An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne | Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne | Review, Excerpt & GiveawayAn Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept on November 7th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com
Pages: 204
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
Amazon US

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

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

Mature Content


Sweet, funny, and charming, An Ex for Christmas is a perfect Holiday romance read! If you’re a fan of best friends to lovers romances, Hallmark movies, and Love, Actually, you’ll have a hoot reading this rom-com.

Elementary school teacher Kelly Byrne loves Christmas and is as superstitious as they go. When a mysterious woman tells her she’s already met The One and will be with her come Christmas, Kelly spends the two weeks before Christmas tracking her unmarried exes and checking who’s naughty, nice, and The One.

While she reunites with her exes and crosses them off her list, Kelly finds herself feeling things she’s never felt before for her best friend and neighbor, Mark Blakely. The chef has been her best friend since high school, and he’s loved her just as long. Now that she’s trying to rekindle her romance with men who broke her heart because of some old lady’s prediction, he wants to do his best to make her finally look his way and see he‘s The One.

Kelly is endearing with her superstitious beliefs and quirks. This woman loves life and lives it with her best foot forward. She’s optimistic and funny, and she loves her family. Her friendship with Mark is so easy and comfortable, and I personally understand the whole best friends to suddenly something more, so I get that she’s confused on how to go next with what’s happening with her and Mark. A few of her decisions frustrated me, and she could have lost Mark because of it, too.

All I want for Christmas is Mark Blakely. Such a sweetheart, that man. He’s gruff and acts like he doesn’t like Christmas, but the guy goes along with everything his Christmas fanatic best friend wants to do. He even shares custody over Rigby the cocker spaniel just because Kelly can only stay in their hometown on weekends. This man has been steadfast in his feelings for Kelly, and gosh I could wax poetic about him. Swoon.

And that ending. Perfect. Just perfect. I was swooning and squealing and ahhhhh. Mark Blakely, you guys. I want that man in my life.

An Ex for Christmas reminded me of What’s Your Number (Anna Faris, Chris Evans) and Love, Rosie (Lily Collins, Sam Claflin), two of my favorite chick flicks. It’s about two best friends whose timing is never right, and a story of the heroine tries to look for her one true in the wrong place when along he’s right beside her. Insert hilarious/disastrous dates and antics between Kelly and Mark.

This story is full of Ms. Layne’s signature humor, natural and easy banter between two charming characters, sexual tension, and the right build up. This book made me more excited for the holidays and honestly made me want to go on a chick flick marathon. If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and adorable holiday romance, you’ll enjoy reading An Ex for Christmas.

Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Holiday Romance, Childhood Friends
POV: First Person, Female POV
Standalone: Yes

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As I walk, I check the weather app on my phone, delighted to see that while it’s nothing but rain today, there’s a chance of a snow shower tomorrow. Nothing says Christmas break like snow.

I just miss my train, but there’s a decent-ish voice singing “White Christmas” nearby, and the platform’s not too crowded, so waiting’s not as bad as it could be.

My eye catches on a middle-aged woman who’s set up camp under one of the stairwells. It’s not unusual to see all manner of people under the streets of New York, although this one’s better dressed than most. She’s wearing a blousy red shirt, jeans, and ankle boots, and is sitting cross-legged on a plaid blanket. She’s got twigs of what seem to be fake roses in her hair.

None of that’s the weird part.

What’s weird is that she’s watching me. Intently.

We make awkward eye contact, and I give a quick smile before turning my attention back to my phone.

But I still feel her eyes on me.

Not in an unfriendly way, not in the way that makes me mentally catalog whether or not I saw any cops on my way down here who would hear me if I scream. She doesn’t seem eager to push me onto the train tracks either, and since that’s every New Yorker’s secret fear, that’s a plus.

Still, the focus is unsettling. I glance up again, and her eyes lock on mine. Her dark gaze is clear and focused, and I can’t decide if that’s more or less disturbing than if she seemed sort of hazy.

Then she smiles right at me. “Kelly.”

I get immediate goosebumps for reasons that have nothing to do with the winter weather. She knows my name.

“Come.” She beckons. “Come. I see.

Now you’re thinking, Hell, no. Run!

I should be thinking the same, and on some level, I am, but . . .

There are a couple dozen people around. None are paying attention to me, but it’s not like I’m all alone in a dark alley.

And look, we’ve already established that I believe in fate expressing itself through a Magic 8 ball and horoscopes, and though I haven’t mentioned it yet, I totally avoid black cats, the number thirteen, and walking under ladders.

I also believe that there’s such a thing as sight. I know, because my grandma had it.

Grandma Shirley was one of those delightfully batty old ladies that most people dismissed as quirky, but nobody can deny that she seemed to know stuff. She knew when I’d win my soccer game, and by how many points. She knew when her cat’s litter of kittens would be born, down to the minute. Once she’d even predicted an earthquake, even though they’re really rare in New York.

She’d passed away when I was in eleventh grade (she’d predicted the when and how of that too), and though I didn’t inherit her talents, I’ve never stopped believing that some people see and know things that they shouldn’t. I call it the Sight.

I step closer, and the woman grins and beckons me even nearer.

I stop a healthy few feet away. I’m superstitious, not crazy.

The woman leans forward. “You seek love.”

Huh. Color me unimpressed. I mean, don’t most humans seek love? Sure, I’m recently single, and I don’t particularly want to be. And maybe I sometimes try a little too hard to find my forever guy.

But I’m not hearing anything other than generic lucky guesses from this lady.

“Sure,” I say, already starting to back away.

She holds up a hand. “The one you seek? Your forever guy, the love of your life . . .”

I freeze, because her phrasing echoes my thoughts almost exactly. A coincidence? Maybe. I don’t move away just yet, willing to hear her out.

She smiles again. “You’ve already met him.”

I blink. “What? I think you may want to recheck that crystal ball. I’m single.”

Her smile merely grows. “I didn’t say you weren’t single. I said you’d already met him. You just let him go. He’ll come back to you before Christmas.”

Whoa whoa whoa. This is . . .


“You’re telling me that the love of my life is one of my exes?”

She extends both of her palms as though to say, There you have it!

I stifle a little surge of disappointment. Clearly she hasn’t met my exes. There are some decent ones in the mix, but mostly they’re duds, and none of them make my heart beat faster. Well, maybe—

Nope. No. Do not go there.

Thankfully, I feel the rumble of an oncoming train, and a glance over my shoulder tells me my ride outta here is approaching.

“Thanks very much,” I say with a strained smile. “Merry Christmas.”

“Happy holidays,” she says with a nod, standing and gathering up her blanket. Apparently she’s taken a cue from Madison Meyers and is sticking close to the PC route. Fair enough.

I lift a hand in a wave and move toward the train, but her next words give me a fresh wave of new goosebumps.

“Tell your parents happy anniversary. Thirty’s going to be a magical year for them.”

I whip my head around. “How did you—”

The woman is gone.

Like vanished gone.

Leaving me to wonder . . .

If a woman I’d never met was right about my parents’ anniversary, was she also right about other stuff?

Have I already met my one true love?

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About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.

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6 responses to “An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne | Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

  1. Sharlene Wegner

    I just read this one! So good! And I didn’t know Love, Rosie was a movie. I read the book a long time ago. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope.

    • ofpensandpages

      Yay! Glad you enjoyed it! Yes. It wasn’t as good as the book but it was okay as a chick flick. It starred Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.

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