Release Blitz time! Because of my deep and abiding love for this author, I totally jumped on this train.
Title: I Wish You Were Mine
Series: Oxford #2
Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date: February 2, 2016
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 forOxford 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 received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
An ex-football star hooks up with his ex-wife’s sister and things become way more complicated, especially when his psycho ex decides she wants him back. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Mollie and Jackson come into the story with history. Mollie fell in love with Jackson back when he’d married her sister, and though he wasn’t interested in her that way, Mollie had been Jackson’s best friend when things got rocky in his marriage to Madison. But when a car accident ends his football career and Madison ends their marriage, Jackson avoids Mollie and moves to New York to take a job as the fitness editor of Oxford magazine.
Mollie tells herself that her feelings for Jackson have gone away over the years as a way to first cope with his marriage to Madison and then to avoid breaking the sister code of sleeping with an ex. But when she meets up with him in New York and has gone from the nerdy girl to something of a hottie, there is a definite chemistry between them, made stronger by their foundation as close friends. Which doesn’t make it any easier for Mollie to keep her distance, and it especially doesn’t help when Jackson suggests she move in with him since her current living situation is less than awesome.
Guys Get Lonely Too
Jackson is grumpy and mopey, but then you find out that he’s also lonely and feels like an outsider from his work colleagues. He just wants a friend, and nothing gets me like someone who just wants a friend. Yet, he’s also hanging on to the slim hope that he might be able to return to football as an assistant coach at some point, so he’s holding himself back from really getting to know people.
Enter the whole Oxford gang, who I’ve talked about in the past as being such a fun group. The Stiletto group was fun, but I love the guys at Oxford. I love their banter and their antics and pretty much their whole dynamic, and though both groups feel super glamorous, they’re all good people who reach out to those who need support.
Mollie is adorable and quirky in her nerdiness. She’s so conflicted though, and as I tend to do when family drama happens in novels, I wanted her to ignore everything her sister did and to pretty much shut the woman out completely. I realize that it’s that drama and conflict that build these stories, but I hate horrible family members. I will say that Madison isn’t the worst I’ve ever read, but she was still loathsome and manipulative and selfish. Mollie did what any sister who felt indebted to her sibling would do, but it was frustrating. Luckily, Jackson was having none of it, and other than a few bad judgement calls of what he said around her, he pretty much told Madison to GTFO.
The Romance Factor
Such good romance. There’s an unrequited love, there’s the whole “He’s going back to my sister” miscommunication angst, and then there’s the big fallout where the heroine mic drops and leaves the hero to stew in his sadness and regret. And all of these things are so feel-inducing that there are times when I literally couldn’t even. Also, big props to a slight change in the “past love” trope. Even though Mollie has loved Jackson for years, Jackson admits that he didn’t have any romantic feelings for her during their earlier relationship. And while this doesn’t seem romantic, it shows the way in which relationships can change. I loved it. 5/5
The Steam Factor
Some of Layne’s novels are pretty tame, but she brings the hotness with these books. The sexy times are sufficiently intense and naughty and fun, and when the time is right, filled with sweet emotion that rocks my socks. 5/5
This series and this world is so good that I’m going to miss it when it’s over. While I’m looking forward to the final story in the series, I’m not looking forward to the whole thing ending. Having said that though, LL also has a new series coming out this year, a new standalone, and the third in the NewYork’s Finest series coming out this year, so I’m pretty sure my mourning isn’t going to last too long.
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).