If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Review & Excerpt: Steal Me by Lauren Layne / @TastyBookTours @_laurenlayne


Title: Steal Me
Series: New York's Finest, Book 2
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Uniform, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

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Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti's blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that's just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony's morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.

Though waitressing at The Darby isn't exactly Maggie Walker's dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she'd really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby—and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband—she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.

Other books in this series

I didn't read Book 1, Frisk Me, of this series but I felt I didn't need to. The tight-knit feel of the Moretti family is on full display in Steal Me and I loved being a part of that.

Having made Captain, Anthony is on track to one day making Chief. Two things currently irritate the shit out of him. The first is a thief who's excellent at his "career" and at evading capture. The second is the rather inept waitress, Maggie, who replaced his family's regular waitress at their favorite diner. Now, the first he's working on. The second... He can't understand how someone so clumsy can be a waitress or why his family's charmed by her. As much as he'd love to write her off, he soon finds himself working with her to catch that elusive thief.

Time together as a couple is time well spent. It's what I was told before I got married. It's what I still firmly believe in. Even when it's just sitting in the same room doing your own thing, time together brings hearts together. It enables each person to let their guards down and welcome someone else into their life, someone who sees the real them, someone who urges them to try again, to keep going, to never give up. The more time Anthony spent with Maggie, the more he realized how much he wanted and needed her. She filled the void work couldn't and came to mean more to him than his job did, would, or ever could.

Anthony's heart isn't open to a relationship. Being the best Captain he can be is all he's focused on. Trouble is, he is drawn to Maggie despite their mutual connection and her clumsiness. The tragedy of his last relationship was definitely a good reason to leave love at the door. The beauty of Maggie and her steadfastness was a terrific reason to pick it up again.

I can't really say much about Maggie. She's beautiful inside and out, smart and sexy, brassy and bold. She's my ideal heroine in that she compliments the hero without taking any of his shit.

But Anthony held my attention. Yes, he's a bit of an ass. Yes, he's definitely slow on the uptake. Cautious, I guess would be the right word. But he fell, slowly and steadily until there was no doubt he was in over his head with Maggie.

Ms. Layne writes like another of my favorite contemporary authors, Ms. Melissa Foster, does. She draws the relationship out, builds it up, then sends it into orbit at the right moment. It takes skill, I think, to pen a relationship that isn't rushed. Attraction, lust, love. Ms. Layne gives each its moment in the sun. In doing so, she makes the relationship more real, the characters more likeable (if not loveable), and the ending worth waiting for.

Maggie Walker had become their default waitress at the diner back when their old waitress Helen had retired a couple months ago. And while Anthony missed Helen and her too-strong floral perfume, he had to admit that Maggie was the better to look at.
She had a wholesome, girl-next-door look that appealed to him mightily. Brown hair that was always on the verge of slipping out of its ponytail, wide, compelling green eyes that made you want to unload all your darkest secrets.
Curvy. Hips that were exactly right;, breasts that were even better.
And then there was that smile. It managed to be both shy and friendly, which was handy because he was betting it was very hard for even the most impatient customers to get annoyed at her.
But Anth didn’t buy the doing-my-best routine, and seeing as she was dealing with an entire table of observant cops, he was betting the rest of his family wouldn’t buy it either.
Then Luc leaned forward and gave Maggie an easy grin. “Don’t even worry about it, Mags. Didn’t even notice I was running low!”
Luc’s girlfriend, Ava, smoothly reached up one hand and swatted him on the back of the head, the gesture so graceful, so practiced, that she never once sloshed her coffee. Anthony nearly smiled.
To say that Ava Sims was good for his little brother would be an understatement. The big brother in Anthony would be forever grateful that the gorgeous reporter had helped Luc vanquish his demons. But the big brother in Anth was also grateful that Ava helped keep his younger brother in line. Or at least tried to.
He rolled his eyes as Luc shot a guilty smile at his girlfriend, but even as he slid his mug towards the edge of the table so Maggie wouldn’t have to reach as far.
Then Anth watched in utter dismay as Vincent did the same.
Vincent. The guy who’d practically devoted his life to being perverse, was trying to make life easier for their inept waitress.
Anthony was so busy trying to figure out what about the frazzled waitress turned his brothers into a bunch of softies that he didn’t think to move his own mug to be more convenient, and Maggie had to lean all the way in to top off his cup.
It was a feat that their old waitress could have handled readily, but Helen had retired months ago and for reasons that Luc didn’t understand, the rest of the Moretti family had embraced Maggie as Helen’s replacement.
Anthony didn’t realize that his mug had overflowed until scalding coffee dripped onto his thigh.
“Son of a—”
He caught himself before he could finish the expletive, grabbing a large handful of napkins from the silver dispenser and trying to soak up the puddle of coffee on his jeans before it burned his skin.
“Nice, Anth,” Elena said, tossing another bunch of napkins at him. Like this was his fault.
“Oh my God,” Maggie said, her voice horrified. “I’m so sorry, Officer…”
“It’s Captain,” he snapped, his eyes flicking up and meeting hers.
Silence descended over the table until Vincent muttered douchebag around a coughing fit.
But Anthony refused to feel chagrined. The woman had waited on the family every Sunday for weeks; one would think she could get his title right. To say nothing of mastering the art of pouring coffee.

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.