Book Review: Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

I love the Moretti brothers. I love friends to lovers romance. I love the angst of two people who are very obviously in love but don’t know who to let the other one know because they don’t think the other one is interested.  This book was several hours of sheer reading crack.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
Partner detectives who’ve been close friends suddenly find tension in their relationship when she becomes engaged. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Emotionally Frozen
I love heroes who have a vulnerable side, and Vin Moretti fits that to a tea. He’s stoic and gruff, and the only person other than his family that he’s accepted into his life is his partner, Jill. In fact, he’s sure he has a thing for her. But Vin is convinced he lacks normal emotions and that he doesn’t have it in him to love someone. Though he can’t pinpoint a reason for his cold nature, his mom sheds some light on the subject at one point in the story. Talk about an “aww” moment.

Jumping Into Marriage…to the Wrong Guy
Jill, on the other hand, is a ray of sunshine who has a lot of love to give, and she’s at the point where she’s ready to settle down and give it. Since her first choice, Vin, doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings (other than the friendly ones), she says yes when a man she met in Florida asks her after having only known her a few months. He’s the kind of guy most women would love to marry, but Jill finds herself struggling with her choice when she gets back to New York. She should be happy, but she’s not.


The tension and build-up between Jill and Vin is amazing. Though they’ve never had a problem communicating before, they suddenly find themselves in situations where they don’ talk because of the weirdness between them. In fact, their perfect work record even looks like it’s going to get its first mark when they can’t figure out any leads on the recent murder of a actress. I love their banter. Layne brings her epic dialogue skills to the story, while at the same time pulling us effectively into each characters head.

Family Dynamics
Of course, we get appearances from all the Morettis and the new Moretti wives and girlfriends from the previous books. One of the main themes for Jill is that the Morettis have always treated her like family, but she realizes that when she marries the other guy, she’s going to lose that. I liked that her inner conflict was mostly about Vin, but it was also about the relationship she’d built with his entire family.


The Romance Factor
The conflict that comes when two characters are in love with each other but don’t think the other reciprocates is the best. Vin goes between feeling possessive and determined to win Jill to feeling like he’ll never be able to give her what she wants, and poor Jill is pulled in all sorts of directions. 5/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times are few but effective. Because the build-up is so strong, it feels explosive and sensual without being overly graphic. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This series was great from the start, but I think this one is my favorite (and I thought the 2nd one would be hard to beat). There was a romance, a little bit of danger, a lot of sexual tension, and the great side characters and developed relationships that are always found in the author’s novels.

Book Review: A Mess of Reason by A. Wilding Wells

It’s the holidays! This isn’t a holiday book, but I’m enjoying the holiday season this year. We’ve been out looking at lights, are almost done with Christmas shopping, and have been up to some shenanigans with my shelf elf, Randall. I don’t have kids, but I apparently don’t need them to act like a major dork. I’m also feeling pretty darn good this year, so I’m preparing to shake a tailfeather at my work holiday party. Overall…good times. Now, on to the review.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
Though they’re in love with each other, two best friends skirt the issue of their relationship rather than actually talking about it. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Tess and Scout have been besties for 15 years, and yet somehow, in all that time, they’ve never bothered to tell each other how they feel. A lot of this stems from each of them dating and/or sleeping with a wide variety of other people. Tess, however, has reasons that she’s kept a secret. Now, as adults, Tess is getting ready to marry a douchetool, and Scout is trying to deal with it, especially because he’s the one she’s asked to be her “Man of Honor.”

Romantic Build-Up
I love foreplay, and there was so much of it in the constant dance that these two did around each other. It’s so obvious to the reader and the other characters how connected they are, and considering how much they flirt and how familiar they are with each other, you’d think they’d know it too. But they keep finding reasons not to tell the other one and convincing themselves the other one doesn’t feel the same way. They even say “I love you,” but the friendship boundary makes things confusing.


Turning Circles
I can see where some readers might not like the constant merry-go-round of emotions, but I loved it. The longer, the better. My worry at the beginning of the book was that their foreplay was so intense that it was going to burn out before the end of the book. But it didn’t. Somehow it managed to progress while maintaining the angst and emotion that kept me hooked. At one point, I thought things had resolved, yet the book wasn’t close to being done, but then boom…more conflict. So good.

You Talking to Me?
The voice of the novel is fun, too. It’s told in first person point of view, switching back and forth between Scout and Tess. The narration is loose and familiar, as if the characters are actually talking to the reader, using a blend of “I” and “you” to make it feel like they’re connecting through that fourth wall.

A Side of Queso
As much as I enjoyed it, I have to admit that things got a little overdone towards the end. I appreciated the intense feelings Tess and Scout had, but there was a stretch where melodrama snuck in and things got a bit cheesy.

The Romance Factor
Friends-to-lovers is a fave trope of mine, and mixed with the secretly-in-love theme, it makes for a sweet story that kept me hanging on. Tess and Scout’s emotions were powerful and made me melt (mostly). I realize that not all male/female besties are as close as these two are, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they can be as affectionate as these two are, nor is it hard to believe that the blurred lines of love and friendship can make things so complicated. 5/5


The Steam Factor
I love me some foreplay, and this book delivers. Tess and Scout’s interactions  are steamy, and when they break out a dirty game of Truth or Dare that leads to everything but intercourse, the heat level is taken up about a hundred degrees. Cold shower time. No joke. 6/5

Final Thoughts
While there were parts that seemed to drag a bit, and Tess and Scout go around in circles at times, I still really liked this book. It was fun and titillating and had some really great feels. A fun read with serious themes that didn’t take away from the enjoyment.