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.
Jackson took a sip. Perfection. Although what did it mean that Jackson’s life had turned into one where the highlight of his day was a well-made cocktail?
It wasn’t that Jackson needed the booze. He enjoyed it, certainly. Had relied on it more than he probably should have in those first few days when he’d gotten out of the hospital and come home to a whole lot of nothingness.
But these days he could take it or leave it.
Tonight, however, he was taking it. Sobriety had no place when you had to sit across from the most off-limits woman on the planet.
Knowing that didn’t stop the anticipation, however. He hadn’t seen her since she’d shown up in his hospital room to deliver a bag of Gatlin’s BBQ and . . .
His divorce papers.
That had been eight months ago.
He’d avoided her ever since, and he couldn’t even say why except that he’d avoided pretty much everyone. Jackson still spoke with his parents every Sunday, but everyone else—all the old teammates, the old neighbors—had eventually stopped calling.
Mollie hadn’t, though. Mollie had never given up on him. Until today, he hadn’t responded to a single text, a single email, and yet she hadn’t stopped sending them. That was Mollie for you. Fiercely loyal to both him and Madison, even when things had started to go to hell.
Mollie had been accepted to Columbia just about the time that he and Madison started coming apart at the seams. In hindsight, he was grateful that Mollie had been in New York when things started to go to hell in his marriage. That she hadn’t seen him at his worst.
At the time, however, he’d been hit with an unfair sense of abandonment. He hadn’t realized how much he’d come to rely on the much younger Mollie to mediate things between him and the volatile Madison until she was in a different time zone.
Even now, more than a decade since first meeting Mollie, he struggled to reconcile the fact that she and Madison had come from the same parents. Madison was perfectly coiffed, charming only when she was in the mood, and manipulative as all hell. Mollie, on the other hand, was adorably awkward—a brainy research assistant who cared a hell of a lot more about her scientific journals than her manicure.
But somewhere along the line, Mollie Carrington had ceased to be that awkward kid who talked about bugs at inopportune times. Somewhere along the line, she’d become his rock. The one person in the world, save for perhaps his parents, who always knew the exact right thing to say to make him feel like a human whenever he’d started to feel like a caricature of himself.
For years he’d tried to tell himself that it was just sibling affection—that he cared about her the way he would a sister. But then things had gotten worse with Madison—way worse. And Jackson had been hit upside the head with the truth: that maybe he’d married the wrong sister. That he didn’t want to spend the rest of his days married to the beautiful, brittle Madison.
He wanted someone who made him laugh. Who listened. Someone who cared more about people than she did about hair appointments.
Someone like Mollie.
Page Count: 283 pages
Publisher: Loveswept (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 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.
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