Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled to receive her latest novel through Netgalley. "Yours to Keep" is part of Layne's "Man of the Year" series. The books are linked through the fact that each man character is awarded a publication's "Man of Year" award. However, you don't have to read the previous books to read these. Each novel stands on its own, it's just linked to the others through this award.

There is currently only one other book in the series, titled "Yours in Scandal." I read that and reviewed it here

Spoiler alert: I really loved this book. I read it within a day or so and it had me clutching my chest with hopes and tears at the end! 

Publisher's Summary: 

Pro baseball shortstop Carter Ramsey is about to be Citizen magazine’s Man of the Year, but the only title that matters to him is out of reach: World Series MVP. Benched by a recent injury, Carter retreats to his hometown to recover. His ten-year class reunion and potential reconciliation with the sweetheart he left behind could be perfect distractions. Until another old acquaintance throws Carter a curveball.

Olive Dunn admits that her former high school science partner is still a handsome charmer. But she wasn’t swayed then, and she won’t be swayed now. Because Olive remembers Carter’s little shortcoming: he tends to bail the moment it suits him, without a backward glance. Best to keep her feelings strictly platonic while he’s in town.

Except for the entitled boy she knew is a changed man: solid, reflective, and generous. As they ease back into their familiar friendship, things take a surprising turn, and Carter and Olive must decide if what they have is a passing flirtation or a real shot at love.

My Thoughts

At first, I wasn't too sure how I was going to feel about this book. I wasn't a fan of Olive... I felt her character development happened too quickly. It could've just been me not paying attention at her first introduction or just misinterpreting it but I didn't take her as a bold,  quicky character... not in the way she turned out to be.

I'll admit I found her annoying at first but by the end, I was really rooting for her. 

The story is pretty typical; big baseball player goes home for a high school reunion and starts a friendship with the nerd who he wasn't friends with back in the day. It read like a Hallmark movie but it was perfection. 

I adored the character of Carter -- I love how Layne writes her main, male characters; super sweet, a little tortured and massively misunderstood. I loved how him and Olive slowly started to tolerate each other and how they eventually opened up and formed a true friendship.

I also love how they flirted, how it was so natural for them. It made the book so exciting! The sexual tension was truly jumping off the page and I find that to be really difficult for a lot of writers to convey. Sometimes it feels like the relationship can be forced but with Olive & Carter, it happened nice and slow, really building it up. 

When they finally do get together, it felt so satisfying but then of course, it was ruined. However, the ending is heartbreaking on so many levels, but yet also satisfying. I was sobbing by the end of it and it was truly magical.

This is the perfect romantic comedy to read when you need something easy to lose yourself in. The story was very easy for me to get roped into and become invested in. I needed to know what happened next and I needed to see if and when Olive & Carter's flirting would move to the next level. 

It was the perfect book to take your mind off the world and just feel giddy about romance. It was everything a modern romance novel should be!

What have you read lately?
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