Updated: Sep 5
Love Story by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept Stand-alone in Love Unexpectedly series
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.
Spoilers ahead my friends!
Right off the gate, I gotta tell you, I loved this book. Loved it so much, I read it in a day. I loved it so much, I couldn't sleep until I finished it, despite only having 2 hours sleep the night before.
I love a forbidden love story. I thought that was what I was getting into. Typically in these types of stories, it involves a brother, telling his best friend to stay away from his sister, leading to the best friend and the sister wanting to be together, but scared to come out with their feelings due to the consequences. Lauren Layne did something completely different though. The brother didn't say anything. No promises were made. There is a forbidden element, because Reece and Lucy do believe it is. Ultimately, its their own insecurities and inner demons that hold them back though.
Relationships are messy. This relationship is a disaster, which made it all that more real. We all have our baggage, and this story highlights what it can do to people, no matter how much they love each other. Despite the back and forth bickering between Reece and Lucy, as readers, we get an insight into how they are feeling. That under all the pain and hurt, they love each other. They just need to come to terms with their pasts, and tell each other how they feel. While some books will have you frustrated that it takes them so long to embrace their feelings, the way the story is written, makes you understand why it takes so long, and helps you forgive the things they say and do to each other. The characters dry, sarcastic humor, and sexual tension drives this story to the very end. I often forgot that in the end, I wanted them together, and just enjoyed the present with them.
While the story is the most important part, secondly, for me at least, I have to at least like the characters. Lucky for me, Lucy and Reece are easy to love. Lucy is passionate, driven and smart. Reece is rough around the edges, but he had a shitty childhood. He has baggage. It works for him. He is also just as smart, despite the fact he may not see it. One of the highlights of this book was the bickering between Reece and Lucy. Despite them loving each other, they call each other out on their bullshit.
Lauren Layne could have went with the cliché brother/best friend/sister plot, but didn't. Instead, she relied on the characters pasts, their insecurities and fears, and miscommunications in the past to propel the story. There was never a point where I was bored. From the start, to the end, there was always something going on to reach that ultimate end, and I have to appreciate that there was never a time where I felt like there was wasted words on a page.
Lucy: "Reece Sullivan's phone."
Lucy: "Where is he? He's in the restroom. It might be a while, if you know what I mean."
Reece tries to grab phone,
Lucy: "Shannon you say? Of course I will pass on the message. He definitely misses you too, hun. Uh huh. Yup, I'll for sure tell him. Got to run though, he's hollering for more toilet paper."
Reece: “Go tell your family goodbye. Let's get this nightmare on the road." Lucy: "Right. Right. Because heaven forbid we put off the inevitable of finishing what we started years ago: destroying each other.”