steamy novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred
Lines, country music’s favorite good girl hides away from the
world—and finds herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little
write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum,
Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid
scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi
tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write
her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young
caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant
bickering—and serious heat.
he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty
country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a
much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring
is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet
pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he
is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their
problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.
“Sweetie . . . ,” Amber says in a gentle voice that has me tensing.
I love Amber to death, but she’s not usually one for sweet-talking. She’s more the type of friend who will actually tell you that a certain pair of jeans absolutely makes your butt look big.
I go very still, wondering if I’m going to need more chocolate chips for this. “What? Tell me.”
“Have you ever hooked up with Shawn Bates?”
I make a face. “Yuck, no.”
“But you’ve hung out?”
“No. I’ve met him, like, twice. Maybe three times.”
“When was the last time you saw him?”
My heart is pounding now, because there’s an urgency in Amber’s voice that I’m not used to hearing. “I don’t know. The Grammys, I guess. We had our picture taken together, I think.”
Shawn Bates is one of those ridiculously good-looking guys who’s also been blessed with a decent voice. He won best pop vocal album three years in a row.
He was up against me for album of the year. I can’t imagine he was thrilled about losing, but he was friendly enough. A little skeevy, but maybe that’s because I only know his reputation. And I, of all people, know not to believe everything you hear.
“Do you have your laptop handy?” Amber asks in that scary quiet voice.
Oh, crap. Instinctively I know this is bad. Really bad.
I stand, heading into the kitchen, where I left my iPad, Dolly trotting along at my ankles, happy and oblivious with her little chipmunk in her mouth.
“Which site?” I say as I turn on the tablet.
“Any of them.“
As it turns out, I don’t even need to go to a celebrity gossip site. I was reading Google News this morning with my coffee, and it’s still up on my browser window.
Only this time . . .
This time I am the news.
I stare blindly, clicking on the top article, my eyes reading the headline about a dozen times before my brain finally registers it: “Does America’s Favorite Good Girl Have a Secret Seductress Side?”
Below the headline is a picture of me and Shawn at the Grammys, both of us with awards in hand. My head is tilted back in a laugh, and even though I know my happiness comes from winning the award rather than my proximity to Shawn Bates, I have to admit that I look semi-smitten with the guy.
His eyes are locked on my cleavage, his smile far more intimate than it has a right to be considering that our conversation lasted only a split second longer than the picture itself.
At the time, I’d thought the shimmering pink dress the perfect combination of sweet and sexy, but looking at it now, with this headline, it seems garish. My smile’s too wide, my posture too open, my smoky eye makeup too much . . .
“Jenny. Talk to me,” Amber says.
“It’ll pass, right?” I say, still unable to look away from the photo to actually read the article.
Amber doesn’t reply, and Dolly lets out a sad little whimpering noise before sitting on top of my foot as though trying to shield me from what’s to come.
“It’s just another stupid rumor,” I say. “The tabloids are getting exceedingly bold. I can sue, right? And Shawn can sue, and we’ll—”
“Shawn confirmed it,” Amber says.
My ears buzz. “What?”
“This morning. Coming out of the gym, the vultures were all over him. Instead of keeping his mouth shut, Shawn said, and I quote, ‘Look, I’m not proud of my actions, but I can’t be the first guy to get pulled into Jenny Dawson’s vortex, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. At this point, all I can do is look forward and try to make amends.’”
“What is he talking about?” I squeak, my eyes closing as I pull hard on my ponytail in frustration. “Make amends for what? My vortex? Is that a thing?”
“It gets worse,” Amber says, her voice miserable.
“I don’t know how that’s even possible.”
“He’s not the only one who’s confirmed the story.”
I blink. “Someone else is also delusional?”
“Yeah. His wife.”
“Oh my God,” I whisper.
I don’t know much about Shawn Bates’s wife, but pretty much everyone knows their story. Childhood sweethearts who started dating in middle school, they got married right out of high school, shortly before Shawn got famous.
There are always rumors that he’s cheating, but like I’ve said, I don’t put much faith in rumors.
One thing I know for sure is that if he is cheating, it’s not with me.
“She posted a tearful selfie on every single social media platform along with a big old statement about how she and Shawn are going through a rough patch, but their love is stronger than any country-singing home wrecker.”
“I’m not a home wrecker.”
“I know that, J. But you have that song, and there’s that picture—”
“The song was euphemistic!” I say, referring to my first hit single, a song I wrote about all the things that can come between a couple once the honeymoon period’s over: the TV, bills, iPhones, work. Those are the home wreckers.
Lauren Layne has done it again…a perfect romance filled with swoonworthy moments, humor, some hot sex, and plenty of romance! I read this one well into the night!
Jenny is a country singer who loves to sing; she doesn’t love the fame. She’s recently moved to California at her publicist’s urging to make her even more popular. She hates the fakeness and the paparazzi she encounters on a daily basis. She suddenly finds herself embroiled in a scandal that could tarnish her “good girl” image, but the irony is, she really is a good girl. She hasn’t done anything she has been accused of, so she flees to an estate in Louisiana that holds a special place in her heart. Little does she know her life will never be the same once she meets the owner, Noah. In fact, neither realize how much their lives will change.
At first glance, the synopsis might lead you to believe Good Girl is your average romance between America’s sweetheart and the owner of a run-down estate. However, you would be VERY wrong. In Layne’s talented hands, she turns it into so much more! This is where the book really takes off. Both Jenny and Noah are living a charade. Noah thinks she is a spoiled, high maintenance starlet, and Jenny makes the assumption Noah is the caretaker, and his friend, Vaughn, is actually the caretaker. Noah goes along with it. The two begin with a rather rocky relationship, but again that’s a façade too. There is so much sizzling chemistry between these two. It just leaps off the pages. When these two finally make it to the bedroom, you can imagine the fireworks!!!! But the question remains, can they make a relationship work with their different lives and the secrets they are keeping?
As with all of Layne’s other books, she creates a great cast of characters. Jenny really is a sweetheart! She isn’t pretentious; she’s very real. She chooses to see the good in others, even Noah. She knows he sees her as a spoiled superstar, and she accepts that. But, her goodness shines through, and Noah finally sees it. Noah, well, there were times I didn’t know if I wanted to kiss him or slap him in the face. He does make up for it in the bedroom though and in the whispers in Jenny’s ear….that boy has a naughty mouth. He, like Jenny, is straddling two worlds. I won’t tell you those details…you have to read that. Both are trying to find their own place in the world, you just hope they realize they can do it together. The secondary characters were great as well…loved Vaughn, Finn, and Amber. But, my two favorites weren’t human at all, they were of the canine world, Dolly, a Pomerian and Ranger, a Lab.
I, myself love a romance with a sexy, southern man and a sweet, sassy heroine. Add to it great characters, a beautiful setting in Louisiana, and you have a perfect romance! I have a soft spot for southern boys and dogs, especially Labs, so Good Girl is one of my favorite romances! I am always on the lookout for Layne’s new books.
Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A
year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a
fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.
Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian.
When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes),
or at happy hour (often).