Tuesday, July 26, 2016

To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne Blog Tour


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

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

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


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Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo




It’s not as though Brooke had meant to start dating a con man. She certainly didn’t intend to get engaged to one.

But that’s the thing about con mans. The good ones were good at, well...the con.

And Clay Battaglia had been a good one. The best, actually, if you took the word of the FBI agent who’d debriefed Brooke and her family—while she was still in her wedding dress.

Turns out that while Brooke had been happily building her wedding-planning company, Clay had been quietly and competently been getting away with every white-collar crime in the book. While she’d been planning their wedding, he’d apparently been knee-deep in yet another Ponzi scheme.

Brooke hadn’t even known what a Ponzi scheme was when the FBI had told her.

She did now.

Following Clay’s arrest, she spent weeks researching white-collar crime. Wanting to know what he’d been up to all those times he’d quietly kissed her forehead late at night and told her he needed to make some phone calls for “work.” Wanting to know what her life would have been like if the FBI hadn’t taken him down before they’d exchanged vows.

Still, while Brooke would be ever grateful that she’d learned the truth before she’d become Mrs. Clay Battaglia, she’d be lying if she didn’t admit that the timing of it had stung just a little bit.

If they’d only taken him down a day before. Heck, even an hour before.

But no.

Just moments after Brooke kissed her father’s cheek and prepared to marry the man she loved at the wedding she’d poured her heart into, the FBI stormed—yes, stormed—the church.

Clay was in handcuffs before she even registered what was happening.

Numbly she watched as he listened to his Miranda rights at the precise moment he should have been listening to the vows she’d spent months writing.

And as reality slowly sunk in, Brooke waited. Waited for him to look at her. To look at her and say that it was all a lie. All one big misunderstanding, and that they’d be on their way to Bermuda as planned by tomorrow.

He didn’t.

He didn’t even apologize.

No, the man she’d loved for two years with every fiber of her being merely smiled at her and then shrugged.

There’d been plenty of photos taken that day, but that was the one that made it onto the front page of every major newspaper on the West Coast.

“The Greatest Con of All.” “Arrested by Love.” And her personal favorite, courtesy of her very own LA Times: “White-Collar Bride.”

The stories all read pretty much like you’d expect. About Clay, mostly, and the litany of accusations against him, but also about Brooke.

The papers had stopped short of defamation, but the implications were there. She was clueless and ditzy at best, a potentially overlooked accomplice at worst. Completely oblivious to the fact that she’d been sharing a roof with the most nefarious white-collar criminal in a generation—or pretending to be.

None of that had bothered her. What had bothered her was that she’d been a fool. Self-absorbed, naive, and downright blind.

Brooke had been dodging dumb-blonde jokes for most of her life, but the debacle with Clay was the first time she thought she might really, truly be deserving of the title.

She hadn’t been surprised when new clients had stopped calling. Hadn’t been surprised when current clients canceled. Nobody wanted to hire that wedding planner.

Brooke had even been relieved, at first. In those first weeks after Clay’s arrest, she hadn’t been able to handle any talk of weddings. Not her own, and not other people’s.

But the worst part of all of this, the part that kept her up long into the lonely nights, wasn’t the negative effect on her career. No, the worst part was that sometimes, in the very darkest corner of her soul, she feared that she might still love Clay, at least a little. Sure, her brain knew that all the things she’d loved about Clay had been a lie. Her brain understood that his name wasn’t even Clay.

But her heart? Her heart was having a harder time forgetting the way he always let her be the little spoon and tuck her cold feet against his warm calves. Or the way he’d brought her coffee in bed every morning. Or the way she’d come home after a long day with the worst sort of bridezilla and Clay would make them cocktails and sit on the deck with her, and watch the sunset and laugh.

She’d imagined that all their nights would be like that. All the nights for the rest of her life, with maybe with a couple of kids thrown into the mix eventually.

Brooke swallowed.

There wouldn’t be any more nights on the patio watching the sunset with Clay. Wouldn’t be any patio at all, because Brooke’s real estate broker had made it quite clear that she should be counting herself lucky to get a dishwasher in New York—a patio was out of the question.

So no patio. No Clay, or whatever his real name was.

No man at all, really.

No falling in love.

Not ever again.






Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ruthie☆☆☆☆
One of the great things about a new series from Lauren Layne is that we can look forward to really getting to know the characters in future books too – and having read this one, met the other Wedding Belles, and got to know a little bit about them – we are definitely in for some more treats to come!

Brooke's discovery of New York and her new realities after leaving ever warm LA is a lovely feature of this book, and gives everyone a chance to experience some of the realities of that life. The reason that she had to leave LA is a difficult one, but she is brushing that under the carpet and moving on...which may not be as easy as she hoped. Her immediate attraction to a surly man who is a workaholic is not helping – or is it? I love the interplay between them. It has some clichéd elements, but they are in context and work well in the story. Seth is a man who has to solve everything for his nearest and dearest, and his father's death and his sister's upcoming wedding have him uncomfortable. Throw in the attraction for the wedding planner, and he is in trouble. As their story unfolds, it is very romantic, passionate, sometimes frustrating, and definitely entertaining.

I am always grateful that Lauren Layne gives us good long novels, and then all too soon, I have finished... because to be honest, everything else (sleep, eating, even coffee) takes a back seat as I keep turning the pages. Of course there was last page regret, but at the same time, so worthwhile. Now I am living in anticipation of the next one – and trying to decide who will be the next leading lady.


Mary Jo☆☆☆
The author had some really solid plot points in this book as well as a few that just didn't quite fit, in my opinion.

Brooke, wedding planner extraordinaire until her fiancé is dragged from the altar in handcuffs, is looking forward to her new job in New York City with the Wedding Belles. When she meets her first client in the city, she's awed by how "perfect" the groom seems to be and is tuned in to everything the bride wants. The one thing she finds annoying is that the bride's brother, Seth, is determined to think that the groom is less than what he appears.

I understand that planning weddings should be a place where the workers/employees are supposed to always put on a happy face, it seemed false to me that Brooke would forget what had only recently happened to her and be completely oblivious to the signs that things are quite what they seem.

It also surprised me that Brooke felt that her privacy was violated when Seth had a private investigator look into her ex. One of the premises of this book is that Seth Tyler is the CEO of a major hotel chain, and has more money than he can spend. Why, in this day and age, would he not want to protect the woman he cares about by making sure the ex stays firmly away from Brooke and in her past.

The romance part of the book is quite inviting, it’s just that the reader has to go through a lot of angst to get there.

Lots of little things added up to me giving this book a three-star rating.




Also Available in The Wedding Belles Series

Book 0.5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the From This Day Forward Blog Tour.




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

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

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

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

Connect with Lauren

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne to read and review for this tour.

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