LL's Every Day Makeup Look

I keep getting a ton of questions on how I get my "makeup look" and which products I recommend.

My look has been the same, pretty much since high school, but the products I use to get the look definitely changes all the time--the plight of a beauty junkie, always looking for the Holy Grail products.

Below are the exact steps I take to "do my face" every morning, as well as the products I'm loving at the moment (November 2016) 


My Make-Up Steps (in order)

(1) Apply Tease eyeshadow by Urban Decay all over lid, a little heavier application on outer half of my lid.

(2) Use black pencil eyeliner (I like this chubby, affordable one by L'Oreal) and apply it UNDER my top lash line. This is also known as tightlining and is a good way to define your lash line without just drawing a big stripe on your eyelid. Perfect for the "no makeup" look I tend to prefer.

(3) Apply Urban Decay's Blackout eyeshadow along my upper lash line using an angled shadow brush. Again, I try to avoid "lining" anything, I'm really just sort of "darkening" the lash line.

(4) Use whatever shadow is leftover on the brush and lightly line under my bottom lashes.

Tool tip: I these eye brushes by Real Techniques.

(4) Curl lashes (I don't know what eyelashes curler I have, some drugstore variety), and apply a coat of It Cosmetics Super hero mascara.

(5) Use the shimmery end of Anastasia Beverly Hills highlighter pencil to the inner corner of my eye and to highlight my brow bone (the spot just under the highest point of your arch).

(6) Apply Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Cushion foundation all over face. Um, I'm obsessed with this product. It's a compact, you apply it with the little sponge they include, and it takes about 2 seconds to apply, and you can throw it in your purse for touch ups. It's high coverage but natural-looking. In summer I wore the color Bisque N, but just switched to Buff N now that my tan's faded a bit.

(7) If, and only if I'm going to be gone all day/night, I apply powder to set the foundation. 

(8) I've been forgoing blush lately, and just applying a little bronzer under cheek bones and along top of forehead. Nars Laguna, baby.

(9) Fill in/define eyebrows using Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder in Graphite. I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12 to apply.

(10) Lips: if it's just a regular old writing day, I just put on good old Burts Bees Wax (original). If I'm running errands/have a date with Mr. Layne, I'll put on lipstick. Current favorites: Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Versatile (a natural shiny pink but not too teenage-glossy.  Dior Addict Milky Tint in Milky Plum (an utterly gross name for a pretty product. Subtle, sophisticated mauve). If I want a bit more color, Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Rapture. A muted rose color, not too bright and perfect for Fall.

Ta Da!

For those of you thinking, "Gawd, that's a lot of steps." I suppose, but this all takes me about 2 minutes, but I can do it in 1 if I'm in a rush. 

Using Evernote to track your To Do list

Also published in the June 9th version of the LL Weekly


Last week I talked a bit about how I used Trello to keep track of all my deadlines, which generated a ton of questions on what other tools I use. 

The other big one (other than my writing program itself) is Evernote.

I used to be all the way in love with Evernote, but we broke up for awhile. For awhile there I was finding the Mac version to be really buggy, and the iPhone version didn’t sync as quickly as I’d like.

They seem to have worked out the kinks though, and now it’s become sort of like my right hand. My favorite thing is that it syncs seamlessly between my computer and my iPhone app. It also has a web-based version, so if you're somehow without your phone and your laptop (blasphemy!) you can still access your notes from another computer.

Simply put, I use Evernote for everything. Random story idea? Evernote. Blog post idea? Evernote. Grocery list? Evernote. Online shopping receipts? Saved directly to Evernote. I keep my recipes here, my release dates, phone numbers, scanned business cards I receive at conferences, the soundtracks for all of my books, my hex codes for Last Word Designs projects, my outline for all my books, and the one I’ll be talking about today ...

My To Do list.

Now, some of you probably know by now that I love me a good paper planner (currently using the Day Designer), and that’s still the case. But while the Day Designer is really good for keeping me on track for TODAY stuff, I realized that I needed a place better suited to track my SOME DAY stuff, as well as those long-term projects, like, oh, writing a book.

So here’s how I use Evernote for that.

Every Monday morning, I created a new note and name it TO DO :: Week of ___

I then save that note to my shortcuts. 

(side note: I never have more than three notes in my shortcuts section. I find this makes them truly short cuts, as I can find whatever I need most urgently immediately)

Once I create that note, I upload an image, that’s basically a turquoise box that says “To Do.” This creates a thumbnail, so that when I’m looking at my 1000+ notes at a glance, I have a visual reference for my to do list. I also have thumbnails for my other “most referenced” categories, all with their own color: The LL Weekly, Soundtrack, and Last Word Designs.

Anyway, once I have the To Do thumbnail, I type “SOME DAY” and then copy/paste anything from last week that didn’t get checked off. I then go through my brain and inbox, adding any new items that come to mind.

This “some day” list gets added to throughout the week—it’s my brain dump. Pantry items we’re low on, new emails that come through and require attention, gifts I need to buy, graphics to create, etc. 

Under the SOME DAY section I create a WIP section where I write the manuscript I’m writing on, as well as any copyedits/page proofs/revisions etc that are due in the immediate future (I reference my Trello board for this)

I also have a section for LWD where I have whatever websites Mr. Layne and I are currently building.

Once that master “chunk” is created, I hit enter a couple times, and type MONDAY.

Here's where I start weeding through the tasks to figure out what's top priority. I build a new checklist under MONDAY with my "asap" tasks. Sometimes it's as simple as copy/pasting a task directly from the SOME DAY section (i.e., buy toilet paper). But if it's a big item that can't be checked coffin a single day (writing Someone Like You), then I'll create a sub-tasks under MONDAY. i.e., "write 5k in Someone Like You." 

This enables me to track both long-term projects due SOME DAY, as well as progress I need to make on that project TODAY.

Once a daily task is done, I check it off (obviously). 

I repeat the process every morning, moving any uncompleted tasks from Monday onto Tuesday, etc, as well as creating new tasks for Tuesday, based on my SOME DAY list.

Most days I also like to take my "top 3” TO DO items, and write them in my Day Designer, as well as the hour I’m going to work on them. This helps keep me focused on the important things. But when I’m traveling or working from Starbucks, my planner’s too big to bring with, so it’s nice to have a digital alternative.

Here are actual screenshots of my Evernote notes, with most of my personal details grayed out.

This is what the Mac version of my Evernote app looks like. 


My to-do list in action. This is my ACTUAL note for this week (screenshot was pulled Wed morning). With each new day, I simply hit enter, and put the current day up at the top.

 

 

 

FAQ :: Is Brooke Burke from TO HAVE AND TO HOLD related to Jackson Burke from I WISH YOU WERE MINE?

Hey guys,

Those of you who subscribe to The Weekly (the BEST place for all LL news) know that I answer a reader question in every issue, but every now and then there is a reader question that comes up often enough that I opt to put it on the website.

This is one of them: 


Frequently Asked Reader Question:

I saw in the description for To Have and to Hold that the heroine's name is Brooke Burke.

Any connection to Jackson Burke from I Wish You Were Mine?

LL Answer:

*THIS again?! I thought I fixed this!!!*

So, no. There No relation between the characters or between the series.

And more importantly, Brooke's name isn't Brooke Burke anymore, it's Brooke Baldwin.


Here's what happened.

I wrote the proposal for To Have and to Hold (and The Wedding Belles series in general) a long time ago. Well before I announced the book or started writing it. When I come up with a proposal, I'm mostly focused on trying to convey to my publisher what the story will be about. I'm less concerned with details like ... names. I figure I'll nail those down later after I get to know the character a bit better. Character names at that stage are mostly place holders.

It should also be mentioned that I came up with the name Brooke Burke before I started writing I Wish You Were Mine, so the name Burke wasn't fresh in my mind, and I didn't realize I'd used the same name twice.

Fast forward a few months. I hadn't started to To Have and to Hold yet, but it had since been acquired by Pocket books. We were more or less happy with the book description I'd come up with in my proposal all those months ago, so up it went on Amazon and the other retailers ... with the name Brooke Burke.

By this time, I Wish You Were Mine had been written and was on the radar of readers. Cue the questions from astute readers, who read the description for both and wanted to know there was a connection.

Me: Whoops, no. Hey Publisher, I need to update the description to change her name to Brooke Baldwin to avoid confusion. Can do?

Publisher: Absolutely, no problem! Done! 

All good, right? 

LL's Thoughts on GoodReads.

LL's Thoughts on GoodReads.

Nope. As I've discussed before, when a new book first goes into the feed for Amazon and the other retailers, that description automatically populates to GoodReads. Great.

But when there's a later update to that description on Amazon/iBooks, etc, GoodReads doesn't get the memo, leaving an old-description up. Not great. 

Why does GoodReads accept initial descriptions, but not changes to descriptions? I have no idea. Honestly it's annoying as hell. Because while plenty of readers use GoodReads quite frequently, I never use it. 

To me, GoodReads is best served as a reader forum. It's great for that. As an author, I find it uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable reading reviews of my own books, and strangely enough, once I became an author, I became uncomfortable reading reviews of other authors' books too. I'm basically uncomfortable with the practice of reviews of books in general, but that's a whole other issue.

Moral of the story: GoodReads is not a good place to get the most updated information on LL books, and yet it must be a primary source of info for many readers, because I continue to get questions about book descriptions that are only up on GoodReads.

I'm a little stumped on what to do about this. 

Could I go audit my book descriptions on GR from time to time to make sure they're accurate? Sure. But I'm not going to do that.

For starters, book descriptions get tweaked more often than you think. Changed in little, tiny ways by publishers to fix something that's not clear and that's misleading to readers, or to add USA Today Bestseller, or to update the intro to compare to one of the author's newer bestsellers, etc. They're changed to tweak character names, they're changed to update the title if the original title is too close to another book in the same genre.

I have nearly two dozen books up on GoodReads, not counting the random duplicate entries that sometimes get added in there. I don't have the time or the interest in keeping a platform that I don't ever use up to date. I'm sure some people are reading this thinking, *cough, diva, cough* and I'm pretty okay with that. If being a diva means devoting myself to the things that matter most to me (writing the best book I can) then bring on the tiara.

And I do try my best to communicate this, I really do. It's written very clearly in my GoodReads bio that I'm not active on GoodReads and that the descriptions may or may not be accurate. I'll also cop to the fact that I don't always have the updated description on my website. Almost always, but if I'm in the writing cave, descriptions are "when I get to it." However, what I can guarantee that is that if there's an discrepancy between GoodReads and Amazon, or GoodReads and this website, GoodReads is the one that's wrong.

But man, you guys love your GoodReads. I get it. I do. But, since I myself am not on GoodReads, I need your help! 

Absolutely feel free to let me know if there's an inconsistency with the GoodReads descriptions of my books!!!

Chances are, I'm not going to know unless one of you lovely readers reaches out with questions/comments (and I don't mind when you do!) I'm not going to say that I'll dash over to GR to fix every little thing, but I'll log on occasionally to fix the most glaring of inaccuracies! 

GoodReads employees, if you're reading this, for the love of God, update your data feed to get fresh information from Amazon. They own you, right?! This process should really be better.

Readers ... don't believe everything you read on GoodReads, at least for Lauren Layne books.

The end.

 

How I Keep Track of My Writing Deadlines Using Trello

Originally posted in The LL Weekly, June 2, 2016 Edition


I often get asked how I manage to write seven books in a year, but truthfully, the actual writing isn't the hard part. 

It’s being organized about everything else.

Getting a book out into the world is never as simple as “I need to finish X book by Y date.”

There is that, yes, but that’s just the first draft. It’s a lion’s share of the work, but it’s one part of many.

Typing The End, ironically, is only the beginning.

After that comes round 1 revisions. And then round 2 revisions. There’s copyedits. Then page proofs. Then sometimes round 2 page proofs. And in between all of those steps, there are about a dozen emails going back and forth about covers and character name conflict, and whether we should use Book 1 or Volume 1, and what the back matter for the books should be, and "can you pull some excerpts?" and the dedication and the acknowledgment and the pricing and lots of “by the way, LL, you moved again and we need an updated bio."

And then there’s the promo. Making teasers, and writing guest blog posts, and new Facebook covers for each release. And updating the website with pre-order links, and cover reveals and advertising  and interview requests. Even after the book is out there’s pricing adjudgment and discounts and pimping book 1 in anticipation of book 2.

Back when I had 2 books out a year, I kept track of this in my head. When I moved up to 4 books a year, I used a combination of Evernote and a paper planner.

Now that I have 7 books out a year? 

I use Trello.

What is Trello you ask? First thing you need to know is that yes, you’ll have to set up an account to use it, but … it’s free!

It’s basically a tool that enables you to create “boards.” (Think, bulletin board.)

Each board has “lists.” (Think columns.)

Each list has “cards.” (Think index cards.)

You can then drag and drop these cards among these various lists, getting a visual of where each book is in the process.

I have about 30 “boards” and I use them for everything from planning the Weekly to my editorial calendar to my Last Word Designs projects. Now that I think about it, each one could probably warrant its own blog post!

Today though, I’ll focus on the board I use most frequently. I call it, appropriately, my Deadline Calendar.

First things first, I create a card for each book. 

Every single book I write or plan to write gets its own card on this board. Nothing fancy, just the title, and then I add the associated series and publisher in the description. I've recently realized you can add an attachment to each card, so now I can see the cover image, which makes it that much easier to update "at a glance." 

Then I have my lists (again, think of these as columns), that look like this:

*****

Brainstorm: Books that I want to write some day but haven’t been submitted/contracted/started.

Queue: Books that are under contract, or almost under contract but that I'm not actively working on.

Outline: Books that I’m pre-writing; outlines, brainstorming, etc.

Draft: Books I’m actively writing, in their first draft stage.

With Editor/Agent: Books that are currently out of my hands; either the ball’s in my editor’s court, or my agent’s reviewing, etc. It’s the only “List” on this board that gets reused, as each book/card will return to this column a few times in between revisions, copyedits, etc.

R1 Revisions: Books in Round One revisions; books where I’m currently addressing my editor’s suggested changes and doing rewrites.

R2 Revisions: Books in Round Two revisions; most of my books skip this step, but every now and then there’s one that needs a little extra attention.

Copyedits: Books where I’m actively working on copyedits; timeline inconsistencies, polishing dialog, etc)

Page Proofs: Books in final review/proofreading stage.

Final: Books that are 100% final, ready to be published, and focus has shifted to marketing/promo (a whole other Trello board!) 

Released: Book’s out in the wild, and I don't have to think about it quite as often.

*****


Now, I’ve tried to do this same sort of column set-up in an Excel/Numbers worksheet before, and technically it works, but Trello is way better.

For starters, you can drag/drop a card back and forth, which is just damn handy, especially in the mobile app version.

You can also assign labels, and color-code each step of the process.

And you can assign a deadline to each card, and then when you use the “calendar view” in Trello, you can see all of your cards/due dates on an actual calendar. Magical, right?

Here's a picture of my actual Trello board, with a few modifications to protect my Muse's creative privacy as well as projects I haven't publicly announced yet.

Series: Step up your Instagram Game: Lighting

Hey guys,

I'm back after a super long blogging hiatus! 

Decided to ease back into the blogging world with a continuation of my Instagram series. Today's topic is a short but crucial one:

Lighting

As in, your photos will only ever be as good as the light you take them in.

This one’s the most frustrating to me, but has also been one of my biggest lessons:

Photos taken indoors with artificial lighting tend to look pretty much shitty, no matter how much you edit them.

Does this mean you have to trek outside everything you want to take a picture? No. (Although you’ll be shocked by how much better your photo looks when you do; there's a reason wedding photographers love to do engagement photo shoots outdoors).

Don't stress if you can't make it outside, but you do want to try to take your photos near a window or light-filled room during the day. 

Sucks, right?

There’ve been many a time when I want to take a picture of a fabulous cocktail in a dark, cozy bar, or take a picture of my dog looking particularly cute curled on on the couch on movie-night. 

And look, I'm not telling you not to take the dark-lighting photo. After all, photos are supposed to be about memories and moments, right? I'm just pointing out that lighting might be a reason why your photos aren't coming out the way you want, and that said-photo might be a better fit for Facebook or SnapChat, if your angle is a "pretty" Instagram feed.

Take for example the below photos:

Both have been edited equally, but you'll see right away that there is no comparison in which one is the more attractive photo.

No amount of editing could make that delicious poached salmon look good. Why? It was taken indoors, at night, with nothing but the regular old kitchen light on. In person, the colors were gorgeous. The pink of the salmon, the green of the spinach, the red of the pot, the yellow of the wine, the silver glint of the lid ... you'd never guess it, but this actually was a gorgeous moment.

But without good lighting, the camera just couldn't capture the moment as my eye saw it. The end result ... well, let's just say that one didn't make it up on Instagram.

By comparison, check out that photo of the Wynn I took while in Las Vegas. It took almost no editing to make that photo look gorgeous. Why? It was taken outdoors on a sunny day. That's the best photo trick you'll ever learn.

But wait! There is hope for indoor photos!

Still determined to take a picture inside? You do have another option, although it's not for the faint of heart ... if you're determined to be an Instagram star, but you can't be booking it outside all the time, or are tired of positioning everything near a window, consider investing in some good studio lighting. Mr. Layne and I found a decent set for under $100 on Amazon, including stands and lights and everything. 

Something like this would do the trick.

This is especially important if you're looking to dip your toes into the world of food-photography. Food is hard enough in general to make look "good," and damn near impossible without good lighting!

Speaking of food, Mr. Layne just relaunched his website today, and he takes some amazing foodie photography. And yes, every single picture on this site has made it directly to my stomach. He actually cooks like that. Crazy and delicious. 

 

 

So, about Marco & Elena Moretti

Hey guys!

I'm catching up on email this morning, and no joke, 80% of my inbox right now is people asking about ...

Marco and Elena Moretti, and whether or not they'll get their own books!

I mentioned this in The Weekly a couple weeks ago, so some this is repeat info for some of you, but here's the deal ...

Maybe.

As of now, New York's Finest is a 3-book series, with Cuff Me being the last.

But. I will never say never! there are two more siblings that I left hanging, and I hope to visit them some day! Maybe!

Thanks so much for everyone who's cared about the Morettis as much as I do, and if it turns out that Marc and Elena's stories don't get told, rest assured that they most definitely live happily ever after!

 

Author Shorthand

The hardest thing about having seven releases in one year?

Writing seven books in one year.

The second hardest part.

Keeping track of them!

This morning I was writing in my planner (where I track all of the drafting, copyedits, revisions, promotion that's constantly in flight), and I smiled at something.

See, here's my shorthand for some of my past few titles:

Blurred Lines :: Blurred

Irresistibly Yours :: IY (you try spelling Irresistibly!)

Steal Me :: SM

Cuff Me :: Cuff Me (I guess it's short enough that my brain could handle it)

Good Girl :: GG

From This Day Forward :: Day

To Have and to Hold :: 2H2H

For Better or Worse :: WB#2 (as in, Wedding Belles, #2)

To Love and to Cherish :: Cherish

See how there's zero consistency there?! Sometimes it's an acronym, other times it's just part of the title, others it's part of the series.

And then ... and then are the times, when it's not about the title at all. When it's about the characters. Just one character, actually. 

See, I've been working on Someone Like You lately.

The shorthand for that one?

Lincoln.

 

Cuff Me Excerpt | Chapter One

Cuff Me will be out in a week (March 29th) and I'm celebrating by posting the first chapter for those of you who missed it in The Weekly a couple weeks ago!

Who's excited to meet Vincent and Jill?!
 


Chapter One


“There’s something wrong with a man that grins like that at a crime scene.”

Detective Vincent Moretti glanced up from where he’d been studying the gunshot wound of the vic and glared at the officer who’d been shadowing him for the past three months.

“I wasn’t grinning.”

Detective Tyler Dansen never paused in scribbling in the black notebook he carried everywhere. “You were definitely grinning.”

“Nope.”

Dansen glanced up. “Fine. Maybe not grinning. But I’m one hundred percent sure I saw you smile.”

“How about you be one hundred percent sure about who shot this guy instead?” Vincent said irritably.

Dansen returned his attention to his damn notebook, but he didn’t look particularly chagrined by Vin’s reprimand.

Oh, what Vin wouldn’t give to go back to those early days when all he’d had to do was look at Dansen, and the kid practically dropped into a deferential bow.

Three months of spending every workday in each other’s company had the newly minted detective acting nearly as impudent as Vincent’s real partner.

Nearly being an important distinction, because Vincent didn’t think they made ’em sassier, more stubborn, or more annoying than Detective Jill Henley.

And he would know. They’d been partners for six long years, and their pairing up as partners was proof of God’s sense of humor.

Jill Henley was Vincent’s opposite in every way.

Jill was chipper, charming, and smiley.

Vincent was…none of those things.

Especially not the last one. Although, if he was being really honest with himself, Dansen may have been right about Vincent cracking a smile earlier.

It’s not that Vin was immune to death. There was absolutely nothing humorous about a man lying cold in his own blood and guts, dead from a gunshot wound to the stomach.

But after six years as a homicide DT for the NYPD, one learned to compartmentalize. To let the brain occasionally go somewhere else other than death even as you were staring straight at it.

It was the only way to survive. Otherwise it was nothing but puking and nightmares.

And speaking of puking…

Vincent stood and gave Detective Dansen a once-over. “If you’re gonna barf, do it outside,” he said, just to needle the younger man.

Dansen threw his arms up in exasperation. “That was one time. One time! And I hear it happens to everyone on their first day.”

“Didn’t happen to me.”

“That’s because you’re a machine,” Dansen muttered under his breath.

Vincent didn’t respond to this. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before. Robot. Machine. Automaton.

He just didn’t know what people expected him to do about it.

In the movies, there was always some reason for the semi-mechanical, unfeeling action hero.

Either a dead wife, an abusive past, or some other sort of jacked-up emotional history. But Vincent had always sort of figured he’d been born this way. Quiet. Reserved. Broody.

It’s not that he didn’t feel. Of course he did. He just didn’t feel out loud.

He wasn’t sure that he really knew how to. Wasn’t sure he wanted to learn.

But in Dansen’s defense on the puking thing, the kid’s first crime scene as a homicide DT had been a rough one. A sixteen-year-old girl sliced to pieces and then tossed in the Dumpster behind a one-dollar-a-slice pizza joint in Queens.

Vincent’s fists clenched at the memory.

It had taken them three days to find the guy who’d done that to her—a real sicko who’d claimed he’d done it because he was “bored.”

That was one son of a bitch he hoped prison was really rough for.

“Let’s move out,” Vin growled at Dansen.

He headed toward the door of the hotel room where the body was found, and Dansen fell into step beside him, flipping through his notebook. “Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking. The wife is the one who found the body and called it in, but—”

“She also shot him,” Vincent said, impatiently punching at the Down button for the elevator.

Dansen huffed in exasperation. “I was getting to that.”

“Get there faster,” Vincent said as they stepped into the elevator.

“So can I—”

“Bring her in for questioning?” Vincent finished for him as he pulled out his cell phone. “Do it. And don’t go easy on her. She’ll slip up within minutes, all tangled up in her own guilt.”

The younger man snapped his notebook shut. “It’s really annoying when you do that. Finishing other people’s sentences.”

“K.” Vincent said distractedly, already striding off the elevator.

The lobby was crawling with reporters, and Vincent glared at Dansen, who held up his hands in surrender. “Don’t look at me. I didn’t call them.”

Vincent gritted his teeth. He hated hotel cases. There was always some bell hop or housekeeper who couldn’t keep his or her damn mouth shut, and the result was a media circus that made the police work a thousand times more complicated than it needed to be.

Not that it really mattered in this particular case. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that the wife had pulled the trigger. Vin would bet his pension on it. He’d been doing this too long not to see the signs immediately. The too-fast way of speaking. The awkwardly forced eye contact in an unconscious effort to minimize nervous blinking. Fidgeting hands.

The vic’s wife had all of the above. This murder was practically the definition of open-and-shut case.

“You care if I leave you to finish this one up on your own?” he asked Dansen as they headed toward Vincent’s unmarked patrol car.

Dansen skidded to a halt. “Seriously? You even have to ask? I’ve been begging you for three months to let me take point, and—”

“All right, calm down,” Vincent said, jerking open the door of the driver’s seat. He hesitated before getting in, realizing that there were things to be said.

He rested an arm on the roof of the car and glanced at Dansen who was…

Smirking.

“Wipe that shit smile off your face,” Vincent said without any real heat.

“You’re gonna miss me,” Dansen taunted.

Vin narrowed his eyes. “Don’t push it, kid.”

“Kid? I’m thirty-one.”

“Exactly.”

Dansen gave an incredulous laugh. “You’re thirty-three. Two years’ difference hardly makes you my senior.”

Not in years maybe. But in experience…

It wasn’t about who was youngest or oldest. It was about who was best.

And Vin was confident that was him.

Vincent was damn good at his job. It was why he’d had been assigned a trainee during Jill’s leave of absence despite the fact that his lack of people skills was as legendary as his ability to sniff out even the most clever of murderers.

In truth, Vincent had been dreading his three months with the near-rookie, but it had been less painful than expected. Dansen was a good cop. A little green, but when Dansen was assigned his new partner tomorrow, Vin had no doubts that the guy would be able to handle whatever came his way.

And then Vincent’s life would finally get back to normal.

Not that these three months without Jill had been abnormal, precisely.

He still worked the same backbreaking schedule. Still saw death more days than not.

Still went to breakfast with his family after Mass every Sunday, and argued with his brothers and occasionally with his sister during said breakfast.

He still watched baseball most evenings, still worked out most mornings.

So really, his life wasn’t different without Jill at all.

Except that it was. Wildly, horribly different.

He glanced at his watch. Two hours until her plane landed. Three hours, maybe four until he’d see her again[CE1] .

Not that he was counting.

“So you’re good from here?” Vincent asked. “If you need anything, I’ll be…”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll call ya. You never did tell me where you were going.”

“Probably because it’s none of your Goddamn business.”

Dansen put a hand to his chest. “I’ve come to love these heart-to-hearts of ours. The way we count on each other. Confide in each other—”

“My cue to leave,” Vincent grumbled.

He started to get in the car, when Dansen called his name again.

Vin shot him an impatient look and was surprised when the usually confident Dansen looked away briefly before meeting his eyes.

“Hey, I just wanted to say…” Dansen cleared his throat from across the hood of the car, and Vin tensed, knowing what was coming.

God he hated shit like this.

“You can drop the detective,” Vincent said roughly. “Just call me Moretti. Or Vin. Whatever.”

Dansen’s smile flashed white across his dark face. “Do you know how many cops dream of the day when they’re given permission to call one of the members of the royal family by their first name?”

“Oh Jesus. Don’t start that again.”

For the most part, Dansen had done a remarkable job of not irritating Vincent to the extreme over the past three months. But Dansen’s ridiculous hero worship of Vincent’s last name grated on his nerves[MT2] . Yet another reason he couldn’t wait for Jill to get back.

Jill, who’d never cared that Vincent’s father was the recently retired police commissioner. Or that his older brother was a captain. Or that his younger brother was the NYPD’s most famous officer.

Or that his grandfather had been a cop and his mother had been a police dispatcher…

Okay, so maybe Vincent could sort of understand where Dansen was coming from. The Morettis were kind of NYPD royalty.

And Vincent was proud to be a part of it. Proud to carry on the legacy.

He just got damn tired of the ass kissing.

“Seriously though, thanks,” Dansen said. “Couldn’t have asked for a better detective to show me the ropes. A nicer one, sure. A better-looking one, definitely. And you can be a real—”

“Asshole, I know,” Vincent said.

Dansen held up a finger. “Not what I was going to say. I think that’s the first time you’ve tried to finish my sentence and gotten it wrong.”

“I’m never wrong,” Vin said out of habit.

“Fine.” Dansen rolled his eyes. “You’re an asshole. Happy?”

Vin didn’t bother responding, just lifted his hand in a final farewell to Dansen before the younger man could say whatever it was he’d wanted to say, and lowered himself into the car[CE3] .

Vincent slid on his aviator sunglasses as he fastened his seat belt.

Vin kept his face perfectly blank until he’d pulled away from the curb and merged into traffic.

Only then, only out of sight of prying eyes, did he let a smile overtake his face. A smile that quickly became a grin as he headed toward his longtime barber for a very overdue haircut.

He told himself that his decision to get his hair cut after weeks of putting it off had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he’d be seeing Jill in a few short hours.

Vincent had never really given two thoughts to what Jill Henley thought of his looks.

But then, he and Jill had never spent three months apart. He’d never had a chance to realize just how much he’d…missed her.

Not that he’d be telling her that.
— Cuff Me, Lauren Layne

Sneak Peek :: Good Girl

Just finished up copyedits on Good Girl and did a happy sigh at how much I love this one.

Thought I'd reward all of us with a sneak peek :) 

Remember, Good Girl's not out until May 17th, but you can pre-order at any time! 


Noah walks me to the back of the truck, releasing my hand to unlatch the tailgate before going back to the cab. Rummaging around, he comes up with a plaid blanket.

I watch wordlessly as he climbs into the truck bed and spreads out the blanket before jumping back to the ground.

Slowly he reaches out, slides his fingers beneath my wig, and eases it off before tossing it into the back of the truck. Then his fingers go around to the nape of my neck, where my hair’s pulled back in a small tight knot. He tugs the band slowly until my hair spills over my shoulders.

“Much better,” he whispers before shoving the band into his pocket and hooking his hands beneath my armpits.

Noah lifts me easily onto the truck bed.
Instinctively I tug at the bottom of my skirt, which has ridden up. I am a lady, after all.

He gives me a gentle smirk. “I’ve seen it all, princess.”

Right. There’s that.

Still, I narrow my eyes. “Just because you’ve seen it once—”

“Twice.”

“Twice,” I amend. “Anyway, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to see it again.”

“You sure about that?” He hoists himself back onto the truck bed, using his chin to indicate that I should scoot back.

“This is your grand seduction plan to get round number three?” I ask skeptically as I make room for him. “The back of a truck?”
— Good Girl, by Lauren Layne

What I'm Listening To

One of the first CDs I ever owned was the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. I'm not as fan-girl about the movie as some of my girlfriends, but that sound track was everything to me.

She's Like The Wind? Sylvia & Mickey?! 

Hungry Eyes!!

And of course the absolute classic: I've Had The Time Of My Life

Suffice to say, I've got every single song on that album memorized, and if you'd have asked me if any one could do a cover or remix of a song from that soundtrack, I'd have laughed with scorn.

(although admittedly I didn't hate the Black Eyed Peas remix of Time of My Life)

But then I heard Grace's You Don't Own Me, which, Dirty Dancing fans will know is a cover of the Blow Monkey's version.

Here's the part where I lower my voice and confess that ...

I think I actually prefer the new version.

I've been listening to this song constantly while writing To Love and to Cherish and I have yet to get sick of it!

 

Hello, World!

 


Behind-the-Scenes :: Good Girl

If you're subscribed to the Lauren Layne Weekly, you've already heard me talk about Good Girl and how it's quite different for me!
 

Not only in characters/storyline (the heroine is a country music star, whaaaaaaat?!) but also in setting. This is the first book of mine in a long time not to be set in a big-city, but I didn't just go small-town. I went all the way off the grid.

The majority of the book takes place at a mansion in the outskirts of Glory, Louisiana. The whole "no cell service" thing is a pretty pivotal part of my plot, as is the fact that the grand old mansion that the heroine thinks she'll be staying at has fallen into major disrepair, and as a result requires the presence of a hunky handyman to fix the broke stairs, leaky facets, and so on.

It took me forever to find a picture of the house I envisioned, and this isn't exactly it, but it definitely captures the secluded, romantic vibe.


Sneak Peek

How about a little first-glimpse at our grumpy hero?

Dude. Are you holding a wrench?”
I glare down the length of my body as a tasseled shoe kicks lightly at the sole of my work boot. “Well how the hell did you think a sink got fixed, Vaughn?”
My best friend—one of them—knelt down so that a preppy, Kennedy-esque face came into view along with the tasseled shoes. Somehow I’m not even the least bit surprised to see that friend was wearing a suit even though we’re currently in a decrepit mansion about forty minutes outside of Baton Rouge.
This place didn’t have a single bar of cell service, but Vaughn’s wearing a lavender tie.
Lavender.
For God’s sake.
“Here’s the thing, Preston. I don’t think about how sinks get fixed. People do that for me,” Vaughn says.
I grunt. “Don’t call me that,” I say, as directing my attention back to the rusty pipe directly in front of my face.
“Why shouldn’t I call you that. It’s your name,” Vaughn counters.
“Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. We’ve been over this. My boy’s name is Noah.” This from my other friend, Finn Reed, who was right about most things, but not the name.
Well, he is right. But not entirely so.
I’m Noah Maxwell and Preston Walcott Jr.
It’s tricky as shit.
— Good Girl

Available May 17, 2016