Redemption # 2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 14th, 2015
Loveswept: Flirt


Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half-brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?



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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Kristin pauses long enough to glare at her sister again. The ball goes sailing past her, and I see her frown.

Not exactly the flirtatious foreplay I’d been hoping for today.

But since I can’t make the annoying sister go away, I figure the least I can do is to engage her in conversation so she quits bugging Kristin.

“You play tennis, Chloe?” I call out as I pull out another ball and serve it to Kristin, harder this time.

“Do I look like I’m all about cardio?” she calls back in a cheerful voice.

“What about when you were younger? You didn’t take lessons?”

“Um, that’s a negative,” Chloe says around a mouthful of chocolate. She has a candy bar now. 

“Some of us were reading Harry Potter like normal kids.”

“Ignore her,” Kristin says sharply, delivering a strong forehand in the direction of her sister.

It misses by several feet, but the aim was not accidental, I’m guessing.

Chloe apparently takes the hint, because for the next several minutes, she seems to settle down with her book. I start to forget she’s there, except for when she occasionally shouts out a request for me to flex, or to “circle real slow-like so I can see the goods.”

I do my best to ignore her.

It’s not easy.

Kristin’s serve is sloppy today, which I’m guessing has something to do with her sister’s distracting presence, but I’m not really complaining. It’ll give me a chance to touch her as I correct her form.

“You’re using too much wrist,” I say, nabbing the ball she’d just sent over. “Let’s work on it.”

I start to head over to the other side of the net, and our eyes lock as I make my way toward her, but then her eyes move over my shoulder and widen in surprise and something else before a huge smile breaks across her face.


I freeze for a split second, the name splintering through my consciousness. It’s possible there are other Devons, of course, but not likely.

And the Devon I know is dating Kristin Bellamy.

It’s the reason I’m after her. Well. That and the body.

I turn slowly, waiting to get my first glance at one of the very reasons I’m in Cedar Grove, Texas, in the first place. But even though I think I’m prepared for it, his features are still a shock.

This kid is a dead ringer for Tim Patterson.

I realize that I’m not dead inside like I’ve been thinking these past few months.

I watch as Kristin’s arms go around Devon’s neck, and my fingers tighten on the handle of my tennis racket.

I wait for a stab of jealousy.

I feel nothing.

This had been the plan all along: Use Kristin to get to Devon.

Then use Devon to get to Tim.

I let them have their moment. The game I’m playing is a long one. No need to rush things.

As I go to grab a bottle of water, my eyes inadvertently fall on mouthy, messy Chloe Bellamy.

I pause.

Gone is the snarky, don’t give a shit Chloe  who’d been hollering smart-ass remarks just a couple minutes before.

Her eyes are locked on her sister’s boyfriend, and the look on her face is painfully familiar.

I know that look.

I know that look better than I’ll ever admit to anyone.

Chloe Bellamy is in love with her sister’s boyfriend. I’ve got a pretty damn good idea how shittily that’s going to work out for her.

Chloe rips her eyes away and stares unseeingly down at her book. Her eyes squeeze shut.

I shift my gaze back to the couple, who are now kissing in earnest, and the anger starts creeping in, mingling with the jealousy and causing a hot stab of resentment to lodge in my chest.

Objectively, I know that I’m watching Kristin and Devon, not Ethan and Olivia.

But it’s the same, isn’t it?

The perfect fucking couple, completely blind to the people around them.

Only this time, it’s not the guy who’s like my brother who has the girl.

It is my brother.

My eyes flick back to Chloe.

Maybe Kristin’s not the only path to Devon after all.