Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Tour for Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Fans of the the friends to lovers theme will find themselves charmed by Blurred Lines, Ms. Layne's latest standalone release.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of this sweet and sexy read, along with my impressions of it.  You can learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour before adding it to your bookshelf.  In celebration of this book release make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a Loveswept mug, a Flirt mug, and a collection of eBooks too!

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?
When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.
The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

EXCERPT:

I scoop up the last bite of cereal from my bowl as I stand. “We should probably get going,” I say, still chewing. “IKEA gets crazy on Saturdays, and I don’t want to risk them being out of stock on the extra-large shelves."
“You have that many dolls?” Liz asks, looking torn between being creeped out and feeling completely sorry for me.
“Fifty-seven and counting,” I say, straight-faced. “And actually, Ben, if you’re going to be a while, I might just run upstairs and brush their hair? I noticed last night Polly was starting to develop a tangle.”
Ben drains his coffee, pushes back from the counter, and shakes his head at me. “You poor, sick weirdo.”
Then he turns to Liz, putting his hands on her skinny waist and pulling her forward with an apologetic smile. “You mind if I take a raincheck on breakfast?”
I barely hide the snort. In Ben’s world, raincheck is a synonym for I’m going to intentionally lose your phone number.
In under a minute, Ben is nudging Liz out onto the front porch, and, impressively, she doesn’t even look pissed. I follow them out, just to be annoying, watching as he whispers something in her ear. Her eyes go wide and sympathetic and she gives me an It’s gonna be okay, little buddy smile. She heads toward the sidewalk with a wave.
“What did you just tell her?” I ask, taking a sip of my coffee as we watch her leave.
“I told her you were an abandoned orphan and that the only thing your birth mother left you with was a doll named Polly. Hence the sad obsession.”
I shake my head. “You know I’m going to have to rewrite the house rules. And No dolls will so be going on there.”
Liz turns back and gives one last wave. Both Ben and I wave back, and I can’t help myself. “Enjoy your walk of shame!” I call after her, my voice sweet as sugar.
Liz’s head snaps back as though trying to determine if she heard me correctly, but Ben puts a hand over my face and shoves me back into the house before closing the front door.
He absently rubs a hand over his abs as he looks me up and down.
“You should change. You can’t wear your ratty booty shorts and that ugly T-shirt to IKEA.”
“First of all, you can absolutely wear your rattiest and ugliest T-shirts to IKEA. That’s pretty much the IKEA dress code. And second, we’re not going to IKEA. Really, are you getting so comfortable with your lies that they become fact in your mind?”
“We are going to IKEA,” he says, running both hands through his short brown hair before heading toward the stairs.
“For what?” I ask.
“I need a new dresser.”
“What’s wrong with your old dresser?”
“It broke.”
I wrinkle my nose. “How the hell do you break a dresser?”
He shoots me a look over his shoulder and wiggles his eyebrows.
It takes me only seconds before I put the pieces together. “Airhead?” I hitch a thumb over my shoulder at the departed female. “You banged her against the dresser?”
“Hey, she was unusually tall, which gave me the unusual opportunity and prime angle to—”
I slap my hands over my ears and start singing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” my default protective gesture whenever Ben gets a little too colorful with descriptions of his sexual antics.
Another house rule: Parker absolutely does not want to know what happens in Ben’s bedroom.
“Hey, do you and Lance have plans today?” he asks.
“Maybe you should have asked that before you mandated an IKEA trip. But no, he’s got an all-day study group.”
Lance is getting his MBA from the University of Portland.
“Cool. Let’s grab lunch after.” He heads into his bedroom without looking at me.
Lunch, huh?
I narrow my eyes and sprint up the stairs after him, pushing open his door before he can shut it in my face.
Sure enough, his dresser is definitely leaning unhealthily to one side, and I count two, no make that three, condom wrappers.
He pulls a green polo from the tiny closet in the corner and looks around his messy floor until he finds his jeans.
I wait expectantly.
“What?” he asks.
“Lunch?” I lift my brows. And wait for the explanation.
Ben scratches idly at his slightly stubbled chin. Sharing a bathroom with the guy, I know he shaves every morning, but the stubble seems to be perpetual.
“Well, you know that girl I dated a couple weeks ago? Kim?” he asks. “She wanted me to go to her sister’s engagement brunch, and I told her I was busy all day. But she’s just crazy enough to stop by and see if I’m actually out of the house, so I thought we should be elsewhere. . . .”
I hold up a hand. “Fine. I’ll be your alibi. But I get to pick the restaurant, and you’re buying. Oh, and you have to put the toilet seat down every day for an entire week.”
He raises his hand as though wanting to say something in class. “I’d like to add a house rule: Parker isn’t allowed to tell Ben how to pee.”
You don’t make the house rules. I do. And I didn’t tell you how to pee,” I say exasperatedly as he wrenches open a dresser drawer and pulls out a pair of boxers. “I’m trying to do your future wife a favor by teaching you how not to be a pig.”
He inches by me into the hallway. “Another house rule: Parker shalt not say profanities as future wifeto a dedicated bachelor.”
“You’re not a dedicated bachelor. You’re just a typical horny twenty-four-year-old dude, and, again, you don’t make the house rules—hey!”
He shuts the door to our shared bathroom in my face, and too late I realize that I’d missed all the classic signs of a skilled Ben Olsen diversion. He’d just wanted to beat me into the bathroom.
“Don’t use all the hot water!” I shout, pounding my palm on the door.
The door opens just enough for me to see one blue eye blinking back at me. “Didn’t you say Polly had a tangle? You better go get on that.”
The door shuts again, and I pound a second time. “Remember, the green towel is mine. The white one is yours.”
I wait for confirmation, but there’s only silence.
“Ben, I know you can hear me! Don’t ‘accidentally’ use mine just because yours smells funny.”
More silence.
Damn it. He is so planning to use my towel.
So, yeah, my best friend is a guy. Doesn’t mean I have to like it all the time.

FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  iBOOKS  |  KOBO


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

It's a commonly held belief that men and women can never just be best friends as attraction and emotions always get in the way.  For years though Parker and Ben have defied the odds as roommates and best friends through thick and thin. They understand each other wholeheartedly, each quirk and look, and at times their closeness intimidates others.  Their whole lives revolve around each other as they work next door to one another while their home life puts her in a caretaking role that she enjoys.  They have a set of rules they live by though which leads to many moments of humor as well as complications.

The biggest complication occurs the day Parker's boring long-term boyfriend Lance dumps her and a plan to heal from the hurt has her and Ben crossing lines they once thought off limits.  Parker's bruised by Lance's rejection as she thought they were destined to wed and is determined to jump back into the dating world with the sexually knowledgable Ben as her wingman.  With her confidence at an all time low though she proposes that Ben and her have a friends with benefits relationship to help her gain confidence and put an end to her sexual drought.  What starts out as fun and flirty with no doubts soon becomes riddled with second guesses as a connection deeper than any they had before puts their friendship in jeopardy.  For the most part I liked Parker as she's funny, supportive, and loyal to her friends.  When it comes to Lance though I felt she was settling.  Their relationship had become too comfortable and therefore lacked spark.  With Ben there was never a problem with sparks! Their friendship was sweet and caring with undertones of sensuality they ignored for years.  Once they became intimate their playful chiding teemed with unrelenting sexual tension that culminated in numerous scorching sexual interludes full of life.  With Lance she was living but with Ben she was living a life with a man she let fear keep her from for far too long.

Ben is seen as a player as he's uninterested in having a relationship, becomes easily bored with women once he gets to really know them.  He's a funny, sexy, immensely likable guy who exudes confidence in and out of the bedroom. Behind his cool facade though lies a man lacking confidence as he comes from a family of overachievers.  He's always felt lacking but with Parker he's often made to feel like her hero as he's been with her through the illness of her mother, become a close-knit part of her family.  Though he's scared of their friends with benefits relationship marring their friendship he can't turn her down after she practically challenges him.  What follows is a journey of self-discovery for him where he finally lets himself acknowledge his loving feelings for Parker and her role in his inability to commit.  He'll never admit it out loud though for fear of it ending their friendship until Lance's wedding proposal forces both of them to finally take a chance on the power of love and the strength of their connection.  Though he doesn't realize it Ben's extremely lovable and charming, attuned to Parker's moods and feelings, which gives credence to his ability to be a good boyfriend.  I know I've certainly added him to my list of book boyfriends as he never ceased to put a smile on my face.

From start to finish this story was an utter delight with its playful and witty banter between the two leads and the scorching sexual chemistry they ignored for far too long.  Their connection is heartfelt and once it morphed into something more I was rooting for them every step of the way.  Their interactions with the secondary characters was equally entertaining as each of their friends had a unique personality, but together they formed a group you could see yourself hanging around with.  The only thing to mar my enjoyment of this story was Parker's dealings with the boring Lance as he had no personality and faded into the background whenever Ben was present.  Dealing with Lance added unnecessary drama and took time away from the fun and flirty relationship that Parker and Ben had.  Despite that minor issue this was a winning story that nicely balanced the sensual romance and an entertaining friendship meant to be more.  Readers who love well-written dialogue, heartfelt emotions, and engaging characters need look no further than Ms. Layne's newest masterpiece!

My rating for this is an A.

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting BLURRED LINES! Terrific Review!

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