Contemporary Romance

Review: Good Girl

Good Girl
Good Girl by Lauren Layne
Dali’s review & rating: 5 of 5 stars

An entertainingly hot and zesty romance about a young country singer who while attempting to disappear from prying eyes, mainly the world in general, ends up cohabitating with a man that drives her crazy with equal measures of disdain and desire. Which will win out?

Jenny Dawson’s up and coming fame has made her a center of attention. From paparazzi fixating on her burrito baby belly to rumors and lies about her been too familiar with married men in showbiz. Jenny loves her music and will live through the unwanted fanfare. While the media frenzy dies down though, she wants to focus on her next record. She rents the mansion in which she wrote her first song several years ago which she thought was being taken care of by an elderly couple, not the handsome, prickly man who’s too quick to criticize and harsh remarks cause sparks to fly.

Noah Maxwell (a.k.a. Preston Walcott) didn’t mean to mislead Jenny about his identity, but when the willful singer arrived a day early while he was doing some handy work on the estate and made snap judgment about him being the caretaker and not the owner based on his appearance, the lie slipped out easily. It also had the added bonus of giving him the opportunity to escape his own problems, although the lively woman will likely be a different kind of trouble.

They never thought their taunts and bickering would turn into sultry seduction, much less into something more. But he wants a simple life and she wants to take her career all the way, limelight and all. Can they smooth over their differences and find a way to compromise?

“I want both. The guy and the career. I want it all.”

I’ve read all of Lauren Layne’s books so far. They always bring a smile to my face without fail and Good Girl is no exception. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s well written, with a steady pace, a splash of drama, and the right mix of witty banter and explosive sexiness between a complex hero and a sassy heroine.

The character development was wonderful. Noah has his own issues. He’s trying to reconcile a childhood lived in poverty and an adolescence attempting to live up to the expectations of being heir to a very successful and wealthy man. He’s not sure who is nor what he wants.

“A little more time, Vaughn,” I say quietly. “I hate having to say this out loud, but I’m…I’m reeling, man. I feel like I’ve been in an aimless free-fall for years, and this place…it’s helping. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but it’s helping.”
He searches my face carefully. “You sure it’s the place?” he asks slowly. “Or is it the girl?”

He only knows he wants a simple life that doesn’t include marrying the unfaithful woman his father approved of, and hiding out as caretaker to one of his estates seemed like a good idea until he realizes he has to deal with what he thinks is a pampered princess. He’s surly, short tempered (except when it comes to his dog), rude and sometimes downright mean. But the lovely Jenny gave as good as she got.

“Oh, what’s that? I didn’t mention that my revenge plan is totally creepy and a lot immature? It is. Don’t care.”

Jenny is sweet, good natured and kindhearted who doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s also vivacious and doesn’t let much get her down. Of course she forgave Noah’s boorishness, but not before she took some delight in torturing him herself. It made me smile and laugh repeatedly.

“There once was a guy named Noah, he was as appealing as a boa. Whatever happened, whoa-oh-oh, whatever happened, who-oh-oh, to rot his soul?” I shake my head. There’s more strumming on the guitar, and her Noah-hate song continues. “His face was average, his eyes were cold. His body flubby, whoa-oh-oh. His kiss was filthy, his flavor bad. He tried to woo me, and it was sad, whoa-oh-oh.”

Noah and Jenny’s dislike was immediate and so fun to witness because their attraction was equally instant with double the intensity. Their verbal sparring was like foreplay stoking the fire between them and I love how they slowly fell for each other, especially Noah because he was a big jerk hiding a vulnerable, good guy center. And you know what they say, they bigger they are…

“You know how I said Jenny’s voice sounded like her heart? I’m wrong. Her voice sounds like my heart. And I want it back. I want her back.”

Noah’s best friends, Finn and Vaught, were completely opposite from each other but very charming and likable. They added an amusing layer to the story and I hope Lane decides to continue this series with their stories. I also need to comment of Noah and Jenny’s dogs, Ranger and Dolly respectively. Unlike their owner they were cute and thick as thieves from the start.

I exit out the front door just in time to see my big brown Lab leap forward, his clumsy paws finding the shoulders of a blond girl who lets out a shriek, holding a cat above her head like that scene from The Lion King.
“Ranger, no! Down!”
I run forward, my hand finding the collar of my dog and yanking him backward as I search the ground to find the source of the small-dog barks still piercing the air. Then I register that the sound is coming from above, and I realize…
The cotton ball isn’t a cat. That orange peace of fluff is a dog, and Ranger is apparently in love.

Good Girl is book #2 in the Love Unexpectedly series by Lauren Layne. It’s a new adult, contemporary romance that can be read as a standalone. It’s told from both points of view. With a happy ending. If you like a lighthearted, feel good read with sexy back and forth and steam, Lane’s definitely an author to check out.

Rating 4.5 country singer stars

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* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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