Ready to Run

Ready to Run

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Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for

Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

One-Liners
  • The Bachelor meets Runaway Bride.
Accolades
  • An Apple Books Best Book of the Year
  • “Quintessential Lauren Layne goodness—a sassy, feel-good and entertaining love story infused with laughter, sizzling chemistry and heartfelt romance.”—USA Today

“Ready to Run is as sweet, sassy, and adorable as every Lauren Layne romance, and I’m head over heels!”

—Sarah Robinson, bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends series

“Ready to Run is trademark Lauren Layne: a smart heroine, a swoon-worthy hero, and more flirty, sexy banter than you can shake a cowboy boot at. Loved it!”

—Kate Meader, USA Today bestselling author of the Hot in Chicago series

“Layne gives a nod to Runaway Bride and The Bachelor

with this clever romance set in Lucky Hollow, Montana. . . . Luke’s secrets create just enough suspense, the revelations are smooth, and the characters and setting are delightful.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Ready to Run is the literary equivalent of the perfect after-work cocktail: [it’s] comforting, a little surprising, and injects the night with joy. I loved it, y’all.”

—All About Romance

“Lauren Layne’s new series is everything I could want in a contemporary romance.”

—Heroes and Heartbreakers

“A new series from Lauren Layne all about a reality dating show with runaway grooms at the center? Count me in.”

—Hypable

“Cute, funny, sweet and sexy, and low on angst,

Ready to Run

totally hits the mark.”

—Girl Plus Books

“You can always count on Lauren Layne to deliver a well-written and heartfelt romance between two very different people. . . . It’s lighthearted and fun but with enough emotional heft to make it thoroughly satisfying.”

—Dirty Girl Romance

“Ready to Run was absolutely adorable and so much fun!”

—Star-Crossed Book Blog

Ready to Run

was once again LL at her finest. She keeps publishing these romances that keep topping the last on my favorite reads lists!”

—Obsessive Book Nerd

“I enjoyed the premise of Ready to Run and the surprisingly nuanced and complex story behind the story. Ms. Layne has a definite knack for creating complicated and endearing characters who are flawed yet ever-so enticing, and I just adored Luke. I also appreciated the storyline being well balanced between the heart squeezes and humor.”

—Books and Bindings

“Ready to Run is a cute, spunky, and fun small-town romantic comedy that will make you grin and laugh at the witty and effortless banter, swoon at the sexual tension, and maybe even tear up at certain events in the story. It had a wonderful pace and a slow burn I enjoyed immensely.”

—Of Pens and Pages

“Obviously, I had a fantastic time reading Ready to Run. It was exactly what I love in a contemporary romance, and it started out the I Do, I Don’t series in the best way possible. Bravo, Lauren Layne! I can’t wait to read the next book!”

—A Novel Glimpse

Excerpts

“We’ll double the original offer.”

He didn’t even blink.

“Twice as much,” she said.

“Yes, I’m aware what double means.”

“It’s a lot of money,” she said. “And like I said earlier, if money’s not important to you, just think what it could do for the town should you want to donate it.”

Luke took a sip of beer and said nothing.

Her eyes narrowed. “Do you even remember what the first offer was?”

“Didn’t forget, I just . . . never read it in the first place.”

She scowled. “I spent a lot of time on those emails.”

“Well, you wasted your time. I never made it past the second sentence.”

“But—”

Luke moved so quickly she gasped when he stepped toward her, crowding her space. Her surprise had her rocking backward, her spiky heels sinking all the way into the grass and throwing her off-balance.

He reached out quickly, a palm against her back. His touch steadied her stumble even as it sent her heart racing.

“I’m only going to say this once more, City, so listen up,” Luke said in a low growl, his breath warm on her face. “I don’t care how much money’s on the table. I don’t care if your ‘handpicked’ women are all Victoria’s Secret models with degrees in neuroscience who run charities in their spare time. I’m not, nor will I ever be, interested in being a part of your show. So you can prance your high heels and your tight ass right back to New York City and leave me and my town in peace.”

He released her so quickly she nearly stumbled again, although she was pretty sure her unsteadiness had more to do with the thrum of her awareness of being so close to Luke than it did the stilettos.

A second later, a large male hand smacked the shoe out of her hand, sending it thudding pathetically against the wall.

She reared up, ready to tell him exactly what she thought of his caveman tendencies.

But before she could get a word out, she was against the door, sandwiched between the cool, hard wood and his hot, hard body.

Luke leaned into her, one hand braced above her head, the other coming to circle her throat. Not threateningly—she had zero fear that he’d hurt her.

But her heart was pounding all the same, at the anger in his eyes, at her own answering anger.

His thumb brushed along her collarbone. In warning? In promise?

Jordan’s hands lifted to his chest, intending to push him away—to tell him that she had no intention of being manhandled.

But the second her fingers brushed against the soft fabric of his running shirt, she sucked in a breath, her intentions shifting.

Soft as the shirt was, the man beneath was anything but.

She turned back, gestured between the two booths. “You need to kiss the girl, Luke. The entire town knows it.”

He ground his teeth to keep from telling Vicky that he had kissed the girl.

Thoroughly.

Wanted to do it again.

Badly.