Central Park Pact, Volume TWO

A Love Story

This is part of the Central Park Pact series, but does not have to be read in order.

This has "closed door" sex scenes, with no explicit details.

This book is written in third-person, alternating the heroine and heroine's POV.

Needing a distraction from the scandalous death of her philandering husband, Claire throws herself into renovating her Upper East Side brownstone, where she butts heads with her quietly stubborn contractor.

A GOodreads Best romance of the month



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From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction...

an excerpt

“I’ve told you, Claire, I don’t get involved with people I consider friends. Or even friends of friends. You’re not—you’re not the kind of woman you mess around with and then leave.”
“I never said I wanted to mess around.”
“You sure?” he asked boldly, bending his knees slightly to put them at eye level. “Because I was there for that dance, too, Claire. That wasn’t nothing.”
“No, it wasn’t!” She said angrily shoving back at him, frustrated when he didn’t budge. “But I don’t want this any more than you do, Scott. I don’t even like you. I don’t like that you can’t seem to figure out what you want from me. I don’t like that somehow I’ve come to think you look just as good in this stupid farmer flannel as you did in that tux. I don’t like that you go home with your model, and then get pissed when I try to kiss a guy, which I can’t even seem to do by the way. They’re either bad at it, or I don’t feel it. Brayden got to sleep around all over the place, and yet he’s been dead for a year and I can’t seem to find . . .”
She broke off and Scott took a small step closer, his gaze intense. “What can’t you seem to find?”
Someone who makes me forget what he did to me. Someone who makes the hurt of Brayden’s betrayal stop.
But casual sex with a random stranger wouldn’t fix that for her. She knew that now. She’d known it when Brett stood on her porch, charming and willing and likable.
She hadn’t wanted him. She wanted someone who mattered. Someone who made her feel . . . 
Like Scott made her feel.
The realization was surprising, unavoidable, and she didn’t have the faintest clue what to do about it.
His question seemed to stretch between them in the silence. And though she didn’t verbally answer, his gaze locked on her mouth as though he knew. Knew what she was thinking, knew what she wanted—
He caught her sigh with his lips, his mouth moving gently over hers in a searching, searing kiss. Scott kept his hands to himself; his lips did all the coaxing, leaving her free to step away if she wanted. She didn’t want.
Scott’s head lifted slowly, and she took her own time opening her eyes to meet the question in his gaze. 

— Harlequin Junkie

“Smart [and] funny . . . memorable characters with heart, heat, banter, conflict, and friendship.”

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