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Cuff Me (Lauren Layne)

Cuff Me (New York's Finest) - Lauren Layne
4.5 stars

For the past two books I have been intrigued with Vin Moretti and his partner Jill Henley. You can say that I could ‘feel’ their story even before I started this book. They have the potential to be so good, considering the idea of friends-to-lovers always makes me weak at the knees. I felt giddy when I received the ARC and started reading; even at the same time I knew that expectations could be the downfall of me but couldn’t help it.

And OMG, did Cuff Me deliver!! In fact, I confess that this is the first book this year that I rated over 4-stars. I loved it SO FRICKIN’ MUCH. It hit all the feels in all the right places. I was genuinely going “awwwww” one time, then “omg, gasp!” to “damn it Vin, you idiot!” or “Jill, sweetheart, how could you?” the next time. It was so fricking good and ticked all the boxes in my romance reading preference. Yep, this is my kind of romance.

Let me start with Jill first … she’s the sunshine to Vin’s darkness. Jill is perky, radiant, outgoing, and she has all the love inside of her ready to be given to anyone who could love her back. I loved this girl. I loved that she wasn’t discouraged at all by Vin’s grumpy and brooding mood. She got under Vin’s skin like nobody else.

Of course, later on she did something that made me unhappy – how could you do that to Vin, Jill!! Why can’t you see that he’s trying his best to be the man for you?!?!? – but at the same time I knew that Jill would admit her mistake. Jill is brave and I think her courage is the one solid thing that finally pushes Vin to move forward.

And Vin… OMG I LOVED HIM SO MUCH!! Vin is reserved kind of her, he just didn’t deal with his emotion very much but that made me fall so hard for him. Sure, he was emotionally stunted but it spoke volumes to me because sometimes I feel the same way.

He believed in love. He did. He just didn’t believe in it for him. Not because he had any gory emotional wounds, not because he had some brokenhearted past. He was just ... he didn’t feel like other people did. He wasn’t some sort of sociopathic weirdo, he just had never really absorbed things to his very soul the way his sister, and to a lesser extent his brothers, had.

I truly loved that explanation about Vin. I loved that he didn’t have any traumatic past. Vin is just built that way; he was shy when he was a kid then he becomes more of an observer and might be a little socially challenged with others. I loved his soul-searching moment. I loved his internal emotional conflict (and GAH, the emotion and tension here was just delicious!). In fact there were times when I swore I had tears in my eyes when Vin made his romantic gestures.

Lauren Layne threw the huge plot twist right in the beginning – Jill came back to New York after three months off with an engagement ring on her finger. Usually, I would be very annoyed about this. I hate it when a couple’s romance hurt other people. However, I admit that it worked really well here. That news punches Vin in the guts and he has to deal with the fact that he might lose the only woman he ever loves. Everything afterwards was beautifully engaging for me.

And when they finally get together, it feels like a huge reward to Vin and Jill but also to me as a reader. Their sexy times were delicious, intimate, and hot (one word: cuffs). Then that love declaration by Vin in the end – GAH!! Gold medal for him. Really. Other MF contemporary heroes can take out their notebook and copy Vin’s speech words per words.

There was a secondary plot of a homicide that Vin and Jill have to deal with while they are struggling with their own relationship issue. To be honest, it is not as intriguing to me as much as the romance. I couldn’t care less about the victim nor the suspects. Which is probably why I couldn’t think of this as perfect read yet.

In my humble opinion, this is the best in the series and definitely my most favorite yet from Lauren Layne. I feel sad that the series stop here because I think there are still two Morettis that need their own version of happy ending. Hopefully Layne is willing to reconsider. Elena needs his man, and come on, we can’t let Marco stays with that Barbie right?

A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.