Love Story
Lauren Layne     

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love Unexpectedly
Book: 3

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.
When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Other books in the series:

Who on earth names a car “Horny”?

Lucy Hawkins’ brother that’s who. I can’t believe I just read a book with a car by that name. Our hero Reece Sullivan isn’t crazy about the name either.

I’ve never hated the nickname of this stupid car so much as I do right now, on the verge of a full-blown (no pun intended) erection, in front of my pseudo-parents, all from a memory of a girl I don’t even like.

And this is before either of our romantic leads step a foot in the car for their two-week, cross-country adventure. This is going to be fun, right?

So Lucy and Reece have a bit of a history. He was her first. Too bad everything went downhill from then. Six years later, they find themselves carpooling to California to start new jobs, both in the Sonoma area. You see, working in California wine country has always been Lucy’s dream and after the death of his father, Reece is more than ready to make a fresh start far away from his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The sexual tension masked by their overt animosity toward each other is evident from the start. Even before they actually see each other in the first scene of the book. My favorite kind of romance. I love a good fight with all that simmering heat and lust in the mix. Their exchanges are sharp and filled with many hurtful and hurt-filled jabs and digs. That they both appear to be equally upset with each other is a head scratcher at first. To me, it was clear who was at fault for their unceremonious breakup—who the villain of the piece was.

“What’s in Wilmington?” he asks, after a few more tense moments of silence. “Another boyfriend?”

“Yes, another boyfriend,” I reply snidely. “Didn’t I mention it? I have four.”

He changes lanes. “Hard to juggle?”

“Not at all,” I say sweetly. “See, I just watched the way you attempted to juggle multiple girlfriends and failed, and then did the exact opposite.”

He glances at me then, a mocking smile on his face. “Oh, sweetheart. When did I ever claim you as my girlfriend?”

As you can see, Reece can be cruel when he wants. But as time went on, I began to wonder and second guess myself. What really happened between them? It’s obvious they were both hurt. What’s also clear is that they’re still really hot for each other, their love scenes sizzling, their emotional connection strong. I wondered how they managed to get through those six years without tearing each other’s clothes off.

I would say they’re both stubborn, but more than anything else, they’re human, both possessed with all the flaws, insecurities, jealousies (ex-girlfriends and current boyfriends) and frailties that come with the human condition. And when they first got together, they are so young. Teenagers. Better to make “relationship” mistakes then.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lucy and Reece’s journey—literally and figuratively. If any two people were meant to be together, these two are. If I had to gripe about anything, the one thing I found a little distracting were the flashbacks. Constant flashbacks have never been a favorite of mine but it’s the fact that they don’t appear in chronological order that had my mind see-sawing a bit. They are sixteen and seventeen in one place, then later on, they are eight and nine. Of course these aren’t deal breakers for me, but it’s the reason I probably didn’t give this one a Top Pick. Regardless, Love Story, like the vast majority of Ms. Layne’s books, come with a highly recommend, one I’d read again in a New York minute.

As for now, I impatiently await her next release Walk of Shame in April. It’s tops on my must-read upcoming releases list.

~ Beverley