Title: Cuff Me (New York’s Finest #3)
Author : Lauren Layne
Genre : Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : 29th March, 2016
Publisher : Grand Central Publishing: Forever
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ARRESTED BY LOVE
Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.
Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl’s heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he’ll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .
Conventionally, I don’t read cop books. It’s got nothing to do with the part about the characters being cops themselves, and everything to do with the fact that I’ve never actively searched for a book to win me over with heroes and heroines in law enforcement. So back in January 2015, when I read the first book of the New York’s Finest series by Lauren Layne (Frisk Me), I didn’t really expect to love it as much as I did. Call me whatever, but LL books have always been straight four star reads for me—they’re just that awesome. And so here I sit, a completely reformed reader from before Jan of 2015, wagging my proverbial doggy tail in rather frightening enthusiasm, waiting to tell you all the things about this hot cop Vincent Moretti, and his lady love Jillian Henley.
Cuff Me (which has the hottest cover model by the way, did y’all notice?) is the last book in the New York’s Finest series about the Moretti brothers, the NYPD royalty. It is the story of Vincent Moretti, the prickly, gruff guy who has pretty much been a constant in the series. He was a dickhead of the brotherly kind to Luc in Frisk Me, an essential part of Anthony’s love story in Frisk Me, and I couldn’t wait to see how his own story would pan out. And let me tell you, this one is definitely a case of saving the best for the last! “Arrested By You” is the book’s mini-pitch, and it sits perfectly well with the tumultuous relationship that Vincent and, his partner of six years, Jillian share. Both homicide detectives for the NYPD, Vin and Jill are as different as chalk and cheese. He is the one with the brusque exterior, preferring quiet, and not going out of his way to socialise with people. She is a friendly, wearing her heart on her sleeve type girl, outgoing, and with a beautiful smile to match her bright personality. Basically, Jill is the good cop to Vin’s bad cop.
The story begins with Jill returning from a three month leave from Florida, where she had gone to take care of her mother. When she’s back, she’s back with news. Thanks to her whirlwind romance with Mr Perfect while she was there, she’s all ready to be married! But Vincent—who missed Jill more than he’ll ever care to admit—isn’t ready to see her with a huge ass rock on her finger, and this causes a lot of tension between the two of them, which basically lasts most of the book. Vincent finally realises that a working relationship and a friendship are far less than what he wants from Jill, and he tries to win her over, while also trying to gauge whether a marriage with Mr Perfect is what she really wants.
To start with, I was hella uncomfortable with the idea of Jill’s three-month relationship and her subsequent engagement. I was under the impression that adults were smarter than this (apparently not) and that made me very skeptical about how the awkward love triangle was going to be handled. Love triangles are usually a strict no-no, and yet Cuff Me didn’t really read like one. There was confused longing and intense staring and guilt galore, but it really was clear to me about who belonged with whom throughout the book. Jill, as a heroine, was perfect for Vincent, but more importantly, she was a stunning person of her own. She was driven and it showed how much she loved her job, but she was an amazing friend too. She straddled the line between knowing what is good for herself, and being a tad bit insecure about how others saw her. It was kind of sad how she didn’t realise how much people loved her as she was, but obviously, we can’t always know how people think about us, and sometimes it’s for the best.
Vincent, on the other hand, had the middle child syndrome, which is something I understand quite well. You want to rebel against the older, more serious, father-like brother, but you’re not quite as charming and easy-going as the younger brother. As a result, you’re basically the quiet one, always trying to figure out where you’d fit best into. You’re quiet so you don’t get included, and you don’t get included so you’re quiet. In spite of my earlier reservations about whether or not I’d enjoy reading about a reclusive anti-hero, I really did love Vincent and his too big heart that he didn’t quite show.
Apart from the two of them, another really interesting part about the book was the case they were both working on. It was fucking fantastic! The investigation of the death of a prominent veteran actress, and I loved to see the working relationship between Vin and Jill, their daily routine with no drama between them—just the thrill of working on a new job. We also get to see the Moretti clan in its entirety (with Anthony-Maggie Jr on the way) and again, I loved the interaction between them—how they’re easily the best bookish family I’ve seen! They’re always all over each others’ businesses (which is exactly how family is) and it was delightful to see their banter and love and support! Marco and Elena (the two Morettis I hope get a book each) also played a special role in Cuff Me, so if you’ve been waiting to see more of the two of the, this is your chance 😃
Finally, even if none of the above has convinced you to read Cuff Me, read it for the last 20%. The book gets intense and fast and angsty and basically everything you want to see in a perfect Contemporary Romance. In true LL fashion, the book is brought to life with witty dialogues and situations that are crazy enough to keep you on your toes, but the ending is just out of the world interesting. Vincent really gets a wake up call the size of Australia, and it. is. brilliant. Trust me.
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There’s something wrong with a man that grins like that at a crime scene.”
Detective Vincent Moretti glanced up from where he’d been studying the gunshot wound of the vic and glared at the officer who’d been shadowing him for the past three months.
“I wasn’t grinning.”
Detective Tyler Dansen never paused in scribbling in the black notebook he carried everywhere. “You were definitely grinning.”
Dansen glanced up. “Fine. Maybe not grinning. But I’m one hundred percent sure I saw you smile.”
“How about you be one hundred percent sure about who shot this guy instead?” Vincent said irritably.
Dansen returned his attention to his damn notebook, but he didn’t look particularly chagrined by Vin’s reprimand.
Oh, what Vin wouldn’t give to go back to those early days when all he’d had to do was look at Dansen, and the kid practically dropped into a deferential bow.
Three months of spending every workday in each other’s company had the newly minted detective acting nearly as impudent as Vincent’s actual partner.
Nearly being an important distinction, because Vincent didn’t think they made ’em sassier, more stubborn, or more annoying than Detective Jill Henley.
And he would know. They’d been partners for six long years, and their pairing up as partners was proof of God’s sense of humor.
Jill Henley was Vincent’s opposite in every way.
Jill was chipper, charming, and smiley.
Vincent was… none of those things.
Especially not the last one. Although, if he was being really honest with himself, Dansen may have been right about Vincent cracking a smile earlier.
It’s not that Vin was immune to death. There was absolutely nothing humorous about a man lying cold in his own blood and guts, dead from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
But after six years as a homicide DT for the NYPD, one learned to compartmentalize. To let the brain occasionally go somewhere else other than death even as you were staring straight at it.
It was the only way to survive. Otherwise it was nothing but puking and nightmares.
And speaking of puking…
Vincent stood and gave Detective Dansen a once-over.
“If you’re gonna barf, do it outside,” he said, just to needle the younger man.
Dansen threw his arms up in exasperation. “That was one time. One time! And I hear it happens to everyone on their first day.”
“Didn’t happen to me.”
“That’s because you’re a machine,” Dansen muttered under his breath.
Vincent didn’t respond to this. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before. Robot. Machine. Automaton.
He just didn’t know what people expected him to do about it.
In the movies, there was always some reason for the semi-mechanical, unfeeling action hero.
Either a dead wife, an abusive past, or some other sort of jacked-up emotional history. But Vincent had always sort of figured he’d been born this way. Quiet. Reserved. Broody.
It’s not that he didn’t feel. Of course he did. He just didn’t feel out loud. He wasn’t sure that he really knew how to, and wasn’t sure he wanted to learn.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.
Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).