October 20, 2016

Hello friends! 

We’re doing a special edition of the Weekly today, called …

All About Those Books

Here’s why.

My brain is sort of coming down off the high of the release of To Love and to Cherish, plus I’ve been on an absolute writing bender, my fingers unable to keep up with the stories!

But then I finally paused to take a break for the Weekly, annnnnd ....

I blanked!

I spent all morning stressing because I literally couldn’t think of a single thing to say (rare, right? Usually my Weeklies, I'm always trying to figure out what I can cut so I don't lose your interest!) 

Anyway, in desperation for something to talk about, I hopped on over to my foul nemesis (Facebook, hisssssssssssss) to ask what you guys wanted to hear about.

Lots of good stuff, and I made note all of it for coming weeks, but the overwhelming request had to do with info about ... my upcoming releases!

You guys want more excerpts, more details on what's next.

So today’s going to be ALL about my upcoming releases (as well as a couple tidbits from the backlist, because I know there are some new-to-LL subscribers on this list who might not know about LL classics ;-) 

But before we begin … happy birthday to my lovely mom! As far as mothers go, she’s one of the absolute BEST! Everyone now, shall we sing to Mama Layne ...?!

xoxo,

 
 

The New Release

In case you missed my Tuesday email, I just had a book come out two days ago! It’s called To Love and to Cherish, the third in my Wedding Belles series.

It’s an unrequited-love story about a British accountant and the stubborn, clueless, frustrating (yes, guys, I know Alexis was frustrating—let’s face it, sometimes women are CRAZY frustrating, and they’re no less deserving of love!) woman who holds his heart.

I won’t go on too much about it because I talked about it constantly all day on Thursday, but if you want to know more, you can read my release day newsletter here.

Teaser:

In all her fantasies—and there may have been a few, against her better judgment—Logan Harris hadn’t looked like this.
To think for eight years she’d been drinking coffee every Monday and Thursday with Clark Kent when she should have been sharing a hotel room with Superman.

The OG 

Whenever people ask about my first book, I stumble a little. Technically, it’s Only With You. It’s my first completed novel. It’s the book that landed me my agent, the book that got me my first book deal. But it’s not the first book that was published (because publishing is weird). That honor goes to After the Kiss

So I have TWO Original LLs, I think of both as my “firsts," and I love them both FIERCELY.

 

Teaser from Only With You

Gray shoved his hands into his suit pocket and came to stand beside her as they stared out at the Seattle skyline. It was a clear night, and the city felt both peaceful and alive. “This is one of my favorite times in the office,” he said. “I do my best thinking up here after everyone’s gone.”
Sophie gave a rueful smile. “And here I’ve gone disturbing your peace. As usual.”
“As usual,” he agreed.
Sophie couldn’t help the wince. At what point would his rejection stop stinging?
She turned to go, leaving him to his dark solitude, but he grabbed her hand. “Don’t.”
He stared down at their joined hands for several moments before very slowly lacing his fingers with hers. It was one of the sweeter and strangely most erotic sensations of her life. Holding hands wasn’t supposed to be sexy.
But holding hands with Gray was.
She didn’t know how long they stood there, two mismatched souls holding hands in the moonlight, but she didn’t want it to end.
 

Teaser from After the Kiss

“Oh, for God’s sake,” she muttered when she saw Mitchell jogging toward her. He looked obnoxiously sporty, fit, and awake.
“What the hell are you wearing?” she asked as he stopped in front of the bench where she’d been sulking. Julie’s own workout gear was put together and color-coordinated. It was important to look put together to combat the inevitable sweat. But Mitchell’s running gear was on a totally different level.
Everything looked slightly more high-tech than what she was wearing. His silver shoes had all sorts of reflective stripes that caught the sun. His shirt looked like that expensive, high-tech material that could like whisk your sweat away from your body and throw it into the nearest garbage can. The shorts, at least, were normal.
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” he asked, glancing down.
“I guess I just wasn’t aware that NASA made workout gear.”
“You’re grumpy,” he said, pulling her ponytail.
“Oh, yay, it’s playful Mitchell,” she muttered. “Remind me again why we’re doing this.”
“Ah, Ms. Greene. Don’t tell me you’ve never run in Central Park.”
“Er, no. I’m more of an elliptical-in-the-air-conditioning kind of girl.”
He shook his head in dismay. “You’re in for a real treat.”
“Sure,” she said, gazing up at the blazing sun. “If by treat you mean blisters, heat stroke, and shin splints.”

Upcoming: Love Story

In which 2 childhood sweethearts-turned-enemies have to ride across the country in a station wagon named Horny

Love Story is DONE (minus copyedits, but that’s just making it shiny), and I’m sort of in love with this second-chance/childhood sweethearts/road trip story. Yup, that’s right, three delicious tropes in one story, and I’M NOT EVEN SORRY. 

This one’s not out until February 14, 2017 (no better way to spend Valentine’s day, I’m just saying), but in the mean time …

 

Teaser:

He doesn’t move. “Do you know how to change a flat?” 
I purse my lips. “Um.” 
Reece uses his free hand to shove the sunglasses on top of his head, fixing me with an icy blue stare. “You should learn.”
“Why? I have AAA. I may not know how to change a tire, but I’m super good at making phone calls.”
I give him what I know to be my prettiest smile, but he only snorts and uses a finger to flick his glasses back onto his nose. “Come on. I’ll show you.” 
“I hope by show you, you mean do it yourself,” I mutter.
Still, he has a point. I’m hardly a tomboy, but neither do I want to be labeled as one of those princess scared of breaking a nail. 
(Real truth: if I’d had a manicure in the past two weeks, my stance right now would be different.) But as it is, my nails are bare and cut short as a nod to the casual road-trip vibe, so … why the hell not?)
I drop the bag I’m holding onto the ground along with the others, and wrap both hands around the spare tire, and tug.
It moves, but only a little. I struggle with it, Reece isn’t known for patience, and after about forty-five seconds he reaches down and hoists it out easily with one arm, giving me a waft of that hideously wonderful cologne in the process.
Crap. Now I’m distracted. 
I’m also really sweating now, and pluck at my blouse where it sticks to my back.
Reece, for his part, looks only a little bit shiny, and the look is really good on him.
I want to lick.
He stares at me. “Grab it, Lucy.” 
“Grab what?”
My eyes are locked somewhere in the vicinity of his crotch, and I hear him grunt, before he points towards the front of the car. “Roll the damn tire up there. I’ll bring the jack.” 
I giggle, because the word jack combined with the fact that I was just thinking about his …
I clear my throat. Anyway.

Friends-to Lovers, LL style - Blurred Lines

You knew I was going to mention Blurred Lines, right? Whenever I meet someone new who asks me which of my books they should start with, I always blurt this one out without thinking. Why? It’s my precious.

I sometimes feel like it’s the story I was most meant to tell (although Walk of Shame may be giving it a run for its money!) because it more or less wrote itself, in under two weeks.

A must read for fans of friends-to-lovers stories. Just saying. 

Teaser (fact, I cracked up at this excerpt, just in the process of copying/pasting it and remembering this book all over again):

 
“You don’t help Lance do his laundry?”
I’d meant it as an off-the-cuff comment, but her fingers falter a little, and I wonder if I inadvertently struck a nerve. Maybe I should ask if everything’s okay with them.
But she recovers.
“Nah,” she says, with an easy smile. “He’s almost as good a folder as me. It’s part of why I love him.”
I fan myself. “What, he’s a fantastic folder? Shit, you better put a ring on it, Parks!”
She makes a face and flings the last T-shirt at me. “That one should go. It has holes.”
“It’s comfortable,” I say, glancing down at the faded Boston Red Sox shirt. I can’t even remember where I got it; I’m a Chicago White Sox guy.
“It’s a rag,” she says, snatching it out of my hands and tossing it into a bucket under the sink where we keep the cleaning stuff.
“Do I get to do that it’s a rag routine with your underwear next time you do laundry?” I ask. “Because I’ve seen some of your panties. You may as well stitch death to boner across the front.”
She takes a sip of her water. “New house rule: No talking about Parker’s panties. Actually, no using the word panties at all.”
I’m actually pretty sure that’s not a new house rule. It sounds familiar, but I’m not about to remind her of this.
“Oh, come on,” I argue. “You help my color-blind self pick out shirts, so why not let me return the favor by telling you which panties are going to depress the hell out of Lance.”
“Pass.”
I tell her anyway. “Those big bunchy ones that are light brown.”
“Those are my PMS panties. They stay.”
I point a finger at her. “House rule infraction. We’re not allowed to say panties.”

Lincoln. LINCOLN. LINCOLN. LINCOLN. LINCOLN.

Also known as Someone Like You. Also known as my most-anticipated book ‘eva, because … Lincoln.

It’ll be out on December 6th after years of waiting and … I thought I’d be nervous about this one. There’s SO much hype/excitement, and I’m like, “What if I let them all dowwwwwwn …”

Then I realized that I love this story so much, it doesn't matter. I'm a big believer that the best stories come when an author writes for herself, not other people. Because if you write with the specific intent of hoping someone else might like it, you're chasing your tail. Everyone likes something different!

Anyway, this book is everything to me. It’s the only thing I’ve written that made me cry in the writing process. TWICE.

So if I’m going to be totally honest (when am I not), I’m sort of like “It’s cool if nobody likes it, they can GET OFF MY LAWN, and I’ll have Lincoln all to myself.”

(Seriously though, you will like it).

And yes, we authors are super mentally stable, why do you ask?

 

 

Teaser:

“Here’s my thinking,” Cassidy said, his gaze coming back to Lincoln. “You do damn good stuff with your section, but if we don’t watch it, Oxford’s going to pigeon-hole itself into a city-man’s magazine. We want to be urbane, yes, but we also want to be universal.”
“Meaning? “
“Meaning, that while we’re damn good about telling man how to seduce a woman in SoHo, the fact is that dating and wooing in Manhattan is its own animal.”
“Wooing?” Lincoln repeated under his breath.
“I was thinking a fish-out-of-water piece. You know, New York playboy uses big-city courting techniques on small-town girls and crashes and burns …”
“First of all, I wouldn’t crash and burn, second of all, you know by now that I was never a playboy, only playing the part. And third … dude, Cassidy … are you sending me to a farm?”
“Yes, Lincoln. I’m sending you to a farm. Thought you and Kiki—“
“Kiwi.”
“Kiwi could sleep in a barn with the pigs. Jesus. I was thinking something more intermediate.”
Lincoln only narrowed his eyes and waited.
“Something more medium town, with a touch of Southern to keep things interesting.” 
It took Lincoln all of thirty seconds to get where Cassidy was going with this. “Charlotte. You want to send me to North Carolina.”
“Strictly optional. If there’s another city you’d prefer, I’m open to it so long as it gets you away from the Northeast and bad memories. But I’ll throw it out there that Daisy’s big old mansion has a fully furnished guest house, fancy kitchen, private— “
Lincoln tilted his head back and laughed, although there was very little joy in it. “You’re either trying to set me up, or you’re trying to assign me a baby sitter. I’m not sure which is worse.” 
“It’s neither,” Cassidy said calmly.
Lincoln’s laughter died as he realized his boss was serious.
“Look, I’d never think to play matchmaker so soon after your loss. Neither would Emma. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be Daisy.”
“Why not?” he asked, before he could stop himself.
“Because she’s just as damaged as you are,” Cassidy said quietly.

Donuts. Or Cuff Me, whatever.

Usually I think of books in terms of the story as a whole, rather than specific scenes, but there’s one scene that goes down in my all-time-favorite things I’ve ever written. I love it especially hard, because it wasn’t even in the initial draft, it was a late-stage addition during copyedits. 

The scene? Any guess?

The donut scene from Cuff Me. Cuff Me, quite honestly was a hard book to get right. It was a little bit unrequited love, a little bit forbidden love, a little friends-to-lovers, a little enemies-to-lovers, a little workplace romance, a LOT epic, and most of the time I was like, “Jill and Vin, you’re killing me here, you're so friggin' in love and complicated.”

Then. THEN! This scene happened ... My gruff, irritable hero had a vulnerable side so sweet, so endearing, I could barely cope.

(this snippet it makes more sense within the context of the rest of the chapter, but just … go with me).

 

Teaser:

Anth cleared his throat before socking Vincent in the shoulder.
It was as much warning as Vin had before a small, warm body collided against his.
Jill.
He’d been picturing this moment in his head for weeks now, and the joy, he’d expected.
The pain…not so much.
Jill was getting married.
Her arms were around his neck, and he very slowly wrapped one arm around her back before letting his face find the crook of her neck.
He told himself it was just a natural position, but there was nothing natural about the way he wanted to linger. Or the way his lips accidentally brushed her neck, or the way he wanted to kiss her there. To…
Jill was getting married.
She pulled back slightly before putting her hands on either side of his face and giving his head a little shake. “Would you believe that I’ve missed your ugly face?” 
Her smile was all warmth and friendliness and familiarity, and he resisted the urge to rub his chest, which physically ached.
Tell her you’ve missed her too. Tell her that you…
Vin thrust the now completely crumpled bag at her. “Here.”
She blinked in surprise, looking completely puzzled as she hooked a finger into the opening of the white bag.
He felt the curious gaze of his family as everyone gathered around, but he ignored them. Only Jill mattered, and…
Damn it, man, a doughnut?! 
She had a hard time pulling the bag apart, probably because he’d smushed the contents to death, and it was just…
Good God, it was like he was fucking Shrek.
He was about to rip the bag out of her hand and make some lame excuse about having to be somewhere…anywhere, when Jill’s startled blue eyes snapped up at his.
She looked stunned. And…happy? She liked it.
Please let her be happy.
“How’d you know?” she asked, tilting her head.
He blinked. “What?”
“How’d you know that a maple bar was all I could think about when I was in Florida? Would you believe they can’t make a decent one?”
“No such thing as a decent maple bar,” he said gruffly. “They’re disgusting.”
She ignored him as she pulled the completely flattened doughnut out of the bag and took an enormous bite, smiling happily as she chewed. “Perfect.”
Indeed.

Walk of Shame

Ahhhhh, my work in progress!! I’m nowhere near done with this one, but I was just telling a friend today that I think I'm already intentionally slowing down on this book, because I'm loving writing it so much and I’m already fearing the moment when I get to The End and I have no more to tell.

I haven’t talked about this one much yet, but the premise came to me out of the blue and hit me HARD. It’s about an uptight lawyer who leaves his apartment every morning at 5AM to go to the gym/office, just as his party-girl neighbor comes in from a night out in the town. They bicker like nobody’s business, each in denial that those early morning encounters are the highlight of their entire day …

 

Excerpt: 

“Miss me?” I ask, licking sugar off my finger.
“Don’t look too pleased with yourself, Georgiana,” he says in a bored voice. “They’ve been the most peaceful mornings I’ve had in months.” 
“You know what I think?”
“Breathless with wondering.” 
“I think you’ve had too much peaceful in your life. I think that peaceful has become synonymous with boring.”
His face is unreadable. “Are you sure we’re talking about my life, Georgiana?” 
I withhold a flinch. Barely. The man’s barb hits closer to home than I care to let him see. “You’re the one who stole Dorothy’s slippers.”
“Of the two of us, you’re the one that dresses for attention.” His eyes flick downwards, just slightly, lingering on the expanse of bare legs that modest by nightclub standards, but admittedly a little short by Grace Kelly’s elegance standards.
I pop another piece of donut in my mouth and smile. “It’s fine. I won’t tell a soul you checked me out.” 
“I wasn’t—“ he clears his throat. “Forget it. You’re ridiculous.” 
I’m grinning outright now, because that’s two you’re ridiculousness this morning, and when he takes to repeating himself, I know I’ve successfully gotten under his skin. 
Georgie: One
Andrew Mulroney, Esquire: Zero

Uncharted waters - I Wish You Were Mine

Confession: I’ve never been so terrified as when I released I Wish You Were Mine into the wild. For starters, it’s different for me. And the difference was extra magnified because it was the second book in the Oxford series, and the first book in the series (Irresistibly Yours) was just about as different a story as it’s possible to get.

Book 1 was the ultimate romantic comedy—perhaps the lightest and flirtiest of all my books (and Crushed!), with a charming, quick-witted hero, a spunky tomboy heroine.

Book 2? Um, different. It was a forbidden love story, and it involves a grumpy hero who finds himself falling for the worst possible woman for him: his ex wife’s little sister.

Tricky. With every word, I was like, “I’m gonna get in so much trouble.” 

But, guys. Sometimes love is complicated and messy, and sometimes LL love stories are too!

I needn’t have worried though. While this book wasn’t for everyone, it was for a LOT of people, and still holds the record for being my top-selling release week EVER. (Am I allowed to say that? I don’t know, hopefully my publishers don’t read this far and I won’t get in All The Trouble).

If you love a forbidden, can’t-have-her kind of story, this one’s for you. If you’re like, “NO NO NO NO,” It’s okay! Read Irresistibly Yours instead, there’s something for everyone in LL land! 

throws glitter

(just kidding, hate glitter. pours wine instead)

 

Excerpt - 

“People make mistakes,” Mollie said gently. “Madison knows she made some: going public with your problems, divorcing you when she did.”
“Those aren’t little mistakes. Those are the rip-a-man’s-heart-out-and-pour-salt-in-the-gaping-hole-in-his-chest type of mistakes.”
Something flickered across her face. “So her leaving—it ripped your heart out?”
He groaned and reached for a piece of bread.
“Oh, come on,” she pleaded. “Drop the macho act for thirty seconds, then you can go back to dragging your knuckles.”
He shook his head and dunked the bread in oil. Jackson had never really understood the appeal of Italian food, but he had to admit the Italians did know their way around bread.
“You know, most women like the macho thing,” he said, chewing his bread.
“Yeah, in bed,” Mollie said. “But dinner at a nice place? Well, let’s just say we don’t mind a little beta.”
“Beta?”
“Jackson Burke, are you intentionally trying to avoid answering questions about my sister?”
He wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Fine. You want to do this? Sure. Yes, she ripped my heart out. Yes, she left me when I needed her the most, and it fucking hurt. Okay? Even though things were awful between us long before that, when I was in the hospital . . . well, it would have been nice if she could have waited. Now, are we good, or should we stop on the way home and get me a diary and a soft pink blanket to snuggle?”


Oxford lives on! - I Knew You Were Trouble

Some of you wanted news on I Knew You Were Trouble, which is out in June 2017 and is the next book in my Oxford series. The one I surprised you with when I was like, “Oh it’s a 3-book series, JUST KIDDING, HERE'S #4.”

But. I have to hold you in suspense. I’m not saying another word about this book.

Partially because I need to save something for next time, and partially because …

I haven’t written much of it yet. It's too early for me to feel comfortable sharing an excerpt.

Soon though, guys! Soon. And you can still pre-order!!!


Until we meet again

Okay guys, that’s all I’ve got this week! I’ll be back next week with a “regular” Weekly, complete with Q&A, author tips, the navy nail polish I’m obsessed with, an update on the super random self-videos the hubby and I make (not those kind, perv), and … well I don’t know what else! We’ll see. We'll see.

NewsLauren Layne