Read with Me

Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t) by Lauren Layne


4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: January 30th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Humor

Number of pages: 240

Series: I Do, I Don’t

Ready to Run – Book 1 (review here)

Runaway Groom – Book 2

Just Run With It – Book 3 (Expected publication date: March 20th, 2018)

Where you can find Runaway Groom: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

Trigger Warning: None

My review:

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Going to let everyone in on a secret. I have never seen a single episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. I couldn’t watch those men or women make fools of themselves on national TV over someone they never met. But, I did watch a show called Temptation Island. Which was kinda like The Bachelor but it involved married couples. While I liked that show, it turned me off from watching shows like The Bachelor.

Seeing that I have read book one of the I Do, I Don’t series, I needed to read book 2. Once I start a series, I have to finish, no matter how much I dislike it. Its kind of OCD thing with me. I can’t leave things unfinished. I liked Runaway Groom. Liked it and it made me excited to read book 3.

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Runaway Groom had a fun plot. Gage is locked into a TV contract where he is to appear on the show Jilted. Jilted is a Batchelor type show where a man is put on a resort with many beautiful women and has to choose one. That woman he will marry in the last episode. Gage does not want to be there. He does not want to be married. He is happy being the movie star playboy. That is until he meets Ellie. Then the show becomes much more interesting.

Ellie does not want to be on Jilted. Her best friend signs her up, against her wishes. When Ellie is picked as one of the final girls, she is shocked. She decides to go out of her way to have Gage give her a rose and a wedding invite. Which didn’t work. Gage saw her as a challenge. Ellie sees Gage as a manwhore. Once she gets to know him, she realizes that there is a lot more to Gage. The same goes for Gage. What will happen to them? Read the book to find out.

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I loved Ellie. She was snarkiness personified when she was with Gage. Some of the things she said to him, oh my!! I did feel bad for her when she revealed her unconventional upbringing to Gage. It wasn’t horrible or abusive but it still affected her. She craved stability and things to be normal. Which is why Gage rubbed her the wrong way at first. He was exactly not what she was looking for.

I liked Gage but man, did he have some baggage. He was obsessing over certain events in his life that didn’t exactly go his way. Which made him push his family away. While I can sympathize him being mad and upset, I did think that he let it go on too long. Which is why I was glad that he met Ellie. She put him in his place. She also made him realize that he shouldn’t dwell on the past. Once he realized he wanted Ellie, he pursued her. I was laughing that he used Ellie’sinsider status” to get rid of contestants on the show. His reasons why compared to what Ellie told, had me laughing so hard I was crying.

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What set this book apart is that the two main characters formed a friendship before falling in love. It was sweet that she met him every night in a janitor’s closet…after that first time. It was also sweet that they texted when they couldn’t see other. Once the friendship was established, then the romance/sexual relationship started. I loved it.

Gage and Ellie had out of this world sex. It was out of this world to me because of the friendship. They didn’t have hot stranger sex (yes, I made that up). Instead, when they had sex, it was more charged.  While I like the heat of the moment, picked them up in a bar sex, sometimes I need to read a scene where there is more emotion there.

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The end of Runaway Groom was typical but it made me so happy. I liked how the author kept what would happen with Gage and Ellie a mystery to not only Ellie but to me, as a reader. I also felt for Ellie. Put it this way, she tortured herself for 6 weeks. No wonder she was an emotional mess. I know I would have been.

Runaway Groom is a cute romance. It had characters that I could relate too. The plotline was fun. I loved the one-liners that both Ellie and Gage had. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 20 (Adult per my rating system). There are explicit sex and mild language.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Runaway Groom.

All opinions stated in this review of Runaway Groom is mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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