Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to 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.
Noah really should tell Jenny that 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.
Praise for Good Girl
“I couldn’t read this fast enough! Lauren Layne created witty and well-developed characters who pulled at my heartstrings and had me falling in love over and over again! I highly recommend Good Girl, one of my favorites of the year!”—USA Today bestselling author Brooke Cumberland
“Good Girl is a delicious bite of Southern seduction with chemistry that sizzles. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer night.”—Rebecca Yarros, author of the Flight & Glory series
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 an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“What time did you say this chick was arriving?” Finn asks around his cigarette.
“Tomorrow morning,” I say, rapping my toe against a funny-looking floorboard and wincing when it buckles.
“Huh.” Finn exhales and looks out the window.
I know that tone. “What?”
“Seems she might have gotten here early,” he says, a second before the quiet afternoon erupts with the sound of my dog losing his mind, mingled with the shrill piercing yap of a much smaller dog.
Finn shrugs and nods. “There’s a girl outside.”
“Crap,” I mutter as I head toward the stairs, dodging the two broken ones.
Ranger’s about as good a dog as they come, wouldn’t hurt a fly. But he’s a big dog with a big bark, and one serious weakness: gleefully humping smaller dogs. He’s a rescue, and though he was fixed after they brought him in, he’d already gone through canine puberty, or whatever. He’s still got the fierce urge to hump, although it’s more habit than hormones.
I exit out the front door just in time to see my big brown Lab leap forward, his clumsy paws finding the shoulders of a blond girl who lets out a shriek, holding a cat above her head like that scene from The Lion King.
“Ranger, no! Down.”
I run forward, my hand finding the collar of my dog and yanking him backward as I search the ground to find the source of the small-dog barks still piercing the air.
Then I register that the sound is coming from above, and realize . . .
The cotton ball isn’t a cat.
That orange piece of fluff is a dog, and Ranger is apparently in love.
“What the heck is wrong with your dog?” the girl says as she slowly lowers the puffball from over her head, cradling the hideous little monster against her chest as it continues its high-pitched bloody-murder yips.
“At least my dog is actually a dog,” I say, staring in horror at the pointy face of a canine that could fit in one of my hands. “I’ve seen dust bunnies bigger than that thing.”
“Dolly’s a Pomeranian,” she says, setting a hand on top of the monster’s head. “She’s supposed to be this tiny.”
“Well, Ranger’s a Lab. He’s supposed to be this normal.”
“He attacked me,” she says, giving Ranger a wary look as his tongue hangs out the side of his mouth, his eyes locked lovingly on Dolly.
“He didn’t want you, he wanted the . . . dog,” I say, forcing myself to acknowledge that the creature in her hands might be part of the canine family.
“For what, dinner?”
I don’t respond, because now that the crisis is averted, I’ve managed to shift my attention from the dogs to the girl, and . . .
I’m not sure I’ve ever been sucker-punched by equal waves of lust and disdain before.
Jenny Dawson is hot as hell.
I knew that going in, but up close she’s even more mouthwatering. Her white skirt is short and tight, her legs long and toned.
She’s wearing some billowing pink top, so I can’t get a good look at what’s happening there, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve always been a legs man, and I can’t stop looking.
The legs are a 10.
The face is a 10.
And the long blond hair spilling over one shoulder definitely begs to be spread over a man’s pillow. My pillow.
And yet even as my body says yes, my brain is saying hell no.
Gorgeous as she is, she screams diva from the pink toenails to the sky-high stiletto sandals and all the way up to the carefully made-up face.
I just turned my entire life upside down trying to get away from a woman exactly like this one, so this is definitely a look, don’t touch situation.
But I’m looking. I’m definitely looking.
“Hi there! You must be Mr. Walcott!” Her smile is pretty, even if it’s probably fake, and she pushes her big sunglasses on top of her head, revealing wide blue eyes.
I open my mouth to respond, until I realize she’s not talking to me. Her eyes are locked over my shoulder, and I turn to see Vaughn and Finn walking toward us with a slightly dazed look on their faces.
Finn has Ranger’s leash in his hand, and I snatch it as he gets close, clipping it on my big horny dog as I glare at my big horny friends.
It’s obvious why Jenny’s question is directed at Vaughn. In his fussy suit, he looks the part of Preston Walcott, and I open my mouth to shoot down her snotty assumption.
Only instead of telling her the truth, the most ridiculous thing comes out: “Obviously this is Mr. Walcott.”
Her eyes flick over me, cool and disinterested. “And you are . . . ?”
“Noah Maxwell,” I say, deliberately not going forward to shake her hand. “The caretaker.”
She wrinkles her nose and looks back at Vaughn in confusion.
Vaughn is staring at me in confusion.
“Problem?” I say before he can open his fat mouth and ruin my little game.
Jenny lifts her shoulders. “I guess I just assumed the Eddingtons would still live in the caretaker’s cottage. Foolish, I suppose. They were elderly ten years ago. Have they . . . are they passed?”
No idea. Who the heck are the Eddingtons?
A quick call to my father’s attorney had confirmed that there was in fact a property in my father’s name, but there’d been next to no information.
“They’re in a retirement home,” Vaughn says smoothly, apparently deciding to play along, although I don’t know why. “The family pays for it, of course.”
She smiles prettily at him, although the smile slips when her gaze slides back to me. “And Mr. Maxwell here is the replacement?”
“Truth be told, I’ve just hired him,” Vaughn says, giving me a cool, appraising look as though deciding whether I’m worthy of the right to be on my own property. How did I not know the guy was such a good actor? “But he seems competent enough.”
“Wonderful,” she says. “But the dog can’t stay.”
I blink. “I’m sorry?”
“The dog.” She gestures with her chin at Ranger, who’s settled down, but barely. “Dolly will be staying here with me, which means your dog needs to go.”
“He’ll be kept on a leash,” Finn says before I can reply. He steps forward, apparently deciding that he too wants in on the game.
“I’m Finn Reed. The electrician. Came out to fix a couple of wiring problems,” he says, extending a hand to her.
Electrician? That’s new.
Jenny shifts the cotton ball to her left arm and shakes Finn’s hand, either unaware of the way he’s checking her out or so accustomed to it that she knows not to show a reaction.
“Are the wiring problems all fixed?”
“Yes,” Vaughn says nervously, shooting me a quick glance. “But Ms. Dawson, I need to make it clear what bad shape the house is in. Worse than I realized when we first emailed, and—”
“It’s all right,” she says quietly. “As long as the walls stay standing upright, it’ll be perfect.”
She gazes up at the house with a faraway smile on her face. The guys glance at me, and I roll my eyes and shrug.
“I know you think I’m crazy,” she says, not looking at us. “But I wrote my first song here, and it felt magical.”
She turns back and looks at Vaughn. “I’m sorry to hear about your father. I never met him in person, but the fact that he opened up this beautiful space to young musicians without charging them a dime . . . he must have loved music.”
Vaughn’s smile is strained, and when Jenny looks away he gives me a what the hell shrug.
I don’t respond.
The truth was, my dad didn’t love music. I mean, sure, he’d go to the odd concert or have music playing on the car radio when he wasn’t barking on the phone, but he didn’t love music.
No, but he had loved Caleb, and Caleb had loved music. No doubt my father had hoped that one of his charity cases, someone like Jenny Dawson, might carry on with Caleb’s legacy in a way that I couldn’t.
Jenny was walking around the side of the house, a happy smile on her face despite the fact that all I could see was weeds and chipped paint.
“What the heck are we doing?” Finn says out of the corner of his mouth.
“Yes, what are we doing?” Vaughn asks me in a low voice. “Why’d you tell her I was you?”
“I don’t know. She pissed me off.”
My friends only look at me, their skepticism clear. I don’t blame them. It’s not the right answer. Or at least not the full answer.
The truth is, I didn’t tell her my name because for a crushing moment I didn’t want to be Preston Walcott Jr., heir to this, that, and the other thing.