A new Lauren Layne book? My romance reading heart is happy! This is not a sequel to Ms. Layne’s Ready to Run, rather it completes the series and is a standalone book. So, even if you haven’t read Ready to Run yet, you can dive right into Runaway Groom.
Do you like the tv show The Bachelor? Well, you may be the perfect audience for this book! Ellie Wright auditioned for Jilted, not for a minute thinking she would be chosen to participate. She merely wanted to expand her business reach and the thought of a tv audience viewing her t-shirts (High Tee), well, it definitely wasn’t a totally preposterous idea. Unfortunately, she is now stuck on an island with a group of twenty-one women, all vying for the heart of Hollywood hearthrob, and twice runaway groom, Gage Barrett. The catch with Jilted is that at the end of the show, Gage and his chosen woman marry.
Gage is NOT thrilled to be participating in Jilted. A drunken bet gone awry has landed him here and all he wants is off the island and away from the women who are trying to convince him that they are his perfect match. Well, all except Ellie. She is determined to leave and asks Gage to ask her to leave after the first elimination. It seems like Ellie is all set to go home but things do not quite go as planned.
I do not watch The Bachelor but like many people who enjoy pop culture, I know enough about it. I was excited to see how Lauren Layne would spin this story and I’m super pleased to say that this book? It rocks, plain and simple. Ellie and Gage have instant chemistry. The women are not all nice and there is definitely a competitive edge amongst some of them but I appreciated that Lauren Layne didn’t villainize them. Each woman had her reason for being on the show, including Ellie (and her reason wasn’t about true love). Ellie bonds with a few of the women but like a job or a social event, there are just some people you don’t click with. I found her success and struggles with the other women to be realistic and a touch over dramatic at times but that felt right for the story.
Gage is a worthy match for Ellie and I love their sparring and seeing them poke fun at each other as they grow closer. He is not a Hollywood playboy, though admittedly that image of him is what Ellie first associates with his name. She starts to understand him a lot better though and realizes that maybe he is looking for some of the same simple but conventional things in a relationship she is: shared laughter, romance, companionship, and of course, sizzling sex. I liked getting to know Gage. Even though he is not necessarily pleased to be on the show, that side doesn’t show with the women. He can’t necessarily create instant chemistry with all of them but I thought he was a true gentleman and frankly, probably a much nicer guy than most of the actual tv show bachelors are.
Lauren Layne hit this book out of the ballpark for me, plain and simple. It’s a fun and romantic story with a great combination of reality versus “reality” that I appreciated. Gage and Ellie really worked for me as a couple. I definitely see them going the distance. This is something I appreciate in all Lauren Layne books. No matter how unusual the first meeting or situation in one of her books may be, she gets readers (like me) to believe completely in the love developing between the main characters. So yep, Runaway Groom is another sigh-worthy book from an author that I am coming to think of as a contemporary romance master!
Runaway Groom is available now.
ARC provided by publisher for review.
For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it.
Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .
Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
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