Title: The Trouble With Love (Sex, Love, & Stiletto #4)
Author: Lauren Layne
Publishing Date: March 3, 2015 (Loveswept)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.
As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.
After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.
Hi Lauren! Welcome to Girl meets Books. First of all I’d like to thank you for writing Alex and Emma’s story. When I first met the two of them earlier in the series, I knew I would be dying to find out more about them. Now, having read their book, it was just a phenomenal reading experience, for me. So thank you!
LL: Thank YOU. Girl Meets Books has always been such a huge supporter of my career and I always jump at the chance to stop by here!
I think the original plan for the Stiletto series was for it to be a three-book series but how did Alex and Emma enter the big picture?
LL: Stiletto was absolutely envisioned as a three book series. Even when I introduced Emma in Book 2 (Love the One You’re With), it was more about shaking up Grace’s comfort level than it was introducing a new character. But by the end of that book, it had become pretty clear that Emma was a great addition to the group and wasn’t going anywhere.
As for Alex … I knew that the plot of book 2 required an editor of Oxford magazine, and figured “why not make him sexy?” I also knew that I wanted Emma to have some sort of broken-hearted past, so as I was writing the ending of book 2, I had this flash of combining those two elements into the Alex Cassidy character. It was a good move, if I do so say so myself, as it gave Emma/Cassidy a reason to be in constant contact, even though they can’t stand the sight of the other person.
What was it like writing their story? The first two books in the series were about couples who were complete strangers to each other before they met. The third book was about a couple that already has a history but it was friendship. For this fourth book, the history was a past relationship, a past engagement even. What was different or the same about writing this one?
LL: This one was a bit different than the others in that it was easier; I think because I’d had SO much time to envision Emma and Cassidy over the course of writing the other books (plus the longer gap between the release of book 3 and 4) , so by the time I put my fingers to the keyboard, the story felt like it just flew out of me. Usually as I’m writing, there’s at least one point in the manuscript where I pause and have to think about what should happen next, but with The Trouble With Love, I already knew.
This was a really emotional read, for me, and not because there was a lot of bawling-your-eyes-out kind of scenes but scenes that just hit you right in the heart. How do you get to a writing mindset with those scenes? Do you listen to music or do have to have a quiet place in order to write?
LL: It was emotional for me too! And I create soundtracks for all my books as I write, but music was particularly important in this one. Two songs come to mind; the first is Cher Lloyd’s Want U Back; I’d never heard it until it showed up on one of my random “cardio” Pandora stations, and the second I heard it, it made me think of the early chapters between Emma and Alex when their walls are still up, they’re still guarded, but after years of easily ignoring each other, they’re starting to get under each other’s skin. For some reason, this song became the de facto soundtrack for that part of the book. I’d listen to it every day on my morning run, and by the time I came back to my computer, my story is BURSTING with ideas.
The other song that was pivotal (and if you’ve read the book you probably already know what I’m going to say!) is Carrie Underwood’s I Told You So. Country music doesn’t usually show up on my playlists, but I’ve always found this song beautifully haunting, and when I heard it playing on a random trip to the drug store, it immediately made me FEEL what Emma and Alex are feeling. So much so that it’s actually a part of a VERY important scene!
The couples from the first three books make an appearance in this book. How much fun was it writing about the whole gang?
LL: SO fun. Some of my favorite scenes, for sure. The ONLY part I don’t like about that is trying to figure out who gets what bits of dialog!They’re all talking in my head at once, all wanting their say. Usually Riley’s the loudest, so she gets the most say, but I love some of Mitchell’s under the breath comments 🙂
I love reading second-chance-love stories and I was wondering if you enjoy reading them too. Do you have your favorites that you can share with us? Or if not, what are some of your favorite romance tropes, to write about and to read about?
LL: You know, I’ll confess that it never occurred to me that this was a second-chance romance until fans started calling it that. But of course, in hindsight, I can see that that’s totally what this story is!
And I do like second-chance romances—Macy Beckett’s Sultry with a Twist is absolutely amazing. And one of my favorite books of all time (Judith McNaught’s Paradise) is also a second-chance romance.
As far as my favorite trope, though? Probably enemies-to-lovers.They tend to provide the best opportunity for banter, and man I love my banter!
I do believe that this book is a segue or an introduction to the world of the bachelors at Oxford. Can you tell us a bit about that next project of yours or any other plans you have in the future that we, your fans, can look forward to?
LL: Well, I have SEVEN books out in 2015, starting with The Trouble With Love, and you’re so right about Oxford! My October and December releases are both about Oxford men! I can’t tell you much yet, just because it’s early, but I can tell you that the Oxford spin-off series starts with Cole and an adorable tomboy heroine who’s trying to steal his job as sports editor. I have a downloadable PDF on my website that has a list of all my 2015 releases for anyone that’s interested!
Thank you so much for dropping by and chatting with me, Lauren. I keep saying that I would love to read a new Lauren Layne release every month, if that were at all possible, which I guess isn’t, but a girl can dream, right? lol 🙂
LL: Aww, thanks! And as I said before, thanks so much for having me. I love your blog, and you really knocked it out of the park with these thoughtful questions. I loved answering them as you can probably tell from my lengthy response 🙂
The elevator doors had just started to close when a male hand stuck between them, activating their sensors so that the doors reopened.
Great. Really freaking fantastic.
A lesser woman would have groaned in dismay at the sight of the man in front of her.
Emma merely straightened her shoulders, ignoring Julie’s softly uttered “Oh, dear.”
It was him.
The man was gorgeous in the sort of way that made women stop and stare. The tall and lean athlete’s body was as impeccably dressed as ever in a trim, perfectly tailored black suit. No sign of a tie today, although there often was one.
His dark hair was perfectly styled, the clean-shaven face showing off a strong jaw and symmetrical lips.
And the eyes . . . green today, although they often could burn blue.
But Emma didn’t have to look at the man to know all of this.
She knew it all from her memories. Bad memories.
He didn’t falter at the sight of Emma and her low-cut cocktail dress and ugly wet bun.
In fact, he didn’t look at her at all.
Nothing—not surprise, not even acknowledgment—fluttered across his features at her presence.
The man was in control.
Julie shifted to the corner of the elevator to make room for him, and he nodded briefly at her before turning so that he and Emma were standing shoulder to shoulder.
The doors closed, and Emma lifted her eyes to the little screen that indicated the floor number.
He mimicked her posture, his eyes also focused on the spot where the L became 1, then 2 as they ascended.
“Emma,” he said politely, not looking at her.
“You’re looking well.”
“And you,” she said, her tone smooth. Monotone.
“You didn’t get dressed up on my account, I hope.” His voice never lost its casual politeness.
She didn’t so much as glance at him. “Oh, do you not like it? I’ve been so hoping a fancy dress is all it would take for you to ask for my number.”
The elevator stopped on the seventh floor, and Emma and Cassidy stepped to the side so the man in the back corner could exit. In sync, they moved immediately back into their previous positions as the door closed.
They still had not looked at each other.
“You know, it’s a little bright for my taste,” he mused, as though they’d never been interrupted. “I like more subdued colors on a woman. Say . . . white. I always like to see a woman in a white dress. Do you own one?”
Julie cleared her throat, although Emma couldn’t tell if it was a warning or a laugh.
The elevator stopped at 12. Emma’s stop. Finally.
“Excuse me,” she murmured to Cassidy as she stepped off, her voice sugary sweet.
Julie followed her.
And much to Emma’s dismay, so did Cassidy.
“Wrong floor, Cassidy,” Julie said sweetly, with a pretty smile for the wretched man.
“Not today it’s not,” he replied.
“Ah,” Julie said. “Got a meeting with Camille?”
Camille Bishop was the editor in chief of Stiletto magazine, and Julie and Emma’s boss. Since Cassidy was the editor in chief of Oxford magazine, Stiletto’s brother publication, it wasn’t strange that he occasionally stopped by the twelfth floor.
Didn’t mean Emma had to like it.
“See you ladies around,” Cassidy said with a smile for Julie. Emma barely warranted a glance. “Oh, and Emma, just a friendly reminder that winter’s right around the corner. Careful you don’t catch a cold with that wet head.”
He moved away before Emma had a chance to respond. Or give him the finger. Not that she would have bothered.
Lauren Layne is a snarky cynic with a serious weakness for happily ever afters.
Marrying her high school sweetheart was a good start. *cue Disney soundtrack.* But Lauren wanted all romance, all the time.
Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books. Don’t worry. You will.
Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she’s on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she’ll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.
Connect with Lauren Layne:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Have you read any of Lauren Layne’s books? Aren’t they just amazing? If you haven’t read any of hers yet, pick one up right now. lol 🙂
Also, check out the blog next week for my review. 🙂