When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.
The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.
Praise for Blurred Lines
“I just finished Blurred Lines and I absolutely adored this outstanding story.”—New York Times bestselling author Sandi Lynn
“I devoured Blurred Lines in one sitting. It’s my kind of book, sexy and witty, and the banter between the characters is off the charts. You’ll fall in love with their chemistry from page one.”—USA Today bestselling author Sidney Halston
Lauren Layne’s New York Times bestselling Oxford Novel series can be read in any order:
I WISH YOU WERE MINE
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
I THINK I LOVE YOU
Don’t miss any of Lauren Layne’s hot reads:
The Love Unexpectedly series: BLURRED LINES | GOOD GIRL | LOVE STORY | WALK OF SHAME | AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
The Sex, Love & Stiletto series: AFTER THE KISS | LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH | JUST ONE NIGHT | THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE
The Redemption series: ISN’T SHE LOVELY | BROKEN | CRUSHED
The I Do, I Don’t series: READY TO RUN | RUNAWAY GROOM
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Most of the time, having a girl for a best friend is awesome.
Among the highlights:
(1) My color-blind self never has to worry about going out the door looking like a sad clown.
(2) The Brita water filter is always replaced on time.
(3) Parker actually likes doing laundry for fun, and she only complains when I sneak my stuff in with hers about 30 percent of the time.
Oh, and as this morning’s adventure displayed, she’s an excellent excuse when a person needs to rid himself of clingy one-night stands.
But then there are the not-so-great parts. Like when she’s spent thirty-five minutes looking at lamps.
“Just get that one,” I say, lifting my arm to point at a random floor lamp as the noisy, child-filled scariness that is IKEA threatens to choke me.
She barely glances at the one I’ve selected. “It looks like a uterus.”
“What the heck does a uterus look like?”
“Like that lamp. And honestly, for as much time as you spend rummaging around in women’s panties, you really should get familiar with their parts.”
“Isn’t the uterus the—” I break off, looking for the right word to describe the random memories from eighth-grade sex-ed class.
Parker lifts her eyebrows. “The baby cave?”
Like any normal guy would, I wince. “Cripes. Why would I need to know about that? I use a condom.”
“Several of them, judging from the state of your bedroom,” she says, tilting her head to study the lime green lamp shade in her hands. “Do you think this would clash with my bedspread?”
“You’re asking the color-blind guy? Like I have any clue what color your bedspread is.”
“Seriously? Don’t act like you’ve never seen it. Two nights ago you flopped onto my bed in your sweaty gym clothes and it took me two washes to remove the man stank.”
I shake my head. “Poor Lance. Do you make him wear a plastic bag when you guys hook up so he doesn’t get his man stank on your sheets?”
“Lance doesn’t have man stank.”
I frown. “Hold up. If I have man stank, Lance has man stank.”
I open my mouth to argue, but instead I shrug. That’s another thing you learn having a girl best friend. You pick your battles.
“You have two more minutes to pick your lamp,” I say. “I’m starving.”
Parker adjusts her purse strap on her shoulder. “Oh, I’m not buying a lamp. I was just browsing.”
I inhale deeply to rein in my women suck rampage when I catch her smirk.
“Oh, I get it,” I say as we move toward the end of the store where we’ll pick up my dresser. “This is payback. You’re mad because I made up that story about you having a creepy doll collection.”
“Actually, it was more punishment for destroying the house rules. I’m totally laminating them next time.”
“Or you could just create an online version and keep them in the cloud like normal people born after 1980.”
I see a little lightbulb go on in her head and almost regret giving her the idea. Not that it matters much. I’ve never really followed her fussy rules anyway, although for the most part I try to not be too much of a dick. The towel incident this morning notwithstanding, it’s like I said, Parker loves laundry. I knew she had extra clean ones stashed away.
“Seriously, don’t get that color finish,” she says, shaking her head at the dresser box I’m about to pull off the shelf.
“Wood is wood,” I say with a shrug, starting to maneuver the huge box onto our flat cart.
“No, there’s old-man wood and there’s modern wood.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Old-man wood, huh? You and your kinky fetishes. Do you make the dolls watch?”
She ignores me, and uses her hip to push the box I’d started to move back onto its shelf. “That one.” She points.
“Espresso?” I ask, reading the label.
But Parker is now typing away on her phone. I shrug, pushing her out of the way so I can get at the box she indicated.
“How about tacos?” she asks, glancing up briefly from her phone.
“I just had Mexican last night,” I say through a grunt as I move the box into position.
“You said I could pick.” She gives me a challenging look, her goldish brown eyes practically daring me to argue with her.
“If it was a unilateral decision, why’d you even ask?”
“Unilateral. Good word. And it was a test. You passed,” she says, trotting to catch up with me as she replaces her phone in her purse. “So how did you and Airhead meet? The Beta Phi party last night? She looked like she was eighteen.”
“Airhead?” I ask.
“It was written on her pants. Literally.”
“Oh, right. Those weren’t her pants. Lindsay left them last week.”
She makes a disgusted face as she pulls her long dark hair into a messy bun. I don’t notice most things about Parker as a girl, because, ya know, it’s just Parker, but she does have some damn good hair. It’s all Victoria’s Secret model–-like, long and dark with lightish streaks running through it.
The rest of her is kind of Victoria’s Secret-ish, too, but other than an initial moment of whoa when we first met, there’s never really been anything between us. I guess you could say I like her too much.
That and she’s dating Lance, and I like the guy. I mean, we’re not best friends or anything, but it’s impossible to live with Parker and not have some sort of friendship with her significant other.
Lance and I stop short of braiding each other’s hair, but we watch games together on occasion. I’d never make a move on his girl—even if I wanted Parker.
Which I don’t.
“So let me get this straight,” she says, as I swipe my credit card through the self-checkout machine. “One of your booty calls leaves her pants, which is weird, by the way, and then a week later, an underclassman sorority girl willingly puts them on?”
I shrug and give her a look out of the corner of my eye. “What’s wrong with that?”
Parker closes her eyes and sort of scratches at her eyebrow. “You don’t tell your mother any of this, do you?”
“Sure, we actually have a family blog, and I list my sexual activity for the week every Sunday. Is that weird?”
She ignores me, pulling out her phone again.
“Everything okay?” I ask curiously, as we head toward the garage.
“What do you mean?”
I glance at the phone in her hand. “You’re always riding me about being glued to my phone, but you’ve been on that thing all morning.”
“Sorry,” she says, glancing up and looking genuinely contrite. “Just going back and forth with Lance. He might have to cancel our date tonight.”
I don’t say anything. I don’t really pay much attention to Parker’s love life. I mean, I like Lance well enough. He’s cool, and I appreciate that he’s never been a jealous dick about the fact that his girlfriend lives with another guy.
But now that I think about it, seems like I haven’t seen him around much recently. Granted, they go over to Lance’s place more often than he comes to ours, seeing as he’s Mr. Fancy-Pants and doesn’t have a roommate, which means his place gives them more privacy to do . . . whatever.
But in the past he’d be over at least once a week or so, his books spread all over the kitchen table, his overpriced beer stocked in the fridge.
I try to remember the last time I saw him. . . . It’s been days. Weeks, maybe.
And I’m pretty sure this is the third time in a week that Parker has mentioned he’s had to cancel on her.
“He’s crazy busy now with a bunch of group projects,” she says, even though I didn’t ask.
That, too, is strange. Parker is the most secure, comfortable-in-her-relationship girl that I know. She never gets defensive or makes excuses.
Still, I don’t bug her about it. That’s one house rule of hers that I happily get behind.
Each of us is there if the other needs to talk—always—but no prying.
We’re both social, but deep down we’re kind of private. I think that’s why we get along so well. We can be social butterflies all day long with other people, but when it’s just the two of us, we respect the quiet.
At lunch, Parker doesn’t mention Lance again, and she’s her usual cheerful self.
She’s not acting like a girl with guy troubles, and I figure she’s probably right about him being busy. I mean, dude’s a freaking genius. He had a triple major from UO and then just recently was accepted to some fancy MBA program where he learns to crunch numbers like a boss.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he jacks off to an Excel spreadsheet.