Review + Excerpt: I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne
I Wish You Were Mine
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing February 2, 2016
Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.
Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.
I Wish You Were Mine is the second book in the Oxford series, that follows the journey of Jackson Burke. Those who have read Irresistibly Yours may recognize Jackson as the retired star quarterback caught in a cheating scandal.
Like everything Lauren Layne writes, this book is also pure perfection. I always loved the Stiletto series, so when I found out she was writing a spin-off with the Oxford men, woohoo, I was ecstatic. The reason I mention that is because we get a glimpse into the lives of the Stiletto ladies. Congratulations are in order for our lovely and my most favorite Riley McKenna, now Riley Compton.
Coming back to Jackson and Mollie’s story, I did not expect to like Jackson at all. I was sure he was a cheating a-hole and that I would hate him. But Ms. Layne weaved her magic wand and surprised me. She made me fall head over heels in love with the man. There is a side to Jackson that you explore when you read the book, a very unexpected side that I doubt anyone but Mollie Carrington could bring out in him. He is a real sweetheart and you can’t help falling for him. He is an innately good guy, who though frustrated and angry with his life, strives to live it anyway. Each day is a struggle because all he knew is the life of a star quarterback, not that of a health and fitness journalist. He is just passing through life like a spectator. He only starts living once Mollie re-enters his life. We see a clear difference in his behaviour at Oxford to with the rest of the guys. He is a lot more easy once he has Mollie in his corner.
Mollie Carrington did the unthinkable, the very thing that goes against every girl and sister code. On the day of her sister’s wedding, she fell in love. With the groom. Despite her feelings for Jackson, she never acts on it. She is always the perfect sister to Madison and the best friend to Jackson. Now years later, with her sister and Jackson divorced, she can’t help but try her luck once and for all. Mollie is quite simply put a geeky, nerdy, awkward yet gorgeous woman. She embraces her geekiness, though tries not to indulge in it a lot. In short, she is my kind of girl. She is the sister everyone wants. The one who loves her selfish, bitch of a sister and would do anything for her, because Madison practically raised her. But when she reconnects with Jackson, his cowboy good looks and mellow drawl enthrall her, and she forgets all the reasons she should help her sister win Jackson back.
Refuting my fears, Lauren Layne wrote a book devoid of cheating, for which I am eternally grateful to her. Jackson and Mollie had such good chemistry. Before becoming lovers, they were the best of friends, who could share everything with each other. Mollie always loved Jackson, but it’s so much better to see Jackson realise that the one person who always stood by his side was Mollie Carrington, the one who deserved his love and affection. It was so fun to see them falling head over heels in love with each other.
Despite Madison’s surprise visit to Jackson, he never looked back. He was done with his ex and decided to move on. And that’s exactly what he did. No relationship is devoid of ups and downs. Mollie and Jackson’s relationship was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride; with Jackson’s reservations and his confusion regarding his life and aims. With Mollie’s sometimes lack to speaking her mind. But in the end the man gets his head out of his ass and accepts his life and love.
I thoroughly enjoyed this journey with Jackson and Mollie and loved getting a glimpse into the previous characters lives. Ms. Layne has already hinted at a rather painful past for Lincoln Mathis, but I am sure the man will find his happy ending.
“You seriously didn’t have to hire movers,” Mollie said for the hundredth time as she watched two burly dudes easily maneuver yet another stack of boxes to Jackson’s guest room.
Jackson pointed at a barstool. “Sit. Relax. Want a beer?”
“No, I still need to unpack,” she muttered, reluctantly plopping onto the stool.
“Have a beer, Molls. Unpacking your nightstand contents isn’t like operating heavy machinery,” he said, going to the fridge and pulling out two beers.
“Clearly you don’t know what’s in my nightstand.”
Jackson lifted his eyebrows. “Exactly how big is your vibrator?”
“I meant I have like a zillion books.”
“Which are not breakable,” he said, handing her a beer. “And is that a no on the vibrator?”
She gave him a look as she took the bottle from his hand. “I just want to state for the record that I have moved several times, on my own, without the help of movers, and I could have done it again.”
“Moving yourself is for college kids. You’re an adult. Hire movers.”
“No, moving yourself is for people without extra income,” she said. “Snob.”
“So what was the plan?” he asked, tipping the bottle to his lips. “You were just going to maneuver all those big-ass boxes around with those skinny sticks you call arms?”
“Don’t be silly. I was going to hire some big beefy dudes from campus to help me. Perk of working at a university.”
Jackson was about to set his bottle on the counter but his hand froze, just for a second, and Mollie felt a sting of regret as she realized she’d inadvertently hit a nerve. Not so long ago, Jackson Burke had been absolutely the type of muscled guy friend who’d’ve been really helpful to have around on moving day. Her eyes flitted to his shoulder. Now he was the guy who wouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting for a long time. Maybe ever.
She looked away, her brain scrambling to come up with a quick subject change.
Only maybe that wasn’t what he needed—for people to dance around his injury like it was the elephant in the room. Physically, he was on the road to recovery. He needed to get there mentally as well.
“You said the other night that it didn’t hurt,” she said. “Was that a big macho man moment?”
He stared at the counter. “I’ve told you. It’s fine.”
She rolled her eyes. “Please. Be a little more vague and manly.”
“Well, what do you want me to say, Molls?” he ground out. “That the pain wakes me up at night? That any motion more vigorous than brushing my teeth hurts like hell?”
“Are you going to physical therapy?” she asked, purposely ignoring the wounded-bear routine. That might scare off other people, but she was made of stronger stuff. Knew him better.
He looked away.
He shrugged. “What does it even matter? All the PT in the world isn’t going to help me play football again.”
“Well, gosh,” she said dramatically, “you may as well be dead.”
Jackson was in the process of taking a sip of beer and choked. “Jesus. You are such a smart-ass.”
“I’m just saying, you have a lot going for you,” she said, gentling her tone. “You don’t need a football in your hand or to help a girl move to be an amazing guy.”
“Yeah?” he said as he leaned on his forearms across the counter. “Want to tell me more about how I’m an amazing guy?”
If I did, I might never stop.
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About Lauren Layne:
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.
Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).