Sunday, August 10, 2014

10 Heart Review: Only with You by Lauren Layne

Only with You (The Best Mistake #1)
Lauren Layne

Page Count: 260
Release Date: July 29th, 2014
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Book Group)
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by author, via tour publicist, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Lauren Layne and Tasty Book Tours!)

Love is the biggest gamble of all...

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute... well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing...
Something twisted in Sophie's stomach. "So you [guys] aren't serious?" She didn't know why she'd asked. Or why the answer was somehow important.
[Gray's] eyes opened and they locked with hers before drifting to her mouth. "No. A couple casual dates. More companionship than romance."
"Oh," Sophie said, licking her dry lips. "I don't like you," she blurted out, feeling very much like a fourth grader. But she'd had to say something. He was just so close.
"I don't like you much either," he said.
But the way their bodies leaned toward each other made liars out of both of them.

Very few books can make me laugh out loud—particularly in the romance genre, unless it's over how ridiculous the dialogue or characters are—but Lauren Layne had me clutching my sides with her rare ability to combine heart-melting romance with caustic humor in this first full-length novel.

The magic lies in the protagonist, Sophie; a smart, but under-ambitious social butterfly who's always been happy with just being the fun one, she is probably one of the most lovable female characters I've "met," ever. Only with You is mostly from her third-person perspective, which sets the tone of the novel perfectly: just like her, it's snappy, sparkly, and witty. You can't not crack a smile every time Sophie makes a family-inappropriate remark or dives into a hilarious faux pas with Gray.

And it all starts when he mistakes her for a prostitute. The first time they meet.

Readers, you've been warned: this is not a sweet, love-at-first-sight kind of romance. It's a Wait—you're-not-a-gold-digger?!?!? kind of romance. And it's one of the best I've ever read.

Sophie's your typical fun-loving, confident party girl, but as her masked vulnerabilities are slowly revealed, readers discover she's also got a darker, more rebellious side. She refuses to fit into the cookie cutter mold of her lawyers-and-doctors family, or to live up to her boring-as-nude-pumps, perfect orthodontist sister—not because she isn't good enough, but because she doesn't want to risk disappointing anybody. For a girl who's always at ease with herself and possesses the uncanny gift of making others feel at ease with her, she's actually pretty vulnerable, and she's got quite a bit of figuring out in her life to do.

You'd think Grayson Wyatt would have less to worry about. For one thing, he's employed... hell, he's CEO, he's rich, he's respectable—and he's very much not as social as Sophie is. In his cold wall of solitude and brooding, he's a loner, always alone, but also... really lonely. There were deep aspects about his history that cut me deeply, but for the most part, his persona is hilariously stiff and awkward... not awkward in that he's poorly written, but awkward as in OMG!! The situations he and Sophie get themselves into will make you laugh so hard! His reserved personality is definitely a huge contrast to Sophie's bubbly, social demeanor, making them polar opposites, but you know what they all say: don't opposites attract?

The two spend the majority of the book hating each other's guts while constantly, secretly thinking about one another naked... the heated office arguments, the brilliant back-and-forth witticisms, and the sultry glances create the ultimate sexual tension. Gray's difficulty expressing genuine feelings, as well as Sophie's fear of being the class disappointment—as always—further accentuate the impossibility of an actual relationship between them, but somewhere along their journey of late-night, soul-searching talks, chance encounters, and small, but significant surprising revelations, they each find themselves falling into the least expected trap of all: love.

While the enemies-to-lovers plot isn't unheard of in the world of romance novels, Layne puts a sarcastic, but entirely provocative, spin to it. Nothing in the novel was trite or overdone; from the weighty characters, to the mortifying situations they get into, everything is so original, so entertaining, and best of all, so cuttingly hilarious.

The sizzling chemistry between Sophie and Gray (that could only result from such polar-opposite individuals) is so well developed and believable. The slow construction of their emotional connection made me ache and squirm and swoon, because it felt like real romance. It isn't ridiculous insta-love that gives romance novels such a bad rap—it's the real thing.

Only with You is a bright and playful romance that still manages to convey the painful, frustrating emotions of falling in love under resistance and the beautiful art of the unexpected human connection. As the heat builds up, and walls begin to fall, Sophie and Gray find themselves longing for things they vowed to never want, yet now find themselves aching for... but only with each other.

Pros


Funny!! Made me laugh out loud // Tone is light, fresh, and entertaining // Loved Sophie and her outrageous but hilarious family // Gray is your classic tall, dark, and handsome—the perfect wounded hero with a hard shell // SO MUCH PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL CHEMISTRY BETWEN SOPHIE AND GRAY. I CAN'T EVEN // Hot, hot makeout and sex scenes—wowwee! // Everything a good contemporary romance should be

Cons


He has steely gray eyes and his name is Mr. Grey Gray? Where have we encountered this before??

Love

"We met at the gym, actually," Brynn said, setting her hand on Gray's overworked bicep. "He was at the treadmill next to me, and when I dropped my iPod, he picked it up."
"Naturally, I had to ask her to dinner," Gray said with all the emotion of a cyborg.
"Oh, naturally," Sophie said around a piece of bread. Her mother gave her a warning glare.
This book made me crack up more than a several times, but that conversation just had me rolling!

On a more serious note:
"Are you sure we should do this?" she asked breathlessly.
"No. I'm never sure of anything with you."

Verdict


A sexy, vibrant twist on the CEO-meets-secretary romance trope, Only with You is a modern, energetic, and masterfully portrayed love story that both smolders in sexual tension, and provides uproarious bouts of comic relief. Sophie's sarcastic, self-deprecating bits of humor and easygoing radiance (I dare you not to love Sophie Dalton!) and Gray's solid determination to resist her inevitable charms, make for a steamy, catch-and-release game with a corporate flush—but as we all know, love is never just a game. Lauren Layne combines all of my favorite things—colorful characters (is Gray a color?), amusing banter, hot sex, and heartfelt emotion—in this exemplary, hard-to-put-down first novel in the new The Best Mistake series; I confidently say it's my new favorite contemporary romance—which is pretty impressive, considering it's my favorite genre!! Americanflag

10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. Drop everything and go buy yourself a copy now! (x)