Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
I read the first book in this series at Ames recommendation and I really liked it. The main couple had me laughing, happy sighing and the hero was hot enough that I wanted him for myself. We didn’t get much as far as an introduction to Jackson is that book but the heroine is a big fan of his and I’m not mad that we’re getting his story. I was curious about the big scandal that broke up his marriage. I’m actually thrilled to dig right in.
I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne
Released on February 2, 2016 by Loveswept
Order the Book:
Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.
Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.
I’m a big fan of the friends to lovers trope so it’s not a surprise that I want this book, like now. I love that moment when a friendship changes into something else…and this excerpt is one of those moments. I’m happy sighing all over the place right now.
“Got any plans for tonight?” she asked sweetly, knowing full well that he didn’t. Best as she could tell, the man had made zero effort to develop any kind of life in New York outside of work.
He shook his head. “You?”
Mollie glanced down at her staying-in ensemble. “I was going to do a movie night. Pizza. Popcorn. The works.”
“It’s Friday. You’re not going out?”
She didn’t miss the hopeful note in his voice. He definitely didn’t want her around, and it stung. But she pushed through with the plan anyway.
“Nope,” she said, lifting her wine and taking a sip. “That a problem?”
“Why would it be a problem?” he muttered. “You want to be a twentysomething hermit, that’s your deal.”
Mollie rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to guilt me into going out tonight just because you don’t want to deal with me. And besides, I’m not the one whose social life is in mayday status.”
“Yeah, but I’m thirty-five.”
“I know. What I don’t know is why you think that’s an appropriate age to drape an afghan over your knees while sipping Ovaltine. You’re young and, frankly, hot. You should be grabbing drinks with coworkers right now. Or getting ready for a date. Or doing something other than being a big grumpy lump.”
Jackson choked on his beer. “Grumpy lump? You know, Molls, if you’re trying to make amends for last weekend, you probably should have just stopped at the ‘hot’ part.”
Mollie pounced. “Oh, so we are going to talk about last weekend? You’re not going to just hide in the bedroom again?”
He swore softly and hooked a finger into his tie to loosen it. “How is it that you’re so much younger than me, but you manage to make me sound like a petulant child?”
Mollie set her wineglass on the counter and leaned forward, palms braced on the counter. “Look. I am sorry about last weekend. I’m sorry that I thought the rumors about the other women might be true, but you have to give me a little break here. Remember that I was on the inside track of what was happening with you and Mad. I knew how bad things were. I knew that she wasn’t faithful at the end—”
Jackson opened his mouth, but Mollie held up her hand. “Hear me out. What I’m trying to say is that even when I thought maybe you might have slept around, I never stopped being your friend. I never stopped being there for you, and I never will. That’s what real friends are. Not the ones who have blind faith, but the ones who are still there even when you falter. I’m here, Jackson. I’ll always be here, so for the love of God, will you stop pushing me away?”
His hazel eyes narrowed. “I feel like that was the worst apology ever.”
She gave him a wide smile and held her arms out. “Would it help if we hugged it out?”
He shook his head with a small smile as he lifted his beer. “Go away, Molls.”
She wiggled her fingers and moved toward him. “Come on. One hug.”
He laughed and tried to push her away. “Don’t be weird. I’m still annoyed at you.”
Ignoring this, Mollie wrapped her arms around him and squeezed, although it was a bit like embracing a redwood trunk. The man was thick and solid and hard.
“I’m sorry,” she said against the lapel of his suit jacket. “I’m really, really sorry.”
He stiffened for a moment before some of the tension finally seemed to seep out of him. She heard the clank of his beer bottle against the counter, and slowly his big arms came around her, engulfing her in a warm embrace.
She’d meant the hug to be friendly. Heck, it was friendly, in that it was a hug between friends. But as they stood there, lingering perhaps a bit longer than they should have, the hug started to feel different . . .
His head came down to rest on the top of hers, and she felt the slight pull as his stubble rasped against her hair. Mollie suddenly became aware of her hands—aware of the way his hard back felt against her palms, the way his muscles bunched as he pulled her closer against him.
Even the air felt thicker, or maybe it was just that both of their breathing seemed to have quickened.
Jackson’s hands moved just slightly, first upward toward her shoulders and then sliding down until his fingers rested at the small of her back, as though exploring her shape.
And suddenly Mollie wanted him to explore more. Wanted his hands to drift down farther, over her butt, and then around to the front.
Mollie’s hands found his broad shoulders as she pushed back abruptly.
Jackson blinked in surprise at the sudden movement before his arms dropped slowly to his sides. Their eyes held for a second too long, as though searching to see if the other had answers for what had just happened.
The moment I get my hands on this book I’m going to be like this:
…if someone bothers me while I read it. I guess I should warn my loved ones. I can’t freaking wait to start this book. I already know I’m going to love it.
The authors that have participated in this feature are killing it with these excerpts and this wasn’t an exception. I loved this excerpt. LOVED IT IN ALL CAPS!
Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of February’s features.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re excited for this year!
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.
Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).