Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog tour: The Trouble With Love by Lauren Layne

The Trouble with Love
Sex, Love and Stiletto #4
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing March 3, 2015

As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

Lauren Layne is a snarky cynic with a serious weakness for happily ever afters.
Marrying her high school sweetheart was a good start. *cue Disney soundtrack.* But Lauren wanted all romance, all the time.
Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books. Don't worry. You will.
Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she's on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she'll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.


“Why would I want to be editor in chief?” Riley asked.

“Exactly,” Camille said, looking pleased at the lead-in. “It’s a thankless, tiresome job, and one I didn’t want to wish on any of you while I’m gone for three months.”

“Three months?” Julie asked. “We’re leaderless for three months?”

“Not quite,” Camille said. “You need someone to steer the ship, of course. So . . .”
She made a dramatic flourishing gesture in Alex’s direction.
He waited patiently for everything to register with the Stiletto crew.

“No. A boy?!” Riley said, scandalized.

“I saw him without his shirt once,” Grace said, leaning over. “He’s not a boy.”

Emma leaned in toward her friends, speaking up for the first time. “I saw him without his shirt once, too. Boy’s actually not so far off. He’s a little scrawny, and the lower half . . . eek.”

Emma’s voice was little more than a whisper, but it reached his ears. It was meant to.
Alex didn’t take the bait. Hell, back when Emma had seen him naked, they’d been young. He had been little more than a boy.
And she little more than a girl.
A girl who could take his breath away with little more than a smile.
And when she’d taken her shirt off, he’d all but lost his mind.
But that was a long time ago.

“Mr. Cassidy has graciously agreed to oversee both Stiletto and Oxford for the next few months,” Camille said, jerking him back to the present.
A present where he and Emma wouldn’t be seeing each other shirtless . . . ever.

“Starting next week,” Camille continued, “He will be the one you go to for story approval, PTO requests, relationship advice—”

“Wait, what?” Alex said, speaking up for the first time.

Camille patted him on the head like he was a child, and he caught Julie smirking at him.
Alex gave into a sigh. It was going to be a very, very long three months.

“Any questions?” Camille asked.

Julie’s hand shot up. “Um, yes. Like a thousand questions. Starting with, where are you going? Is everything okay? Are your ovaries imploding? Are you having a crisis? Can I come?”

Alex hid a laugh behind a cough. From the resigned look on Camille’s face, and the lack of shock on everyone else’s, it was clear this group was used to Julie’s unabashed prying.

“Perfectly healthy. It’s a personal matter,” Camille said, in a tone that indicated the conversation was over.

Julie made a grunting noise that indicated the conversation was not over.

“Now, I’m sure you’re all itching with theories you’d like to share with your colleagues, and I have plenty to catch Mr. Cassidy up on, so if there are no other inappropriate questions—”

“Wait,” a tiny blond woman next to Grace said. “That’s it? We haven’t talked about the next issue, or story assignments, and there are about a million letters to the editor thanks to that story we did about Botox, and—”

Camille held up a hand. “Mr. Cassidy will be holding a meeting on Monday morning to go over all of that, Dana.”

Book 4 in the Sex, Love and Stiletto series, this book works perfectly as a standalone. I haven’t read the previous books, but I will definitely check them out soon, and I had absolutely no trouble in getting pulled into the story.

I know Lauren Layne from her New Adult books in the “Redemption” series (Isn’t She Lovely and Broken), and I’ve read and loved Made For You, so I know and like her writing style, but being a newbie to the series, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The story is set in New York, mainly at the Stiletto magazine, where all the heroines from the previous books work, as well as Emma, the heroine in this book. All the girls are sassy and funny, each one of them in her own way. The first page will pull you right in. I was smiling throughout the first few pages, imagining Emma in her funny outfit and bumping into the last person she wanted to meet—her ex fiancé, Alex Cassidy. The author enjoys keeping the reader guessing what exactly went wrong with them, since Emma thinks of him as the man who left her waiting at the altar while Cassidy thinks of her as the woman who dumped him the day before their wedding. I can’t deny that curiosity drove me a little crazy, because I wanted all the details, but I was happy that it took me a while to get the whole story. I actually liked how the author inserted the flashbacks at the perfect point in the story, through Emma reminiscing about that day when her whole world fell apart. Using flashbacks it’s always a tricky technique, but Lauren mastered it. Kudos for that!

Page after page, I was pulled deeper into the Stiletto world, to the point that I wished my colleagues were as much fun as Emma’s friends. The banter, not always so friendly, between Emma and Cassidy was rather entertaining and I was looking forward to the point where they wouldn’t be able to take it any longer and would cave. It was obvious from the beginning that underneath their ice armor, their feelings for each other were still strong.

Although this is Emma and Cassidy’s story, the side characters play an important part in the book, so it’s almost as if it was the Stiletto’s team story. I enjoyed getting to know the other couples from the previous books, and I can’t wait to read how they all fell in love with each other.

When Emma and Cassidy finally decide to raise the white flag and call a sort of truce, sparks fly. At first it’s supposed to be one night, but then things  get a little out of control and, oh my, you will need to fan yourself because there are some quite steamy scenes!

I’ll admit that when they were at it every other minute, without talking about their feelings (considering their past together) I was a little annoyed. I mean, they’d been hours away from getting married but they thought they could have the whole “friends-with-benefits” thing without feelings getting in the way? I was mad at them because neither wanted to admit that it wasn’t possible for them to act as if they were two strangers, and because they didn’t want to bring up the past and discuss about what happened and why.
But I loved, loved, loved the way Cassidy tried to win her back eventually, in spite of Emma’s stubbornness. 

I enjoyed this story and I look forward to the next book in the series. I hope we’ll get a book about Cole, because he’s such a funny character I’m sure it’ll make for an entertaining read.

As usual, Lauren Layne didn’t disappoint. If you like sassy, funny and a little sexy reads, this series is for you. You can start with any book, but I suppose it’ll make sense starting from the first one, so as to meet each of the side characters that are in this book and connect with them a little better.


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