Standalone in a series. A romance of unrequited love.



Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?

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Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

‘I don’t think it’s about who loves you first. It’s about who loves you best.’

Crushed was a sweet and witty romance with enough heat, angst and easy fun banter between Michael and Chloe to keep the smiles on our faces. The friends to lovers theme is one of our favourites and in Crushed that, together with the self-discovery of the characters, worked well.

“I want the guy who wanted me before I turned into a swan.”

Both Michael and Chloe have/are experiencing unrequited love so in that aspect they’re kindred spirits. Michael had his heart broken by a woman he loved but sadly, didn’t return those feelings.  One afternoon turned Michael’s world upside down. He found out his father wasn’t his biological Dad and he lost Olivia, who he had loved forever and in the process his best mate, Ethan. You could say things had turned to shite for Michael.  He decides to seek out his real Dad fleeing his home in New York to live and work in Texas for the summer.

It is in Texas that he meets Kristin Bellamy, a girl who, on the surface, appears to have it all. Looks, poise, a killer body but she’s dating Michael’s half-brother, Devon. Michael is giving Kristin tennis lessons during the summer and sees Kristin as a way to get to Devon and learn more about his real father.  What begins with attraction soon dies when Michael realises Kristin’s appeal is superficial- underneath this girl is a self-absorbed nasty pasty!

Kristin’s sister, Chloe is the polar opposite of her shallow, mean sister. Chloe has a whip sharp tongue, a cheeky personality, is friendly and pretty yet painfully insecure with body image issues feeling as though she doesn’t stack up against her glamorous sister. Not only does she have to cope with her self-image issues, she is also in love with her sister’s boyfriend Devon.

‘I mean, why would you want the funny sidekicks when you can have the heroine.’

Michael sees Chloe for who she is. A beautiful girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, she’s fun, vibrant, the type of girl you’d love as a friend. Michael soon develops feelings for the gorgeous Chloe, but tramps them down. He’s been hurt before and doesn’t want to be Chloe’s second best…he’s tired of being everyone’s second choice.

‘I’m so freaking tired of being the nobody in my own life.”

Both Michael and Chloe were relatable and likeable characters with a friendship that developed at a steady pace. As their feelings took hold, the healing and awakening between them felt sweet and natural. An wonderfully enjoyable and entertaining romance read.

“Tell me I get another chance….tell me.”

4 Stars


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Lauren Layne

Amazon USAmazon UK 

Amazon USAmazon UK 

Amazon US | Amazon UK 



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