Contemporary Romance

Love Story by Lauren Layne Release Blast

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14th, 2017

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 New York Times 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.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

Exclusive Excerpt

“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.

Love Story
Love Story by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
She thinks he cheated. He thinks he isn’t good enough for her, but making too many wrong turn during their cross country road trip they finally make a right turn and find themselves getting a second chance at love in this agonizingly sweet story.

Lucy Hawkins is ready to start the job of her dreams in San Francisco she only has to get there, she only has one problem: her car died and the only way to get there is taking her family’s old station wagon along with her older brother’s best friend. The same friend she’s known since they were children, the one she had a crush on, the one no one knew she’d been in love with. The same friend who after taking her virginity shattered her heart six years ago.

“I was eight years old when I gave my heart to Reece Sullivan. I was eighteen when he shattered it into a million pieces.”

After burying his father, Reece Sullivan has no one left and his small town only holds sorrow. Anxious for a fresh start in wine country California, he agrees to go on a two week road trip that promises long torturous days with the only person who’s ever seen past his surly façade and is now likely to kill him in his sleep. But the familiar connection he’s always felt with Lucy soon comes to the fore along with their explosive attraction. Can they forgive the heartache they’ve inflicted in the past to carve a happy future together?

I love Lauren Layne’s books. I haven’t missed a single one knowing they’re guaranteed entertainment because she’s adept at writing from fun, flirty and hot, to heartbreakingly tragic, to drive you crazy with antagonistic banter.

“We may hate each other, but we’re a part of each other. Moth to flame.”

I really enjoy a frenemies to lovers story especially when there’s a shared history between the couple. I find the back and forth sparing and animosity wholly amusing and that it’s a good source for sexual tension. Right of the bat Reece and Lucy bicker like nobody’s business. The anger between them is palpable. They have a lot of unresolved feelings for each other but they also care deep down for one another and have an undeniable attraction. They’re perfect for one another, they just can’t see past their hurt feelings.

“My heart’s had barbed wire around it for a good sex years now, and there’s absolutely zero chance that the person to slip beneath my protective walls is going to be the one who caused those walls to go up in the first place.”

Even though they drove me a bit nutty with so much bickering, I couldn’t help but like both Reece and Lucy. I felt so much for all of Reece’s loss. He never had an easy life, but was happy to know that he had Lucy and her family there for him, of course he kept everyone at arm’s length to save himself further pain hiding behind a thick wall of stubbornness with a coat of hurtfulness which Lucy easily threw back at him with equal force.

“It keeps happening this way with us, and I’m damn sick of it. Push pull, flirt fight, laugh.”

As they travel through the country in close quarters they slowly let their guard down and begin to open up once again and through flashbacks that go way back to their early childhood we learn how their friendship developed and just how deep their connection is and eventually they learn navigate their turbulent relationship into a the beautiful one it was always meant to be.

“Mine. Always mine. Lightning flashes, thunder barks, and the wind rips the rain viciously against us, but I don’t notice. I’m not aware of anything but her and her warmth.”

As an aside that has little to do with the story but a lot to do with my personal enjoyment, I LOVED Lucy’s totally nerdy nickname: Spock. Yes, based on Leonard Ninmoy’s Star Trek character.

Love Story is book #3 in the Love Unexpectedly series by Lauren Layne. It is a standalone contemporary romance. Told from both points of view and has a happy ending.


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. 


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