Series & Title: The Wedding Belles, Book 2: For Better or Worse
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: Pocket Books via NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
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Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?
When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.
Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.
Enemies to friends to friends-with-benefits to lovers. The procession from one relationship to the next is always interesting and amusing to watch. Josh and Heather were definitely both.
As enemies, they bantered like. crazy. But it was hysterical! Heather was pissed when they met. Josh was amused. I mean, she was all piss and vinegar, and he was smirks and abs. (Read it. It'll make sense, lol.) How could you not be amused by that?
But banter gave way to flirting, which changed the dynamic of their relationship. No longer enemies, they walked the road of friendship with attraction their constant companion. They learned each others strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears. And somewhere on that walk, the attraction that grew between them snapped and engulfed them completely.
That changed their relationship once again. They were friends with benefits. And who wouldn't want that for these two? Amazing friendship. Amazing sex. An understanding of each other neither had with anyone else. But something was bound to change. Something had to change.
For me, there was a sense of urgency at this point in the story. A desire for more but a fear that outweighed it. And it wasn't Heather. It was Josh. Surprising for a man who'd survived cancer, but not surprising because he did survive cancer. What if it comes back? What if it's worse? What if? What if? What if?
I'm thirty-five and I stopped worrying about "What if?" in my early twenties. I got gray hair from it. I lost sleep from it. I gained weight from it. The worry "What if?" caused was so unnecessary. I decided then that I couldn't do it, couldn't put that kind of pressure on myself. I really needed to trust that everything would work out, even if the end result wasn't what I expected it to be.
I wanted that for Josh. More than I wanted a happy ending for this couple, I wanted Josh to step outside of "What if?" and really start living. His day-to-day approach was only going to work for a time. The emptiness he didn't know was inside of him would eventually be large enough for him to notice and then what? Would he ignore it and keep doing what he was doing? Or would he change course and look for fulfillment?
I guess you could say that Fate's funny that way. She seemed to know it was time for him to meet someone who would make him question his lifestyle and reach for something more.
Though I've read stories by Ms. Layne before and have come to expect certain things from her, I was still greatly pleased by this story. It's lighthearted and humorous, but also thought-provoking and emotional. The best of all worlds, if you ask me, and a great addition to my contemporary romance library.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.