Updated: Jan 18
Just One Night
By Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
Book #3 in the sex, Love & Stiletto Series
Riley McKenna knows sex—
good sex, bad sex, kinky sex. Her articles in Stiletto magazine are the publication’s most scandalous—and the most read. But when Stiletto’s fiftieth anniversary issue requires her column to get a lot more personal, Riley is forced to confront a long-hidden secret: Her own sexual experience is limited to one awkward college encounter. Now Riley is about to call in the favor of a lifetime from the one man who’s always held her heart.
Sam Compton knows two things about Riley McKenna: She’s the only woman for him. But as his best friend’s little sister, she’s also completely off-limits. Sam shouldn’t even consider her proposition: to have a one-night stand in the name of research. But the thought of another man putting his hands on Riley is more than Sam can handle, and soon he’s agreeing to one night with New York’s resident sexpot. But Riley’s full of surprises, and what starts as “one time only” soon becomes “just one more time.” And then one more. And before they know it, Riley and Sam learn firsthand that when it comes to love, there’s no such thing as just one night.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
Spoilers ahead my fellow nerds.
Just One Night is the third book of the Sex, Love and Stiletto Series, and was actually meant to be the last book in the series, until Lauren Layne decided to write another book about Emma and Cassidy. This one, though, centers around Riley, Stiletto's Sex expert, and her brothers best friend, Sam Compton. Yes ... its one of those forbidden love stories between a little sister and brothers best friend.
It was rather a twist when we find out that Riley, who has been described as exuding all things sex in the last two books, is practically a virgin. While technically, she did have sex once in college, she hadn't since. And all because she never found someone that outshone Sam. Its sweet. I only question how she didn't realize she was in love with the guy before she did. You don't become celibate to hold out for just a crush. Sam being attracted to Riley from the start, but honoring his promise to her brother that he would stay away, it the classic cliche pause button on a relationship. As per the course with this series, the women need an article for Stiletto magazine to be their excuse to pursue something they haven't been brave enough to do before. In this case, for the 50th anniversary issue, all the articles had to be personal. While Riley could have continued to lie about her sexual activities to her readers, she decides she wants to actually see what the fuss is about, and who better than Sam Compton. It wasn't as easy as just asking him ... because it's Sam, and he is stubborn. With the insane sexual chemistry and a decades worth of tension, its funny they thought they could keep it to one night only.
The big difference from Just One Night, compared to the last two books in the series, is that it isn't our female protagonist getting in her own way of happiness. Riley knows she loves Sam. In this book, its Sam with the issues. It's the male who has severe self-esteem issues, resulting from his shitty mom, and he uses his promise to Liam, her brother, as an excuse to keep him from Riley, instead of admitting he just doesn't think he is good enough for her ... or anyone. Even the dog Riley buys for him. It's heartbreaking. And while it's Riley's ultimatum that initially pushes him to cut ties with his mother, and take the step to finally put his whiskey on the market (to huge success I might add), he doesn't admit to himself he is in love with Riley until he talks to Liam about it.
While the sexual tension, and eventual sex is a thrill, my favorite parts of this book is from the confrontation between Riley and Sam's mother to conclusion. It's a romance, so we knew they would end up together. But it's Sam's journey from a scared man who found himself unworthy, to finally seeing himself as others saw him; a brave man who was following his dreams, and deserving of happiness. And because I'm a sap, the way he gets Riley back makes my heart warm and fuzzy. The whole story is fun to read, and pretty fast paced. The only consistency issue I had was in the first book, its mentioned that Riley's parents lived in Florida, but they actually live in Brooklyn, and have Riley's entire life.
In the end, while Just One Night isn't my favorite of the Sex, Love and Stiletto series, it still a great little romance, as is the series as a whole. 3.5/5
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. Riley and Sam's first kiss in the her family's storage room
2. The Stiletto girls interactions throughout the book.
3. The baseball game
4. (bonus) Sam getting Riley back
Where to Buy:
Text between Julie & Riley:
Julie: Having a late dinner with Mitchell's parents tonight. Is my silk turquoise top too slutty?
Riley: Dunno. Ask Grace. Her middle name is Decorum.
Julie: Grace's middle name is Elizabeth. And she's on that weekend getaway with Jake. As much as she talked about that two-person jetted tub, I didn't want to interrupt.
Riley: Go with the black turtleneck. That way his mom can't accuse you of luring Mitchell in with your boobs.
Julie: Even though I did.
Text between Sam & Riley:
Sam: I know it was you.
Riley: Woah! Is the taciturn-caveman routine back in style? Because nobody told us womenfolk!
Sam: The pamphlets in the glove box. I know you put them there. Probably last week when you tricked me into driving you and the girls to the outlet mall.
Riley: I'm a sex columnist. It's my responsibility to spread the word about safe sex.
Sam: This had nothing to do with safe sex, and everything to do with you making sure I didn't HAVE any sex.
Riley: Well then clearly Angelica didn't read the pamphlets. It says very clearly that there are multiple treatment options.
Sam: Her name is ANGELA, and she didn't stick around long enough to read the pamphlets, and I DO NOT HAVE GENITAL WARTS.
Riley: "Don't fret about the mistake. It was too much to ask that you be brilliant and beautiful."
Riley's Mom: "Have you tried this stuff you're talking about?"
Riley: "Ma! Come on!"
Riley's Mom: "Don't Ma me. My friends' daughters talk with them about sex."
Riley: "Do you talk to Kate and Megan about it?"
Riley: "You do? Why am I never included in this girl talk?"
Mom: "Well dear ... you are a tiny bit of a prude."
Riley: "Did you read that? I talked about spanking."
Mom: "Yes, yes, the article was all very edgy, but it lacked passion. That tells me the story wasn't personal for you."
Riley: "This isn't happening. My mother is not telling me my spanking article lacked passion."
Sam: "Hey, Ri."
Sam: "Saw your most recent article. Heady stuff. I'd say I liked it less than the whips-and-chains piece, but more than the one about the gin-and-tonic-flavored lube."
Riley: "Intrigued, are we?"
Sam: "Oh, I've been plenty intrigued. Some of your tips have proven to be very useful in the bedroom."
Riley's mom swats him on the head.
Sam: "Sorry, ma'am, but you know I'm just supporting your middle daughter's careers endeavors."
Mom: "Go help Sam get the stuff. You two can mix a pitcher."
Riley: "I'm sure a big strong man like Sam can carry a little tequila bottle by himself."
Sam: "Yes, but then there's the Cointreau and the course salt, and the limes that went rogue all over the back of my truck. Maybe you can just tuck those between your limes to keep shit perky ..."
Riley: "Ma, you hearing this?"
Mom: "Do I hear my son's best friend talking about my daughter's breasts? No, I do not. But I could use a drink all the same, so hurry along now."
Sam Compton already knew what would kill him one day: Riley McKenna. Or more precisely, it was keeping his hands off Riley McKenna that would kill him. Because a heterosexual man didn't spend a decade in the company of a woman who looked like Riley without touching her. Not unless he wanted to die a slow, torturous death by sexual frustration. Riley, on the other hand, was blissfully unaware of Sam's plight and was quite likely to die as the hottest old lady on the block, completely blind to the fact that she'd killed ol' Sam Compton simply by being the most gorgeous woman alive. But it wasn't just her killer body that would do him in. Oh no. It was the entire package. Because Riley was a serious pain in the ass. His ass.
Riley: "You're putting a new spin on your big-brother routine. Usually you take on the little-boy tormentor role. Pushing my buttons, pulling my hair-"
Sam: "I have never pulled your hair."
Riley: "You've wanted to."
Sam: "Only because you're a brat."
Riley: "Sam here's a bit of a ... oh, what's the polite word ... recluse? You know, I don't think he's actually seen a woman's breast up close and personal since the Reagan administration."
Sam: "We're going to regret this."
Riley: "Maybe. But we're going to have a lot of fun doing it."
Sam: "Did you think I was going to chicken out?"
Riley: "Nah, but I was a little terrified you were going to show up in a borrowed suit while ordering fancy champagne."
Sam: "You overestimate your charms, McKenna. However, I did put on deodorant. You're welcome."
Sam: "You're jumpy. For someone who does this for a living ..."
Riley: "Now hold on there. I don't do this for a living. I write about sex for a living, I don't have sex for a living. There's a huge difference."
Sam: "Is there?"
Riley: "Yes. One's a journalist and one's a hooker."
Sam: "You'd make a terrible hooker."
Riley: "Taking that as a compliment."
Sam: "Wasn't meant as one. You'd be an awful prostitute because you're too mouthy."
Riley: "Mouthy's a bad thing?"
Sam: "Leave it to the sex journalist to pounce on double entendres."
Sam: "Hell no, it's- Jesus. We're not going to get through dinner if you keep doing that thing with your tongue."
Riley: "So let's skip it."
Sam: "Skip what?"
Sam: "Somehow I didn't think the day would ever come when I heard those words come out of Riley McKenna's mouth. You love food."
Riley: "Maybe tonight I want to love something else."
Julie: "So talk us through what happened."
Riley: "I thought I did that on the phone."
Julie: "No. What you said on the phone was, 'Sam saw me naked and then I ate three servings of room service mac and cheese.'"
Grace: "And then you called me and told me you got cock-blocked by his mom, which I think we all agree is a phrase that should be banned."
Emma: "No, I win. She called me and asked how Alex Cassidy felt about Brazilian waxes, because she had recently gotten one and didn't want all the pain to go to waste and thought he might be a viable candidate."
Riley: "Okay, on that last one, I didn't mean it. I may have been more than halfway through a mediocre bottle of merlot by then. Even I know that the exes are off-limits."
Julie: "So what did you tell her?"
Emma: "I told her to put either the phone or the bottle away before she made a drunk dial she'd come to regret.
Julie: "No, I mean about Alex's thoughts on lady grooming."
Emma: "You know, it's been a few years since I've cared about Cassidy's preferences for female pubic-hair arrangements."
Grace: "When you put it that way, it sounds a bit like landscaping."
Riley: "Hurts a hell of a lot more than landscaping. And I just want to point out that none of you were any help in any of those phone calls."
Riley: "I came to apologize. Aren't you going to say anything?"
Sam: "Let's just say that over the years, I've learned that any Riley McKenna 'apology' is best received with a helmet."
Emma: "You know, the plan."
Riley: "I don't think it's working."
Emma: "Are you kidding? The man's been burning you up with his eyes since the second he arrived on the field."
Riley: "Only because he wants to strangle me for being a brat."
Julie, Grace & Emma: "Don't!"
Julie: "You have hump eyes when you look at him."
Riley: "Hump eyes? That is not a thing."
Riley: "You know, if we weren't so solidly in the friend zone these days, I'd tell you that your passion about your company is kind of sexy."
Sam: "Sweetie, if we weren't so solidly in the friend zone, we'd be drinking my whisky naked in bed, not someone else's whisky in a bar."
Sam: "But you have done it once, right? I mean, you're not-"
Riley: "Not a virgin, no. No weird rituals or ripping of hymen to be expected."
Mitchell: "Wanna talk? Or want us to fuck off?"
Jake: "That one's a winner."
Mitchell: "We'll never see him again. Now shut up. Sam was about to explain how Riley's got his balls in a knot."
Jake: "I mean, you've read her stuff, right? She knows more about male anatomy than most penis doctors."
Mitchell: "They're called urologists. Or an andrologist, depending on the issue."
Jake: "Seriously? Don't be that guy."
Jake: "uh-oh, he's got the look again."
Sam: "What look?"
Mitchell: "The one I had on my face when I realized Julie wasn't just going to be a shits-and-giggles fling, and the one Jake had on his face when Grace handed him his balls at a baseball game."
Riley: "You sound kind of like a mom talking to her fifteen-year-old daughter."
Sam: "Did you want to get laid tonight? Because keep it up, and I might be on the next train back to Brooklyn."
Riley: "Fine by me. But then you can kiss that oral bit goodbye."
Sam: "What oral bit?"
Riley: "Never mind, I think I'm changing my mind ... Hey. I want ice cream!"
Sam: "Later. If you're good."
Riley: "At what?"
Sam gives her a look.
Riley: "Oh. That. Don't worry. I will be."
Sam: "You really will be the death of me."
Riley: "Well, at least you'll die happy."
Sam: "Who says I have a girlfriend?"
Liam: "It's written all over your whipped face."
Sam: "You're delusional."
Liam: "Am I? For starters, you've smiled about eight times more than usual. Next up, we have the puppy, which, like I've said, doesn't surprise me, but the breed of dog does. It's one of those fancy ones, not a mutt from the pound ... And then there's the more tangible proof ..."
Sam: "I can't wait to hear. Are my eyes more sparkly? Have I been doing something different with my hair?"
The dog brings Sam a red bra.
Sam: "No treat."
Liam: "But looks like Daddy got a treat."
Riley: "You bet on my love life?"
Julie: "Of course. And thank God we didn't bet on your sex life. That apparently would have been boring."
Riley: "Worth the wait, though."
Emma: "Jesus. She really is in love."
Riley: "I guess I've always been a little in love with him."
Julie: "You say that so easily. I almost crapped my pants when I realized I was in love with Mitchell."
Camille: "Riley, honey, what say you and me go have a little one-on-one chat at MoBar."
Riley: "Now? It's two o'clock."
Camille: "You really want to be sober when you explain to me why my sex columnist isn't having sex?"
Riley: "A drink sounds great."
Camille: "But sex ultimately has to be about self before it can be about the other person, right?"
Riley: "Are you talking about masturbation again?"
Camille: "I'm talking about the difference between being a girl and a woman."
Riley: "Wonderful. Whisky makes her deep."
Riley: "Ms. Compton, I know it's none of my business, but-"
Riley: "Actually, scratch that. It is my business, because I'm in love with your son. Yeah, that's right. Somehow, despite your best efforts to tear him down, he's turned into the most wonderful man I know, and for the life of me, I can't understand why his mother- the one person who should have loved him more than anything- is so blind to the person he's become."
Helena: "I love him."
Riley: "Do you? Have you ever told him that? Have you ever said you're proud of him? Have you seen his distillery? Asked about it? Did you know that he coached a soccer team last year, even though he didn't personally know a single kid on the team? Have you ever thanked him for driving all the way up here to visit only to have you crap all over him?"
Helena: "What do you know of it? You ever had a kid you didn't want at twenty? You ever try to tell the father, only to learn that he's skipped town and gave you a fake last name and a wrong phone number?"
Riley: "None of which is Sam's fault! I can respect that you've had a rough life, Helena, and maybe you're a little entitled to a little bitterness, but there's no excuse for taking it out on your son. None."
Riley: "He's good. He's the best."
Sam: "This is why, Riley. There's one tear now, but the longer this goes on, the more there will be when we end things, and I can't bear that. It's time to get real about this."
Riley: "Mission accomplished, Sam. I'm leaving. Not because you want me to, but because you're not even worth fighting for. You're a coward."
Sam: "Now hold on-"
Riley: "You want to get real? Let's talk about those ROON whiskey labels that I know are sitting on your worktable right now. The ones that I watched you painstakingly cut to get just right, so that they're deserving of the bottles you carefully selected and the whisky that's pretty damn close to perfect? Who's going to even see that, Sam?"
Sam: "What the hell does that have to do with anything?"
Riley: "Hey, how's that fantastic new blend coming along? The one that you said was the best you've ever made? Still locked in that cabinet?"
Sam: "We are not talking about it."
Riley: "Of course not. Bolt that shit up like you have your heart so that nothing ever hurts. Putting yourself out there doesn't have to end badly."
Sam: "Says the woman who didn't have sex for eight years because she was too afraid of being judged."
Riley: "That's not why! I didn't have sex for eight years because of you, you ass! I never let anyone touch me because they weren't you. Hell, the only reason I ever let Dan touch me was because my heart was broken after you got married."
Sam turns his head to look out the windshield.
Riley: "Yup! That's right. Retreat even further into your shell, because this shit's about to get scary. See, I've been halfway in love with you since the day I met you, and I know you looked at me the same way. Felt what I felt. And that day you kissed me at my parents house? Then I went and fell all the way in love with you, and I think you fell in love with me too."
Sam: "It's easier for you-"
Riley: "It's not. Life's not easier for any of us. The best we can do is choose to get through it with the right people. I thought you were the right person, but I see I've made a mistake."
Sam: "Riley, wait, I just ..."
Riley: "I waited ten years, Sam. You get one more week."
Sam: "One week until what?"
Riley: "To figure your shit out."
Sam: "Why a week?"
Riley: "Because that's when my Stiletto story is due. That's when I tell the true story about the woman behind the headline. And the true story? That definitely involves you. It's up to you to figure out how."
Liam: "Just one question. Exactly which one of you was going to tell me that you've been dating?"
Sam: "It didn't go well."
Liam: "Nah. Really?"
Sam: "Why aren't you more mad? Or are you just saving it until we step outside?"
Liam: "Well, I am a little mad. Mad that you didn't tell me. And I'm mad that Riley apparently wants to barbecue your balls for some reason."
Sam: "But you're not made that we ... you know ..."
Liam: "Screwed? No. I mean, I'm totally repulsed. But angry? I don't think so. I guess I figured it was bound to happen some way. The way you were always trying so damn hard no to look at her when the rest of the pervs openly stared."
Sam: "I'm an idiot."
Liam: "Another drink?"
Sam: "Will it make it hurt less?"
Liam: I was about to give you the required lecture about hurting my baby sister, but now I'm wondering if I need to have a talk with my baby sister about hurting my best friend."
Sam: "No. She didn't do anything wrong."
Liam: "Really? Because she pretty much castrated you with words. I mean I'd die for Riley, but this article is-"
Sam: "Completely deserved. Things were going great, and then I pushed her away like a little boy who decided he'd rather play video games than kiss the cute girl simply because it was easier."
Liam: "Wait, is she the one who got you the dog?"
Liam: "So that was her bra I saw?"
Sam: "You really want me to answer that?"
Liam: "No. No, I do not."
Liam: "I figure I've got two choices here. One: challenge you to a duel."
Sam: "Um, pass."
Liam: "Or two: help get you two weirdos back together so I can continue to eat my mother's mediocre cooking with my best friend and my sister."
Camille: "What are you girls doing in here? I haven't seen this much paper since college."
Riley: "They had paper back then? You didn't etch shit in stone?"
Grace: "How are you going to answer it?"
Sam: "I'm dying to hear the answer to that myself."
Riley: "Now. Where were we?"
Sam: "On the way to forever, I think."
Riley: "All that letter writing has turned you into a total cornball."
Sam: "Yeah, it's not my thing. But you know where I really excel? The bedroom."
Riley: "Oh yeah? I've been told I could be great at sex if I'd only play the field."
Sam: "Who told you that? Sounds like a moron."
Riley: "You've got a better idea?"
Sam: "Uh-huh. Same guy, every night, until death do you part."
Riley: "Let's do it."
Sam: "Don't even think about it."
Riley: "Think about what?"
Sam: "Matchmaker. You're bad at it."
Riley: "I matched us up."
Sam: "Something I might start to regret if your dog destroys one more pair of my shoes."
Riley: "What can I say? Pippy has a fondness for old sneakers from 1987."
Riley: "You've ruined weddings for the rest of us, because nobody will look as good in white as you do."
Grace: "Why, because I'm so virginal?"
Jake snorted and earned himself a jab in the ribs.
Alex: "Don't get lilies. Bad luck"
Emma: "They are not."
Alex: "Yeah? How'd those carefully selected centerpieces work out for us?"
Sam: "That's not going to happen to us when we finally get to wedding planning, right?"
Riley: "Get to wedding planning?"
Sam: "The major stuff, I mean."
Riley: "Oh, the major stuff. So the venue I've reserved, and the save-the-date cards I've ordered ... those were just, what? Trivial little details?"
Mitchell: "Abort. Abort."
Emma: "Ahem. Here's to Jake and Grace. I can think of no two better people better suited to the sham-"
Alex pinches Emma
Emma: "To the miracle that is marriage."
Julie: "And to Grace, who is the best friend any of us can possible imagine, even if she has better boobs than the rest of us ..."
Riley: "And to Jake, who actually does have some brains lurking behind - above? -his overly white teeth"
Sam: "To you two: for showing me that I might now want to marry this one and her whale cake after all -"
Jake: "And to all of you, for being the best wedding party, with the absolute worst toast."
Mitchell: "To Stiletto - for showing three different couples they were made for each other."
Check out the rest of the Stiletto & Oxford Series by Lauren Layne