“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
I Do, I Don't - Book 2
Releasing Jan 30, 2018
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.
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.
I’m not going to see Gage tonight.
It’s been my mantra all day. All throughout the booze cruise, where I watched him make out with just about everyone with breasts.
All through the ride home, while I had to stare at the back of his head and listen to him laugh what I now know is his fake laugh.
All through dinner, where I did my best to ignore him. And all through the invitation ceremony, where we’d made eye contact only once, and it was rife with meaning.
I don’t know.
I feel my phone buzz under my pillow again, but refuse to look at it, because I’m pretty sure it’s him. I told everyone in my personal life that I wouldn’t have access to my phone for the month-long duration of the show, and most of them took it to heart. Other than a few thinking of you messages from my mom and Marjorie, my phone’s been quiet besides the texts from Gage.
Eden and Paisley both passed out almost immediately following one too many drinks on the boat, and then more drinking at dinner, then champagne at the pool. I’d cried headache and kept it mostly sober, although I’m not sure that was the best idea. The only thing my sobriety is earning me is crystal clear images of Gage and Cora, Gage and Hannah, Gage and Aurora . . .
My phone buzzes again, and I reach beneath the pillow and hit the power button without looking at the messages, then roll onto my back, flinging both arms over my head.
What is wrong with me?
Surely I’m not turning into a Gage Barrett groupie. I’m better than that. I’m not looking for a relationship, and when I do get around to that, it’s not going to be with the hottest thing in Hollywood with a reputation for leaving women at the altar.
I hang over the side of the bunk to look at the clock. Twelve-thirty.
He’s probably not even there anymore. Gage doesn’t strike me as the type of man to wait more than five minutes for a woman. Not when there are dozens of others to take her place. I wonder what would happen if I left. If I made him eliminate me. Would he find another “spy”?
Even more heartbreaking to think about – who would he propose to? Paisley would be a solid choice, but she’s too good for him. He’d probably choose someone like Brooklyn. Someone who’s sweet and gorgeous but who will never challenge him.
The kicker is, I actually do have an idea about who he should send home next. He’s not doing well on his own. I mean, Hannah went home tonight, and that was a solid choice—girl was mean. But last night he sent home Skylar. After I specifically told him to trust his gut and pick someone he wanted to see gone. And of all the contestants—the aggressive Cora, the mean Brittany B., the full-on-crazy Eden—he gets rid of Skylar? She was sweet and harmless. Not the love of his life, perhaps, but better than most of the remaining women.
He got rid for her for me. So he and I could keep meeting. Even though I told him I want to go home.
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.