Updated: Jan 17
Love the One You're With
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
Book #2 in the Sex, Love and Stiletto Series
As a leading columnist for Stiletto,
Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancé would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men’s magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she’s not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses . . . or is she?
Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what’s-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job . . . except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto. But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #ContemporaryRomance Feel Good
Love The One You're With is the second book in the Sex, Love and Stiletto series by Lauren Layne, and centers on Grace Brighton, one of Stiletto's relationship and dating columnist, and Jake Malone, Oxford magazine's dating expert. After both magazines get complaints that neither magazine truly knows the opposite sex, both editors in chief decide to do a joint study on reading the opposite sex over a series of dates. Grace feels like she has to prove to her readers that she does know how to read men, despite not seeing the warning signs her long term boyfriend was cheating on her, so she volunteers herself for the competition. Jake, being Oxford's relationship guru, is bribed into it with the promise that he will get the travel columnist gig that he has wanted to years.
As for originality, it's kind of cool that Grace and Jake, who had only met once previously in a taxi (and the sexual chemistry was intense), only end up seeing one another because of a competition between a womens magazine, and a mens magazine. Especially since Jake doesn't really date for the sake of finding "the one", and Grace is on a men hiatus since her disastrous nine year relationship. Despite their chemistry upon first meeting, Grace for sure would have said no to a date, and even if she did say yes, Jake wouldn't have stuck around long enough to actually get to know her.
I didn't find this book as emotional as the first book in the series. The climax is a bit lukewarm. I was sad for Grace, because just when she decides to take a chance on love, and try a relationship with Jake, he gets the travel gig, and leaves. It was not as heart pounding as Julie and Mitchell's story, when Mitchell finds out about Julie's story, and they break up. No. Much like Grace as a character, it was classy and calm. It just didn't make it interesting reading.
Despite being a bit boring at time, I do like the characters. I like Grace. She is classy and smart, and a bit sarcastic. She is also a romantic. One of the things I hated though, was the whole Grace 1.0 and 2.0 ... it kind of reminded me of Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey's whole inner goddess thing, and believe me when I say, nothing annoyed me more. I really enjoy Jake's character. Smart, sophisticated, funny, and a sweetheart, what's not to like?
Neither character had pasts that affected the story line in any way, like a lot of other romances do. Their issues in their relationship stem from present issues, like Jake's feeling of being meant for bigger things, and Grace's failed relationship, which is a nice change of pace, if a bit boring at time.
Love The One Your With is a quick read about two people falling in love, despite neither one of them actually wanting to. While not my favorite of the series, I still recommend it, as its cute, and leads in to the rest of the series, and it's spin off, the Oxford series.
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Watch out for that one, Grace 2.0 whispered. That smile will have you tucking your heart into your panties and handing the whole shebang over before he even buys you a drink. - Grace
Grace: "What makes you think I'm single?"
Jake: "You really want to know?"
Jake: "The spark."
Grace: "The spark."
Jake: "Between us. You felt it. Women in a happy relationship don't give off a spark like that."
Grace: "Happens all the time when I'm annoyed."
Jake: "And that - that's how I know you're not just single, but recently single."
Grace: "Well, don't you just have me all figured out."
Jake: "Let's see ... you're late twenties, I'm guessing twenty-eight, give or take, but you take care or yourself. Probably yoga, because you read in some magazine that it's good for your mind and body, and you think balance is pretty much the holy grail. You love your job, mainly because it allows you to wear tight skirts and high heels, although you have family money that supplements your income, which is why said skirt and high heels re designer instead of off the rack. The hair color's natural, the lip color's not, and the only reason you didn't go flying out of the car when I climbed in here with you is because you're desperate to get to your oh-so-important job. How'd I do."
Grace: "I'm twenty-nine. But not bad."
Grace: "My turn."
Jake: "Think you've got a read on me, huh?"
Grace: "So, let's see. You work out religiously, probably to counteract the scattering of gray hairs popping up prematurely at your temples. I say prematurely, because you're only thirty-three, but you work hard and you play hard, and you hate like hell that you can't control your hair as easily as you do your biceps. Your job requires you to be endlessly charming, something that you happily carry over to your personal life, which I'm guessing means your longest relationship is somewhere in the proximity of ... four months? Give or take. You fancy yourself a New Yorker, but your accent smacks of small-town Midwest- something you probably hate, though you'd never tell your parents, whom you're close to. It never occurred to you that a woman wouldn't want to share her cab with you, and now you'll spend the rest of the day wondering why I wasn't fishing for a reason to give you my number. Then you'll forget all about me tomorrow when the next tight skirt catches your eye. Also, your one-night stand with Miss Tribeca guarantees you're wearing yesterday's suit, although I'm guessing you drew the line on dirty underwear, which means you're currently commando, which, in conclusion, I would like to point out is completely disgusting. How'd I do?"
Jake: "Not bad."
Jake: "You got everything right but one detail."
Grace: "So you are wearing the dirty underwear, then?"
Jake: "No. I mean you were wrong about the part of me forgetting you by tomorrow. Something tells me I'll be remembering you for a long time."
Riley: "Was he hot?"
Grace: "Who cares if he was hot? I said he was an ass."
Julie: "Yes, but was he a hot ass?"
Jake: "What's with the Catwoman outfit?"
Grace: "I thought we just established I have a date."
Jake: "With who, Batman?"
Grace: "Just pretend you're interviewing me for the role of your bed-mate or girlfriend."
Jake: "The dress alone would have landed you the first one. But your personality is making it a little hard to envision the second ..."
Grace: "Gosh, I can't wait to get that in writing. You know, after I write this article, I wouldn't be at all surprised if women are lining up around the block to get a date with you so they can be constantly insulted."
Jake: "And my male readers will be leaving twenties on the dresser when they hear about that dress."
Grace: "Twenties, Malone? Really? Surely this is more of a triple-digit kind of dress."
Grace: "Your advice only works for someone like you."
Jake: "Someone like me?"
Grace: "Handsome. Fit. Overdosed on charm."
Jake: "Yeah, I hear women hate all those qualities."
Jake: "There was no dream, was there, Grace?"
Jake: "That text message. Implying that you'd had a naked dream about me."
Grace: "I never said I was naked."
Jake: "But you must have known I'd picture it that way. You must have known that I'd picture you naked in your bed, waking up thinking about me. Wanting me. Maybe touching yourself. So tell me ... there was no such dream, was there?"
Jake: "There's about to be."
Jake: Been thinking about me?
Grace: Yes. I spilled my coffee the other morning, and your article did a great job mopping up the mess.
Jake: So you read it.
Grace: I may have skimmed it.
Jake: And ...
Grace: Why don't you call me and find out?
Riley: "Graaaaaaaacie .... is there something you want to share with the class?"
Grace: "No comment. I don't want to hear one comment from any of you. Let me think this through."
Emma: "So no plan, then."
Riley: "She was flirting. I saw it."
Grace: "No helping."
Grace: "Why are you helping us with this? It's my magazine against yours. Isn't this ... treason?"
Cole: "Ah. Well, actually, I'm a contractor with Oxford, not a full-time employee, so technically I don't work for them unless they ask to a specific article or want my opinion on something."
Grace: "So you're not going to get in trouble for this?"
Cole: "Nah. Cassidy won't care as long as we sell magazines."
Grace: "I meant with Jake."
Cole: "Oh, I'll definitely get in trouble with him. Why do you think I'm doing it?"
Jake: "So I get forgiveness and a coffee?"
Grace: "you sound suspicious."
Jake: "Sweetheart, men don't make it past the age of twenty without learning to suspect every gesture from a female."
Jake: "How long have you been standing there?"
Cole: "Long enough, my friend. Long enough."
Grace: "You look tired."
Jake: A woman would slap you for such words."
Grace: "One of those double standards, I'm afraid. I'm guessing you can handle it."
Jake: "I haven't been sleeping much."
Grace: "How come?"
Jake: "Got a woman on my mind."
Grace: "just one?"
He turned his head to face her, his eyes locking on hers. The answer was written all over his face, and Grace's mouth went dry.
Jake: "If I kiss you, will you write about it?"
Grace: "DO you want me to write about it?"
Jake: "do you want me to kiss you?"
Cassidy: "aha. I Knew it."
Jake: Don't. Just don't."
Cassidy: "I thought Cole was full of shit when he said he thought there was more going on between you than just a little good-natured website banter. But here you are looking like I just took away your puppy. Or should I Say ... your girlfriend."
Jake: "She's not my girlfriend."
Cassidy: "You want her to be."
Grace: "When Mitchell's done copping a feel, can we lease deal with my crisis?"
Julie: "how much time do we have?"
Grace: "Um ... about eight minutes."
Julie: "Until you have to leave? OR is Jake coming over there?"
Grace: "HE's coming here. Something about that's how boys from the dairy farms do it."
Julie: "I'm trying to figure out if there's a sexual reference in there, but mostly it just seems weird. But either way, that's a big step for a first date. These days, showing a man your home is a bigger step than showing him your boobs."
Grace: "According to whom, Riley? And besides, he's already seen my home."
Julie: "what do you mean he's seen it? Jake Malone has been inside your apartment?"
Grace: "just once. HE came over after that first stunt with the video camera. I thought he was going to machete me to pieces, but mostly he just wanted to rant and stomp around manlike."
Grace: "IF you put any of this male genius up on that damned website, I'll deny all of it!"
Jake: "No website business tonight, Grace. This is just us. And don't start with that no-men nonsense either, or I'll take this champagne a couple streets over to that hussy I Was with the morning we met."
Grace: "i lied before. I Don't need sex. Just hands over the macaroons and the chocolates and slip out the back door."
Jake: "Okay, then. I think we've had just about enough of that. Usually decadent desserts get them into my bed. They don't replace me in their bed."
Jake's ex: "You'r a pickle-cocked, womanizing ass-hat!"
Cole: "Is he really pickle-cocked?"
Grace: "I Couldn't say. What's happening?"
Jake: "Sharpe, you are seriously killing me today."
Cole: "Hey, you should be thanking me. I Was ready to pull the fire alarm if she got any hotter."
Jake: "I hope you were referring to her temper."
Cole: "OF course. Although, those legs-"
Grace clears her throat.
Cole: "Were bony, and gangly, and way too long to be practical."
Grace: "You've been well trained."
Cole: "You know, I've been well trained in other, more interesting areas-"
Jake: "And that's about enough of Cole."
Grace: "Speaking of, what did you think about my assertion that only men with small weewees find it necessary to buy the 'meat lover's special' pizza?"
Jake: "I took note. And did you notice my pizza order today?"
Grace: "Plain cheese. Very nice."
Jake: "Very manly, you mean."
Grace: "Yes. Very manly."
Jake: "excellent. Do you have your phone with you? Perhaps you could just make a little update to that blog post, letting the women of New York know that my boring cheese pizza means I have a massive member?"
Grace: "Please. You know I Never lie."
Jake: "I believe there's a solution to this little disagreement. A redo."
Grace: "A redo?"
Jake: "Yes. My penis is being unfairly misrepresented. I want a chance to prove to you that it's absolutely fitting for a man who's comfortable ordering just cheese."
Grace: "They're great."
Jake: "UH-huh. IF by great you mean prying, interfering, and being all-around pains in the ass."
Grace: "So, you want to show me your 'hood?'"
Jake: "Are you trying to be hip right now?"
Jake: "Always the good girl. Always following the rules."
Grace: "Good girl? We just humped in a rental car."
Jake: "The food will be here in thirty. I'm texting you my address. If you're not here before the food, everyone on the website will know all about that jaguar noise you make when you come."
Grace: "you poor baby."
Jake: "It was confusing, not bring adored and fawned upon."
Jake: "Why'd you say no to Greg?"
Grace: "Because he cheated on me."
Jake: "Why else?"
Grace: "The ring was too big. Gaudy, really."
Jake: "One more try."
Grace: "There's this other guy ..."
Grace: "Uh-huh. And he's not really a one-woman kind of guy, but the thing is ... I can't stop thinking about him."
Jake: "Have you asked him?"
Grace: "Asked him what?"
Jake: "If he wants to be a one-woman kind of guy?"
Grace: "Not directly. But I did come all the way uptown in a subway in the middle of a downpour."
Jake: "You rode the subway?"
Grace: "Couldn't get a cab in this weather."
Jake: "How was it?"
Jake: "And was it worth it?"
Grace: "That depends."
Grace: ""Are you willing to be a one-woman kind of guy?"
Jake: "I sort of want to brawl with this Greg character. Does that answer your question?"
Grace: "I'm a modern woman. Violence doesn't do it for me."
Jake: "Okay, how about this? Hearing that Greg proposed is one of the worst moments of my life in recent history."
Jake: "Because I want you to be a one-guy kind of woman. And I want to try to be that man."
Mitchell passes Julie a hotdog
Mitchell: "No relish."
Julie pulls Mitchell down for a very baseball-inappropriate kiss
Grace: "Wow, that's a lot of tongue just because the guy managed to get your condiments right."
Julie: "Inside joke."
Jake: "My mom warned me I was going to have to say this ... she didn't mention how hard it would be."
Mitchell: "He's talking about his mom. Smooth moves, dude."
Jake: "Can be please get some quiet here? It's like this, Grace. I love you. I do. And I know this isn't a romantic way to say it, and I should probably have truffles and Merlot and some shit, and instead someone just spilled beer all over my foot, but that's the way my love is going to be. A little bit messy, completely confused. But it's real."
Cole: "Total spectacle, dude. Also, completely cheesy."
Jake: "Shut it, Sharpe. Don't think I'm going to forget that you nearly kissed my woman."
Cole: "Well, someone needs to. God knows you've been too busy running your mouth to kiss her proper."
Jake: "Are you asking if I want to be with you until I'm old, gray, and saggy in interesting places?"
Check out the rest of the Stilletto & Oxford series below!