ARC Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Crushed by Lauren Layne

Crushed by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #2 (full reading order)
Release Date: April 14th 2015
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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?

This is my first read from Lauren Layne, but it won’t be my last! Thankfully, since I hadn’t read the previous book, each of the books in this series can be read as a standalone, though I got the gist of what happened in the previous one in this novel. I think I still might give the previous books in the Redemption series a try, since I adored Crushed! It was an easy book to read and enjoy – I highly recommend this sweet, funny, heartwarming novel about finding redemption and falling in love with the person you least expected.

Michael St. Claire left his dysfunctional, upper class family to move to Texas to find a way to meet his biological father, Tim Patterson. His relationships with his family and friends are a mess, and he’s hoping to find a place to belong during his stay in Texas. While working as a personal trainer, he meets Kristin Bellamy, who in addition to being gorgeous, has connections to the Pattersons. He’s attracted to Kristin, but she has a boyfriend, and all he really wants an in to meet the Pattersons.

“Cute,” the girl says, gesturing between Kristin and me. “If you two copulate, I’m calling Pampers to tell them I know where their next baby model is coming from.”

Chloe Bellamy is Kristin’s sister. Chloe has always lived in Kristin’s shadow and she’s not about to move out of that place anytime soon. She’s a sarcastic, feisty, straightforward girl – I loved her! She’s hilarious, relatable, and did I mention sarcastic? She’s the kind of heroine I wish I could be friends with. But underneath all the sarcasm, Chloe doesn’t have much confidence in herself, and it doesn’t help that the boy she’s in love with is her sister’s long-time boyfriend, Devon.

When Chloe and Michael meet, they’re… intrigued by each other. Chloe is unlike anyone Michael’s met, and vice versa. They banter hilariously and they discover that their companionship is easy and comfortable. When Michael become’s Chloe’s personal trainer, they spend more time together and they become somewhat friends, though Michael still keeps his secret about his father. He decides to get an in to the Pattersons through Chloe instead of Kristin now, and he offers to help Chloe get Devon to notice her. Neither of them expected that their friendship could turn into something more.

And somewhere from the vicinity of my chest, the truth sneaks up on me. I know what I really mean is I like you like this. I like you so much more than I should.

I loved the dual POV between Michael and Chloe. I got to understand them so much better that way, especially Michael. He thinks so lowly of himself – he’s a bit of a tortured hero. He’s been hurt and has hurt other people in the past, and he doesn’t believe he deserves a happy ending even though the girl who’s perfect for him is right in front of him. I loved the way their relationship grew in a gradual, realistic way. And the banter between them was the best! I was laughing so much throughout this book – it’s a light-hearted read with just the right amount of angst. I highly recommend it!

With Chloe, it’s easy to forget that I’m nobody.
Because she makes me feel like somebody.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Redemption series

Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne Broken by Lauren Layne Crushed by Lauren Layne

#0.5 ~ Isn’t She Lovely: EbookGoodreads
#1 ~ Broken: EbookGoodreads
#2 ~ Crushed: EbookGoodreads


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Blog Tour + Guest Post & Giveaway: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Crushed tour banner
Click the banner to follow the tour!

Welcome to today’s stop on the tour for Crushed! We have a guest post from author Lauren Layne here on the blog today!

Forget the book boyfriend—what about the book BFF?!

Thanks so much for letting me stop by to chat about CRUSHED!

I know we authors are supposed to love all our babies (books) equally, and I do! I really do. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t slightly partial to CRUSHED, because …

My heroine, Chloe Bellamy, … (brace yourself, while I go all braggy…) BFF material.

I didn’t sent out to write her that way, but I know once I’d finished that she was my most solid heroine yet.

She’s feisty and funny, has frizzy hair, wears a larger dress size than the average romance heroine, but most of all, she’s kind. She’s a friend to Michael even when he pushes her away, she’s a good deal nicer to her sister than her sister perhaps deserves. She says what she’s thinking, when she thinks it, and she wears her heart on her sleeve like none other.

Quite honestly? I have a girl crush.

So often we romance readers (myself included!) get obsessed with our book boyfriends. And gosh, why wouldn’t we? I myself am partial to a quiet alpha—I mean, give me a guy that wears glasses AND has a six-pack, and you’ll have to wipe the drool off my face.

But lately I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend of heroine-hating! Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, but generally speaking, we romance readers are a lot harder on the heroines than the heroes!

You know, like if a hero acts like a jerk for 2/3 of the book, he’s “damaged.” But if a heroine has a few flaws, she’s “unlikable.”

I too have been so guilty of this double-standard, which has got me thinking … maybe it’s time for a little girl power!

How about it ladies?!

In honor of Chloe Bellamy, in all her curvy, mouthy glory, I want t know … who’s YOUR favorite heroine of all time?

Crushed by Lauren Layne

Crushed by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #2 (full reading order)
Release Date: April 14th 2015
Add to Goodreads

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?

Preorder Links:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • iTunes

Reading Order: Redemption series

Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne Broken by Lauren Layne Crushed by Lauren Layne

#0.5 ~ Isn’t She Lovely: EbookGoodreads
#1 ~ Broken: EbookGoodreads
#2 ~ Crushed: EbookGoodreads

about the author

Lauren Layne

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.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

giveaway

$25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller, Loveswept Mug & Nail Polish

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Couple’s Spotlight Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Full Contact by Sarah Castille

Today we are pleased to sit down with Ray “The Predator” Black and Sia O’Donnell, the protagonists from Sarah Castille’s Full Contact (April 2015). From March 30th through April 20th the couple will be on tour answering questions about their relationship!

Which of these do you have the most of: sense of humor, sense of time, sense of adventure, common sense?

Ray: Not a humorous man. Punctual…maybe. Common sense? No ‘cause I wouldn’t have waited a year to talk to Sia. So, I guess it has to be a sense of adventure.

Sia: You have to have a sense of humor to deal with Ray 🙂

Full Contact by Sarah Castille

Full Contact by Sarah Castille
Series: Redemption #3 (full reading order below)
Release Date: April 7th 2015
ISBN: 9781402296260
Add to Goodreads

Ray wraps his arms around me and holds me tight as if something terrible has happened and he doesn’t want to let me go.

Full Contact. This is how Ray speaks when his emotions overwhelm him. I melt into his stillness. His body is hot and hard, his breath warm on my neck. He smells of leather and sweat, sex and sin. Nothing can tear me away.

When you can’t resist the one person who could destroy you…

Sia O’Donnell can’t help but push the limits. She secretly attends every underground MMA fight featuring The Predator, the undisputed champion. When he stalks his prey in the ring, Sia is mesmerized. He is dominant and dangerous and every instinct tells her to run.

Every beautiful thing Ray “The Predator” touches he knows he’ll eventually destroy. Soft, sweet and innocent, Sia is the light to Ray’s darkness—and completely irresistible. From the moment he lays eyes on her, he knows he’s going to have to put his dark past behind him to win her body and soul.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • BAM • B&N • IndieBound • Kobo

Now here’s an excerpt from Full Contact! ❤

excerpt

Ray grabs my wrists and pins them to the mat over my head, his body angled over me. My breath catches in my throat, and I steel myself for the memories, the black rush, the heart-pounding fear, but it doesn’t come. Instead, a red haze settles over my vision, and I press my lips together and buck my hips, throwing him slightly forward.

Bad plan. Now his groin is only inches away from my face. He’s still wearing his jeans, which means that bulge isn’t a cup.

“Ray…”
His face softens. “I hurt you.”
“Yes, you hurt me. Keeping secrets hurts me. It makes me feel like you don’t respect me. And it makes me feel like I can’t trust you. So maybe you could return to your proper seat now. Tray table up.”

He shifts down, settling his weight over my hips, but he doesn’t release my hands. “I hurt you. Means you care.”

I swallow hard and meet his gaze. “You hurting me means I was being stupid. Things were going where I didn’t want them to go. Now I’ve had a wake-up call. You have secrets you can’t share. You need to protect your secrets. I need to be with someone I can trust, and I need to stand on my own two feet. It’s just not going to work between us.”

His gaze darkens, searing me to the core. “You want to be done? Or are you scared and trying to push me away?”

The air shifts between us, electrifying, tightening my nipples and heating my blood. I am hyperaware of his thighs tucked against my hips, carrying most of his weight as he sits astride me in a dominant MMA position. My wrists, hot under his palms, press against the cool mat, restrained in a way I could never have imagined allowing them to be restrained. My chest rises and falls twice for every one of Ray’s breaths, and my core tightens. The innuendo isn’t lost on me. God, yes. I want to be done in the carnal sense of the word. But only by Ray. And I don’t really want to let him go.

“I don’t want to lose you.”

Ray’s hands tighten on my wrists, and he leans down and brushes a kiss over my lips. “I don’t want to lose you either, but I live in a dangerous world. I’ve got stuff in my life that would make your head spin. I need to protect you from that, and I’ll do what it takes to keep you safe, even if it means you hate me for it, because for the first time in my life, I want something more than doing my duty. I want a life and I want you in it. I’ve got one bad guy to catch and then I’m free. And after I’m done and after what went down this evening, you’ll never have to worry about being safe again.”

Finally, he releases my hands but I don’t move. Heat sweeps through my belly. I feel both vulnerable and curiously safe lying beneath him. My gaze shifts from his intense gaze to his sensual lips, and my breasts swell, remembering the touch of his hands, the gentle press of his lips. He wants me. Not just today, but tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.

“You make it sound like I don’t have a choice about being with you.”

“You don’t.” He leans down and kisses me with a savage fierceness that takes my breath away.

Reading Order: Redemption series

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille In Your Corner by Sarah Castille Full Contact by Sarah Castille

#1 ~ Against the Ropes: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ In Your Corner: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Full Contact: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

about the author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sarah Castille writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha males and the women who tame them. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and traveled abroad before trading in her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home in shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Readers can find her at sarahcastille.com.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

giveaway

5 Copies of Sarah Castille’s In Your Corner

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