The Central Park Pact Series
September 17, 2019
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.
There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered and rough-around-the-edges contractor Scott Turner.
Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…
Lauren Layne has easily become one of my favorite romance writers. I don’t even bother to read the blurb when I see she’s authored a novel. What has made her become one of my favorite writers is the fact that I am not reading the same story with the same characters over and over again. This The Central Park Pact series is case in point.
In the first novel of the series, Passion on Park Avenue (read my review here) we met Naomi who was confident, brazen, but with hints of vulnerability. Claire, the main female character in Love on Lexington Avenue is her polar opposite, except for the shoes. In fact, the shoes may be the one thing, besides philandering Brayden, that these women have in common.
At the beginning of Love on Lexington Avenue as she’s staring at the vanilla cupcake she bought to celebrate her birthday, Claire has an epiphany. The cupcake embodies her life. All of her choices have been vanilla, safe. She is vanilla. After speaking to the third member of the pact, Audrey, Claire decides to become strawberry lemonade. She’s going to bring pink into her life to not only take risks but also because Brayden hated pink.
That for Claire new contractor, Scott Turner, is a “hell, no.”
Initially Scott comes off as a bit of a jerk: gruff, arrogant, macho. Indeed, if you’ve ever seen Gilmore Girls, he’s Luke before Luke morphed into someone Lorelei should have run ever so far from (my opinion which is probably not shared by most). However, the longer Claire is around Scott, she understands, appreciates and becomes attracted to everything she thought she disliked, flannel, for instance.
I love how Claire evolves, moving from feeling like a doormat to nurturing her own success. I also loved how Claire and Scott’s romance evolved with its surprises and acceptances and at the very last a beautiful grand gesture to show that besides attraction and sex, love emerges when there’s mutual respect and acknowledgement. That might not sound romantic, but if you don’t agree, you will when you grown up. 😉
There is a scene where Claire is wondering whether Scott’s ex- realized everything she’s missed by cheating on Scott. The way it’s phrased and Claire’s words, just brought tears to my eyes.
Layne really works all of the emotions into Love on Lexington Avenue. Vulnerability, heat, strength, sisterhood, humor, catharsis, and more.
I highly recommend this novel and the series.
Now, I’m so looking forward to the next installment.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies