Updated: Aug 23, 2021
by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
Standalone in I Do I Don't series
Gage Barrett’s reputation
as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .
Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
Runaway Groom is the second book in the I Do I Don't series by Lauren Layne, but can be read as a stand alone. Runaway Groom centers on Gage Barrett, a successful actor who loses a bet, and because of his pride, is forced to accept a role in a new reality show called Jilted. He will be forced to spend time with 24 women, and at the end, marry one of them.
For someone who likes romance novels, I don't like The Bachelor. I guess there is something to be said about the fact that Big Brother has more successful marriages to come out of it then The Bachelor. Drives me nuts. The whole idea of it is cheesy, so I wasn't sure if I would like this book. But I love Lauren Layne's books, and this one did not disappoint!
While the whole reality tv bit is dumb, it helps that the protagonists of the book also think its dumb, and have their own reasons for doing it. While at first, Gage seems like a womanizing dick, it's explained away when you find out the only woman he ever loved, left him, shacked up with his brother, and they just had a baby. Named with the same name they discussed naming their daughter one day.
As Ellie says, that's ice cold.
He obviously wants to settle down. To have a family. But it seems he has given up on the idea after his ex left him. Enter Ellie, who is contestant #21 out of 24 contestants, and one of the VERY few who are sane. He is immediately drawn to her because of her indifference. She isn't there to marry the guy. She is there to promote her company (luxury t-shirts) ... so while all the other women are dressed up, she comes out in jeans and a t-shirt ... and grabs his whiskey and drinks it down in one shot before saying hi. I loved it.
There relationship grows from there. Their banter with one another is so much fun, and their attraction to one another grows because, while she is meant to play his "spy" and give him a heads up on the crazy women, they also talk. They secretly text. They get to know one another. The only two things in the way: Ellie's obvious commitment issues stemming from her mother's new man of the month romantic life, and the other contestants on the show.
I mean ... if I had to watch the man I loved be kissed by other women ... I know I would want to leave too. The fact that Gage knew the only way to show El