Redemption # 2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 14th, 2015
Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.
Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half-brother, Devon.
Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.
After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?
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 ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago 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.
I’ve waited for Michael’s book for like, um, forever. In the previous books in the Redemption series, he’s supposed to be “the villain”, since he was the one who made a move on Olivia while she was still Ethan’s girlfriend—thus making them split and ruining their special friendship. Even so, I always liked him and was really looking forward to his story.
I’ll admit that when the book started and he was introduced as a boy toy for the married ladies in the country club where he’s working, my whole world crumbled. *insert smiley face like “The Scream” picture here.* I liked him so much and was hoping for a great story, but I hate womanizers and even more, I hate the cliché of young guys letting older women use them. Prude or old-fashioned? Yes, maybe, but I wanted so much more for Michael that I was really really disappointed at first.
As the story progresses and thanks to the first person POV I got inside his mind, things start to get a little clearer and my heart warmed. At some point I wished I could give him a bear hug.
As much as I loved Michael, though, the best thing about this book is Chloe, the heroine. She is fantastic! Seriously, she rocks! If there were one heroine I wished could jump out of a book and become my best friend, Chloe would be the one I’d pick. She can’t keep her mouth shut or her thoughts to herself, and this provides for most of the funniest interactions between her and… Beefcake, the nickname she gives Michael from the very start.
As opposed to her skinny (and a little fake) sister, Chloe is curvy and sassy, but completely honest and real. She really gives Michael a run for his money, and then some. When she first enters the picture, she’s head over heels in love with her sister’s boyfriend, Devon, who’s been her friend since they were kids—but who chose her sister when he turned from nerd into popular guy in high school. So when Michael offers to help her get the guy, she’s got her mind set on doing everything she can to make Devon notice her as more than the curvy nerd. But while they’re working on the new Chloe, things change and she starts feeling something for Michael, even though it’s the last thing she wants.
I enjoyed the constant banter and the teasing. Chloe was possibly the last person Michael would’ve thought he could ever fall for, but it’s because she’s so different from every girl he’s ever met that she suddenly becomes so intriguing.
There are lots of funny moments in the book, as well as some emotional parts—especially Michael’s introspection, when you actually get to feel his pain. There are also some sexy parts, but they’re not excessively long or graphic, so they don’t really pull you away from the main plot.
I was extremely happy that Ethan and Stephanie, as well as Olivia and Paul, had a cameo appearance in the book. It was nice seeing how they were doing after their happy ever afters.
I’m not sure if there will be more books in the series, but I do hope the author will include all the three couples, especially Michael and Chloe, in the next book, maybe as secondary characters or something.
If you’ve read the previous books (Isn’t She Lovely and Broken) this is a must-read. If you haven’t, this is a good way to get to know the series, and you can totally enjoy it all the same.