Thursday, December 12, 2013

Love the One You're With by Lauren Layne

The Basics:
Love the One You're With by Lauren Layne
Random House Loveswept
Sex, Love & Stiletto
Published December 9, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series simmers to a boil as two high-powered magazine writers find love amid a war of words.

As a leading columnist for Stiletto, Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancĂ© would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men’s magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she’s not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses . . . or is she?

Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what’s-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job . . . except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto. But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously.

What worked for me:

This book has a double-dose of flirtatiousness. The repartee between Grace and Jake is quick and clever. I love good wordplay and intelligent, sharp dialogue. I find chemistry between characters really pops when they've got good banter, and these two have it in spades!

Layne leverages social media to amp up the tension between her endearing romantic leads - not only are all their moves being analysed by each other, the world is watching. And the complication of trying to decide what's part of the game and what's real and whether there's a line between those two any more.... It's all so delicious, I loved it! 

I also really enjoyed the back and forth as they each tested the waters for something more, and then pulled back, remembering their own, independent goals. The give-and-take here was excellent.     

What didn't work for me:

The book started a little shaky for me as I was worried Jake's slightly superior attitude was going to rub me the wrong way - it was a little alpha, a lot manipulative. BUT, he quickly won me over by being willing to admit his errors and by being a good sport about Grace's revenge.

I also have to admit that I was already over the Grace 1.0 / Grace 2.0 device after the cover copy. I have no problem with conflicted self-dialogue, nor with a character torn between their old habits and the new ones they're trying to deliberately adopt, BUT.... But. This really made me think of the inner goddess thing in Fifty Shades of Gray (which I admittedly have only skim-read), and that was cringeworthy.

Bottom line:

The second title I've read written by Lauren Layne, and I'm becoming a, dare I say it? - a fan. This book was a witty, flirtatious, fun read that I recommend you check out.

There's obvious leads to the next books in the series, and I'll be watching for them!

4.5 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, witty banter.

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