Read The Trouble With Love Online

Authors: Lauren Layne

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Women, #Coming of Age

The Trouble With Love

BOOK: The Trouble With Love
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Contents

eBook Information

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Dedication

Acknowledgments

By Lauren Layne

About the Author

Advance Reader's Copy — Not for Sale

The Trouble with Love

A Sex, Love & Stiletto Novel

Lauren Layne

Loveswept

This is an uncorrected eBook file.

Please do not quote for publication

until you check your copy against the finished book.

Tentative On-Sale Date: March 3, 2015

Tentative Publication Month: March 2015

Tentative eBook Price: $2.99

Please note that books will not be available in stores

until the above on-sale date.

All reviews should be scheduled to run after that date.

Publicity Contact:

[email protected]

(212) 782-8744

www.readloveswept.com

Loveswept, an imprint of Penguin Random House

1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

The Trouble with Love

Sex, Love & Stiletto Series

Lauren Layne

New York

This is an uncorrected eBook file.
 
Please do not quote for publication until you check your copy against the finished book.

The Trouble with Love
is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A Loveswept eBook Original

Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Layne

Excerpt
from
Worth the Risk
by
Claudia Connor copyright
©
2015
by
Claudia Connor

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Loveswept is a registered trademark and the Loveswept colophon is a trademark of Random House LLC.

eBook ISBN 9781101883433

Cover design:

Cover illustration:

www.readloveswept.com

Chapter 1

Emma had considered calling in sick.

The flu. Cramps. Measles. Dysentery. Mental health day. Whatever.

At the very least, she probably should have waited until after the morning rush hour. Or perhaps snuck in the back door of her office building along with the water cooler delivery guy.

But Emma Sinclair was not a fan of letting life’s little hiccups inconvenience her.

Although . . .

She supposed one could argue there was nothing so
little
about the fact that her apartment had gone from completely normal to entirely flooded in less time than it took her to curl her eyelashes.

And as for the fact that said water catastrophe had resulted in her entire building losing power . . . well, that was pretty much just a straight-up apocalypse.

Still. There were worse things than coming into work with your hair soaking wet and your makeup nonexistent, dressed in a hot pink bridesmaid dress from your cousin’s wedding that was the only dry item in your closet thanks to its protective plastic covering.

Emma had barely bothered to look in the mirror before she’d dashed out of her apartment chased by a string of F-bombs from her frazzled landlord. But then, she didn’t
need
to look in the mirror to know that her look was one part
too glamorous for the office,
one part
street rat
.

Besides, who needed a mirror when you had friends like Julie Greene?

Emma was digging through her bag for the badge that would let her pass through security at the Ravenna office building where she worked when Julie strolled up behind her, Starbucks cup in hand, smile firmly in place as always.

“Hi, Em . . .
aaahh,
” Julie said, breaking off in horror as she took in Emma’s appearance.

Emma gave Julie a droll look. “You like?”

“I don’t even understand what’s happening here,” Julie said, her voice mystified. She held out her Starbucks cup. “Here. Take my caramel macchiato. You need it more.”

Emma started to give a dismissive
nah, that’s okay,
but on second thought, accepted the offering. Her friend was right. She
did
need it more. The Incident had happened mid coffee-brew, which meant Emma was running on a caffeine deficit.

She took a sip as Julie continued to stare at Emma’s outfit in dismay.

“Explain?” Julie said.

Emma sighed. “The apartment above me had some sort of water disaster. My entire apartment looks like the set of
Titanic,
minus the nubile Leo.”

Julie eyed Emma’s wet hair. “So, is your hair wet from, like, dirty pipe water?”

“No,” Emma said, taking a last sip of Julie’s coffee and handing the cup back as she located her badge. “Fortunately, I’d showered
before
the pipe burst and I managed to dodge the worst of the spray.
Unfortunately,
drying my hair wasn’t an option.”

“Right. That whole electrocution thing,” Julie said as they swiped their badges and headed to the elevators.”

“Um, yeah, I couldn’t have gotten electrocuted even if I wanted to,” Emma said, punching the
up
button. “The power went out.”

Julie’s brown eyes bugged out. “Seriously? Flooded
and
you have no power? Is everything ruined?”

“Of course not. I still have
this
lovely dress,” Emma said, pulling the hem of her dress out to the side, curtsy style. She pretended not to notice the way the two girls who had been gossiping happily as they crossed the elevator lobby immediately quieted when they spotted her.

The dress would have been a distraction all by itself. The drippy wet bun was also atypical for a swanky office building in which
sophisticated and polished
was the unofficial dress code for women.

But a lack of makeup made everything worse. Much worse.

Not that Emma was really a glam type of girl, but she had a distinct disadvantage of having very fair eyelashes, despite her medium brown hair. And her eyes’ shape made it worse. They were both large and tilted upward in a semi-distinctive manner. Bambi eyes, her mother had always called them.

But without eyeliner and mascara, she was more
Lord of the Rings’
Gollum
than
adorable baby deer.

“You know, it’s a good dress, if a bit out of place for work,” Julie mused, as they followed the two gossiping girls and a middle-aged man yapping into his phone onto the elevator. “Sexy. A little slutty even. Go you!”

“That’s great, Jules. Slutty was
just
what I was going for on a random Wednesday morning at the office.”

“Well then, you should have called me. We’re the same size–ish. I could have lent you something.”

“I’ll be taking you up on that tomorrow,” Emma said as Julie hit the button for the twelfth floor. “Everything I have will need to be dry-cleaned at best, burned at worst. But this morning, I couldn’t make it from Upper East over to Upper West in the middle of traffic and still make it to the office in time.”

The elevator doors had just started to close when a male hand stuck between them, activating their sensors so that the doors reopened.

Great
. Really freaking
fantastic
.

A lesser woman would have groaned in dismay at the sight of the man in front of her.

Emma merely straightened her shoulders, ignoring Julie’s softly uttered, “Oh, dear.”

It was
him
.

The man was gorgeous in the sort of way that made women stop and stare. The tall and lean athlete’s body was as impeccably dressed as ever in a trim, perfectly tailored black suit. No sign of a tie today, although there often was one.

His dark hair was perfectly styled, the clean-shaven face showing off a strong jaw and symmetrical lips.

And the eyes . . . green today, although they often could burn blue.

But Emma didn’t have to look at the man to know all of this.

She knew it all from her memories.
Bad
memories.

He didn’t falter at the sight of Emma and her low-cut cocktail dress and ugly wet bun.

In fact, he didn’t look at her at all.

Nothing—not surprise, not even acknowledgment—fluttered across his features at her presence.

The man was in control.

Always.

Julie shifted to the corner of the elevator to make room for him, and he nodded briefly at her before turning so that he and Emma were standing shoulder to shoulder.

The doors closed, and Emma lifted her eyes to the little screen that indicated the floor number.

He mimicked her posture, his eyes also focused on the spot where the
L
became
1,
then
2
as they ascended.

“Emma,” he said politely, not looking at her.

“Cassidy.”

“You’re looking well.”

“And you,” she said, her tone smooth. Monotone.

“You didn’t get dressed up on my account, I hope.” His voice never lost its casual politeness.

She didn’t so much as glance at him. “Oh, do you not like it? I’ve been
so
hoping a fancy dress is all it would take for you to ask for my number.”

The elevator stopped on the seventh floor, and Emma and Cassidy stepped to the side so the man in the back corner could exit. In sync, they moved immediately back into their previous positions as the door closed.

They still had not looked at each other.

“You know, it’s a little bright for my taste,” he mused, as though they’d never been interrupted. “I like more subdued colors on a woman. Say . . . white. I always like to see a woman in a white dress. Do you own one?”

Julie cleared her throat, although Emma couldn’t tell if it was a warning or a laugh.

The elevator stopped at
12.
Emma’s stop.
Finally
.

“Excuse me,” she murmured to Cassidy as she stepped off, her voice sugary sweet.

Julie followed her.

And much to Emma’s dismay, so did Cassidy.

“Wrong floor, Cassidy,” Julie said sweetly, with a pretty smile for the wretched man.

Traitor.

“Not today it’s not,” he replied.

“Ah,” Julie said. “Got a meeting with Camille?”

“I do.”

Camille Bishop was the editor in chief of
Stiletto
magazine, and Julie and Emma’s boss. Since Cassidy was the editor in chief of
Oxford
magazine,
Stiletto
’s brother publication, it wasn’t strange that he occasionally stopped by the twelfth floor.

Didn’t mean Emma had to like it.

“See you ladies around,” Cassidy said with a smile for Julie. Emma barely warranted a glance. “Oh, and Emma, just a friendly reminder that winter’s right around the corner. Careful you don’t catch a cold with that wet head.”

He moved away before Emma had a chance to respond. Or give him the finger. Not that she would have bothered.

“Friendly reminder my ass,” Emma muttered, glaring briefly at his back before she and Julie headed toward the office they shared.

“I think it’s sweet. Maybe he cares,” Julie said, linking her arm in Emma’s.

Emma grunted in response. “Give me the rest of your coffee. I need it.”

Julie complied and the two of them stepped into their office. Grace and Riley were already there. Grace, texting on her phone . . . probably sexting with her husband, if her dirty smile was any indication.

Typical.

Riley was eating a doughnut. Also typical.

Riley paused in her chewing when she saw Emma. “Whoa. Is it prom already? Nobody told me! I didn’t even order a corsage.”

Emma dropped her purse on her desk. “Tell me one of you has a hair dryer.”

“Yeah, I
totally
carry one in my purse,” Riley said, even as she shook her head to indicate that she most definitely did not have a hair dryer.

“I don’t have one, either,” Grace said. “But we can hit up the girls in the beauty department. One of them might.”

“Emma had an incident,” Julie said, plopping in her chair.

“What, like a ‘Noah wouldn’t let her on the ark because she was overdressed’ kind of incident?” Riley asked.

Emma smiled, despite her bad mood.

“Oh my gosh, Emma!” Grace leaned forward. “Did you go out to that gala at the Guggenheim last night? Ooooh, did you go
home
with someone? Is this your version of the walk of shame?”

BOOK: The Trouble With Love
13.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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