Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Story by Lauren Layne Is Now Available & Reviewed

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Add to Goodreads

Book 3
Buy Links

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

“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.

Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.

“I, um... you’re giving me the car?” I ask.

“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.

“And this one’s... not broken down?” I ask skeptically.

Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just...

Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.

I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well... I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.

But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.

“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.

“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”

“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.

“Like, as in he actually starts?”

“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”

I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.

“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.

“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.

“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.

“Reece agreed to fix him up.”

I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”

“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”

And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.

I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.

“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.

They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.

Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”

Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.

He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder...

I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.

And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I've read several books now by Lauren Layne and quite enjoyed them all, Love Story doesn't disappoint either! It's a great stand-alone romance novel with perfect amounts of humor and heat.

I loved both the characters, Lucy and Reece. Their unwinding backstory/history together was the perfect soundtrack to their road trip across the country together and ultimately their love story. I'm a softie for a first love reunited and this story really scratched that itch. With the usual miscues and hurt feelings that taint each of their perceptions, the story begins with the two having to share a ride in a car nicknamed "Horny" to save money. They are heading to their new jobs in California and wine country, where they both plan to start fresh. Reece is an up and coming grower in a vineyard. But he also wants to get away from the town where he lost both his mother at a young age and his father later to cancer. But also, to losing Lucy to college, a town where everyone seems to leave him. Lucy plans to start her new career after getting her fancy degree in wine merchandising. The two have been apart since the summer Lucy graduated and they had their "summer fling." While still trying to get over the hurt they caused each other way back when, they're also learning more about the man and woman they've become since being apart.

I felt for Reece, trying so hard to deny that Lucy has been it for him since the night he took her virginity. I felt for Lucy too, as she tries to remember that Reece "cheated" on her and isn't the boyfriend material to her endgame. The two collide with sex appeal and great chemistry across the long road trip, where they vacillate between remembering how good they were together to hating one another for leaving/cheating. Lauren Layne is fast becoming my go-to author for fun and romantic quick read stories with characters who have perfect depth and emotion, with the dash of humor that keeps things lighthearted.

I really liked this one. It was mildly predictable, but the ride from A to B was definitely entertaining.

Reece and Lucy definitely have a complicated and emotional past. They have been putting off some very serious conversations for the past few years and it has created a mess for their loved ones to deal with.

An odd turn of events has them where they are forced to interact and rehash the past. Can they actually sort through it all, or will they destroy one another trying?

Overall, I found this to be a nice and sexy read. I didn't have any problems getting through it. The author created plenty of strife and struggle, mixed with humour and sexiness, which created a good read for me.

This is the third in the series – but each story is independent of the other; linked by the theme. I have enjoyed them all, and recommend them to you.

In this story we get to join Lucy and Reece as they travel across the country in an old car which holds lots of memories for them both. Friends forever, almost a couple in high school, many years of keeping their distance have left them in a less than perfect place to share a road trip. But Lucy's parents have engineered this and we can only hope that they know what they are doing.

As we get to understand why things went wrong first time around, and get to know them both, we are just as invested in wanting a happily ever after. We also get to see some of the States, and the inside of some very insalubrious motel rooms. As well as a hot and steamy romance, there is some great humour here too.

Another hit from Ms. Layne, no doubts at all.

This was an okay read. The two main characters spend 80% of the book in their car and I think it took away from the storyline and I found myself skimming to get to the next “good part,” which was the stopping.

Lucy and Reece were best friends as children and high school sweethearts once they reached their teen years. Then Lucy catches Reece with another woman and dumps him – heading off to college. Now, a few years later, Lucy is headed to start a new life in California… only her car breaks down shortly before she’s supposed to be leaving. So her parents come up with a plan to have Reece drive her. Now the two are stuck on a two-week journey across the country with one another – neither being able to stand the other on the outside, but unable to deny their feelings on the inside.

I am not a fan of books that flip back and forth from present to past and this book does that a lot. Though I really like both Lucy and Reece’s characters, their story just didn’t develop quickly enough for me. I really like how it ends though, and that though I found myself skimming through the “car rides,” it wasn’t a book I could put down until the end.

Also Available in the Love Unexpectedly Series

Book 2
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 Good Girl Blog Tour.

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

Connect with Lauren

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne to read and review for this tour.

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