Updated: Jan 18
I Wish You Were Mine
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
Book #2 in The Oxford Series
A year ago, Jackson Burke
was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister. Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
Sorry lovely fellow book nerds! I ramble about what I read, and tend to post spoilers. Don't read ahead unless you've read the book!
I Wish You Were Mine is the second book in the Oxford series, and centers around Jackson Burke, ex-football player due to a severe injury from a car accident, recently divorced, and dealing with his ex-wife's lies to the media about his cheating ways, and his wife's younger sister, Mollie Carrington, a sweet, patient, intelligent research assistant.
To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I'm not against the whole "forbidden love" angle ... unless it starts to cross into creepy and illegal of course ... but the prologue goes back in time to a quiet moment between Jackson and Mollie ... at Jackson's wedding reception to Mollie's sister Madison. Now don't get me wrong ... there wasn't anything romantic about it. It was sweet. You could tell that Jackson and Mollie were already good friends. But it was also the moment that Mollie realized she was in love with her sisters husband. It honestly wasn't until I learned just how awful Madison was, that I was fully on board with Mollie and Jackson. In terms of originality, I mean, I haven't come across a romance like this one yet. The story is gripping. I couldn't put it down, and I cried along with Mollie when things were looking bad. Never once in this book was I bored. Lauren Layne is pretty good at making sure the flow is perfect.
One thing I am noticing about the Oxford series, is the women are unique in the Stiletto/Oxford world. Whereas the women of Stiletto are your typical New York women, as well as the men, the Oxford series niche seems to be women who are different. Penelope was the short, tiny, tomboy. Mollie Carrington is the intellectual. A bit awkward, in a very adorable way. Quirky. Kind and understanding. But that doesn't take away from her beauty, or her street smarts. Despite the fact that she is in love with her sisters now ex-husband, and eventually begins a rather intense relationship with him, she is loyal. Its one of her best, and worst qualities. The best, because if Jackson needs anything, its a loyal friend, and partner. The worst, because it keep her from seeing how awful and self-absorbed her sister is, and her loyalty to her sister gets in the way of her own happiness.
Jackson is an interesting character. Right off the bat, he is angry. Bitter. Being a star quarterback was his life. He was living his dream. Then some asshole T-bones him and his career is over. While in the hospital, Madison has Mollie deliver divorce papers. His name is smeared in the media, multiple women he never met claiming he slept with them ... so he runs to New York as soon as Cassidy offers him a job as Lead Fitness Editor to Oxford magazine. But he doesn't like it. Well ... he chooses to not let himself like it. He won't make friends at work, and he hates wearing a suit. And he is lonely. The fact that he asked Mollie to live with him as his roommate after seeing her for the first time in months proves that. It really takes Mollie to help him remind him he didn't die in the car crash.
His dynamic with Mollie is lovely. I love a good best friends turned lovers romance. Their level of comfort and intimacy with one another is sweet, but intense because of their years of friendship. I honestly do not see the allure of Madison. Other then her being beautiful, he started seeing signs of her true personality before getting married, but went ahead with it anyway. His quiet moment with Mollie at his wedding already showed some regret on his half. I guess, if one believes in fate, it was meant to be. Jackson would have never met Mollie if not for Madison. And for those of you who love a little sexy time with your romance ... Mollie and Jackson do not disappoint. Wow!
The only parts of this book that made me cringe was any part that had Madison in it. Her obvious lack of respect to her sister, her obvious uncaring attitude ... its a wonder Mollie put up with it. When Mollie comes clean to her sister, and tells her she is in love with Jackson, and they are together, Madison takes pure pleasure in telling her sister Jackson's plans to move back to Texas to coach, and watching her sisters heart break. Just everything about her made me uncomfortable.
In the end, I loved ... LOVED ... this book. While at first it seemed like a very awkward triangle ... and yeah, I guess it is ... it is a great story. While you know they always end up together in the end of all romances, I loved how it happened with these two. While it sucked that Mollie was heartbroken, Jackson needed to get off that plane in Texas. He needed to KNOW he didn't want that life anymore. Madison being there cemented it for him. No regrets. No what ifs. He knows Mollie is his everything. And hell ... despite not loving the office life, he missed his new friends at Oxford.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. Jackson comforting Mollie at his wedding about her maid of honor speech describing the mating ritual between parasitic worms and how they bond for life. She knew Madison was mad about it.
2. Mollie and Jackson's first kiss in the kitchen. Holy sexual tension batman.
3. The first time they have sex ... drooling a bit here. Sorry.
4. (bonus) ... the last time they have sex before everything goes to shit, after they are done, Jackson collapses on her, and slides his hands up her arms, and links their fingers together. Its such a tender and telling moment.
Where to Buy:
Mollie: "The water coming out of her breasts. It makes no sense."
Jackson: "So it is. Maybe the lactation made her mermaid shells uncomfortable, so she got rid of them."
Mollie: "I messed up the toast."
Jackson: "Nah. Just think of how many people you educated on the mating ritual of parasitic worms. They should be thanking you."
Mollie: "It was supposed to be romantic. I did a paper about them for my systematics and biotics diversity final. They're unusual because they're bonded for life. Most organisms sleep around or, you know, the male dies after mating-"
Jackson: "Someday, Mollie Carrington, men aren't going to need to be bribed to dance with you. They're going to fight for the honor."
See, the whole damn world thought Jackson had hightailed it out of Houston because of a Carrington sister. They were right. Where they were wrong was that it wasn't Madison Carrington who'd inspired Jackson's move to New York, although getting away from his ex had been a pleasant bonus. But Jackson's new Manhattan address didn't have anything to do with Madison. Or even Oxford. No, Jackson's presence in New York had everything to do with the other Carrington sister. He'd been keeping his distance. He's had to. But today he didn't want to. He wanted to see her. Needed to see her. He needed Mollie. - Jackson
Slowly the woman lowered herself to the bar stool next to his. He watched in horrified arousal as she reached out, plucked his drink from his hand, and raised it to red, red lips, taking a deliberate sip. Only after she'd set the drink - his drink - back on the bar did she speak.
Mollie: "Hello, Jackson."
Damn, he thought. If he'd been in trouble before, he was completely fucked now.
Jackson swallowed. "Mollie."
Jackson: "You look ... different."
Mollie: Jackson, no offense, but that's the most constipated non-compliment I've ever heard."
Jackson: "Shit. I mean you look good. Or something. Or ... I'm going to need another drink."
Jackson: "Sorry. Lets just say I've been feeling old lately."
Mollie: "Jackson Burke, do not pull that shit with me. You're thirty-five years old. I'm willing to bet that every man in this bar wants to be you, and every woman wants to - mate."
Jackson burst out laughing "You still do that?"
Mollie: "Do what?"
Jackson: "Talk about animal mating rituals when you get nervous."
Mollie: "I'm not nervous! Why would I be nervous?"
Jackson: "You tell me."
Mollie: "Don't be weird. I'm just saying, you've hardly got one foot in the grave."
Jackson: :Holy Shit, Mollie, if I wanted to talk in circles with a woman, I'd have stayed married."
Jackson: "Have a beer, Molls. Unpacking your nightstand contents isn't like operating heavy machinery."
Mollie: "Clearly you don't know what's in my nightstand."
Jackson: "Exactly how big is your vibrator?"
Jackson: "What does it even matter? All the PT in the world isn't going to help me play football again."
Mollie: "Well, gosh, you may as well be dead."
Jackson: "Jesus. You are such a smart-ass."
Jackson: "God. I'd forgotten how incapable you were of dropping stuff. Okay, fine. There's a guy with dark hair and blue eyes, and his jaw could be considered ... chiseled."
Jackson: "Lincoln Mathis."
Mollie: "Marital status?"
Jackson: "Single. Jesus, you think I'd set you up with a married man?"
Jackson: "Sure, Mollie. A total dreamboat."
Jackson: "Drop it."
Mollie: "Fine. But if my eggs dry up, it's on you."
Jackson: "You really think I'm hot?"
Mollie: "Please. If you want an ego stroke, go look at the 'sexiest man alive' magazine covers you probably have stashed under the bed."
Cole: "Do you know anyone's name, Burke?"
Jackson: "I mean ... I know Lincoln-"
Lincoln: "Bow down, peons. I'm a king among men."
Jackson: "It's just, well, I've got this friend ... a female friend, and I told her that I'd set her up on a blind date. And I was thinking that since Lincoln here is-"
Cole: "A man whore?"
Jackson: "I was thinking that since Lincoln was single, he might be interested."
Jackson: "Well, that was easy."
Cole: "It's like I said. Man whore."
Jackson: "That;s what you sleep in?"
Mollie: "What? They're legit pajamas."
Jackson: "Says who?"
Mollie: "Victoria's Secret."
Cassidy's hands were on his hips, face unreadable as they approached.
Lincoln: "What'd you do?"
Jackson: "Me? You're the one who tried to implement Thursday morning dance party yesterday."
Cassidy: "Got a minute?"
Lincoln: "Jackson is in trouble." *in singsong voice*
Cassidy: "Mathis, get your ass and your dessert coffee in there and don't come out until I have revisions on that beach babe article."
Jackson: "Your job is so much better than mine. I'm currently writing about perfect bench press form."
Lincoln: "I wrote about how to have sex on the bench once. If it makes you feel better."
Jackson: "Nope. It does not."
Jackson: "I've gotta tell you, boss, this feels a little bit like the principal's office. Is this because I was late to homeroom?"
Cassidy: "Wonderful, another sarcastic team member. I should have known that when I told you to make friends with your colleagues, they'd start to rub off on you."
Cassidy: "So, thoughts?"
Jackson: "About your girlfriend? I've only met her once, but first thought: super hot."
Mollie: "Just swap that suit for a tux, and you could totally give Daniel Craig a run for his money in Casino Royale."
Jackson: "I think you mean Sean Connery, darling."
Mollie: "Nope. You're definitely a Daniel Craig Bond."
Jackson takes out a knife and holds it out to Mollie.
Jackson: "Here. Just go ahead and stab me."
Mollie: "What's wrong with Daniel Craig? He's hot."
Jackson: "Is he now?"
Mollie: "You fishing for compliments, Burke?"
Jackson: "From a hot young thang in a short red dress? You betcha."
Jackson: "You're not seriously thinking of sleeping with Mathis."
Mollie: Well, why not? You said he's a good guy. And news flash- we modern city women don't adhere to any strict fifth-date rule."
Jackson: "Fine! Fuck his brains out, for all I care."
Mollie: "You're shouting."
Jackson: "I'm not - Damn it."
Mollie: "Okay, this is dumb, Jackson."
Jackson: "What's dumb?"
Mollie: "What is happening to us? We used to be friends. Heck, there were times when you felt like my best friend, even though we were in different time zones. Now we're all tense and walking on eggshells, and you're weird."
Jackson: "I'm weird? You're the one who's kissing me one night and going out with another guy days later."
Mollie: "You said that kiss was a mistake. I'm not going to put my life on hold while you go hot and old on me."
Jackson: "Cut me some slack, here, Mollie! I don't exactly know the protocol. A year ago you were my wife's sister, and now you're..."
Mollie: "I'm what?"
Jackson: "Fucking hot!"
Mollie: "Well, make up your mind what you want to do about it!"
Jackson: "You are your own woman, and you are a woman, Mollie. You're not a kid. You're not a girl. And if I've been a complete asshole lately, it's because I'm having a hell of a time coming to grips with the fact that I want you. And fuck, Mollie, I want you. I want you so bad, I'm dying."
Mollie: "Say the word 'coitus' again, and I pretty much guarantee you'll never get any. Ever. From anyone."
Jo: "I'm thinking you've recently joined another woman's fan club."
Jackson thinks of Mollie and smiles.
Jo: "Oh, man, Burke. You're in trouble."
Jackson: "Hell, you think I don't know that?"
Jackson: "Who the hell is Kiwi?"
Lincoln: "My dog."
Jackson: "You drink ink beverages, you're wearing a tie clip, and you have a dog named Kiwi. Please tell me Kiwi is a big-ass German Shepard."
Lincoln: "Nope. Maltese. Five pounds of white fluff that would fit in your hand."
Jackson: "That's sweet. Do you put bows in her hair?"
Lincoln: "No. She never lets me."
Jackson: "How you get laid is beyond me."
Mollie: "Okay, so I've been thinking."
Jackson: "You know, don't you, that a woman starting a sentence that way always means bad things for a man?"
Mollie: I'm going to try very hard not to be insulted by that."
Mollie: "You're going to eat all of that? I thought that was for both of us."
Jackson: "Woman, you're hot, but you're not that hot."
Jackson: "I didn't think it was possible, but congratulations, Mollie Carrington. You just got hotter."
Jackson: "You know when you texted me today? Something dumb about whether or not we needed more paper towels? Seeing your name on my cell phone did a hell of a lot more for me than my entire meeting with Madison. Are you hearing me? It was the mere sight of your name that did it for me. That's it, Mollie. Seeing your name undoes me."
Jackson: "Well, if that isn't the smile of a satisfied woman."
Mollie: "Are you not a satisfied man?"
Jackson: "I am. And I thank you."
Mollie: "Did you just thank me for sex?"
Jackson: "More like a thank-you for reminding me that I didn't die in that car wreck."
Jake: "So ... do we get to ask about Mollie off the record?"
Jackson: "Oh, Jesus."
Jake: "Come on dude, spill. Not for the sake of selling magazines, but because you look fucking ready to explode. What the hell is going on with you?"
Jackson: "Do you guys always pry this much into each other's love life?"