THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE
Sex, Love & Stiletto’s #4
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.
“Emma, a moment?”
Emma looked up from her monitor. She and the other Love & Romance girls had been in their usual pre-lunch “zone.” It was one of the few times of day when they put chatting and gossip aside long enough to get work done.
She pulled off her headphones and looked at Camille. “Um, sure. Now?”
Camille made it a point to meet regularly with all of her senior columnists on a one-on-one basis, but Emma’s scheduled time was Monday afternoon; today was Wednesday. It was never a good sign when their boss went off book.
“It’ll be fast,” Camille said, before her head disappeared from the door.
Emma pulled off the glasses she used when working on the computer and rubbed her eyes. “It won’t be fast. It’s never fast.”
“That’s what she said,” Riley muttered.
“That phrase doesn’t really work in this context, Ri,” Julie said distractedly.
“That phrase always works in any context,” Riley responded.
“Hey, Ems, see if you can get the inside scoop,” Grace said, leaning back in her chair as Emma stood and stretched. “I’m dying to know what the heck this sabbatical is about. Three months?”
“I can’t ask,” Emma said, moving toward the door. “She said it was personal.”
“Right. Which translates to interesting,” Julie said, pulling her hair into a pony.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Emma jabbed a finger toward her laptop. “And don’t touch my edits. I know it was one of you that tried to sneak the word penis into my last headline.”
“Um, yeah. Because you need some penis in your life,” Riley said.
“I’ll have you know that I had some penis in my life . . . last week,” Emma said. “No, last month. Maybe . . .”
Her three friends looked at one another, and although the shared glance was more good-natured than it was poor Emma, it didn’t stop the irritation from rippling through her.
Emma was happy that her friends were all blissed out with their painfully good-looking men. Really. Good for them.
But that didn’t mean they had to lure her into their little club. Emma had tried the happily-ever-after route, and knew that for every woman who rode off into the sunset on a white stallion, another one got kicked in the face by that very same horse.
She’d been there. Done that. Moved on.
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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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