Over the course of one wild road trip,
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Releasing February 14th, 2017
Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-comâa standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.
When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she canât wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon thatâs seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brotherâs best friend, aka the guy who took Lucyâs virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memoriesâeven if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl whoâs ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.
Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.
âSpock, weâre giving you Horny!â my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.
Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where thereâs wine.
Oh what I wouldnât give for wine right now.
âI, um . . . youâre giving me the car?â I ask.
âBecause yours broke down,â my dad explains, walking forward to thump Hornyâs dented hood.
âAnd this oneâs . . . not broken down?â I ask skeptically.
Look, itâs not that Iâm not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, itâs just . . .
Hereâs the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.
Iâm even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kidsâ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craigâs high school reign all the way through Brandiâs.
But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandiâs chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and she spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.
âHeâs going to take you to California,â Dad says, giving the car another thump.
âReally?â I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. Heâs had a bath, so at least thatâs something. âBecause last I knew, he wouldnât even make it out of the garage.â
âYeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but heâs right as rain now,â Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Hornyâs a fourth child.
âLike, as in he actually starts?â
âPurrs like a kitten,â my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesnât even like cats. âWe didnât believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.â
I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.
âYou took Horny into a shop?â I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. Iâm a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dadâs a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gigâs never paid much.
âNot exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,â Mom says.
âYeah?â I say, going around to the driverâs seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar Iâll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I wonât exactly be riding in style.
âReece agreed to fix him up.â
Iâm lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesnât even register the pain, because Iâm too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. âIâm sorry, what?â
âReece,â my mom says, giving me a bemused look. âHeâs always been handy with cars.â
âHe fixed up the car in exchange for what?â
And then I feelâI actually feelâthe air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.
I donât turn around. I donât move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.
âReece is headed out to California too,â my oblivious mother chatters on. âIt worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I donât have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.
They think the car is going to be the problem here? Itâs not the car thatâs toxic to me. Itâs him.
Reece Sullivan. My brotherâs best friend. My parentsâ âother son.â
Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though Iâm prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.
He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .
I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.
And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!