Lauren Layne, who I had never heard of.
Next thing I knew, I had purchased and read 11 (ELEVEN) books by Layne. I bought my first one before I left for the RT Booklovers Convention. I read at least 5 of them sitting/standing in line or late at night when I couldn't sleep. I just could NOT stop reading them.
I think I've finally poked my head out of the reading glom hole, but I'm still left wondering what, exactly, made these books work so very well for me when so many other books just haven't.
These three things are essential to a successful read for me. It's why books that are well written but not distinctive are read and quickly forgotten. It's why I stopped reading a favorite author: her voice changed. It's why I often times have issues with romantic suspense, because it's hard to squeeze both high emotional conflict in with real life danger.
The funny thing is that the 11 (ELEVEN) books by Layne are not my usual fare. I'm a small town contemporary reader. I love me some historicals. But I'm not normally a city-set contemporary reader. Just not usually my thing.
If you, like me, haven't read anything by Layne, the books I read were all stand alone. The series are connected, and there's a loose chronology, but I read them out of order and it didn't matter a bit. There's a favorite trope for everyone, particularly in the Stiletto and Oxford series. Best friend's sister? Check. Enemies to lovers? Check. Secret baby? Sorta! Bet? Check! Competition between the heroine and hero? Check! Second chance at love? That, too. So many well loved tropes.
The only caveat I have is that at least two series are written in first person, present tense (which I LOATHE) so make sure to check before one-clicking. The Stiletto, Oxford and Moretti series are all regular ole 3rd person.