Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.
Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.
Praise for I Knew You Were Trouble
“Lauren Layne is one of a handful of authors that can break your heart, while keeping you smiling the whole time.”—I Love Romance (five stars)
“It is a fun and flirty battle of the sexes that will leave you giddy over the sheer romance of falling in love.”—All About Romance
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
Her hobbies include maintaining a designer purse addiction and observing cocktail hour. Lauren lives with her high school sweetheart in midtown Manhattan, where she writes romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush.
Read an Excerpt
More than eight hours later, Taylor shrugged on her trench coat and made her way toward the elevator lobby, refusing to limp even though the Jimmy Choo sandals had declared war on the outer edge of her pinky toe.
It was past seven, and most of the Oxford crew had started clearing out a couple of hours ago, so she had the place mostly to herself.
She’d stayed late to finish up the new-employee training—all those HR-mandated online courses that mostly pointed out the obvious and fried the brain.
The doors on one of the elevators were just closing as she approached, and she hurriedly punched the down button in an attempt to catch it.
The doors reopened, and Taylor stepped inside, only to falter for reasons that had nothing to do with the shoes.
It was him.
The deliciously unpolished guy who’d been watching her earlier.
She’d been wrong about the white dress shirt. It wasn’t untucked after all, but shoved into dark jeans with just the right amount of carelessness.
Taylor hadn’t worked up the courage to ask Brit about him when they’d gone to lunch. She wasn’t even sure why she wanted to know.
Up close, it was even more clear he wasn’t her type. Taylor had always gone for clean-cut and serious guys. Guys she could count on.
This one was leaning against the back wall of the elevator as she stepped into it, looking up from his phone just in time to see her stumble.
“You okay?” he asked.
Brown. She’d been right about his eyes being brown.
“Of course.” The self-conscious retort came out a little more haughty than she’d intended, and he lifted his eyebrows in amusement.
Taylor turned around to face the elevator doors as they shut, her gaze locked straight ahead, but out of the corner of her eye she saw him shift around to the side wall of the elevator car, sliding his phone into his back pocket.
He leaned a shoulder against the elevator, studying her unapologetically.
“Really?” she snapped, irritated by the scrutiny.
He merely smiled and straightened, extending his right hand. She wanted to be petty and ignore it, but manners demand she turn and shake it.
Taylor regretted it instantly. The contact of his palm against hers was electric, and she sucked in a quick breath.
He grinned wider. “Nick Ballantine.”
“Taylor Carr,” she said, tugging her hand free and turning once more toward the front of the elevator so he wouldn’t see how flustered she felt. What was wrong with her? He was just a guy.
The elevator stopped on a lower floor, opening for a group of gorgeous women. Taylor took a moment to admire their fabulous stilettos, wondering if their shoes were pinching as much as hers after a long day.
“First day?” Nick Ballantine asked, ignoring the newcomers, all of his attention focused on Taylor.
“Advertising. You?” she asked, glancing back at him.
Nick shifted his bag higher on his shoulder. “None. I’m a contractor. I fill in when Cassidy needs a spare writer.”
“So you’re not at the office full-time?”
“Is that disappointment I hear, Ms. Carr?” he asked, rubbing his palm idly along the dark stubble on his jawline.
“Is that ego I hear, Mr. Ballantine?” she countered.
He merely grinned wider as the elevator reached the lobby and the door opened. The chattering women exited first, and Taylor was right on their heels.
She sighed and turned back to Nick Ballantine, who’d followed her into the opulent lobby. “Yes? What?”
He walked toward her, stopping just near enough that she had to look up. “Why don’t you like me?”
He sounded genuinely curious, maybe a little amused, and though candor was usually a trait Taylor liked just fine, she didn’t appreciate being called out on her strange reaction to him.
“I don’t know you,” she replied.
“So everyone gets the ice-princess routine?”
The question was teasing, but it still stung.
The label was hardly a new one, but she’d worked hard to eradicate it in recent years—to remember that just because she’d been raised by Karen Carr didn’t mean she had to become Karen Carr.
Still, there were times Taylor wondered if icy distance was part of her DNA or something. Because she didn’t make friends easily—Brit Robbins being a hopeful exception.
And though she knew men liked the way she looked, she’d learned the hard way that she apparently had one-night stand written all over her instead of take home to Mom.
She was prickly, and she knew it. But she wished that, just once, someone would get it. That they would understand she wasn’t icy so much as careful. That she didn’t know how to show vulnerability or softness, not because she didn’t feel it, but because she’d spent the past twentysomething years being told that crying made you weak, feelings left you vulnerable, and the only person you could count on was yourself.
Taylor had hope that someone would see it someday—would understand her.
Today was not that day, and Nick Ballantine was not the man.
She lifted her chin and met his dark gaze head on. “I changed my mind, Mr. Ballantine. I don’t have to know you to decide whether or not I like you.”
She stepped forward and tapped a red nail against his chest twice. “Definitely. Not.”