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 loved Irresistibly Yours (Oxford #1) and I couldn’t wait for the next in the series to come out. Admittedly I had hoped for Lincoln’s book, but was more than happy to read about Jackson, especially after that epilogue. But I gotta tell you I don’t think I’ve ever liked a couple of characters so much and yet wanted to throttle them as much as I did with Jackson and Mollie. I knew going into the book that it would probably drive me a bit bat shit crazy, I mean how could it not especially after the epilogue with Jackson in Irresistibly Yours? We have a now ex football god whose reputation has been trashed by his ex-wife (you is a total manipulative bitch) and comes to realize that he has more than brotherly feelings for his ex sister-in-law. That right there is angst lovers dream set up and boy does Ms. Layne deliver on that, but it is thankfully tempered by some really sweet and fun moments (Thank GOD for the Oxford and Stiletto crew).
I loved Mollie’s quirks. The fact that she spouts random facts about insects was awesome and while she tended to apologize for those moments, she also owned them at the same time and showed a quiet confidence in herself that made her very likeable. My issue with her though was the blinders she wore when it came to her sister, Madison. I have no issue with the fact that she loved her sister, and there were a few things that came to light about her that put Madison in a positive light, but some of the things that Mollie did and used the “but she’s my sister” angle irritated the hell out of me and I wanted to rip the blinders off and knock some sense into her because she was giving way more than she was receiving.
Jackson. When Jackson wasn’t bemoaning what he had lost ~ his football career, his reputation, his marriage ~ he really was a sweet and charming guy. Did I empathize with him? Yes, especially when certain facts came to light and showed that he really was the victim in the cluster that had become his life, but he was so set on regaining at part of his past glory days that it at times it made him seem like a whiney brat. What saved him, outside of the moments when he actually enjoyed what he had going for him, was how insecure he really was about certain things. One would think that a football God would have all his shit together but that wasn’t the case and watching as he slowly, very slowly, came to realize that he could actually be apart of something new at Oxford and it be just as wonderful as his football career had been was good fun.
The way Mollie and Jackson’s relationship progressed was very well done. Yes, I growled and yelled at my Kindle when either one would do something that I knew wouldn’t end well and almost tossed Kindle into the freezer a few times, but considering their situation it all worked. Everything you learn about the two of them and their past shows that while the love may have been one sided for a while, they’d always had a connection that was based on mutual respect and admiration. And then there is Madison and while I really don’t want to mention her I must because she was the evil spectre hanging over both of them. The power she held was crazy but I loved how they both pushed past it and finally realized that the only reason she had any power is because they allowed her too.
This was a fun read, even with some of the violent reactions I had to some of the things the characters did or didn’t do, but that simply proves how invested I was in their story right? The little twists and surprises were well done and I am really enjoying Ms. Layne’s writing style. She brings the characters to life on the page and makes you want to know more. I still need to read the Love, Sex & Stiletto series because I’d love to see how those couples got their HEA, but I’m thrilled that Lincoln’s book is next! So can’t wait to get my hands on that one!
The Bottom Line: Even with the frustrations the characters awoke in me, this was still a fun and quick read and great addition to the series!
~ ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.