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I Do, I Don't #2

Runaway Groom

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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.

240 pages, ebook

First published January 30, 2018

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About the author

Lauren Layne

54 books9,926 followers
Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Hot Asset, Hard Sell, and Huge Deal in her 21 Wall Street series, as well as her Central Park Pact series. Her books have sold more than a million copies in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 372 reviews
Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews10k followers
January 24, 2018
*****FIVE STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

I’ve had my fair share of kisses in my life, with a lot of decent ones, I’d thought at the time, but kissing Gage is on a whole other level. The man knows what he’s doing because I feel like the only woman in the world—the only woman in his world.

This is why I will always be a die-hard Lauren Layne fan! So far she has knocked it out of the park with this series!! RUNAWAY GROOM was a funny, sexy, and fabulous good time! The I DO, I DON’T series has been amazing so far. Definitely going on the list of one of my top fave Lauren Layne series. I simply can’t wait for the next installment!

Gage Barrett is Hollywood’s hottest leading man and due to losing a bet with one of his buddies, he finds himself being the latest star of a reality show called JILTED which is very similar to “The Bachelor”. The only difference is when the show ends, he will wind up being married to the winning contestant. This is the last thing he wants to be associated with but there is a tiny piece of him that is curious to see if the show will help him find his true love. Gage had his heart broken in the worst way by the woman he thought he was going to spend the rest of his life with. She couldn’t handle everything that came with his fame so she ended up settling down with a regular guy---his brother!

Ellie Wright is not the least bit happy about being one of the contestants on the show. She only agreed to be a contestant in order to help advertise her women’s t-shirt clothing line that she runs with her best friend. The plan was to stay on for an episode or two and then she would end up being one of the many women not chosen to marry Gage. Ellie was sure she wouldn’t make it past round one as there was no way she was going to parade around in skimpy bikinis and dresses to attract a man who was so far out of her league and probably a complete douchebag to boot. BUT from their very first encounter there was no way to deny the incredible chemistry between them.

Their connection only grows stronger as they secretly meet up every night in a supply closet and engage in deep conversations. As Ellie starts to care about Gage she also warns him about the many different contestants who are either mentally unstable or who are planning to use dishonest tactics in order to trap him in a relationship with them. Gage ends up convincing Ellie to stay to help him weed out the bad seeds, but also deep down he’s starting to fall for her and hopes that she will realize that having his love is worth dealing with all of the BS that comes with his fame.

Here are my overall ratings on the book:

Hero: 5
Heroine: 4.5
Plot: 5
Angst: 4
Steam: 5
Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 5

RUNAWAY GROOM releases on January 30th!! I highly recommend it!!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lNEuQa

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Profile Image for Nissa | Of Pens and Pages Book Blog.
337 reviews1,008 followers
January 31, 2018
4.5 stars!

Review and Giveaway at Of Pens and Pages.

Runaway Groom is a fun and romantic getaway filled with all the drama and craziness you can expect from a reality dating show, characters that will charm your pants off, and a chemistry that starts with a sizzle and ends with a bang.

After losing a bet with his best friend, Hollywood actor Gage Barrett is now the first bachelor in the new reality show Jilted, because apparently having a runaway groom finally get married shoots the ratings sky high. Things become more interesting when he meets Ellie, one of the potential brides, and he finds out she doesn't want to be his groom and wants to get kicked out of the show. He promises to eliminate her first, but then he doesn't.

Entrepreneur Ellie Wright is not in it to win it. In fact, she doesn't want to be in it at all. Her business partner and friend thinks that joining the show could work wonders for their t-shirt line, and since said best friend is happily married, Ellie is left to do the job. Showing off her product is a piece of cake. Leaving the show, however, is a different thing altogether. While Ellie tries to find ways to leave, Gage tries to find ways to make her stay.

I wouldn't call this a slow burn, per se, but Gage and Ellie's relationship has a gradual build up I absolutely adored. Obviously, it wasn't love at first sight, but they're aware of each other. It was inevitable they'd become friends, and as days pass, they become even more. I love the banter between them, all of their interactions, the text messages! You can see where they become more comfortable with each other, and when the feels are finally there.

Ellie and Gage are wonderful characters—both driven, smart, and entertaining—but I'm especially smitten with Gage. As a big-shot Hollywood actor, people tend to forget Gage is a human being with feelings and substance. For them, he's a one-dimensional character—he's the good-looking guy they see on TV and the big screen. Ellie is guilty of treating him like that at the start of the story, and I felt bad for Gage because of it. He proves himself to be something more, opens up and shows Ellie who he really is, and it's to Ellie's credit that he does.

This book is the perfect example of why I'm in love with Lauren Layne's works. There's an effortless execution of banter and humor in her stories, with characters who are smart, entertaining and full of color, and their happily ever afters successful in putting a smile on your face. As much as I love grand gestures, I love it more when the characters show growth and consistency in this feelings, and Runaway Groom has that in spades.

Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Reality Show, Celebrities—Actor
POV: First Person, Dual POV
Standalone: Yes

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews586 followers
February 3, 2018
4 Stars

As a popular movie star, Gage Barrett is practically a household name. After losing a bet during a drunken night in Vegas, he’s also the next star of TV reality show, Runaway Groom. Though not happy about the situation, Gage figures he’ll spend a few weeks in beautiful Hawaii with twenty women verging on crazy and NOT marry any of them before he hits the road and returns to his normal life. Sounds like a solid plan.

Ellie’s not looking for a husband, just a little promotion and hype for the line of t-shirts she and her BFF are desperately trying to launch. The initial idea of a little screen time then “sayonara” ends when a friendship of sorts starts to develop between Gage and Ellie. Sure, Gage agreed to send her home from the beginning, but is it his fault all of the other contestants are bat shit crazy?

I enjoyed Runaway Groom and I can say without hesitation that if you’re looking for your first Lauren Layne read or are already a fan, this is a perfect one to jump into. Gage and Ellie are all kinds of snarky fun, even when they’re reluctantly falling for each other. Ellie had the usual boatload of insecurities given her history and the fact she has feelings for a man most of the female population lusts after.

The surprise for me was Gage’s own relationship vulnerabilities and how they played out. In the age of overly confident book billionaires, it’s refreshing to read about a man who seems to have it all, except a woman who simply wants him for him.

Lauren Layne has become a go to author for me and Runaway Groom was the perfect lazy day read. Though it’s part of a series, I had absolutely no issues reading it as a standalone.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,256 followers
January 30, 2018
4.5 Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner Stars
* * * *1/2 Spoiler Free- It's LIVE!!!
Qualifying Statement For Me...Lauren Layne is Back!!! Full Throttle in this entry for her I Do, I Don't Series. I am talking the Layne who made you want her next entry to all of her series back. The fun banter back, the sexy times back and all the other smart, put together moments she knows how to do.

Now you could say to me, what the hell are you talking about ... Lauren Layne has never gone away... and that may be true as she writes consistently entertaining books...but For Me, this was a strong clear cut reminder of why she is an auto pick and how I fell so completely for her work. In this story she has taken the universal love of watching The Bachelor mixed it with all the behind the scenes cray cray and tied it up in a bow of easy to love goodness.

The premise of this reality TV show, Jilted, is to have a guy who has left women at the alter...have him pick between 20 or more women who want to get married and then actually Marry one of them at the end of the show.

Yup, Marry... Not Just Propose...

And who is the guy they roped into doing this... Not a pretend Millionaire who needs the ego gratification...Or some guy who has more money than anyone knows what to do with...and just as little personality...

Nope... These shrewd reality producers hit the Motherlode...They got the one and only Gage Barrett! Yes, movie star, hunk hunk of burning love...body to match and rep to go with it.

You see Gage made the fatal error of betting while drunk with his best friend...and once the bet was lost... He was going to be damned if he didn't live up to his obligation....because Gage hated the fact that people thought of him as someone who wouldn't...

All those stories of him leaving women at the alter... they are technically true... but none of the facts that have been published are...And deep down, Gage has been carrying a romantic betrayal...one that hits very close to home for years... and he is tired of being seen as the just the playboy movie star lightweight...All body and brawn without deep feelings about anything...

So Gage stayed committed to doing this ridiculous show and that is how he ends up with his personal make up person making sure he looks good for the first meets. They take him to the spot where each of these women are going to see him for the first time and they only have 2 minutes to make a first impression.

Gage is going to need lots of DRINKS...

So is Ellie Wright. How she got talked into do this show, she will never know... Well... Yes she does ... because Ellie and her business partner of High Tee, the women's plain white T-shirt that lays wonderfully across a woman's chest... not too tight or baggy, made out of the finest cotton... needs exposure to the masses... and in their own alcohol induced planning, Ellie agreed to submit the application never thinking she would actually be picked.

Now she is and she is determined to do the quick meet and greet... get the company's name out there and then happily be eliminated.

Ah, not so fast... Because that is not how a Layne story goes...Gage and Ellie have their TV meet and from that moment...IT IS ON.

Banter, looks, agreements, kisses...and oh so much more...All of it done with fantastic moments of cut throat with humor and just this side of pain/heart... Who is the real Gage... What are these feelings both Ellie and Gage are having... and when were the lines crossed..Reality show or real...

This read fast and I did not want to put it down. I confess to not watching the infamous TV show for quite sometime... so things that may seem predictable did not bother me at all...because I knew what this was based on. Were there things that never would have been hidden in Real Reality TV... sure... But I was fine giving Layne license to use these tools... it made for great reading.

The Gage we experience is truly yummy. His heart is big; he is vulnerable and figures out what is needed. Ellie was an understandable person... she was driven, wanted success on her own...and leery of romance, as it hadn't been the best for her. We get both of their thoughts in real time by each POV.

I am enamored with this series... and cannot wait to see what happens next...

Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't, #1) by Lauren Layne Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't, #1)
Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don't, #2) by Lauren Layne Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don't, #2)
Just Run With It (I Do, I Don't, #3) by Lauren Layne Just Run With It (I Do, I Don't #3)

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Oh, This is Going to be Fun...
Banter- Check
Catty Contestants- Double Check
Surprise Feelings- Oh, For Sure!!!
Aug 10, 2017
So who wouldn't want to be in Maui...
Beautiful Waters, Lots of free drinks..
And 19 Women who want to be with him...

Well, maybe only 18...
Because one of these women can't believe she got herself into this...

Yes, it was supposed to be good for her business...
But Damn... This guy isn't what she thought and now...
She may be interested in the....

Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don't #2) - January 30th 2018

A gifted copy was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,645 reviews1,512 followers
February 26, 2018
4.5 You have Avocado Eyes Stars

This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

I received this audiobook for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review

The Bachelor scenario isn’t one of my favorite tropes.  Twenty some odd chicks all vying for one man's attention. *gross* I hate almost everything about that situation.  I do admit I’ve been sucked into a few of the reality shows like it, like Outback Jack ( I completely binge watched that show twice) and even a season of the Bachelor *cringe*, but I didn’t really think you could make a convincing romance out of it.  However, Lauren Layne proved me wonderfully wrong in Runaway Groom.  

First I’m going to give huge props to Lauren Layne for writing Gage as a guy who sounds like a guy.  I’ve read other series where the thoughts in men’s heads just come off as a dumbed down, sexed up version of a female thought.  But not Gage, he is a guy; he thinks like a guy; he talks like a guy and it was really refreshing.  Gage is also that man who got talked into doing a reality show called Jilted when he lost a bet.

Ellie, on the other hand, is a strong independent woman who just wanted to show a t-shirt on T.V. It isn’t any t-shirt but her new fledgling company’s product and she thought ‘hey this will be easy I’ll show up, wear the t-shirt and Gage will send me home early but I’ll get my product seen by millions of people’.  Great advertising tactic until the sparks fly between them and it doesn’t seem he is inclined to send Ellie home at all.  

Even though there is some chemistry, well a lot of chemistry, Ellie isn’t sure Gage is anything close to what she is looking for.  Gage IS Hollywood and her first impression is Hot and Hollow.  But that isn’t the real Gage; that is the Gage playing a part and the more time they spend together the more she sees the man behind the name.  

One of the best things about this is the dual PoVs from both Ellie and Gage.  We get to see inside both their heads for the entirety of the book.  This is the only way this romance works, as Gage thinks about the other contestants on the show and the situation he has gotten himself into.  

I loved the way Ellie and Gage were with each other.  She just wasn’t what he was used to or expected and he isn’t what she thought she wanted but even Ellie can’t deny the attraction between them.  I adored the banter between the two and how well they could play off each other.  There are cute little secret meetings between them and they find a few ways to be together off camera that grow hotter as the book goes on.

I’ve loved Lauren Layne as a Contemporary Romance writer since reading her Sex Love Stiletto series. I have not read the first book of this I Do I Don't series and just jumped into the second, which didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all.  Gage and Ellie were a lot of fun so I will be checking out the entire series.

Audio Note:  Amy Melissa Bentley and Rudy Sanda do a fantastic job at narrating the various PoVs of the story.  I enjoyed the delivery of each and Rudy’s voice had a wonderful sexy timber to it. So I looked up other books he has narrated so I can have some ear candy on hand in the future.  Wonderfully performed

Notable Quotables:
But once, just once, I want someone I care about to look at the crapshoot that is my life, to take in the Jilted contract and the Killboy movie shoots and the never-ending tabloid rumors and say, “Yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it.”
I want to be worth it.
Just once.

---Gage Barrett

“Send me home, Gage. Please. It’ll be better for both of us.”
He studies me. “You really want that?”
“I’m a businesswoman, not a groupie.”
He’s silent for a moment. “True. You did compare my eyes to avocados.”
“Exactly. You usually get, what . . . moss?”
His lips twitch, although the smile doesn’t reach his mossy eyes. “Emeralds, mostly.”

---Gage Barrett and Ellie Wright

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Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
January 31, 2018
1.5 stars. I should have remembered that the mere concept of the Bachelor made me itch, and thus prevent myself from setting my eyes on Runaway Groom. As much as Lauren Layne tries to reassure us - and oh boy she does try - we're still very much reading about some generic white dude and his I'm above all this and I'm so different woman while his televised harem is outdoing itself with catfights and pissing contests. So what if the narrative makes fun of Reality TV shows? Self-awareness is not enough if the story keeps using every damn overused thread to get us hooked. Not to mention several very icky comments, especially regarding mental illness. In the end, the ugly sensation of being played outweighs a couple of cute kisses, and I'm not buying it.
Profile Image for KAS.
317 reviews3,127 followers
February 18, 2018

I was really in the mood for a fun, lighthearted, yet sexy romance, and this one filled the bill.

It was a fast paced read that totally held my attention, as Lauren Layne books always do!

Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
828 reviews1,027 followers
February 10, 2018
4.5 'All the bases' Stars!

And.. are you surprised? I am sure you are NOT. Because, once again, I enjoyed the heck out of reading a Lauren Layne novel! Many of my friends were raving about Lauren’s newest release and being the massive fan that I am of this woman, I knew she would not disappoint me. And she did not! Of course, we just got another pure LL piece of writing to love.

Runaway Groom is the second installment in the I Do, I Don’t series but it can be read as a standalone novel. The only thing in common with the first installment is the theme: The Bachelor meets Runaway Bride. Now we are inside the show Jilted and the famous actor Gage Barrett is the main attraction! Gage is a bachelor, he left two women in the altar and now, after losing a bet, he is forced to become the runaway groom in Jilted. Nineteen women are about to seduce him but one of them, Ellie, is in the same situation as Gage. She is in Jilted for another purpose: to get promotion for her company High Tees. However, everything changes when these two start knowing each other, sparks start flying and they fall in love.

I should let her go. Obviously. Not only am I showing Ellie clear favoritism, but the woman pisses me off like none other.
But she also makes me forget.

I love how Lauren Layne develops themes that not everyone in the romance community sees everyday. Yes, I've seen these types of themes before but it's always the amazing characters and the same flowing writing style that makes me fall in love with her couples! Gage and Ellie are not only two people participating in a Bachelor-like book but I feel Lauren always adds something special and new to her stories. Always keeping the humor, sweetness and the sexual tension on point!

I want her lips against mine, her body under mine. I want her to sigh my name. I want to make her gasp. I want her to want me back, to fight for me.

Gage and Ellie were just a great couple. Yes, Gage is the typical famous beloved actor but he also is a very secretive and mysterious man. He is not at his best luck in terms of love when we meet him but boy, does Ellie change his game completely! Ellie is an awesome heroine and, even though she fights very hard against her chemistry with Gage, it is impossible to not love him. They make such a fantastic couple and I really enjoyed reading how they fall in love.

Standing in Ellie Wright’s apartment building, holding fucking roses in one hand, my heart in the other…
This is the most terrifying audition of my life.

Therefore, I am rating Runaway Groom with 4.5 STARS because I can now say this book is my favorite of the two novels in this series. Why? Because Gage and Ellie completely stole my heart with their love story! I loved the theme and how their chemistry was unstoppable. I am so glad they got their happy ending and I can't wait to see what is next. I am always excited when it comes to Lauren Layne! So, if you are a fan of hers, check this one out guys!

Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,800 reviews488 followers
February 19, 2018
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book! I am really kind of surprised about that to be honest. I don't like television shows like The Bachelor at all. I think they are kind of dumb and cannot understand why anyone would subject themselves to participating in something like that. So why would I want to read a book based on the same kind of thing? It is simple - Lauren Layne wrote it so I want to read it. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about it though. It actually turns out that this book is one of my favorites Lauren Layne books.

Gage and Ellie both end up on the reality show, Jilted. Gage is a famous actor that ends up on the show after losing a bet. He has left two women at the alter so he is the perfect man to fill the role for the show even if he is less than excited about it. Ellie wanted on the show so that she could promote her company. She hatched a plan with her friend and business partner that it would be good for business if she could wear the designer t-shirts that they sell. It turns out that Gage and Ellie seem to be the only two people that don't want to be on the show even though they are doing a pretty good job of faking it.

I loved Gage and Ellie together. They have such wonderful chemistry with each other and I really felt their connection. I loved how they interacted with each other and I think that the parts of the book that they were alone with each other were the only times either of them really showed their true selves. I really enjoyed getting the chance to be in each of their heads so that I could really see what they were feeling.

I had really wondered how a romance could be set on a reality show like this. It is not romantic to see the romantic interest spending time with other women. I liked that the relationship between Gage and Ellie happened when the cameras were off. Yes, there were a few situations that made things uncomfortable but I felt like both characters handled themselves well and it really helped them to realize what they were feeling for each other.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I read this book with a big grin on my face the entire time and there were a few scenes that really had my heart beating like crazy. I had a fantastic time watching Ellie and Gage find their happily ever after and look forward to more from Lauren Layne soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! Really loved it! I am not a fan of The Bachelor or any of those kind of shows so I went into the book with a few doubts. Lauren Layne more than pulled it off. Ellie and Gage were wonderful characters that I wanted to see have the chance to make each other happy. I had a big ole grin on my face the whole time I was reading this one and my pulse may have been bumped up a notch a time or two.
Profile Image for Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥.
540 reviews332 followers
January 31, 2018
Runaway Groom was hilarious, sigh worthy, crazy at times and so much fun! If you're a fan of the Bachelor, Bachlorette or Lauren Layne, then I have a feeling you're going to absolutely love this book! Back before I had kiddos, I'd get together with friends, make dinner and we'd eat, talk and laugh while watching those shows. So when I heard that this book was going to be about a Bachelor-esque reality tv show I was sold. I forgot how much I missed this type of drama in my life and I found myself laughing so hard I could barely breathe.
But once, just once, I want someone I care about to look at the crapshoot that is my life, to take in the Jilted contract and the Killboy movie shoots and the never-ending tabloid rumors and say, “Yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it.”
I want to be worth it.
Just once.

Famous movie star and player extraordinaire, Gage Barrett, lost a drunken bet which landed him on the tv show Jilted. It's a lot like The Bachelor, except it's about a past runaway groom (him) being matched up with potential brides. And in the final episode, there's to be a wedding. While Gage stuck to his agreement to be on the show, he definitely wasn't happy to be there. And while he was grumpy about it, a tiny part of him couldn't help but wonder if maybe this was for the best. His heart was broken in the worst of ways and this could be the perfect distraction he needed. Ohhh I absolutely loved Gage and his wounded, playful, seductive, charming ways.
“Send me home, Gage. Please. It’ll be better for both of us.”
He studies me. “You really want that?”
“I’m a businesswoman, not a groupie.”
He’s silent for a moment. “True. You did compare my eyes to avocados.”
“Exactly. You usually get, what . . . moss?”
His lips twitch, although the smile doesn’t reach his mossy eyes. “Emeralds, mostly.”
I turn away with a snort, opening the door slowly, listening for voices. When I’m met with only silence, I stick my head out.

To start the show off, Gage met all of the possible brides. The shenanigans and drama started right from the get go, well until he met contestant Ellie Wright. You see, Ellie is kinda like Gage, because she was not happy to be there either. She never thought she'd make it as far as she did, and the only reason she was sticking it out was so her business could hopefully get some free publicity. From the first time Ellie and Gage met, they got off on the wrong foot. And it wasn't the only time that happened lol. The tension and emotions coming off of the both of them created a whole lot of banter that had me smiling, laughing and begging for more.
I want her lips against mine, her body under mine. I want her to sigh my name. I want to make her gasp. I want her to want me back, to fight for me.
But she won’t. I see it in the stubborn set of her chin, the confusion in her eyes, as though she can’t figure out why the hell I’ve singled her out.

But the story isn't just about the two of them. They're in the middle of a reality show, and there's also the producer, crew and all of the other woman. And it was a crazy mesh with lots of drama behind the scenes. The other women ranged from the sweet girl next door, to gorgeous supermodels to bat shit crazy. Although there was wayyyyyyyy more contestants in that last category ha. So we watched, along with Ellie, as these women would go to great lengths to get Gage's attention or even spend a second of alone time with him. The stuff that they would do was so insanely over the top, yet so perfect for reality tv, that I found myself laughing so hard that I just couldn't stop the tears pouring down my face. And it kept happening again and again. If you adore hilarious drama, you're definitely going to get your fill in this book. I absolutely loved it!
For the second time today, my eyes sting with the threat of tears—for myself, yes, but also because I’ve been so damn worried about not letting him hurt me that I haven’t really realized . . . what if I hurt him ?
And why does that bother me so much?

Shockingly in the middle of it all, Ellie and Gage found moments where they were alone with each other. Where they were away from Jilted, the cameras and the other contestants. And they started to see a different side to one anther. Yet it's all so complicated because Gage has a part to play in front of the camera and Ellie is stuck in her horrible assumption of who Gage is as a person. And of course her thoughts are verified when he's in front of the camera. It was inevitable that feelings got hurt and I found my heart aching for the both of them. But underneath it all, it created a whole lot of emotions and I loved when they were arguing. They were intense and the tension between the two of them was electrifying. It was so addicting and I couldn't wait to see how it all played out! So yes, I definitely recommend this book. Runaway Groom was sexy, hilarious and oh so addicting. I absolutely loved it and I hope that if you give it a try, you'll love it just as much as I did!

PS This book is a stand alone. It's characters aren't found in the first book in this series, Ready to Run.

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing - Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,478 reviews1,895 followers
January 30, 2018
Contestant number six told me (and the rest of America) that her hobbies include Brazilian waxes and flossing, and so help me God, I don't even know if she was talking about her teeth.

The Layne I so quickly grew to love is back! I've had some mixed results with this author's last few releases but RUNAWAY GROOM is everything I've come to expect when I pick up one of her books but still done new and fun and exciting. Oh yeah, sexy, too.

"If they try to kill you with a pineapple and dump your body in the ocean, I'll be sure Spielberg hears about it. He'll make a movie out of the crime, and nobody will ever forget your name."
"Would you be a part of the film?"
"The star, obviously."

Connected to book one by way of the reality show Jilted, which is basically what it sounds like, instead of our characters stumbling to cast the show, this time it's all set to film. With a heartthrob actor who has previously left two women at the altar and a household full of eager women willing and wanting to marry him (for good or for bad), though one with an ulterior motive, the hijinks ensue pretty much from the opening chapter.

I can't hide the grin. Ellie really doesn't like me. Nor does she want to be here. It's.. refreshing.

Coerced into auditioning by her friend, and co-owner of their luxury tshirt company, Ellie is on Jilted for the sole reason to get her business into the spotlight and kickstart their success. She never intends to intrigue the bachelor the show is set around winning by her unique brand of don't-give-a-fuck. Naturally their odd interactions spark interest, spark sparks, and they come to a strange arrangement that keeps Ellie on the show for added word of mouth and keeps Gage from being seduced or conned by the other women by using Ellie's insider knowledge on the goings on with the other contestants.

"I'm real, Ellie."
"You're Hollywood."
"You're right. Which equates to no brain, no substance, and I just bleed air, right?"

But there's substance to the covert reporting and snarky banter. And as more time passes they begin to see the truth to each other, the hidden hurts, the desires, the hopes. But when one of you are contracted to wind up down the aisle by the end of the season and the other is having to watch the man you might be falling for interact, and flirt, with twelve other women.. how do you make it work?

I want her to be jealous. I want her to want me like I want her.

While I did like both characters, some of Ellie's conflict over her hesitation with Gage was a little wishy washy at times (though by the end there's redemption for her in a really sweet scene between them), whereas with Gage.. I was all in from page one right through to the end. He was broody, a little bruised, caring, sweet, sexy.. Layne gave us a good one with him.

Just once, I want someone I care about to look at the crapshoot that is my life, to take in the Jilted contract and the Killboy movie shoots and the never-ending tabloid rumours and say, 'yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it'. I want to be worth it. Just once.

If you like a smooth, easy read, that's funny, heartfelt, with characters that have real baggage and angst that never feels like you're swimming through angst or baggage, some delightful sexy moments that only go as far as second base (!), some sexier moments that go a little further, too (haha), and a totally wonderful happily ever after, you'll love this one. And if you like reality tv shows like The Bachelor you'll love it even more! Would definitely recommend.

4 "I have about as much use for a diva actor as I do for a third tit" stars

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Dali.
1,854 reviews485 followers
January 4, 2018
Ever since reality TV invaded our airwaves, the hope of finding true love has inspired countless shows. With Runaway Groom, Lauren Layne puts a fresh spin on the trope with the absolutely unputdownable tale about a reluctant playboy actor and equally wary T-shirt entrepreneur.

After losing a bet, Gage Barrett finds himself in a Hawaiian resort filming a reality TV show where runaway grooms are paired with hopeful brides. Well, almost all of them are hopeful except Ellie Wright. She wants nothing to do with him and is hoping to be the first to go home. Too bad for her she’s not only smart and fiery, she’s an absolute enigma he wants to figure out.

Convinced by her best friend and partner she’s doing the right thing for their company, Ellie signs up and is casted on Jilted. Thinking she’ll be quickly eliminated, she never imagined the heat generated by the verbal sparring with Gage much less hiding out at night in the broom closet to steal kisses and have relaxed conversations with the real Gage Barrett, not the actor. Soon she’s torn between following her original plan to go back and fighting for the man she’s been slowly falling for.

Layne pens a delightful, addicting love story that pulses with humor, sexiness and intimacy. It’s not often we find reality TV as a backdrop for a romance novel but the on and off camera action ring true. A bit of camaraderie interspersed between jealousy and competition.

The chemistry between Gage and Ellie is fun, charming and sexy, boosted by their feisty and snarky teasing. Yet Ellie can’t let herself trust the actor. When it comes to romance novels, a happy ending is the promise we’re looking for, but with these two characters that come from diametrically different backgrounds and goals in life, that ending feels enjoyably uncertain, inviting us to come along for the ride of Gage overcoming his insecurities and Ellie’s journey from wanting a “dependable” partner in life to the realization of a perfectly imperfect life with an actor.

With Runaway Groom, Layne skillfully writes delightful banter for a wonderful plot and an overall charmingly entertaining read.

Runaway Groom is book #2 of the I Do, I Don’t series by Lauren Layne. It is standalone contemporary romance. Told from both points of view.

4.5 stars

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. I am voluntarily reviewing this title. *

Amazon -> http://amzn.to/2Cfnm0q

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Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,365 followers
January 18, 2018

It’s no secret that I love Lauren Layne’s books. What might come as a surprise though, is that I’m secretly a fan of The Bachelor. So you know I had to read Runaway Groom when I found out it combines two of my favorite things: Lauren Layne’s writing and a The Bachelor-esque setting. I absolutely devoured this book. It had everything that I love and want out of a LL book. Honestly, I’m in awe at how this author just continues to impress me.

You guys. This ship. I will 100% go down with it. I loved loved loved Ellie and Gage as individuals, but I loved them even more as a couple. Lauren Layne writes the sort of couples that you find yourself envious of, and Ellie and Gage are no different. Gage, our hot as hell hearthrob, really wants nothing to do with the reality show, Jilted. Unfortunately, he lost a drunken bet, and has to fulfill his responsibilities. Gage was so much more than a superficial actor with the reputation of being a ladies man. I usually don’t care for celebrities in books, but I was a complete goner for this guy. Talk about a down-to-earth, swoony and ridiculously sexy guy. He was also just the perfect bit broody and reserved when it came to his emotions, but he slowly opens up to Ellie and it is the absolute cutest. Ellie doesn’t really want to be part of the show either, but she’s forced by her friend to audition in an attempt to bring some publicity to her t-shirt company. I liked Ellie too – she’s a cool girl, and a very goal-oriented and determined person, which I admired. I especially liked how passionate and proud she was when it came to her company.

So yeah, you have these two people who want absolutely nothing to do with this show, but then they meet, and sparks fly! Lauren Layne writes such great couples. She also writes fantastic and witty banter between her couples. In the beginning, Gage, intrigued by Ellie’s disinterest in him, decides to keep her around so she can be his insider among the couples. Of course, shenanigans ensue. 😉 They begin meeting in secret in a closet, and you all know what that means. The development of their romance was so great. There’s a lot of chemistry between the two, but I loved watching them get to know each other and befriend each other more. When they finally give in to their attraction, it’s absolutely fulfilling. I also thought LL did a spectacular job with the reality TV show setting. The secondary characters, the ins and outs of a show like that were written so well.

Anyways, I’m gonna stop raving about this book now. Just do yourself a favor and get Runaway Groom, and read it on a day you’re feeling down because it’s absolutely sure to perk you up.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,906 reviews205 followers
June 8, 2018
Seductive, amusing, and undeniably addictive!

In this latest novel by Layne, Runaway Groom, she sweeps you away to a tropical paradise and onto the set of the reality TV show Jilted, a Bachelor-type show where Gage is reluctantly the new bachelor up for grabs, Ellie is determined to be sent home first after shamelessly plugging her t-shirt company, producers are hoping for as much drama as possible, and eighteen other women are committed to marrying the man of their dreams.

The characterization is perfection, with an incredible cast of characters who are fun, charming, quirky, and loveable. The writing style is humorous and crisp and a delightful mixture of text messages, letters, and first-person narration from dual points of view. And the plot is an irresistible blend of emotion, drama, witty dialogue, hilarious hijinks, smoldering chemistry, and steamy romance.

Runaway Groom is pure magic. It's a light, funny, entertaining read that's deliciously swoon-worthy and hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House - Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

All my reviews can be found on my blog at https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,065 reviews1,756 followers
January 27, 2018
Favorite Quotes:

I was one of the few noncrazies in the early stages. One woman carried her pet turtle strapped to her chest. Another woman was stressing about whether the producers would want to count her dual personalities as one contestant or two.

Twenty-one. My life has come to this— being known as a number. I’m surprised they don’t tag my ear.

They’ve told me to pace myself, but that started to get hard when contestant number six told me (and the rest of America) that her hobbies include Brazilian waxes and flossing, and so help me God, I don’t even know if she was talking about her teeth.

But once, just once, I want someone I care about to look at the crapshoot that is my life, to take in the Jilted contract and the Killboy movie shoots and the never-ending tabloid rumors and say, “Yeah, that stuff sucks, but Gage is worth it.” I want to be worth it. Just once.

My Review:

What fun! Runaway Groom is destined to be a runaway hit. Packed with smart snarky humor, witty banter, poignant insights, and steamy love scenes, this rom-com is one of Ms. Layne’s best. The story was highly amusing, unfailingly entertaining, and well written with a dual POV. I may require Botox if I continue to follow this author as my face seems to maintain a near constant smirk while reading her clever arrangements of words.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,994 reviews690 followers
December 26, 2019
For my taste, this book is too mild/ tame in every aspect. The characters are likeable without any development. There is that insta lust/ insta love. The progress of the story and plot is standard. Bit boring to my taste.

I usually like Miss Layne works. However this book is ends up on my mediocre shelved.

3 stars
Profile Image for Irene.
1,858 reviews120 followers
February 1, 2018
4.5 stars

So much love for Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne.

I found the storyline entertaining, it was well written with smart, likable and relatable characters who I easily connected with and couldn't get enough of.

Ellie and Gage are going down as one of my fav couples. From the moment they set eyes on each other I felt their connection. I loved their banter, I loved their honesty, they had amazing chemistry and I loved watching them fall in love.
Seriously I can't find anything I didn't love about these two!


I'm truly in love with author Lauren Layne. I love her storytelling and I love how she writes with her heart giving us entertaining, memorable romances that will touch your heart and leave you with a satisfying smile on your face.

The I Do, I Don't series is turning out to be a great read, each book has been a joy to read and I highly recommend it.

Get your copy of Runaway Groom now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01...
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/runa...
GPly: https://play.google.com/store/books/d...
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/runa...
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/runa...


*I received an advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.*
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
8,195 reviews16 followers
February 6, 2018
Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne is book Two in the "I Do, I Don't" series. This is the story of Gage Barrett and Ellie Wright. I have read the previous book but feel this can be a standalone book.
Gage ended up on a reality TV series sort of like the bachelor. Ellie was talked into doing the relality tv show by her friends. Ellie goal was to get some attention to her businesses and assumed the bachelor would vote her off pretty quickly. But Gage has taken a liking to Ellie and Ellie is finding that she likes him too. Can these two survive a reality TV relationship?
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
March 24, 2018
I'm seriously falling in love with another series. Runaway Groom was a fantastic step up from the first book of this series. It was hilarious, hot, and such an enjoyable read.

This book is about Gage and Ellie. Sounds like a match made in heaven right? Well Gage is a hot commodity in the acting world. However, he finds himself on those terrible reality shows all because he lost a bet to a friend. It's sort of like the Bachelor (which is a show I honestly despise!) and of course he has to marry the winning contestant when the show ends. Then walks in Ellie, who is one of the contestants on the show. Now she is only participating on this show so that she could promote her t-shirt clothing line. She only want to be on an episode or two.. she didn't want to win. Which would've been a great goal or an achievable one.. well, if these two didn't start to actually develop feelings for one another.

Their chemistry was AMAZING. I loved the both of them separately and then I swooned over them when they were together. I was rooting for them the entire time - which is probably why I ended up loving this book so much. It's also probably why I devoured it so damn quickly. However, I still have the Bachelor and will never EVER watch the show. I will enjoy these books though!

Overall, I loved this book. I can't wait for the next one!
Profile Image for bruna.
229 reviews127 followers
January 21, 2022
my main problem with this book is that i didn't like ellie (h) at all. she tried so hard to not be like the other girls she only ended up being worse.

on the other hand, the plot and the hero were amazing! i would love to watch a tv show about a runaway groom finding a bride lol everything about "jilted" was so over the top i couldn't help but enjoy it.

despite his name, gage (H) really surprised me. he was interesting from the very start and i loved how committed he was to his job and to ellie. he was also very sweet and funny. the perfect combo!
Profile Image for Amy .
2,761 reviews
January 31, 2018
“Which is the real Gage Barrett: the silver-tongued charmer out to fall in love for the sake of ratings, or the guy in the cleaning closet whose avocado eyes hinted at dark secrets?”

Oh, how I have been waiting to get my hands on this book! After falling in love with Ready to Run, I couldn’t wait to get to get my hands on the next book in this fun I do, I don’t Series. And I gotta tell you, Runaway Groom does not disappoint.

Runaway Groom is smart and quick witted. The story-line is entertaining and is a really fun take on reality tv. The characters were a ton of fun and easy to connect with. I loved the instant chemistry between Gage and Ellie. I couldn’t get enough of their interactions and I really wanted to find out who the true Gage was.

I loved the reality tv aspect of Runaway Groom. I loved the cattiness and couldn’t wait to see how these ladies would go after the man they wanted. I loved the realness of it and the tension of all the emotions that came into play. This book was a total guilty pleasure for me and I couldn’t help but get lost in the characters and their story.

Runway Groom is the perfect example as to why I enjoy Lauren Layne’s writing so much. Her stories are unique and fun and always give the best happily ever after! For me, Runaway Groom was fun, and flirty with just the right amount of drama, angst and romance. It was a great guilty pleasure without being over the top. And a romance that sweeps you off your feet and leaves you with a smile on your face…

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Alison.
3,232 reviews126 followers
February 1, 2018
Yes, yes, yes.

The last couple of books I have read by Lauren Layne didn't really do it for me. They were okay, just not the sexy, witty, charming, glamorous novels I have come to expect from her. I was starting to worry that either I had gone off her writing, or that (even worse) she had started to write books that were just too similar to her other ones.

But, against my instincts I really enjoyed the first book in this series so I pre-ordered this one and - good choice.

Gage Barrett is a bona fide film star. In a fit of something after finding out his brother and his ex-girlfriend have had a baby, he agrees to go on a reality TV show (a la The Bachelor) in which he choose a potential bride. He has been chosen because he has been engaged twice and both engagements were broken off ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING.

Ellie Wright is an entrepreneur, she and her friend Marjorie have set up a designer t-shirt business that caters for women's figures, they are doing well but need more exposure and Marjorie thinks that the sort of viral marketing they could get from Ellie appearing on the reality TV show. Ellie is press-ganged into appearing after Marjorie (and her mother) apply on her behalf. Her intention is just to appear once and get voted off on the first day.

Despite being a rugged, handsome, action movie star Gage is pretty down to earth, all these years later he is still hurt that his girlfriend would dump him when he was on the verge of making the big-time and choose his brother over him. All the high-maintenance, "pick-me, pick-me" women on the show grate on his nerves and Ellie stands out as a beacon of normality. At their first meeting Ellie is the only contestant dressed in jeans, t-shirt (of course) and flip-flops, all the others have gone the cocktail dress route.

Gage and Ellie become friends and he agrees to vote her off the show, but each time there's a reason why he chooses someone else. By day he goes on group dates with the contestants (breakfast with one group, lunch with another) but by night he and Ellie text on contraband phones and meet up in a cleaner's closet. But world famous movie stars don't fall for ordinary women in real life, do they?

This was Lauren Layne at her sparkling best. The dialogue was witty, yet believable, the main characters were realistic and endearingly down-to-earth, the other contestants were, by and large, nutty as a fruit cake (which strangely often doesn't have any nuts in it).

Loved it.
Profile Image for Dísir.
1,674 reviews174 followers
January 24, 2018
As the kind who scoffs at reality-tv series like The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, I surprised myself even by jumping into Lauren Layne’s ‘Runaway Groom’, then spent all night reading it, at the expense of sleep. Needless to say, it was engaging enough where I found myself saying ‘just one more chapter’, though that went on and on until I hit the sugary sweet epilogue.

Avid fans of this type of reality shows probably need no introduction to the plot at all—which I don’t need to go into here—but it’s safe to say that Ellie and Gage don’t start off on the right footing and even get into some verbal scuffles before the attraction starts to bubble over. Layne makes sure that it all does not go according to script as well, because, where would be the fun in that, if it ends the way many people think it does? A famous actor, lured into the reality show because of a bet and the typical businesswoman struggling to advertise for her own company, are already an unlikely pair, but Layne writes believable chemistry between them that I could get on with.

With Lauren Layne’s combination of wit and insight, ‘Runaway Groom’ is largely, an easy, breezy read to go through. A rather cheesy ending rears its head here however, despite the unexpected twists and turns, so grit your teeth (or smile stupidly) and enjoy the Hollywood ending.

*ARC by the publisher via Netgalley
Profile Image for Critterbee❇.
924 reviews66 followers
December 19, 2017
Interesting premise that should to appeal to legions of romance reality show fans, but I could not enjoy it.

I thought that both hero and heroine were not likable, and there was too much emphasis on the heroine 'not being like other girls' (even though both characters claimed to not believe that, and 'seemed' to care for other people, their actions and comments proved otherwise).

Add the snarkiness between the women on the show, and the utter ickiness of the characters, and this book was just not for me. Who enjoys seeing women pitted against each other for a chance to get with an idiot?

Cute cover, though.

*eARC Netgalley*
Profile Image for patrick Lorelli.
3,187 reviews28 followers
July 10, 2018
A fun story about an actor Gage Barrett, who has twice walked away from the altar which is explained. He is having drinks with an acquaintance in Vegas and after having too many he agrees to a bet and loses. He is now tied to a new show which his so called friend, acquaintance just happens to be producing. Titled runaway groom. During the first round in which there are cut downs before the show moves to Maui, he is actually attracted to a women named Ellie. She was put in for the show by her friend and business partner in order to wear their new shirts on T.V. wanting nothing to do with mister actor Gage Barrett. Besides who can actually fall in love with someone like that with all of these cameras around and other people. He also must be fake because he is an actor and all they do he act. Once they arrive on Maui and the more time she spends with Gage she is seeing something that she does not want to believe is real, he must be acting. She is also wondering why he keeps her when all she wants is to be sent home. But their time together comes to an end and she is feeling like she wants more time, she also now months later wants to know who he picks at the end. That and how the story ends is both a surprise. A very good story and I really liked the two main characters. Overall a good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com
Profile Image for Nicole P.
784 reviews
May 10, 2018
Lauren Layne is another favorite author of mine. Every time I read one of her books I'm left feeling happy and content. I've never watched the Bachelor but from this series I might just start giving it a chance. LL has put a twist on the show by having runaway grooms/brides try to find their one true love.

Gage Barrett, Hollywood's heartthrob and playboy, finds himself on the losing end of a bet and on a reality show. He is going to spend a month in Hawaii with 20 (very interesting) ladies, on the hunt for his future wife. Ellie Wright finds herself on the reality show all thanks to her best friend and the need to get free publicity for their company.

From the first meeting Gage is drawn to Ellie. She is different from the others. Honest. Straightforward. Feisty. But he can't show favoritism. Ellie gives off vibes of not wanting to be there at all. In between the craziness of being on a reality show and the expectations from the producers, Gage and Ellie try to navigate the unknown between them.

A sweet, and wonderful story that was all kinds of awesome. Can't wait for the third and final installment in this series.
Profile Image for Book Lover.
553 reviews42 followers
January 31, 2018
Gage Barrett is a movie star and used to being in the spotlight. However, when he loses a bet to a friend, he is even more under the microscope. He has signed a contract to be on a reality show to find his one true love.

The descriptions of the women trying out for the show had me cracking up. The lengths some of the women who made it on to show went to in order to gain Gage’s attention!

Ellie Wright’s best friend signed her up to be a contestant on the show. They have a t-shirt company they are trying to get free advertisement for by her wearing them on the show. Her friend is hoping Ellie finds love as well.

Gage and Ellie don’t hit it off right away. They eventually strike up a friendship that leads to some steamy scenes. The humor is snarky, sarcastic, sometimes situational and hilarious.

This book left me with many laughs and a big smile. This is a fun, entertaining read and I’m not a fan of reality TV. It’s a great pick me up, light read. I look forward to more from this author.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher
Profile Image for Tati.
938 reviews87 followers
February 12, 2018
This was such a nice romance book!

I loved how the heroine had a good personality, and her priorities straight. The fact that she wanted to promote her business was a plus for her! Also loved the chemistry between her and Gage, and how the relationship grew slowly, rather than instalove. And the author had me worried about the ending!!

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