I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford, #5
Favorite Quote: “Be brutally honest. Am I giving off some sort of weird vibe? Does it say platonic across my forehead? Or do I have an unremarkable label on my boobs?”
Fans of friends to lovers trope, look no further, Layne delivers just what you’ve been jonesing for in her Oxford series ending, I Think I Love You.
Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?
Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.
I Think I Love You is one of the most fun and spirited friends to lovers story I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I can’t recall previously reading Layne, however, I’ve thoroughly dusted off the remnants from the rock I’ve undoubtedly been under and am grateful my first foray into her funny, entertaining writing finally came along.
Brit is unlucky in love and dammit to hell, she’s getting older and has plans for romance and babies- with no prospective soulmate in sight.
Forget soulmate, there isn’t a man in sight who hasn’t friend zoned her or dated her-and either dumped her for greener pastures or the relationship sparks fail to launch and they inevitably crash and burn.
“Do you want to tell me what’s making you pissy or not?”
“Lenny and I broke up.”
Ah. “Well, I did warn you about the hazards of dating someone named Lenny. . . .”
Her withering look silenced him. “Right. Too soon for that. What happened?”
“He dumped me,” she said. “Can you believe it? I mean, the guy lives next door to his mother, and she still makes him breakfast. And yet somehow I end up on the sad side of the breakup equation.”
“Oh, come on. You’re not actually brokenhearted over that dude. You guys dated for, what, a week?”
“A month. And, no, I didn’t think he was the one, it’s just . . . what is wrong with me?”
“Wait, I thought the question we were addressing was what was wrong with the men of New York?”
… “Do what I do,” he said with a grin. “Don’t date unless you feel like it, and keep it casual.”
“Yeah, well, I do feel like it,” she said moodily
“…You can too,” Hunter said emphatically. And he meant it. His feelings toward Brit had always been entirely platonic, but he wasn’t an idiot. This woman was one of the good ones, the type that any guy would be lucky to have.
Swooony swoon! Every gal needs a guy pal like Hunter. He was so supportive and genuinely a nice guy. Sure he checked all the superficial boxes as these heroes tend to do, but he checked some important substantive boxes as well which made him even more attractive. I adored how he cherished his friendship with Brit and always had her best interests at heart.
One night after rehashing her latest break up with her best girlfriends, the idea is born to lean on Hunter (revered for his skill and dating IQ) for some dating tips, specifically, seduction! Brit isn’t sold initially, but once they begin their…sessions, it becomes clear that Hunter is the dating coach for her! If only she realized he was the MAN for her as soon! Much of the story is the push/pull, will they/won’t they dynamic of two people who realize how perfect they are for one another, once they pay attention!
Co-workers who are BFF’s who fall in love while trying to find love outside of one another, neglecting to see what was right under their nose the whole time. Hunter predictably has his “ah ha” moment when he realizes he can’t stand to lose Brit to another, certainly not armed and ready to use his tutelage to foster a relationship with a guy who won’t care for, know or appreciate Brit the way he does.
Oh hell no! Not on Hunter’s watch!
Plot is focused, character-centric and the story flows well, making for a quick read that I was loath to put down. Brit and her friends and Hunter and the unfortunate beaus all felt alive, real, like people you know or would recognize from a local watering hole happy hour. It is a slippery slope when writing characters who are unlucky in love, they can come off as whiny and desperate and lacking confidence, but none of those pitfalls befell Brit! Despite her dating track record, she was a force to be reckoned with and any questions she had about her love life were healthily introspective. I appreciated that!
I so enjoyed the glimpses of them all, as I understand they are throwback characters from the Oxford series earlier novels. Layne does a neat job briefly summarizing what has gone before and while my interest was piqued with the supporting characters back stories, I didn’t register a lack by coming in, new to the series at it’s very ending.
I Think I Love You was such a fresh and fun novel and I am quite interested in its predecessors, as this is definitely a world I’d like to spend more time exploring the icing on the cake? It’s nice and smoldering! Sometimes sweet, funny romances sacrifice the sex (sacrilege!) Not so here!