Runaway Groom

Runaway Groom

by Lauren Layne

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For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

“Romantic comedy at its finest . . . Readers will not want to put it down.”USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

Praise for Runaway Groom

“Lauren Layne gets the red rose for this one, and fans of The Bachelor will fall in love with this thoroughly charming story.”—Kate O’Keeffe, bestselling author of One Last First Date

“It’s the perfect beach read—or snow day read, if you’re stuck in cold weather like me!”All About Romance

Lauren Layne’s New York Times bestselling Oxford Novel series can be read in any order:

Don’t miss any of Lauren Layne’s hot reads:



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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101885123
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: I Do, I Don't Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 47,734
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedy novels. A former e-commerce and Web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated in 2011 to New York City, where she left the corporate world behind to pursue a full-time writing career. Lauren’s hobbies include maintaining a designer purse addiction and observing cocktail hour. She 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


I hang up on Marjorie. She’ll understand when I explain later.

Sugar. Crap, sugar, and the f-word too.

“So,” I say, forcing a smile at the unsmiling man leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. “Awkward, right?”

Gage says nothing.

The light coming from the cracked door is enough to let me know it’s him, but not enough to let me read his expression.

I start to slip my phone into my back pocket, but he wordlessly holds out a hand.

I give him an incredulous look. “Um, no. I’m not going to just hand over my phone because Hollywood commands it.”

“No phones allowed,” he says. Gage pushes away from the wall and plucks the phone out of my hand. He glances down at it, his thumb moving across the screen, as he unabashedly snoops through it. “Who were you talking to?”

“Give it back.” I try to grab for it, but he holds it higher, still snooping. “I’ll turn it in, I swear.”

He gives me a skeptical look but finally hands the phone over, and I shove it into my back pocket and glare up at him.

I’m a little surprised by how tall he is.

I always heard that actors were shorter in person, but Gage has to be at least six-two, and he towers easily over my five feet four inches.

He’s wearing shorts and a button-down linen shirt, but the casual attire does nothing to diminish his masculinity. A fact I’m pretty sure he knows, because he steps closer, then grins when I back up and stumble over a bucket.
Gage reaches out a hand to steady me, big and warm on my waist. For a second I think he’s lingering, but then I realize his fingers are simply testing the fabric of my T-shirt.

“So, this is the business,” he murmurs. “Looks like a men’s undershirt to me.”

I bat his hand away. “The cut of a man’s undershirt doesn’t adequately account for a woman’s—” I break off.
He lifts his eyebrows. “Yes?”

“Never mind,” I mutter, not about to say the word breasts or boobs when I’m in very close proximity to a man who’s making me too aware of my boobs.

He drags his eyes from my shirt up to my face. “The person you were talking to. Was this the same friend that made you come here?”

My eyes narrow. “Why are you saying it like that? Like you don’t believe me.”

“You just don’t seem like the type of woman who can be made to do anything.”

“True. I’m the sort of woman who will do what it takes to make her business a success,” I say, trying to move around him. “I just . . . went too far with this one.”

He puts up an arm, blocks my way. “Hot and hollow, huh?”

His eyes are oddly intense, as though my answer somehow matters, and I wince, hating that he heard my careless assessment of him.

Still, I’m not out to make this guy like me, and I sort of meant it. Any guy who thinks he’s going to find his true love on TV in the span of a month? Hollow.

Or at least really dim.

I study him. “I know why I’m in this closet. Why are you?”

“Cleaning fetish,” he deadpans. “Brooms and buckets really do it for me.”

I narrow my eyes and ignore the sarcasm. “You were hiding.”

His expression flickers, and I know I’m right. The man practically lives on camera, and yet he sought out a cleaning closet for a moment of solitude that I’d disturbed with my thoughtless trash talk.

I feel a little stab of regret—not because I was wrong about him, but because I wish he hadn’t heard it.

Still, maybe I can use my faux pas to my advantage, getting me out of here before I can cause any more trouble for myself.

I step back and look at him steadily. “Look. We both know that I never should have made it to this round. No doubt you were hoping that people would vote me home, but . . .”

I spread my arms to the sides, intending it to be a self-deprecating gesture to put him at ease. Instead, he rakes his gaze over me and the mood in the tiny closet is anything but easy.

“Interesting,” he says finally, breaking the silence.

“What is?” I look longingly toward the door. Toward escape.

“That you label me hollow, and yet you’re the one openly admitting to using the show—to using me—to sell T-shirts.”

“Oh, come on. Surely, you’re not so naive that you don’t know what this show is—what we’re all doing here. The goal is ratings, not happily ever after.”

“That’s the network’s goal. Not mine.”

“Right. You’re here for . . . what was it again? To find your one true love?” I don’t bother to keep the skepticism out of my voice.

He surprises me by grinning. “Why do you think I’m here?”

“Don’t know, don’t care,” I say, waving my hand breezily as I again attempt to ease by him.

He reaches out to stop me, his fingers resting lightly against my stomach, his fingers seeming to burn through the thin fabric of my shirt, and I’m embarrassed at the way my breath hitches.

Gage Barrett is touching me.

Marjorie and my mother would die.

Gage grins wider at my response, and the cocky reaction is exactly what I need to get myself together. I push his hand away. “Surely there’s a more willing contestant to go molest in a closet somewhere.”

“No doubt,” he says with a laugh.

I step back. “Is it true you left two women at the altar?”

He meets my gaze dead-on. “Yes.”


“Why are you so dead set on leaving?” he interrupts. “Got someone at home that doesn’t like his girl flirting on camera?”

“I’m not flirting. Contestants aren’t allowed to be involved in romantic relationships. It’d be in breach of contract.”
“That’s a stupid answer. Do you have a boyfriend or not?”

“It was a stupid question,” I toss back. “And not your business.”

“Not my business,” he says under his breath, shaking his head. “I could potentially marry you, but no, your love life is absolutely not my business.”

“I’m not marrying you. I am leaving now,” I say, a little impatiently, as I realize the other girls will likely be wondering where I am.

He opens his mouth, but before he can respond, voices come from the hallway. Acting on instinct, I place my fingers across his mouth to keep him from talking and giving us away.

Gage’s eyes flare a little at the contact, and my breath does that annoying chopping thing again. His eyes are green. Have I noticed that before? I always thought they were blue, or maybe hazel, but they’re more like . . .

“Your eyes look like guacamole,” I whisper, once the voices pass without anyone opening the closet door.
He chuckles, his breath warm on my fingers, and I snatch my hand back. “Are you going to say this stuff on camera?”

“Probably,” I admit. “Which is why it’s in both of our interests if you send me home first thing.”

“I don’t know about that. The producers have told me in as vague a way as possible that I should keep the contestants that make for good TV for as long as possible.”

I’m disgusted but not surprised. We contestants were basically told that we’re welcome to make a spectacle of ourselves in the name of entertainment.

“Ah, yes, above all we must entertain the people,” I say, reaching for the doorknob. “It’s a wonder they don’t just set up a tent in the front yard, dress us in something sparkly, and have us walk around in a slow circle to creepy circus music.”

“We talked about it,” he says, stepping closer, his breath warm on my neck. “Decided that dressing you all up in bikinis and having you splash around in the pool would be even better.”

“Gross,” I mutter. I turn my head slightly to meet his eyes. “Send me home, Gage. Please. It’ll be better for both of us.”

He studies me. “You really want that?”

“I’m a businesswoman, not a groupie.”

He’s silent for a moment. “True. You did compare my eyes to avocados.”

“Exactly. You usually get, what . . . moss?”

His lips twitch, although the smile doesn’t reach his mossy eyes. “Emeralds, mostly.”

I turn away with a snort, opening the door slowly, listening for voices. When I’m met with only silence, I stick my head out.

The hallway’s empty.

“All clear,” I say, stepping hurriedly into the hallway. It’s open-air, as much of the villa is, and the faint scent of tropical flowers is vastly preferable to the astringent smell of the cleaning supplies.

I inhale and turn around to face Gage, who’s closing the door to the closet. I extend my hand with a confident smile. “So. We have a deal? I’m the first one home?”

He looks at my hand, then his gaze flicks up to meet mine. His eyes do look a little more like emeralds than guacamole in this light, but I’m not about to tell him that.

Finally Gage reaches out and shakes my hand. “Sure. First one home.”

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Runaway Groom 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
A bet that he won't ignore because he made it (and a bet is a bet) has Gage ready to star as the 'prize' in Jilted: a reality dating show where this runaway groom will narrow the field to two women - one of which he'll marry. An actor by trade, he's not looking forward to this fiasco and the intrusion into his actual life: cameras and charm aren't difficult - he is an actor after all. But it's those moments - the two failed (day of the wedding) engagements that have branded him as unstable and fickle, the tabloids follow his 'many' dates, and he's never even gotten close to the real thing - not since Her. Ellie has a t-shirt company that she hopes to promote, an absent father, a best-friend and business partner who wants her to 'get out there', and a history with her mother that provided more of a revolving door model of 'love', pushing her to want stability and make her own way. She'd interviewed for the show with a push from her bestie, got ON the show and wants nothing more than to leave. Nothing is real here: not the manufactured time with Gage, the two-minute (she stretched hers to two and one half) introductory chat, the 4 to a room (bunkbeds - need I say more?) and the fact that one man is 'dating' multiple women. It's rife for drama and backstabbing (because yes - many of the women are either unstable or decidedly competitive and mean) as they are 'encouraged to make good television. SO - I thought I would find this plot trying - seriously - WHO goes on these things? You've obviously got a few motives - notoriety being the primary one. But Ellie - so willing to judge Gage and his "intentions" but actually able to notice that some of her comments sting him. Gage's interest in Ellie - not the curviest, not the one vying for his attention but the one who asks to be the first to leave - but also shares some information about the stability (or lack thereof) of another contestant. Gage and Ellie are wonderful together - the chemistry sends shock waves through her and puts her in the bull's eye: this is a competition after all. The thing is, Ellie isn't competing - she's struggling with her own feelings for Gage, her own fears about relationships and some sparks of jealousy that she didn't expect at all. And, she likes the Gage she's met: the off-camera, stolen moments in the cleaner's closet, riding down the highway in a convertible, floating on surfboards as 'shark bait" in the ocean. Late night texts, a tricked out closet and the realization that he could break her heart, permanently, push her in so many directions and away from Gage. But, he's got other ideas - even as he takes her advice and befriends her best-friend in the house- taking her and the only other 'normal" (read this as not crazy with no ulterior motives) to the end... Such a fun book with plenty of laughs, twists and plenty of tension at the end as the show airs on television and questions (she won't ask and he won't tell) about who he marries go on and on. Grab it - you'll love it. Just be sure to start reading before ten at night - Or you'll be sleepless and up too late! I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Jen-Star-CrossedBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Runaway Groom was hilarious, sigh worthy, crazy at times and so much fun! If you're a fan of the Bachelor, Bachlorette or Lauren Layne, then I have a feeling you're going to absolutely love this book! Back before I had kiddos, I'd get together with friends, make dinner and we'd eat, talk and laugh while watching those shows. So when I heard that this book was going to be about a Bachelor-esque reality tv show I was sold. I forgot how much I missed this type of drama in my life and I found myself laughing so hard I could barely breathe. Famous movie star and player extraordinaire, Gage Barrett, lost a drunken bet which landed him on the tv show Jilted. It's a lot like The Bachelor, except it's about a past runaway groom (him) being matched up with potential brides. And in the final episode, there's to be a wedding. While Gage stuck to his agreement to be on the show, he definitely wasn't happy to be there. And while he was grumpy about it, a tiny part of him couldn't help but wonder if maybe this was for the best. His heart was broken in the worst of ways and this could be the perfect distraction he needed. Ohhh I absolutely loved Gage and his wounded, playful, seductive, charming ways. To start the show off, Gage met all of the possible brides. The shenanigans and drama started right from the get go, well until he met contestant Ellie Wright. You see, Ellie is kinda like Gage, because she was not happy to be there either. She never thought she'd make it as far as she did, and the only reason she was sticking it out was so her business could hopefully get some free publicity. From the first time Ellie and Gage met, they got off on the wrong foot. And it wasn't the only time that happened lol. The tension and emotions coming off of the both of them created a whole lot of banter that had me smiling, laughing and begging for more. But the story isn't just about the two of them. They're in the middle of a reality show, and there's also the producer, crew and all of the other woman. And it was a crazy mesh with lots of drama behind the scenes. The other women ranged from the sweet girl next door, to gorgeous supermodels to bat sh## crazy. Although there was wayyyyyyyy more contestants in that last category ha. So we watched, along with Ellie, as these women would go to great lengths to get Gage's attention or even spend a second of alone time with him. The stuff that they would do was so insanely over the top, yet so perfect for reality tv, that I found myself laughing so hard that I just couldn't stop the tears pouring down my face. And it kept happening again and again. If you adore hilarious drama, you're definitely going to get your fill in this book. I absolutely loved it! Shockingly in the middle of it all, Ellie and Gage found moments where they were alone with each other. Where they were away from Jilted, the cameras and the other contestants. And they started to see a different side to one anther. Yet it's all so complicated because Gage has a part to play in front of the camera and Ellie is stuck in her horrible assumption of who Gage is as a person. And of course her thoughts are verified when he's in front of the camera. It was inevitable that feelings got hurt and I found my heart aching for the both of them. But underneath it all, it created a whole lot of emotions and I loved when they were arguing. (READ REST OF REVIEW ON BLOG) *ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing - Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an
Elisa_Booklover More than 1 year ago
OMG OMG OMG! This book was perfect! It gave me all the feels
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast and fun read!
AboutThatStory More than 1 year ago
This was such a fun read! It had just the right amount of snark, fantastic characters, and a wonderful HEA. It was super sweet and full of so much heart. Excellent read! Ellie and Gage were awesome together. I loved their animosity, verbal sparring, chemistry, and their simmering sexual tension. I loved this crazy situation they were in and their attitudes about it. Seriously, so entertaining! I loved learning Ellie and Gage’s back stories, watching their guards come down as they get to know each other and open up more. I instantly liked Gage and enjoyed getting to know who he really was. He was sweet and sincere and I loved his more vulnerable moments. I really liked Ellie as well, strong willed and confident but holding herself back. I love how they were in denial of their feelings but kept coming back together. It was fun and sweet and was filled with so many great moments, I couldn’t stop smiling! There was a great cast of characters as well. Some of the women were really out there which ramped up the drama adding to the entertainment value. The writing was fantastic. It was light, fun, and easy, moving along at a good pace keeping me excited for what was going to come next. It was just super enjoyable and made me extremely happy. And that ending, wow! I knew there was going to be an HEA yet I was totally stressed out, on the edge of my seat, waiting for it to happen. This was so great and I had a blast reading it. If you need entertaining and fun this is the perfect read!
BetweenMyBookendz More than 1 year ago
It’s pure magic when the sassy, sophisticated Lauren Layne takes on the world of reality dating shows in her second book in her “I Do, I Don’t” series, The Runaway Groom. “Jilted” is a show that places a runaway groom in a glamorous location with a whole bunch of eager-to-get-married-minded women and let’s the mayhem ensue! Gage Barrett, ladies man and Hollywood heartthrob, finds himself as the lucky male contestant thanks to a lost bet. Ellie Wright tries out for the show to drum up publicity for her up-and-coming t-shirt company, never expecting to be in the running as a contestant. She plans on being low-key, get a couple of plugs in for her company, and get sent home. Ah, but that fickle finger of fate points Gage in Ellie’s direction and before one can yell “cut,” these two are having private chats in a cleaning closet and ignoring the sparks that are a-flying! Goodness, this was one fun, witty read! I defy anyone to read this book without a smile on your face for most of it! Gage seems like your typical Tinseltown player, but once we get a glimpse inside his head, we find a shockingly nice guy. And Ellie is as real as it gets - a young woman looking for success in business since her love-life is, well, not successful. It’s her lack of artifice that appeals to Gage and makes her stand out from the preening females fighting for the chance at being “Cinderella.” You will laugh as Ellie becomes Gage’s spy amongst the contestants and enjoy Gage’s subsequent reasons for sending one home. And you will feel a tear or two well in your eyes when…….well, you just have to read the book to find out! Another well-written and clean-plotted book from Ms. Layne with characters you cannot help but fall in love with and root for. Before you know it, you have hit the last page an you are feeling good. But as always, I am left craving the next LL book!
Robin_Snyder More than 1 year ago
The Bachelor scenario isn’t one of my favorite tropes. Twenty some odd chicks all vying for one mans attention *gross* I hate almost everything about that situation. I do admit that I’ve been sucked into a few of the reality shows like it like Outback Jack (I completely binge watched that show twice) and even a season of the Bachelor *cringe*, but I didn’t really think you could make a convincing romance out of it. However, Lauren Layne proved me wonderfully wrong in Runaway Groom. First I’m going to give huge props to Lauren Layne for writing Gage as a guy who sounds like a guy. I’ve read other series where the thoughts in men’s heads just come off as a dumbed down sexed up version of a female thought. But not Gage, he is a guy, he thinks like a guy, he talks like a guy and it was really refreshing. Gage is also that man who got talked into doing a reality show called Jilted when he lost a bet. Ellie on the other hand is a strong independent woman who just wanted to show a t-shirt on T.V. It isn’t any t-shirt but her new fledgling company’s product and she thought ‘hey this will be easy I’ll show up, wear the t-shirt and Gage will send me home early but I’ll get my product seen by millions of people’. Great advertising tactic until the sparks fly between them and it doesn’t seem that he is inclined to send Ellie home at all. Even thought there is some chemistry, well a lot of chemistry, Ellie isn’t sure that Gage is anything close to what she is looking for. Gage IS Hollywood and her first impression is Hot and Hollow. But that isn’t the real Gage that is the Gage playing a part and the more time they spend together the more she sees the man behind the name. One of the best things about this is the dual PoVs from both Ellie and Gage. We get to see inside both their heads for the entirety of the book. This is the only way this romance works as Gage thinks about the other contestants on the show and the situation that he has gotten himself into. I loved the way the Ellie and Gage were with each other. She just wasn’t what he was used to or expected and he isn’t what she thought she wanted but even Ellie can’t deny the attraction between them. I adored the banter between the two and how well they could play off each other. There are cute little secret meetings between them and they find a few ways to be together off camera that grow hotter as the book goes on. I’ve loved Lauren Layne as a Contemporary Romance writer since reading her Sex Love Stiletto series. I have not read the first book of this series and just jumped into the second, which didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it at all. Gage and Ellie were a lot of fun so I will be checking out the entire series. Notable Quotables: But once, just once, I want someone I care about to look at the crapshoot that is my life, to take in the Jilted contract and the Killboy movie shoots and the never-ending tabloid rumors and say, “Yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it.” I want to be worth it. Just once. ---Gage Barrett “Send me home, Gage. Please. It’ll be better for both of us.” He studies me. “You really want that?” “I’m a businesswoman, not a groupie.” He’s silent for a moment. “True. You did compare my eyes to avocados.” “Exactly. You usually get, what . . . moss?” His lips twitch, although the smile doesn’t reach his mossy eyes. “Emeralds, mostly.” ---Gage Barrett and Ellie Wright
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ellie and Gage were so real and relatable. Ellie was so likeable even when she was being AN IDIOT! I can forgive her because what normal girl would believe a superstar was truly into her? I wouldn't. And I loved Gage he was so sincere and funny.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I am really kind of surprised about that to be honest. I don't like television shows like The Bachelor at all. I think they are kind of dumb and cannot understand why anyone would subject themselves to participating in something like that. So why would I want to read a book based on the same kind of thing? It is simple - Lauren Layne wrote it so I want to read it. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about it though. It actually turns out that this book is one of my favorites Lauren Layne books. Gage and Ellie both end up on the reality show, Jilted. Gage is a famous actor that ends up on the show after losing a bet. He has left two women at the alter so he is the perfect man to fill the role for the show even if he is less than excited about it. Ellie wanted on the show so that she could promote her company. She hatched a plan with her friend and business partner that it would be good for business if she could wear the designer t-shirts that they sell. It turns out that Gage and Ellie seem to be the only two people that don't want to be on the show even though they are doing a pretty good job of faking it. I loved Gage and Ellie together. They have such wonderful chemistry with each other and I really felt their connection. I loved how they interacted with each other and I think that the parts of the book that they were alone with each other were the only times either of them really showed their true selves. I really enjoyed getting the chance to be in each of their heads so that I could really see what they were feeling. I had really wondered how a romance could be set on a reality show like this. It is not romantic to see the romantic interest spending time with other women. I liked that the relationship between Gage and Ellie happened when the cameras were off. Yes, there were a few situations that made things uncomfortable but I felt like both characters handled themselves well and it really helped them to realize what they were feeling for each other. I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I read this book with a big grin on my face the entire time and there were a few scenes that really had my heart beating like crazy. I had a fantastic time watching Ellie and Gage find their happily ever after and look forward to more from Lauren Layne soon. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
Seductive, amusing, and undeniably addictive! In this latest novel by Layne, Runaway Groom, she sweeps you away to a tropical paradise and onto the set of the reality TV show Jilted, a Bachelor-type show where Gage is reluctantly the new bachelor up for grabs, Ellie is determined to be sent home first after shamelessly plugging her t-shirt company, producers are hoping for as much drama as possible, and eighteen other women are committed to marrying the man of their dreams. The characterization is perfection, with an incredible cast of characters who are fun, charming, quirky, and loveable. The writing style is humorous and crisp and a delightful mixture of text messages, letters, and first-person narration from dual points of view. And the plot is an irresistible blend of emotion, drama, witty dialogue, hilarious hijinks, smoldering chemistry, and steamy romance. Runaway Groom is pure magic. It's a light, funny, entertaining read that's deliciously swoon-worthy and hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!
Hershey07 More than 1 year ago
~5 + STARS~ Runaway Groom is exactly why Lauren Layne remains one of my favorite writers. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down until I was done several hours later. She ALWAYS does that to me, but I LOVE IT!!! Because of a drunken bet, Gage has found himself on the reality dating show, Jilted. It’s like the bachelor on steroids…this show ends in a potential marriage, not just an engagement. He is miserable. Some of the funniest parts of the book are his thoughts about the contestants. The only other person who seems as miserable as him is contestant, Ellie. She is not like any of the other women. He can’t figure out why she is there because she acts like she can’t stand him. She doesn’t like him at first, but the two somehow form some sort of friendship. As they sneak in time without the cameras rolling, the friendship seems to be growing into something more. Can you really find love on a television show? Gage is a successful actor, but he is also a man. He wants Ellie to see him as a man, not the version of the man everyone else wants to see. He was hurt deeply in his past, and he has a hard time trusting others. Ellie makes him want to take that risk again, but can she accept that he is an actor and all that goes along with it? I want someone who wants me in spite of the actor stuff, not because of it.” I loved how Layne showed that vulnerable and unsure side of him, making him even more irresistible. “Yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it. I just want to be worth it.” I loved Ellie. She didn’t take crap from anyone, and she was honest to a fault to others, but not to herself. She was falling for Gage, but she couldn’t admit it to herself. She was afraid to because of others in her life, especially her mother. She wasn’t necessarily the best example of love. She had many, many loves during her life. Ellie learned from her mother’s mistakes, but it jaded her about love. “But here’s the thing about learning from other people’s mistakes: you miss out on the chance to make some mistakes on your own. And sometimes you get so busy dodging the potential mistakes that you miss the potential magic. You miss the one.” I just kept hoping they would find a way to be completely honest with one another. There were so many things that made this book so good. Layne gave us a look into reality television. Some of it was crazy which made it hysterical, but my favorite part of the book…the ending. Oh my gosh, it was magical!!! It’s what Happily Ever Afters are all about!!!!! ***Read and Reviewed by Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The chemistry between Gage and Ellie is so fun to read. Even if you don't watch The Bachelor you'll enjoy this story.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
Yes, yes, yes. The last couple of books I have read by Lauren Layne didn't really do it for me. They were okay, just not the sexy, witty, charming, glamorous novels I have come to expect from her. I was starting to worry that either I had gone off her writing, or that (even worse) she had started to write books that were just too similar to her other ones. But, against my instincts I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I pre-ordered this one and - good choice. Gage Barrett is a bona fide film star. In a fit of something after finding out his brother and his ex-girlfriend have had a baby, he agrees to go on a reality TV show (a la The Bachelor) in which he choose a potential bride. He has been chosen because he has been engaged twice and both engagements were broken off ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING. Ellie Wright is an entrepreneur, she and her friend Marjorie have set up a designer t-shirt business that caters for women's figures, they are doing well but need more exposure and Marjorie thinks that the sort of viral marketing they could get from Ellie appearing on the reality TV show. Ellie is press-ganged into appearing after Marjorie (and her mother) apply on her behalf. Her intention is just to appear once and get voted off on the first day. Despite being a rugged, handsome, action movie star Gage is pretty down to earth, all these years later he is still hurt that his girlfriend would dump him when he was on the verge of making the big-time and choose his brother over him. All the high-maintenance, "pick-me, pick-me" women on the show grate on his nerves and Ellie stands out as a beacon of normality. At their first meeting Ellie is the only contestant dressed in jeans, t-shirt (of course) and flip-flops, all the others have gone the cocktail dress route. Gage and Ellie become friends and he agrees to vote her off the show, but each time there's a reason why he chooses someone else. By day he goes on group dates with the contestants (breakfast with one group, lunch with another) but by night he and Ellie text on contraband phones and meet up in a cleaner's closet. But world famous movie stars don't fall for ordinary women in real life, do they? This was Lauren Layne at her sparkling best. The dialogue was witty, yet believable, the main characters were realistic and endearingly down-to-earth, the other contestants were, by and large, nutty as a fruit cake (which strangely often doesn't have any nuts in it). Loved it.
SaschaDarlington More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 stars Lauren Layne has quickly risen to my “must-read” list. I have yet to be disappointed with any of her offerings and I hope that continues to be true. Unlike some authors who find success and begin to play it safe by telling the same story over and over with a few minor changes, Layne keeps her writing and storytelling fresh perhaps because she has compassion for her characters and brings them so ably to life. Such is the case for Ellie and Gage. Gage is the handsome, playboy actor who seems to have it all. Ellie is certain she’s going to dislike him, until she sees that there’s a real person behind the actor’s mask. A person that she actually comes to like. Likewise, Gage is immediately intrigued by Ellie because she doesn’t conform to the expectations of the show. She doesn’t flaunt her sexuality, but, by not doing so, she’s far sexier in his eyes. They have chemistry. Layne’s trademark humor shines through the pages. I always know when a book is succeeding because I will be so caught up in it that I will realize that I’ve been smiling while reading. As readers, we acknowledge this seeming ease of conveying humor and spirit is actually not that easily done, but very appreciated. Yep, if it were easy, everyone would do it. While Runaway Groom is part of the I Do, I Don’t series, it is most definitely a standalone novel. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Sascha Darlington
Romwrit More than 1 year ago
Famous actor Gage Barrett has finally gotten himself in front of a camera he wants to shy away from, not to mention, twenty women, only some of whom are sane, interesting, and anywhere remotely near his ideal life-long mate. Too bad the show, Jilted, is supposed to end in a wedding – his. Lucky for him he managed to find one woman who does pique his interest in more ways than one, and of course, she’d have to also be the only one who wants a ticket home. Ellie wanted some free publicity for her business, not to be part of a harem vying for Gage’s attention…and ring. She wants to get married, but she wants a normal courtship without all the prying eyes and death stares from the competition. Trying to do a good deed for the day backfires when Gage refuses to send her home. When their spy mission results in secret trysts and open conversations, Ellie realizes there’s more to Gage than his pretty, playboy image. He’s as deep as the pile of poo they’ve gotten themselves into, and neither would want to brave the mush with anyone else. The whole bachelor-esque theme was pulled off beautifully. Layne kept Ellie and Gage front and center without minimizing the show or the other contestants. Everything was woven together flawlessly, and the chemistry between Gage and Ellie simmered beneath the Maui skies. Ellie kept true to herself, and although Gage understood his image, he didn’t let it define him or change who he really was on the inside. He didn’t put on pretenses other than with the show and his iron-clad contract. He honors his commitments, and he’s very thoughtful and considerate, all traits Ellie found it hard to ignore despite her initial impression of him. Public opinion was touched on, but not made the catalyst for any of Ellie’s or Gage’s actions or reactions. The other contestants were interesting, to say the least, and Layne went all out with the craziness while keeping it believable. Gage and Ellie’s relationship developed smoothly, and I loved their witty exchanges. Put the dog out, feed the cat, grab a snack, and find a comfy place to sit. This is a must-read!
IreneC More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars So much love for Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne. I found the storyline entertaining, it was well written with smart, likable and relatable characters who I easily connected with and couldn't get enough of. Ellie and Gage are going down as one of my fav couples. From the moment they set eyes on each other I felt their connection. I loved their banter, I loved their honesty, they had amazing chemistry and I loved watching them fall in love. Seriously I can't find anything I didn't love about these two! I'm truly in love with author Lauren Layne. I love her storytelling and I love how she writes with her heart giving us entertaining, memorable romances that will touch your heart and leave you with a satisfying smile on your face. The I Do, I Don't series is turning out to be a great read, each book has been a joy to read and I highly recommend it.
Dalitza More than 1 year ago
Ever since reality TV invaded our airwaves, the hope of finding true love has inspired countless shows. With Runaway Groom, Lauren Layne puts a fresh spin on the trope with the absolutely unputdownable tale about a reluctant playboy actor and equally wary T-shirt entrepreneur. After losing a bet, Gage Barrett finds himself in a Hawaiian resort filming a reality TV show where runaway grooms are paired with hopeful brides. Well, almost all of them are hopeful except Ellie Wright. She wants nothing to do with him and is hoping to be the first to go home. Too bad for her she’s not only smart and fiery, she’s an absolute enigma he wants to figure out. Convinced by her best friend and partner she’s doing the right thing for their company, Ellie signs up and is casted on Jilted. Thinking she’ll be quickly eliminated, she never imagined the heat generated by the verbal sparring with Gage much less hiding out at night in the broom closet to steal kisses and have relaxed conversations with the real Gage Barrett, not the actor. Soon she’s torn between following her original plan to go back and fighting for the man she’s been slowly falling for. Layne pens a delightful, addicting love story that pulses with humor, sexiness and intimacy. It’s not often we find reality TV as a backdrop for a romance novel but the on and off camera action ring true. A bit of camaraderie interspersed between jealousy and competition. The chemistry between Gage and Ellie is fun, charming and sexy, boosted by their feisty and snarky teasing. Yet Ellie can’t let herself trust the actor. When it comes to romance novels, a happy ending is the promise we’re looking for, but with these two characters that come from diametrically different backgrounds and goals in life, that ending feels enjoyably uncertain, inviting us to come along for the ride of Gage overcoming his insecurities and Ellie’s journey from wanting a “dependable” partner in life to the realization of a perfectly imperfect life with an actor. With Runaway Groom, Layne skillfully writes delightful banter for a wonderful plot and an overall charmingly entertaining read. Runaway Groom is book #2 of the I Do, I Don’t series by Lauren Layne. It is standalone contemporary romance. Told from both points of view.
AmyBosica More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I have been waiting to get my hands on this book! After falling in love with Ready to Run, I couldn’t wait to get to get my hands on the next book in this fun I do, I don’t Series. And I gotta tell you, Runaway Groom does not disappoint. Runaway Groom is smart and quick witted. The story-line is entertaining and is a really fun take on reality tv. The characters were a ton of fun and easy to connect with. I loved the instant chemistry between Gage and Ellie. I couldn’t get enough of their interactions and I really wanted to find out who the true Gage was. I loved the reality tv aspect of Runaway Groom. I loved the cattiness and couldn’t wait to see how these ladies would go after the man they wanted. I loved the realness of it and the tension of all the emotions that came into play. This book was a total guilty pleasure for me and I couldn’t help but get lost in the characters and their story. Runway Groom is the perfect example as to why I enjoy Lauren Layne’s writing so much. Her stories are unique and fun and always give the best happily ever after! For me, Runaway Groom was fun, and flirty with just the right amount of drama, angst and romance. It was a great guilty pleasure without being over the top. And a romance that sweeps you off your feet and leaves you with a smile on your face…
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book #2, in the I Do, I Don't series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fab series in order. Ellie goes against everything she wants, when she auditions for a reality show to help promote her business. Gage is conned into being the star of the reality show. Neither want to be there. Now they both are glad they came. This series just keeps getting better! This book has a little something for everyone. Want heat? Got it. Competition, and to learn what petty business woman can get up to with one another? Got it. Passion? Got it. Laugh out loud humor? Got it. Sparks that fly off the page? Got it. This series should be called Romance 101. I just very literally loved it and eagerly turned each page. ***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book #2, in the I Do, I Don't series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fab series in order. Ellie goes against everything she wants, when she auditions for a reality show to help promote her business. Gage is conned into being the star of the reality show. Neither want to be there. Now they both are glad they came. This series just keeps getting better! This book has a little something for everyone. Want heat? Got it. Competition, and to learn what petty business woman can get up to with one another? Got it. Passion? Got it. Laugh out loud humor? Got it. Sparks that fly off the page? Got it. This series should be called Romance 101. I just very literally loved it and eagerly turned each page. ***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book #2, in the I Do, I Don't series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fab series in order. Ellie goes against everything she wants, when she auditions for a reality show to help promote her business. Gage is conned into being the star of the reality show. Neither want to be there. Now they both are glad they came. This series just keeps getting better! This book has a little something for everyone. Want heat? Got it. Competition, and to learn what petty business woman can get up to with one another? Got it. Passion? Got it. Laugh out loud humor? Got it. Sparks that fly off the page? Got it. This series should be called Romance 101. I just very literally loved it and eagerly turned each page. ***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book #2, in the I Do, I Don't series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fab series in order. Ellie goes against everything she wants, when she auditions for a reality show to help promote her business. Gage is conned into being the star of the reality show. Neither want to be there. Now they both are glad they came. This series just keeps getting better! This book has a little something for everyone. Want heat? Got it. Competition, and to learn what petty business woman can get up to with one another? Got it. Passion? Got it. Laugh out loud humor? Got it. Sparks that fly off the page? Got it. This series should be called Romance 101. I just very literally loved it and eagerly turned each page. ***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
FromTheSouth More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy a reality TV dating game themed romantic tale, you might want to run towards this one, folks. Ms. Layne proves once again she can serve up a steamy romance right alongside relationship angst using lots of witty, back and forth, confrontational turns to love banter. With the main couple both reluctantly roped into appearing on this show, at first it appears Gage, the famous actor hero, is just as willing to see Ellie booted off just as quickly as she is hoping to be pushed out the door. Of course, the fact she is the only one not fawning over him only peaks his interest/curiosity more. Well, I’m not going to reveal any details on how they bond/connect since I don’t want to ruin the gist of the story line. Just know past experiences are shared/revealed, and they begin to yearn for what they assume can never be...a future together As an avid romantic, I must point out it is always a punch to my heart to have to endure other women kissing/flirting with the hero with the heroine getting a front row seat, even when he puts it off as long as possible and doesn’t seem to enjoy it. In the beginning, you also have to sit back while the leading man mentally ticks off pros and cons of each contestant. Naturally, heartbreak is inevitable as these two knucklehead lovebirds stubbornly refuse to contemplate a compromise that will lead them down the aisle to their own HEA. Not to worry though. True reality finally does sink in. They simply can’t live without one another. For me, that’s what makes the trade-off of dreaded OW drama worth it. I especially enjoy this author’s tendency to give us a sassy heroine quick to put the hero in his place. P.S.: If you are an Emma Chase fan, I think this book will especially appeal to you. The inner male monologue and character set-up reminded me of that author’s writing style. Title: Runaway Groom, Series: I Do, I Don’t (Book 2), Author: Lauren Layne, Pages: 240, stand-alone but part of a series, famous former player actor hero with a mistaken reputation regarding weddings, VERY steamy scenes with heroine, TV reality dating backdrop, writing flowed/stayed fully engaged. Book 1 - Ready to Run (Jordan & Luke) Book 2 - Runaway Groom (Gage & Ellie) Book 3 - Just Run With It (Violet & Bennett) (I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not given any payment or compensation for this review, nor is there any affiliation or relationship between this reviewer and the author/publisher/PR firm.)
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars-engaging and real 3.75 stars-- RUNAWAY GROOM is the second instalment in Lauren Layne’s contemporary, adult I DO, I DON’T romance series focusing on the ‘reality’ television show Jilted. This is Hollywood actor Gage Barrett, and small business owner Ellie Wright’s story line. RUNAWAY GROOM can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Told from dual first person points of view (Gage and Ellie) RUNAWAY GROOM follows Hollywood leading man Gage Barrett as he struggles with his time on the television show Jilted, a Bachelor-esque style reality show that was never on his radar until he lost a Vegas bet to his best friend Wes Carver. The perpetual ‘runaway groom’ Gage has walked away from two previous attempts at walking down the aisle only to face twenty four potential brides who will do anything for their shot at fame and glory. Enter reluctant contestant Ellie Wright, co-owner of a small clothing business, and a woman equally opposed to appearing on TV, especially a show where the woman sell themselves for a few minutes of fame. What ensues is the building relationship between Ellie and Gage, and the potential fall out as Gage and Ellie make a promise to protect one another from the game show fall out, only to have Gage push away our story line heroine. Ellie Wright never intended for things to go this far when her business partner signed her up as one of the potential brides on the reality show Jilted. Thinking the groom-to-be was nothing more than a Hollywood player, Ellie is surprised to find herself falling for the man who would eventually break her heart. Gage Barrett has no intention of all falling in love, least of all selecting a bride from the crazy bunch of females the show has to offer-been there, done that twice without any success. Meeting Ellie Wright, the only ‘sane’ woman in the crowd, finds Gage wanting a future but a future he has to put on hold until he rides out his time on reality TV. The relationship between Gage and Ellie begins acrimoniously as Ellie refuses to play the game, regardless of the rules for appearing on TV. A reluctant contestant, Ellie finds herself falling for the man in question but a man who is willing to risk their time on the show for some personal R & R together. The $ex scenes are intimate and seduction without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The back and forth banter is fun, revealing, and real. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including twenty-four potential brides willing to do anything to get close to Gage Barrett. RUNAWAY GROOM has moments of heartbreak and tear; humor and fun; romance and love. The premise is engaging; the characters are colorful and real; the romance is passionate and loving.
ljtljtljt More than 1 year ago
I started Runaway Groom last night and less than a day later, it became one of my favorite reads of all time. This is a fast-paced and well-written romantic comedy that takes place on the lush island of Maui. "The Bachelor" themed story grabbed my attention right from the start, while the characters made me laugh, smile, and pant from time to time. This is the second book from Lauren Layne's I Do, I Don't series, and it can be enjoyed as as standalone. Ellie Wright is a spunky entrepreneur in need of an outlet to promote her white t-shirt company. Her married business partner's solution? Have Ellie become a contestant on the new reality series Jilted, and publicize the business. Ellie reluctantly agrees, figuring her time on the show won't amount to much. Surprisingly, she hits it of with the bachelor, movie star Gage Barrett. Gage has no desire to date 20 women at one time and then select one for his wedding day only a few weeks later. But he lost a bet and this acting gig is his penance. I loved this book. The story effortlessly flowed from the very first chapter and I felt like I was a fly on the wall of the actual TV series. Ellie and Gage shared a flirtatious chemistry from the very beginning and their time together was replete with lust, humor and intimate rendezvous. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.