Series: Oxford #2
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
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.
Ms. Layne definitely knows how to write a story that’s equal parts sweet and sexy with some fun thrown in, even when the story-line is one that could qualify as messy.
Jackson Burke had it all once – the successful career as a star quarterback, the beautiful wife, access to all the right people and places but he lost it all as a result of the car accident that cost him his career and the scandal that blew up his marriage. These days, he calls New York City home and his job as a columnist at Oxford magazine is the only thing that occupies his days.
As far as Jackson is concerned, this is only temporary until he can return to his home state of Texas and reclaim a part of his life. He’ll take the football career but he’ll pass on the now ex-wife who checked out on him and their marriage while he was still incapacitated. His fond memories of his marriage are tied to the one person who brings a smile to his face, the person that has been his staunchest supporter, the one person he should not want: his ex-wife’s younger sister, Mollie. And with her within reach, keeping his hands off her will be his biggest test ever. Just when he’s settling in to his new life, his ex has returned like a bad habit to scheme her way back into his life by tempting him with the one thing he wants above everything else.
Mollie Carrington was convinced that she had gotten over her huge crush on her ex-brother-in-law. Until she reconnected with him and found herself under the same roof as him. Torn between her loyalty to her sister and her desire for Jackson, Mollie has to decide if she’s content with second place or if she’ll go all in for the win.
This situation is always a very sticky one, fraught with drama and tension and I’m usually very wary of reading books with this story-line, but I don’t think I really paid attention to anything beyond the fact that Ms. Layne was the author and I would get a chance to catch up with the Stiletto/Oxford crew. I’m glad I didn’t miss this story because it’s everything I love about Ms. Layne’s writing: a fresh and fun take on romance, adorable characters and really great dialogue and connections.
Geeky, sweet and down-to-earth Mollie was so perfect for Jackson and exactly what he needed to wake all those protective and possessive feelings in him. She was also what he needed to take the next step in his life and give up his dead dreams. It’s so easy to get caught up in Mollie’s quandary – having to choose between the sister she idolized and the man she loved and I can understand why she didn’t stand up to her sister when she had so many opportunities to do so. Even Jackson’s longing for his old life is something anyone can relate to. When you lose everything that defines you and get a chance to get it back, it’s hard to turn away, even if the cost might be too much. My only complaint is that evil sister Madison did not get hers.
Mollie and Jackson came close to toppling Emma and Alex as my favorite couple in the Stiletto/Oxford series, not an easy thing to do. I had so much fun reading this book and I’m looking forward to Lincoln’s story with a lot of anticipation.