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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A quick, easy read for a day when you want to escape. The plot is predictable but enjoyable. The characters are likeable and I liked getting the story from both a his and her perspective. Toward the end the main characters' inability to see that they were in love with eachother did strain credibility but I wasn't looking for great literature.
I read this in one day, it had me hooked. Didnt want to put it down. Characters were fun.and I was invested in finding out what happened next. Very lightly angsty good break from books that tear your heart up. Def worth a try!
I absolutely love it. It made me cry a bit, laugh and fall in love with every chapter. I would definitely recommend this to my friends and anyone ?
One of my favorites by Layne and I've read them all.
Couldn't put it down
Sweet story...loved the characters.
Great quick-read by a great author!
I'm enjoying the stories by Lauren Layne. She has a different style of writing with great plots. "Good Girl" was a very interesting contemporary romance story. I look forward to reading others by this author and others under the Loveswept label. LA-TXN
Great character development & writing. Definitely worth the purchase. Love this author.
Parker and Ben met at Freshman orientation and became best friends. By their Junior year they became roommates. Even after college they remained roommates. Parker was in love with Lance, who she’s been with for five years. Ben is a womanizer. Great novel, I totally loved it. All that Parker and Ben went through before they both found their true love was awesome. Excellent characters, plot, and story. I highly recommend. **I received an ARC of this story for an honest review
★★★½ Blurred Lines is a new-adult romance novel written by Lauren Layne. This was my first time reading a book by Ms. Layne and although I'm not a fan of the new-adult genre, I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. This story is about two best friends of the opposite sex who are absolutely perfect together...in a platonic way of course. They live together, they support each other, they know everything about each other, they can be their most real and relaxed selves when each other are around. But when they decide to add another element to their perfect relationship: friends with benefits, things start to change. They are still great together - more than great actually. But it's not as easy as they thought it would be to go back to how things were. I thought this was a fun and sexy story that explores the age-old question of whether or not men and women can just be friends...and if there such a thing as “no strings attached”. Yes, there was a bit of unnecessary eye-rolling relationship drama, but I still enjoyed the book as a whole. If you like new-adult/contemporary romance, check it out! My favorite quote: “Ben and my no strings attached relationship? Yeah. Turns out that there are suddenly strings after all. And I’m completely tangled in them.”
Upon finishing, my initial reaction: Yet another brilliant new adult novel... I couldn't get enough of it! Full review to come. My Thoughts (full review): It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Lauren Layne. When I picked up my first book by her, I knew it wouldn't be the last. And it hasn't been. I've read basically almost everything that has come out since, and that's saying a lot since I really pack my reading schedule tight and she's published LOTS of books. I was browsing her website one day and saw this one, read the first part of the synopsis, and I knew I would fall in love with this story. I wasn't wrong. Parker and Ben have a unique relationship--they've been friends, and only friends, for years. Everyone believes it's impossible for them to remain that way, but they've made it work. Parker's had a longtime boyfriend and Ben's had a string of girls over the years. After Parker's boyfriend dumps her, she wants to start living her life like Ben--just hook up with random guys. Ben doesn't really like this scenario, but he can't stop her when her mind's on something. Sadly, Parker can't get the hang of it. Until one night, the idea gets thrown out there about the two of them spending some time together behind closed doors. It would be casual, of course, and they would still remain friends. They've spent years without mixing friendship and pleasure, so it should be easy for them, right? Adding sex to their friendship becomes a great thing at first. It's explosive and it doesn't change the way they feel about each other or how they act with each other. Everything feels normal--they're just sleeping together. It doesn't take long before something deeper comes in, and feelings develop beyond just a friendship. When Parker's ex wants her back, it becomes an internal battle that neither one of them want to face. What was once something simple is now complicated since they crossed the line. The thing is, since that line has been crossed, is it possible to be friends again? Or have they made everything too complicated to ever go back? Blurred Lines was a brilliantly written romance with the perfect blend of friendship and love. Friends to lovers and friends with benefits are always some of the best stories to me. There's something about the dynamic of a friendship and crossing that line that is just so dangerous and appealing at the same time. Parker and Ben's relationship was perfection to me--before and after they start sleeping together. They have this thing they do called "talk or mute" which I found it to be the sweetest thing ever, and I swear, I might have to steal that when I find a guy of my own. Also? Billy Joel reference = BONUS POINTS. Lauren Layne definitely wrote a winner with Blurred Lines--it is, by far, my favorite story of hers. My Rating: Exceptional
Okay book but missing chemistry between main characters!
Loved it! Read it in one day.
Great characters! I fell in love with Ben instantly.
When I saw some of the mixed reviews that this book was getting on Goodreads, I have to admit that I was a little nervous about jumping into it. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. I liked this book a lot. Something about the way that this story was told just worked perfectly for me. The main idea behind this novel isn't really original. Friends with benefits who end up wanting to be more than friends. If you are a fan of romance, I know that you have read a book with that general idea. You probably saw the movie too. This isn't even the first friends with benefits book that I have read this year now that I am thinking about it. Let's just say that there weren't a whole lot of surprises in this book but who cares because I really enjoyed the way that the story was told. This book is told from alternating points of view. I don't always like that method of storytelling but I think it worked really well in this case. I liked Ben and Parker and I really liked knowing what each of them were thinking. I think that this book would not have had the same impact if only it had only been told from one of the character's point of view. Each character had a wonderfully distinct voice and I never had to stop and think about who was telling the story. I liked the chemistry that the pair had together. Even at the very beginning of the story when they were both firmly in the friend zone, their interactions were comfortably fun with an underlying chemistry that they were keeping under control. Once the benefits portion of the book began and the need for control was gone, I really enjoyed watching the pair realize that what they had was different. When they came across the big problem in the story, I did want to sit both of them done and smack them. I don't know why they didn't just tell each other what they were feeling instead of making assumptions. They did talk things out fairly quickly and I liked how the book ended. I would recommend this book to contemporary romance fans that enjoy a good friends to lovers story. I am so glad that I discovered Lauren Layne's books. I just love the way that she tells a story and I am always left with a huge smile on my face. I am wondering if she sleeps because she seems to have a new book out every couple of months. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her work. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Ben Olsen & Parker Blanton have been best friends for the last 6 years, since college. They have also been platonic. She thinks of Ben as kind of a player. Parker has a boyfriend so she feels more settled. Ben and Parker are also roommates. This helps and hinders things depending on the opinion of who they are talking to at the time. They are truly best friends and care for one another. Ben has a lot of self doubt since he did not go into law school like the rest of his family. He think they think less of him, so he tends to think he is not worthy of a better life. Parker, meanwhile, enjoys her job, life, and boyfriend and is happy overall. Parker receives quite a blow, when her long-time boyfrined decides he has "not been feeling it for a while." So she is trying not to break over the fallout, and has a good support system to help her heal. Ben, being her best friend has ideas for her to heal of his own. Along with another friend from work - they take her out and teach her how to "hunt" for a date while single. She does not take to it as fast as they like and this discourages her. Parker and Ben have a good friendship and supreme trust. So when she turns to him and says maybe we should change our relationship up with sex? He agrees after some cajoling. He is a guy, after all. I think this was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I know I loved the banter. The sexy times were both funny and hot. The friendship was charming, and sweet. Overall a really good read with an HEA for the reader. ***This ARC copy was given from Netgalley.com and its publisher for review purposes only.