The Trouble With Love (Sex, Love & Stiletto #4) by Lauren LayneThe Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Published March 2015
Series: Sex, Love and Stiletto #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Office Romance
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.

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As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

Emma Sinclair is a young columnist at Stiletto magazine, headquartered in New York. She thought New York would be a safe place to lead a peaceful life, but her world is turned upside down when she finds out that her ex-fiancé Alex Cassidy is the editor-in-chief of Stiletto‘s sister-publication Oxford. That’s not really such a bad thing, but now Cassidy has accepted to be the stand-in editor-in-chief of Stiletto while the actual editor-in-chief Camille is on an extended holiday… Oh – and it turns out he is also Emma’s new neighbour!

Emma and Cassidy have been playing cold war ever since their wedding-day got cancelled a little over seven years ago. But the truth is that while you would think that a lot of water (and ex-boy/girlfriends) have run under the bridge, the two of them never really talked it out and never really got over each other. But the trouble with love is that sometimes you have to get over your pride and talk things out. And not ask your ex-fiancé write an article about her exes just to find out what she feels about you… Will the two of them work (it) out, at least on a professional level?

What I loved about this book:

  • It’s an office romance that starts with a love/hate plot
  • The history that the MCs have is rather unusual and makes for an intriguing storyline.
  • The book was full of fun and banter

What I felt needed improvement:

  • Can’t think of anything!

I don’t usually read a book that’s part of a series when I didn’t read the books that came before it, but since I was granted The Trouble with Love as an ARC by Netgalley (and knew author Lauren Layne from another very good book), I gave it a try.

It was very difficult not to instantly like this book, because it had all the things I loved all rolled up into one: sass, humor, underlying sexual tension, as well as suits and office romance. And to add to this, I also really enjoyed the storyline and the whole questions it brought along – what the heck happened between Cassidy and Emma? Who broke up the wedding? Who is at fault here?

To be honest, at the beginning, I really didn’t know what to think of either main character: Cassidy was the stuck up and resentful boss, and Emma was the wronged bride left standing at the altar. Yet, Emma was also kind of cynical, unhappy, and guilty – which in turn made you wonder what part she played in her disastrous non-wedding…

But the more the story develops, the more interesting it gets. The feelings between Emma and Cassidy resurface and emotions they tried so hard to hide become more and more obvious – including to the outside.  While I liked Emma, because she felt very real to me (real meaning moody and depressive, all the while keeping a straight face professionally), I loved Cassidy even more. In office romances (I don’t know why) it’s always the guy that remains straight-faced, rational and doesn’t lose temper. That’s the case with Cassidy in the first chapters, but then he slowly but surely looses his cool, and seems even more emotional that Emma – and that’s what really made me love him!

The writing was really great – just as good as I remember it from the previous book I read by Lauren Layne. It’s full of entertaining banter as well as romance (and a small amount of steamy content, in case you were going to ask). The book is written in 3rd person, but alternating between Emma and Cassidy’s POV. While I love alternating POVs, I probably would have found it a bit more suspenseful to only have Emma’s POV, since we very soon find out that Cassidy still has feelings for his ex-fiancé.

And in the end, this book can totally be read as a standalone, although it will definitely leave you wanting to know more about all the other couples who are mentioned all along The Trouble with Love, and who each have their story told in the previous Sex, Love & Stiletto books.

Detailed Rating
4.5 Stars
5 Stars
5 Stars
All the feels
4.5 Stars
Overall: five-stars