Friday, April 10, 2015

Crushed (Redemption #2) By Lauren Layne - Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Redemption # 2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 14th, 2015
Loveswept: Flirt

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?

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I’ve been in love with Devon Patterson since I was eight.
And I know what you’re thinking . . .
That I didn’t have hormones when I was eight, so it wasn’t real love, or even real attraction.
You’re wrong.
I love him.
And I know he could love me back, if only he’d look at me.
But ya know? I can’t even blame Devon for not seeing me.
It’s probably hard for him to be aware of his surroundings when my Disney Princess sister has her tongue in his mouth.
I mean, why would you want the funny sidekick when you can have the heroine?
And that’s the type of person Kristin is. Or at least thinks she is. She’s the heroine in every story.
Even other people’s.
As if he reads my mind, Devon slowly pulls back from his reunion kiss to join the land of the living where the actual people do not have eyelashes the size of small bats and a waist the size of a toddler’s.
But, actually, it’s not fair to pick only on Kristin for her blinding good looks.
Of the four of us here on this godforsaken tennis court, I’m the only one that’s not outright beautiful.
Take Devon, for example. Blond. Blue-eyed. Chiseled jaw. Tall, but not too tall, muscular but not bulging. Yummy.
As for the new tennis instructor . . . I don’t even know what to make of him.
My first thought? Beefcake. It’s obvious why he was hired, and it’s not because he can make contact with a tennis ball ten times out of ten.
Nope, it’s definitely the way his biceps strain the requisite Cambridge Country Club polo, and the way his tanned skin contrasts perfectly with the crisp white fabric.
That and the sulky bad-boy gaze that I’m pretty sure he’s aware of. Maybe even practiced.
New guy is definitely gorgeous. And Kristin’s definitely noticed.
I shift my gaze to where Devon is tucking a lock of Kristin’s ever-silky hair behind her ear. We both have curly hair, but Kristin’s is the kind that can be blown out into all kinds of satiny shine. Unlike my corkscrews, where each curl is like its own rebellious teenager.
It’s clear which version Devon prefers.
And Beefcake, too, given the way he was practically undressing Kristin with his eyes when he thought she wasn’t looking.
I liked that about him. The way he didn’t let her know he was looking. He was playing games, but by his own rules.
But, anyway, who cares about tennis boy.
Tall, dark, and brooding isn’t my type.
I like them blond, smiley, and kind.
I like them like Devon Patterson.
Did I mention I love him?

Just a little CRUSH(ed)

Hey there! Lauren Layne here, and thank you SO MUCH for letting me come by to talk about my new release.

For those of you not familiar with the Redemption series, each book is a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale/love story. CRUSHED is the last in the series, and is loosely based on The Ugly Duckling story, but my “duckling” is the snarky, confident variety, so no sad victims here J

Seriously though, fairy tale tropes aside, CRUSHED is very aptly named, because it deals with, well … crushes!

There’s true love to be found, obviously, but before we can get there, misplaced crushes abound, most especially in the form of our heroine having a serious puppy-love thing going on for her best friend who also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend. Ruh-roh.

Plus our hero (Michael) is hung-up on his previous crush, who he thinks is the love of his life, but he’s wrong. Silly boys. They so often are.

But in all seriousness, this book wouldn’t work without the misplaced crushes that happen before the happily ever after. There’s something about that longing—that obsessive want that’s often very irrational that I think every single one of us can relate to.

Now, I’m an old married lady …. Mr Layne. and I have been together for almost 15 years, and been married for 8, so I’ve been in my Happily Ever After stage for awhile now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t remember what it felt like to have those heart-achey crushes. The kind where you don’t even know what to do with yourself.

My first crush?

Okay, well this is embarrassing. I don’t remember his name. Brad maybe? Or Brian? Sam? It might have been Sam.

Anyway, I was in second grade, and Brad/Brian/Sam sat next to me. He had really pale blonde hair, was a good deal shorter than me, and … man, did I like him! Granted, this was pre-puberty so I didn’t LIKE like him … but gosh he was cute.

Now, I’m shy. Not really the heart-on-your sleeve type, and back then my shyness was crippling. So why—WHY—did I think it was a good idea to confess my feelings via a valentine? I’ll never know. But I did.

I still remember it—I got to pick out a box of valentine’s for my class, and I picked a Barbie themed one. And mostly I just scribbled everyone’s name on one I picked out at random, but Brad/Brian/Sam’s? I picked that one carefully. It was a Valentine with Barbie and Ken on it, and Barbie had a little speech bubble saying “I LIKE YOU LOTS!”

RIGHT?! Big move for a shy second grader.

I watched in trepidation as Brad/Brian/Sam opened it. Read it. And promptly howled in in horror. He didn’t laugh, so that’s something. But he did look absolutely APPALLED.

He didn’t talk to me for another month. Maybe two.

But that’s okay. Because by then, I’d transferred my affections to Jack. Or was it John? Alex?

Your turn to fess up … Who was your first crush? Did you take a risk and spill your everlasting love? Or did you keep it deep inside you? Watering it, and loving from afar.

I must know—Tell me I’m not the only one to make a Barbie Valentine mistake!

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.

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