Love the One You're With: A Sex, Love & Stiletto Novel

Love the One You're With: A Sex, Love & Stiletto Novel

by Lauren Layne

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345547262
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/09/2013
Series: Sex, Love, & Stiletto Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 228
Sales rank: 25,337
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Lauren Layne is a New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance novels. Prior to becoming a writer, she worked in e-commerce and Web marketing. In 2011 Lauren and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where she decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite Lauren’s ardent assurances to her husband that it would take only three). Since then, she’s gone on to publish ten books, including those in the bestselling Sex, Love & Stiletto series, with more stories always in the works. Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and their spoiled Pomeranian. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In hindsight, she should have taken the subway.

But today was the launch of the new and improved Grace. Or Grace 2.0, as she’d begun thinking of her improved self. And Grace 2.0’s shoe choice really wasn’t suited for the New York subway system. Between the grates and the stairs and the roaches, Grace Brighton’s four-inch Jimmy Choos would be lucky to even make it to the office. And that whole wear-comfy-shoes-now-and-change-later just wasn’t Grace 1.0 or 2.0’s MO.

Then of course, there was the hassle of rush hour to contend with, not to mention . . .

Oh, who was she kidding?

The Brightons of Scarsdale, New York, didn’t do subways.

In fact, Grace’s mother would probably faint if she knew her only daughter was about to slide her pencil-skirted butt into a cab instead of a sleek black town car.

But her mother wasn’t here.

And neither was her mother’s personal driver.

So. A cab it would be.

As Grace exited the elevator in the high-rise apartment building she’d moved into just a month before, she wondered if she looked different now that 2.0 was all riding her ass with the rah-rah girl-power routine.

For example, anyone might notice that her hair, which once had fallen to the middle of her back, now brushed just below her shoulders in new, swishy layers.

But could those same people tell that the hair appointment hadn’t been about cutting off six inches of hair so much as a futile attempt to cut out the crippling sense of inadequacy that had settled around her like one of those ugly transparent raincoats?

And maybe some fashion-forward soul might note that her skirt was from the just-released Tory Burch line, but did they know that she’d bought it because of the fun, checkered pattern? And did they know she’d picked the checkered pattern because she’d spent the past four years wearing solid colors because Greg told her they were more slimming?

Would anyone notice that her lipstick was a little brighter, her heels a bit higher, and her smile a little wider? All to disguise the fact she felt anything but bright, anything but high, her smile anything but genuine . . .

Grace 2.0 cleared her throat loudly. Right. Moping was sooo 1.0.

The new Grace was all kick-ass confidence.

Or something. Okay fine, so maybe she was still working on the kick-ass part.

Grace refused to let her smile slip when she saw the long line of people waiting for a cab out in front of her building. Grace 1.0 was taunting here with memories about a former life, in which the doorman would have already had a taxi waiting for her and Greg to share.

Grace 2.0 was reminding 1.0 that that routine had been before her tidy life had gone to hell.

Back in those days, Grace would have made it through the morning without crying or doodling I hate men in the margins of the New York Times. She’d already be well on her way to work, hip to hip with her boyfriend of nine years in the back of a taxi, maybe flipping through emails on her phone as the cab headed to Greg’s office on Wall Street before taking Grace uptown to her office.

More often than not, there’d even have been a text from Greg as she settled in for the day. I miss you. I love you.
If only all of Greg’s “love” had been reason enough for him to keep his dick in his pants.

Grace inhaled deeply through her nose and pushed the thought out of her mind. Do not go there. You’ve moved on, remember?

And she didn’t have time to reminisce about Greg and his wandering prick, because on this particular Monday morning there was no waiting cab, no homemade latte, no lovey-dovey text messages. There weren’t even any of the dozens of familiar tiny dogs that she used to know by name out for their morning constitutional. Instead there were different dogs whose names she didn’t know and whose owners she didn’t recognize, and one of them was doing his business in the middle of the sidewalk. The only thing her Jimmy Choo stilettos liked less than sidewalk grates was dog poo.

If she waited in the cab line, she’d never make it to the weekly staff meeting on time.

But like any good New Yorker, Grace knew when to get crafty.

Grace weaved her way around the tight-butt, yoga-pants-wearing, stroller-pushing moms until she turned up one of the quiet side streets that would have less cab competition.

Sure enough, a taxi rounded the corner onto the street and was making its way toward her.

Finally. A little luck.

Grace raised a hand to hail it, only to watch in dismay as an arm in front of her moved in the exact same gesture at the exact same time. She hissed in annoyance, even though the man had obviously been there first and the cab was rightfully his.

She swore under her breath anyway. This was not the way she’d envisioned Grace 2.0 starting out. She was supposed to have gotten up early and done a little yoga, followed by a leisurely, healthy smoothie breakfast. Then she’d have a long shower followed by a perfect hair day, and would be in a cab and heading into the office all before the start of rush hour.

Instead, Grace had woken up an hour late to a malfunctioning coffeepot, absolutely no time for yoga, and so not a good-hair day.

Now some too-tall, perfect-haired stranger was about to take her cab.

As though he could feel her death glare on the back of his head, the man turned his face toward her just as the cab slowed to a stop in front of him.

Grace froze. He might be a cab stealer, but as far as thieves went, he was gorgeous. His black hair was just long enough to be interesting without being sloppy. He was tall—an inch or two over six feet, for sure—and he wore his height well, all broad shoulders and trim waist. Just the tiniest bit of stubble on the chin—more than a five o’clock shadow, less than scruff.

Yummy.

She would have been embarrassed by her gaping if he hadn’t been doing some looking of his own. His brown eyes skimmed over her, briefly enough to not be lecherous, but appreciatively enough to make her tingle.

When their eyes met, he grinned, his teeth perfectly white and perfectly even. This man knew what he had going on and was well accustomed to peddling his wares.

Watch out for that one, Grace 2.0 whispered. That smile will have you tucking your heart into your panties and handing the whole shebang over before he even buys you a drink.

Her attraction turned instantly to wariness. Okay, then. That was quite enough ogling.

Grace 1.0 was wailing that he could be a perfectly nice man that deserved a chance.

Well, Grace 1.0 could shove it. Grace 1.0 and her dreamy, happy-endings-really-do-happen dogma was the reason Grace was twenty-nine and unexpectedly single instead of wedding-dress shopping.

Grace 1.0 was the reason that she actually missed Greg instead of consigning his memory to her mental compost pile.

Thinking about her wretched ex reminded Grace just how anti-man she was feeling these days, so instead of returning the stranger’s welcoming smile, Grace purposely moved her eyes beyond him to look for another cab.

“You want this one?” he called.

That got her attention. “What?”

Mr. Too-Good-Looking gestured toward the open cab door. “The cab. You want it?”

She narrowed her eyes as though to ask, What’s the catch?

His grin never faded as he nodded toward the cab. “Come on now. You have I’m-in-a-hurry written all over you.”

She did?

Of course she did.

She was in a hurry. Normally, being a little late to a Monday staff meeting wasn’t a big deal. As long as it didn’t happen regularly, her boss was pretty chill about such things. And Grace in particular was likely to get a free pass—she’d been out of the office for a month, and everyone would figure she was struggling to get back into the swing of things.

Everyone would be understanding. Oh, poor Grace, give her a break. She’s been through a lot.

Her stomach twisted at the thought. Hell, no.

A quick scan showed her that another cab had turned onto the street but had already been flagged by someone upstream. Crap.

“You’re sure you don’t mind?” she asked, not making eye contact with the stranger.

In response, he stepped aside and gallantly swept his arm toward the open door. All yours.

Apparently chivalry wasn’t entirely dead after all, and for that, Mr. Charming got a smile. A small one.

“Thank you,” she murmured as she hurried to the waiting cab. “I really appreciate it.”

“Consider it a thank-you,” he said in a low voice when they were face-to-face.

“A thank-you for what?” Damn it. She hadn’t meant that to come out all low and flirty.

“For looking the way you do.”

Grace blinked in surprise, torn between flattery and disgust. “Wow. Wow. That is some line.”

He grinned, and suddenly the perfect white teeth looked a little . . . predatory.

“Too much?” he asked, looking slightly sheepish.

Grace lifted a shoulder as she lowered herself into the cab. “A little obvious. Maybe go back to the drawing board on that one.”

She tilted her head up to give the guy one last thank-you only to realize that he was no longer standing beside the cab. He was getting into the cab.

“What are you—what the—hey!” she said as he gently tapped the backs of his fingers against her hip in a universal move-over gesture, before crowding her to the other side of the taxi.

“Where to?” he asked as he shut the door. The admirably patient cab driver started the meter and turned around. Both men looked at her expectantly.

Pride demanded that she exit the cab, but practicality . . . she glanced at her watch. Crap. Fine. She’d share a cab with this cretin.

“Fifty-eighth and Eighth,” she said.

The cab-crasher paused in the process of pulling his phone out of his pocket, looking startled.

“What?” she snapped.

“That’s all the way uptown.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said sweetly. “Did I forget to mention that when I begged you to share a cab with me?”

He shrugged and turned back to his phone. “Doesn’t bother me. Tribeca’s just an interesting neighborhood choice for someone who works in the Central Park West area.”

Grace straightened her shoulders and looked primly out the window. “I like Tribeca.”

Actually, Grace wouldn’t have minded escaping the land of yoga moms and upscale day cares to try a new part of town. But after she’d packed up and moved out of the apartment she’d shared with Greg, she hadn’t been about to tuck her tail between her legs and slink off to the furthest possible neighborhood from him.

Instead she’d picked one of the newer buildings just a few blocks from her old place. Far enough to have a different Starbucks, but not so far that anyone could mistake her as running away.

If he wanted to put more distance between them, then he could pack his shit and move uptown, crosstown, out of town, off the planet . . .

She felt the stranger studying her, but she didn’t turn to meet his eyes.

“Got a husband?” he asked.

Grace stiffened. “No.”

“Fiancé?”

“No.” Although I thought I was on the verge.

“Kid?”

“No!” she exploded, finally whipping her head around to glare at him. “A little personal, don’t you think?”

“Sorry,” he said, not sounding sorry at all. “Tribeca is just very family-friendly. I thought maybe that’s why you picked it.”

“Do you have a wife, kid, or dog?”

“No way,” he said as he began typing something on his phone.

Of course not. This man practically reeked of bachelor.

“Then why do you live here?”

“I don’t,” he said simply. “I live in midtown.”

Grace’s brow furrowed. “Then what the hell are you doing catching a cab all the way down here at eight in the morning?”

His eyes flicked up then, locking with hers and holding. His gaze wasn’t smug per se, but it was expectant, as though waiting for her to put something together . . .

“Oh!” she said. “Oh. That.”

He smiled but didn’t respond. He didn’t have to.

“Let me rephrase,” she said, not really sure why she was pushing. “If Tribeca is so family-friendly, why are you doing the walk of shame out of here?”

Customer Reviews

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Love the One You're With: A Sex, Love & Stiletto Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great light hearted romp about girl-got-dumped and perpetual bachelor looking for travel. It is similar to the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 days but the characters man and secondary were all great. There was much to love about this one.
ljtljtljt More than 1 year ago
Once again Lauren Layne has another winner with Love the One You're With, book two in The Stiletto Series. It is a solid read; complete with an engaging storyline, delightful characters and seductive sensuality. Julie, Grace and Riley are back, along with a new cohort in crime, Emma. The four women are taking the magazine business to new heights by branching out online, transitioning from the glossy sheets of the written page to the craziness of blogging and an online contest. Grace Brighton is the focus of this story. Grace recently found out that her fiance and boyfriend of many years was cheating on her. For the next six months she is embracing her singleton and listening to her inner voices. After a short recuperation, she is back at her desk ready to write. As Grace is one of most senior columnists for Stiletto, the hottest women's magazine in the country, playboy Jake Malone is equally as well known for his column in Oxford, the magazine with the pulse on the male population. The editors of both magazines have agreed to write a joint series of articles in order to attract new readers and overall publicity for both publications. Reluctantly, both Grace and Jake have been assigned to this new venture, which requires them to date each other, and separately share their accounts in print and online, so that their readers can ultimately decide which magazine understands more about the opposite sex. The lengths they both go through to achieve their goals are effective, creative, and fun. What a roller-coaster ride! This book can be read as a stand alone, even though it is part of a series. I found the story to be original and sexy. The characters are chock full of personality and a heroic Jake is the icing on the cake. I was lucky enough to read the first book in the series and can't wait for the third one. ARC provided by NetGalley from the publisher.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading an ARC of this and it was Fan-freaking-tastic!! Lauren Layne is a new to me author that I am beyond happy to have discovered. This book is funny, sexy and touching! The characters are great, the story flows at a great pace and there is just a touch of angst but only enough to keep you guessing. Laugh out loud funny read that everyone needs to have on their Must read list!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was super great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the tittel
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onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: Oh how I love thee, adorable little love stories. After reading and loving Lauren Layne's first novel in this series, I definitely had to request this one... and the third book in the series, which I'll be getting to reading soon. I mean, who could pass up a new story by an author you enjoyed? Not me. In the second book, we get to hear Grace's story. She and Jake are put together for an article and even though they're pushed into it, they discover that they can enjoy it after all. For Grace, it's nice to have something to focus on after being cheated on by her fiancé. She wants to make some changes in her life with herself. But it's kind of hard to make these changes with gorgeous and wonderful Jake around. Okay, make that very hard. I don't think I could resist either. Love the One You're With is a great second book in what should be an awesome series. Grace and Jake are super cute together, I couldn't stop enjoying their interactions. Lauren Layne has done it again and I definitely can't wait to see what book number three has in store! My Rating: Very Good
slz52 More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I strte reading and i couldnt stop! Loved howthe charcters met and the ending there was never a dull moment. I highly recommend it was romantic and whitty such a good read i wish there was more to this lively story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read! Couldn't put it down! This series is about a group of friends and how they find the love of their lives. Will read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReneeEntress More than 1 year ago
You can read this story as a standalone. You don't have to read the others in the series but I would recommend that you do. The characters draw you in from the beginning. The story is sweet romance with a little steam. There are funny parts that will have you laughing or snickering. You get drawn into the story from the beginning and will enjoy the sweet ride All in all a very sweet heartwarming read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The chemisty between Jake and Grace was fabulous.
MsChris1161 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful, charming, hilarious, and witty romance filled with tons of sparking sexual chemistry and sizzling moments as the Grace Brighton from Stiletto Magazine and Jake Malone from Oxford Magazine battle it out for the title of who knows the opposite sex better in Lauren Layne’s LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. The story starts off with a hilarious accidental and anonymous meeting between Grace and Jake early one morning where Grace is running late and Jake is doing the walk of shame in yesterday’s suit after a one night stand. They end up sharing a cab and trading jibes to keep from acting on the immediate attraction they both feel. This scene really does set the stage for their relationship interactions from that point on. They are evenly matched in intelligence, wit, snark, humor, and sexual attraction. Soon after they each discover who the other is and that their bosses have chosen them to participate in a He said, She said of one-up-manship in a public battle of the sexes for the respective magazines they write for. Neither is thrilled with the assignment, but both have good reasons for taking it on and winning. Grace recently discovered her live-in boyfriend of the last nine years had been cheating on her with a work colleague. Beyond the usual pain of realizing the person you loved and expected to spend your life with has betrayed you in the worst possible way Grace feels humiliated for being blindsided so soon after giving out advice publically on how to spot infidelity. She feels her professional reputation as a relationship expert needs redeeming and that outsmarting Oxford’s writer will prove she’s still got it. In order to help herself keep it together Grace has come up with a new improved version of herself who she calls Grace 2.0 as opposed to Grace 1.0. Grace 2.0 is edgier, more calculating, less emotional, and less romantically gullible as compared to the older 1.0 version. And 2.0 has sworn off men for at least six months so she can “find herself”. The scenes where Grace’s two alter egos are battling out decisions in her head are really humorous and add a lot to her character who is already very funny, charming, snarky and I felt admirable in the way she steps up publicly with her chin held high after her world had been turned upside down. The gorgeous, sexy and charming Jake Malone is one of the most eligible bachelors in Manhattan and somewhat of a man whore. Although he has a great respect for and loves women, he refuses to become involved beyond sex. He's essentially a nice, easy going guy who just happens to know how to play the game and has no problem going after what he wants. How to get the sex he wants from a string of women without getting emotionally attached or caught in a relationship. In other words, the consummate bachelor who considers himself a man’s man because he lives the dream of every single man. He is a seasoned writer and columnist who feels he’s paid his dues to his magazine and has earned a coveted work assignment as a traveling writer so he can do what he really wants, see the world free and without any relational obligations. He agrees to date Grace as part of a work assignment only after he’s promised the position of Oxford’s travel expert. From beginning to end I loved this couple, their friends, and this storyline. Dating in such a public way and for competition wasn’t easy but these two not only made it work, they did it with style. They both pulled off some tricks and surprises, traded lots of barbs, but they managed to keep their sense of humor and perspective by always keeping in mind it was part of the job. Of course the story really got good when they started actually falling for each other. I loved when they took their little secret timeouts to spend alone time together without the others watching and documenting or keeping score. Those times were very romantic and tender and it was easy to see they were perfect for each other. Jake almost blew it in the end, but he gets his head together before it’s too late and Ms. Layne gives us a glorious ending. Shout out to Julie, Riley, Emma, Cole, Mitchell, Alex, Camille and Jake’s family for being loveable characters in their own right and raising the bar on this story even higher by adding emotional depth, humor, and tons of sexual innuendo to the plot. All in all a fabulous book and a great addition to the Sex, Love & Stiletto series. 5 stars ~Complimentary copy received via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.