Updated: Jan 20, 2021
I Knew You Were Trouble
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
Book #4 in the Oxford Series
Taylor Carr has it all—
a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her. Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne is the fourth book in the Oxford Series, and deviates away from our usual Stiletto/Oxford crew, and centers around some newer characters, Nick Ballantine, and Taylor Carr. But don't worry ... we still see our original favorites from time to time.
I will admit being put off the change at first. I love the Oxford/Stiletto crew. While this IS an Oxford book, it feels different, because the characters work more in the development side of the magazine, and therefore, not as chummy with the editorial crew. The characters drew me in though. Nick is one of those make protagonists that has a weak spot for being a hero, which has gotten him into some trouble. His offer to let a girl crash with him for a couple of days turned into her moving in with him, and even after breaking up, not leaving his place. Then Taylor, his arch-nemesis, is in desperate need of a roommate after her boyfriend - now ex - leaves her the day they were supposed to move in together. So he volunteers. It helps him get away from his ex, helps Taylor, and it pisses off her ex, who Nick really dislikes. He is also witty, sarcastic, and kind. I like that he isn't like the usual Oxford crew. He is a writer, but he stays true to himself by doing freelance work for Oxford, while writing fiction. He also bar-tends part-time, not because he has to, but because he enjoys it and it helps stimulate his writing.
Taylor is a difficult character, but not unlikable. At first, I couldn't imagine why she would be heartbroken over a guy who broke up with her in a letter, on the day they were to move in together. And sure, she's prickly ... but she was raised to not give in to her emotions. Be logical. Be smart. Don't cry. She had a very unconventional childhood, being orphaned young by absentee parents, and left to her aunt, who at best could be described as cold. It was kind of heartbreaking how much of an impact her aunt had on her. She is sure she doesn't want kids, because her aunt never had them, or shown her maternal love. But her time with the baby Nick once thought of as his shows she wants that. I love that we learn, right along with Nick, that she is not at all how she projects herself to be. She is kind. She grows quite a bit in her time with Nick.
The actual story is rather great. Sure, at first it seems like your typical enemy-to-lover stories, but Lauren Layne adds a twist in there that I wasn't expecting. Taylor ends up pregnant. It is so atypical compared to her other works, so I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, the past speaks louder Nick, and when he finds out about the pregnancy in ... well, not the best way ... he lets his bad experience with an ex control his reaction. Sadly, its a trauma many men face, falling into the role of father to a child they believe their's, and come to find out, it isn't, and the biological father wants to step in. It makes since that Nick is wary, but it takes him too long (a week!) to figure out that Taylor and his ex were two different women. His ex was willing to let him believe the lies to avoid confrontation. Taylor would have been upfront if there was any question to paternity. The ending was sweet. The fact that he bought an engagement ring before finding out about the pregnancy goes to show that it wasn't a relationship forced becau