“Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me.

I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say.

“How much.”

“One hundred thousand.”

“I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid.

“Well then, I’ll ask for a million.”

He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look.

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.

“Christos.”

“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room.  I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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REVIEW w/ EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

Oxford Book Four; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

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.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

I Knew You Were Trouble is an enemies-to-lovers romance with the added bonus of a roommates dynamic. Pitting together two complete opposites, LL employed her signature wit and humor to slowly and sexily bring together the wandering worker hero and the always-serious heroine with wonderful results.

Fascinating and probably one of the least Lauren Layne like heroines to-date, Taylor’s deep-seated emotional wall created a true enigma of a woman. LL portrayed her very well, giving Taylor just enough warmth to counteract her icy demeanor. She was like a newborn in the world of emotion and I quite enjoyed seeing her use those legs for the first time most especially with the one man who saw under all of her layers. With a man like Nick, the always-supportive kind, Taylor was truly out of her depths, and he, too, battled that life-long wall she’d erected. But all of those qualities and agitation worked very well together, ramping the tension higher and higher.

I love a good angst-y romance that has animosity-conflicted relationships where they didn’t want to want the other, but the attraction was so instinctual that nothing could stop it, and you get that with I Knew You Were Trouble. As co-workers, as roommates, these two fought that sexual tension at every angle, but their resistance was halfhearted at best. It wasn’t my favorite of the series, and I assume it’s because these are pretty new characters whereas in the others we had met each guy/gal and gotten to know them prior to having their book, but I certainly still loved it. Nick’s charm and Taylor’s sass led to an explosively sexy love story…one with all the fun we expect from an LL book.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

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.”

 

♦SERIES♦

Each book is an interconnected standalone.

6 - Irresistibly Yours

Oxford Book One

Purchase:  Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo  | My Review

2 - I Wish You Were Mine

Oxford Book Two

Purchase:  Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo  | My Review

6-someone-like-you

Oxford Book Three

Purchase: Kindle | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo | My Review

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

LaurenLayne-Headshot-Official

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

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

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter

♦GIVEAWAY♦

Enter to win an Audio Book CD set of the Oxford Series, includes IRRESISTIBLY YOURS, I WISH YOU WERE MINE and SOMEONE LIKE YOU!

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