Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon
AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
Love Unexpectedly #5
By Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017
In An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly #5) by Lauren Layne, when Kelly Byrne is approached by a woman determined to give her advice on her love life, Kelly becomes obsessed with following the advice by finding her exes and seeing if any of them is really her true love. However, the more determined she becomes to find her Mr. Right from her list, the harder she finds it becoming to resist her best friend, Mark. Will she give the man that's always been there for her a chance, or will her fear of losing their friendship if they become more than friends keep them apart?
Ms. Layne always manages to deliver highly entertaining stories that make me laugh or smile throughout and experience the emotions along with the main characters, and this story definitely does this. Not only because it's a friends to lovers trope encompassing story, but because the heroine is spunky and determined to discover if the psychic is right about her already having met her true love. The way this story started had me liking Kelly immediately, as she's spunky, superstitious and I love how she chooses to help her decide something when she's uncertain. However, it was from the moment Mark and Kelly come face-to-face for the first time in this story that had me reading quickly, determined to discover how long it would take the hero to admit his feelings for the heroine, as it's palpable he wants her and has for some time.
As for the dialogue, it was well-written, enchanting and is told mostly from the heroine's point-of-view. Moreover, I loved every time Kelly and Mark conversed, as she's feisty and isn't afraid to stand up for herself when she thinks Mark is out of line with his comments. I also liked how far she's willing to go to discover her true love and the test she puts them to in order to see if there's anything between her and one of her exes that make her thinks they're the one. While Mark, he's a good guy that would do anything for Kelly, even though it's not easy for him to be able to handle her obsession with her ex-list and finding who the psychic woman was talking about. He's also fun when it comes to interacting with Kelly as she pushes his buttons, hard-working and I loved how tight his friendship is with Kelly, as she's the one person he's always been able to talk to about anything. However, in saying that, there is a secret he has been keeping from her. Will she be able to handle the truth?
Overall, Ms. Layne has penned another worthwhile read in this book where the chemistry between Mark and Kelly is powerful and just keeps getting stronger with every moment they converse; the romance was hot and illustrates how right these two are for each other; and the ending had me smiling because of Kelly's determination to win Mark back and Mark's determination to make Kelly know how certain he is of the pair of them becoming more. I would recommend An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne, if you enjoy the friends to lovers trope or books by authors Penny Reid, Jessica Lemmon, Jen Frederick and Tawna Fenske.
She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.
When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.
As I walk, I check the weather app on my phone, delighted to see that while it’s nothing but rain today, there’s a chance of a snow shower tomorrow. Nothing says Christmas break like snow.
I just miss my train, but there’s a decent-ish voice singing “White Christmas” nearby, and the platform’s not too crowded, so waiting’s not as bad as it could be.
My eye catches on a middle-aged woman who’s set up camp under one of the stairwells. It’s not unusual to see all manner of people under the streets of New York, although this one’s better dressed than most. She’s wearing a blousy red shirt, jeans, and ankle boots, and is sitting cross-legged on a plaid blanket. She’s got twigs of what seem to be fake roses in her hair.
None of that’s the weird part.
What’s weird is that she’s watching me. Intently.
We make awkward eye contact, and I give a quick smile before turning my attention back to my phone.
But I still feel her eyes on me.
Not in an unfriendly way, not in the way that makes me mentally catalog whether or not I saw any cops on my way down here who would hear me if I scream. She doesn’t seem eager to push me onto the train tracks either, and since that’s every New Yorker’s secret fear, a plus.
Still, the focus is unsettling. I glance up again, and her eyes lock on mine. Her dark gaze is clear and focused, and I can’t decide if that’s more or less disturbing than if she seemed sort of hazy.
Then she smiles right at me. “Kelly.”
I get immediate goosebumps for reasons that have nothing to do with the winter weather. She knows my name.
“Come.” She beckons. “Come. I ”
Now you’re thinking,
I should be thinking the same, and on some level, I am, but . . .
There are a couple dozen people around. None are paying attention to me, but it’s not like I’m all alone in a dark alley.
And look, we’ve already established that I believe in fate expressing itself through a Magic 8 ball and horoscopes, and though I haven’t mentioned it yet, I totally avoid black cats, the number thirteen, and walking under ladders.
I also believe that there’s such a thing as . I know, because my grandma had it.
Grandma Shirley was one of those delightfully batty old ladies that most people dismissed as quirky, but nobody can deny that she seemed to know stuff. She knew when I’d win my soccer game, and by how many points. She knew when her cat’s litter of kittens would be born, down to the minute. Once she’d even predicted an earthquake, even though they’re really rare in New York.
She’d passed away when I was in eleventh grade (she’d predicted the when and how of that too), and though I didn’t inherit her talents, I’ve never stopped believing that some people see and know things that they shouldn’t. I call it the Sight.
I step closer, and the woman grins and beckons me even nearer.
I stop a healthy few feet away. I’m superstitious, not crazy.
The woman leans forward. “You seek love.”
Huh. Color me unimpressed. I mean, don’t humans seek love? Sure, I’m recently single, and I don’t particularly want to be. And maybe I sometimes try a little too hard to find my forever guy.
But I’m not hearing anything other than generic lucky guesses from this lady.
“Sure,” I say, already starting to back away.
She holds up a hand. “The one you seek? Your forever guy, the love of your life . . .”
I freeze, because her phrasing echoes my thoughts almost exactly. A coincidence? Maybe. I don’t move away just yet, willing to hear her out.
She smiles again. “You’ve already met him.”
I blink. “What? I think you may want to recheck that crystal ball. I’m single.”
Her smile merely grows. “I didn’t say you weren’t single. I said you’d already met him. You just let him go. He’ll come back to you before Christmas.”
This is . . .
“You’re telling me that the love of my life is one of my exes?”
She extends both of her palms as though to say,
I stifle a little surge of disappointment. Clearly she hasn’t my exes. There are some decent ones in the mix, but mostly they’re duds, and none of them make my heart beat faster. Well, maybe—
Thankfully, I feel the rumble of an oncoming train, and a glance over my shoulder tells me my ride outta here is approaching.
“Thanks very much,” I say with a strained smile. “Merry Christmas.”
“Happy holidays,” she says with a nod, standing and gathering up her blanket. Apparently she’s taken a cue from Madison Meyers and is sticking close to the PC route. Fair enough.
I lift a hand in a wave and move toward the train, but her next words give me a fresh wave of new goosebumps.
“Tell your parents happy anniversary. Thirty’s going to be a magical year for them.”
I whip my head around. “How did you—”
The woman is gone.
Leaving me to wonder . . .
If a woman I’d never met was right about my parents’ anniversary, was she also right about other stuff?
Have I already met my one true love?
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.