Title: Redemption #2: Crushed
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Loveswept: Flirt
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
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?
Other books in this series
Michael and Chloe were an interesting couple. They met at a country club, got to know each other over gym time, and fell in love while trying their damnedest to get other people to notice them. Don't worry, you don't need a score card to keep track, lol.
Michael's interest was Chloe's sister, and Chloe's interest was her sister's boyfriend. As Michael helped Chloe slim down and gain self-confidence, she gained ground in his heart by being a friend. Their friendship might've begun as a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" but it didn't take long for them to realize that who they wanted was right in front of them.
Michael had a couple issues to come to terms with. He did but not before losing Chloe in the process. For all the help Chloe gave him, for all the moments she didn't back down when he clammed up or snarled at her, it took her walking away for him to acknowledge she was the one he wanted not her sister. He suspected it but his knee jerk reaction was to push the wayward thought aside and refuse to let it take root. Don't get me wrong. I wanted them together, but the way he clung to his past like it were a shield was fascinating. Resolving it made me appreciate its impact even more.
I liked this story, more than I thought I would. I was a little worried when I started it. New adult books can sometimes be a little too angsty for me, the issues seemingly too dark for such young people to bear. But this was a perfect balance of light and dark thanks to Chloe's amusing disposition and Michael's secrecy. The fact they figured out they were finally over their younger-years crushes and falling in love with each other made every up and down they experienced worth reading about.
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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.