Redemption # 2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 14th, 2015
Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.
Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half-brother, Devon.
Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.
After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?
When things finally calm down enough for me to check on her a second time, her drink has turned pink from the cherries and she’s about to launch into another conversation with the couple on her left. I snap a finger in front of her face. “Hey, I wanna talk to you about something.”
She sighs. “Is it about the calories in this drink? Because I’ll give you another minute on the treadmill to make up for it, but not a second more.”
I almost smile. “No, it’s about the fact that you came here with your sister and her boyfriend.” A quick glance across the bar shows that they’ve settled in with their friends in the corner, and neither seems to be the least bit worried—or —that one of their companions is all by herself.
Chloe tilts her head, sending the curls tilting to one side. “What about it?”
I glance down at my hands, not sure how much I want to give away. “It’s just . . . it seems harmless now, but in the long run, you’ll hate yourself for it.”
She taps her nails against the glass thoughtfully. “More cryptic ramblings from the Beefcake.
Methinks there’s a story there.”
“No story,” I lie. “Just . . . don’t settle for being the third wheel.”
She pushes her empty glass toward me to refill and leans forward, studying me as I began making her another drink.
“You wanna talk about it?” she asks.
“Talk about what?”
“About the time you spent as a third wheel before getting burned?”
I grab a cocktail pick and stab three cherries with more force than necessary, dropping it into her drink before sliding it back to her. I ignore her question, because the last thing I want to think about, much less talk about, is how much time I spent trailing after my best friend and his girlfriend for most of my life.
“Look, you need friends, Chloe.”
I say it a little gruffly, not quite wanting to hurt her feelings but also wanting to get through to her, but the girl’s like freaking rubber. Everything bounces right off her. She blinks at me. “I have friends.”
“Well, you need friends that you can go to a bar with on Friday night,” I snap, annoyed that I have to explain everything for her.
Again with that damn head tilt. “Why? And why do you care? Maybe I’m an introvert.”
Why I care?
And no, she’s not an introvert. I give her a look, and she gives a sheepish smile. “Okay, so I’m definitely not. But it’s weird enough that you inserted yourself in my life as a personal trainer. Now you’re trying to be my social director?”
Her eyes go wide and she holds up a finger as though she’s just had a brilliant idea. “You have a crush on me!”
I lean across the board, gently folding my fist over her finger. “I have a crush. Guys don’t get crushes past the age of eight, and I can tell you right now that someone who never shuts up is not my type.”
She purses her lips. “Right, right. You like ’em cool and bony.”
I say nothing.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.
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