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Release Day Launch: The Only One: Lauren Blakely

The Only One (One Love )
Lauren Blakely
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Expected December 6, 2016

Let’s say there was this guy. And he gave you the most mind-blowing night of sex in your life. And you never saw him again.

Until ten years later.

Now, it turns out he’s the ONLY ONE in all of Manhattan whose restaurant is available the night of my charity’s gala. 

The trouble is, he doesn’t recognize me.

***
This woman I’m working with is so damn alluring. The first time I set eyes on her, I’m captivated and I can’t get her out of my mind. Even if it’s risky to tango with someone I’m working with, she’s a risk I’m willing to take.

The trouble is, she won’t give me the time of day.

But I’m determined to change that.

Fans of Lauren Blakely might recognize Penny from the dog shelter Little Friends in Well Hung, and Gabriel, the sexy restaurant owner who partnered up with Simon in The Sexy One. But who knew that Penny Jones and Gabriel Mathias had a hot and emotional three day affair in Barcelona ten years ago?! It's a small world. She went home and they were supposed to meet again, but in the end she was left heartbroken.

But now they are face to face again. Gabriel's restaurant is the only one available to cater an event for Little Friends. At their first meeting there is curiosity, confusion. and secrets. Penny does her best to convince Gabriel she is not his long lost Penelope. But there is interest, a good rapport, and such chemistry. Soon they are falling back into a comfort zone of flirty exchanges, humor, and lust. 

This couple is so likable and entertaining. I enjoyed getting both of their points of view. Penny is funny, strong, fiery, and confident. But she still has vulnerability, pain, and trust issues from the past. And Gabriel is sexy, successful, charming, and determined. He has a rep of being a ladies man, but he is not afraid to go after what he wants or demand more of her time. The secrets are not revealed right away adding to the tension. 

I liked that they could appreciate and were attracted to each other in the present as the people they had become. I enjoyed following along with them as they fell again. They're older, wiser, freer, and know what they have been missing. They had an established connection that was easy to pick back up, but they also had to come to terms with the past in order to have a chance of moving on. They still have questions that have not been answered, hurts that need soothed, and to discover how each other has changed in ten years. 

It was funny, sweet, steamy, and romantic. Gabriel was  a swoon-worthy hero with a sexy accent. Why do accents just up the sexiness factor by a thousand?! Penny was someone you would love to be friends with. My favorite part was the fact these people made mature decisions even though there were issues, fears and trust issues. They thought things through, had some self talks, or even asked advice if needed. It had just enough heartbreak, tension, and drama to keep me interested, but was not angsty and full of contrived drama. It was an engaging read that just drew me in and left me smiling. I loved the themes of destiny, fate, and timing.

This can be read as a complete stand-alone and is a full story packaged as a long-ish novella. I was completely satisfied with the character development and how their story progressed, and it did not feel like a partial story just because it was a novella or part of an anthology. So you can read it as a companion to Lauren's other stories or pick it up to get a taste of her writing style. Either way I think you will enjoy it.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Penny Jones and Gabriel Mathias had a whirlwind romance in Spain with plans to meet back in the US, but plans changed and 10 years passed with no contact. When Penny’s nonprofit needs a last minute caterer, their paths cross once more. But when they come face to face, Gabriel doesn’t remember Penny. Though he may not remember her, he is intrigued by her.

I love that the intensity of their history is clear without a lot of extra detail. The scenes and memories that are included pack an emotional punch that lets us see exactly what they meant to each other 10 years before. The emotional connection and the threads of memory are revealed by dual narrators, giving readers a complete picture of the story’s progression.

Though the timeline is quick in the present, they have a few things to work out about the 10 years they have been apart. This has all the depth of a novel in a novella’s length. Because it is a novella, the plot focuses on their reunion and the rebuilding of their relationship rather than throwing a lot of additional drama

I love the little touches -- their reunion, the food, her dog. Often what makes a novel a favorite is the little touches, which sometimes can’t be translated to a novella, but they are absolutely present here.

We have met Gabriel, before but I loved this little glimpse into his personal life. This was a great addition to both the 1001 Nights collection and Lauren’s own New York standalones. It is a touching second chance story in a compact package.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The clock mocks me.
  As the minute hand ticks closer to eight in the evening, I wrack my brain to figure out if I got the time wrong. Maybe we picked two. Maybe he said ten. Maybe we’re meeting tomorrow.     
  My chest twists with a desperate anxiety as I toy with the band on my watch.
  But as the fountains of Lincoln Center dance higher under the waning light, I’m sadly certain there was no error in communication.
  The only error was one of judgment.
  Mine.
  Thinking he’d show.
  Drawing a deep, frustrated breath, I peer at my watch once more, then raise my face, searching the crowds that wander past the circular aquatic display at Manhattan’s epicenter for the performing arts. This fountain is so romantic; that’s why we chose it as the place to meet again.
  One week later.
  Foolishly I hunt for the amber eyes and dark wavy hair, for the lean, tall frame, for that mischievous grin that melts me every time.
  I listen for the sound of him amidst the melody of voices, wishing to hear his rise above the others, calling my name, apologizing in that sexy accent of his for being late.
  My God, Gabriel’s accent was a recipe for making a young woman weak in the knees. That was what he had done to me. The man melted me when I first met him last month in Barcelona at the tail end of my summer of travels across Europe.
  When I close my eyes and float back in time, I hear that delicious voice, just a hint of gravel in his tone, and a whole fleet of butterflies chase each other in my belly at the resurgence of that faraway romantic dream.
  I open my eyes, trying to blink away the inconvenient intrusion of memory. I should go. It’s clear he’s not coming tonight.
  But, just in case I mixed up the times, maybe I’ll give him one more minute. One more look.   
  One more scan of the crowd.
  I let the clock tick past eight.
  I still don’t see him.
  I’ve been here for more than two hours, sitting on the black marble edge of the fountain. Scouring the corners of Lincoln Center. Peering left, then right down Columbus. Circling, like an animal at a zoo—pathetic modern-day female waiting for male to stay true to his word.
This is a stand-alone novella but if you crave more...

Meet Gabriel  first in:

The Sexy One
Add to Goodreads
Buy Amazon/Amazon PB/B&N/iTunes/Kobo

And Penny appears in:

Well Hung
Add to Goodreads
Author pic - Lauren Blakely
Lauren Blakely
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Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US over three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that's full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With thirteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she'll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter.
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