REVIEW – PASSION ON PARK AVENUE (The Central Park Pact, Book 1) by Lauren Layne


From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps. 

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.



*****Patty’s Review*****

*****FOUR STARS*****
{Netgalley ARC}

If the kiss on Saturday had been the promise, this was the delivery. The sort of kiss that ruined a girl for all other kisses in the future.

I’ve been a fan of Lauren Layne’s writing for several years now. I haven’t always loved every story she’s written, but the ratio of her books that I love definitely outweigh the ones that I did not. ”PASSION ON PARK AVENUE” went at a very slow pace for almost the first half of the book. I was worried that this was going to go on the shelf of books that I just couldn’t connect with but, I do love this author, so I stuck it out. Thankfully, the pace started to pick up during the second half of the book and I really did enjoy the story. This is an ”enemies to lovers” story that began when the Hero and Heroine were just young children. So many years have gone by since they last saw each other but it seems that one of them wasn’t able to move on from the past.

At the heart of the ”Central Park Pact” series is the friendship that develops between three women who find out at the funeral of the man they each were involved with that, he was a lying womanizer. Instead of tearing each other down, they form a bond and make a pact to help to steer each other away from the “bad boys”.

Our first Heroine to find love is Naomi Powell, a self-made billionaire. She, unlike her two new friends, came from impoverished beginnings. She lived with her single mother who made so many poor life choices. For a brief portion of her life, she lived in a luxurious apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, on Park Avenue, when her mom got a job as a live-in maid. The couple had a son who was a few years older than Naomi and lived to bully her. When her mother ends up having an affair with the man of the house it eventually ends disastrously and Naomi and her mom are kicked out on to the streets. Naomi never forgot how horribly the family treated her and her mother. Fast forward to present times, and Naomi has a shot at buying an apartment in that very building on Park Avenue. Turns out that the son and father still live there and she can’t help but want to throw her success in their faces. But as she gets to know Oliver, who is no longer the bully she knew from childhood, she starts to question the grudge she’s been holding on to for so many years.

Oliver was the perfect book boyfriend. He was sexy, smart, and self-sacrificing. His father was a horrible person for most of his life but when he was inflicted with Alzheimer’s, Oliver didn’t hesitate to put his life on hold to take care of him. This guy was a saint!

The thing is, when Naomi moves in, she is going by a different last name and Oliver doesn’t recognize her as his nemesis from childhood, and so she doesn’t reveal her identity to him. I had a hard time warming up to her but when she starts to form a bond with Oliver’s father, my heart softened towards her as well.

Naomi isn’t a believer in true love. Life has shown her that men are only after her for one thing and she believes that she will always be the “other woman”. Will her unwillingness to open her heart to love cause her to lose her true soul mate? When Oliver finds out Naomi’s true identity, will he still feel the same?

Here are my overall ratings:

Hero: 5
Heroine: 4
Plot: 4
Angst: 4
Steam: 3
Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 4.5

”PASSION ON PARK AVENUE” is currently available.


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