Thursday, 8 October 2015

Review and Excerpt - The World: According to Graham by Layne Harper

Title: The World: According to Graham
Series: Infinity #6
Author: Layne Harper
Release Date: September 29, 2015

“Love doesn’t follow Einstein’s rules of the universe. It doesn’t march across a linear plane of time. No. Love is other worldly. It doesn’t believe in rules and timelines and logical next steps. My brain kept reasoning with my heart that we couldn’t feel this strongly about Graham Jackson, the guy that I only dated for two weeks, but what I’ve come to learn about the heart is that it doesn’t listen to logic.” 

Rachael Early, the first female White House Chief of Staff, is facing the scariest chapter of her life – the unknown. After discovering that Graham Jackson is one of the Sons of Liberty – a political talk show that is shaking up Washington – she ends their two week, whirlwind love affair. However, fate has other plans, forcing them back into each other’s lives. Rachael and Graham begin their journey to overcome the hurt they’ve caused each other and move forward while struggling to find balance in their new careers. In the conclusion to Rachael and Graham’s story, their relationship is tested in ways that they could have never imagined. In the end, does love really conquer all?

I’m still standing in the same spot, lost in my vivid thoughts of this woman that has taken my brain hostage, when she dances into the living room with the phone pressed against her shoulder while she’s attempting to slide on yoga pants.

“I’m still in D.C. I can be there in fifteen minutes,” she says to whomever is on the other end of the phone.

“Change of plans . . . It doesn’t matter . . . Sure. I’m leaving . . .”

She’s leaving. Did she just say that she’s leaving me? We’ve only shared the same oxygen for about ten minutes. She’s not going anywhere.

Before I can stop myself, I’ve snatched the phone out of her hand and ended her call. “Now . . .” She finishes as if she had to say that last word in the sentence.

I hold the phone high over my head and give it a jiggle, anticipating the wildfire that I just ignited.

“What do you think that you’re doing?” she demands, standing in front of me in my shirt with her yoga pant leg only pulled up to the knee on one leg. Her face is flushed with anger and her eyes are slits. A little V forms between them.

Somewhere on the edge of my consciousness, I get a nudge that this maybe wasn’t the best idea that I’ve ever had. Quickly, I dismiss it. I started this war so I might as well win it.

I smirk. “Saving me the time and energy of explaining that you’re not going to work. Yesterday was your last day. Today you are unemployed.”

“Don’t remind me.” She taps her foot against the tile, not bothering to reach for her phone.

She begins her speech with “she may not be paid by the White House any longer, but she will always take the White House phone calls” and ends it with something about national security and me being an asshole.

All I hear is the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. 

In the middle of her tirade, I turn around and walk back into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. Apparently, this was not the best move either because she follows behind me, continuing her speech, only now it’s about how I don’t listen to her.


I continue to ignore her while I casually fill my mug. She’s drawing closer to my back. I know this because she’s getting louder, lecturing me on how I don’t have the right to dictate something or another, when I’ve finally had enough.

I spin around quickly and grab her under her arms, lifting her off the ground. She screeches like a hyena, demanding that I put her down. Her face is pink and hair flying as she balls up her fists, attempting to hit me. I dodge her punches and raise her up, placing her on top of my refrigerator. I note that during some part of her fit, she’d removed the yoga pants and is back only in my shirt. Works for me.

“What in the fuck do you think you’re doing, Graham Jackson? Get me down from here,” she demands. She’s looks just like Tinker Bell when she’s mad: rosy red cheeks, brows drawn together, lips thin as slits, arms crossed over her chest. Even when she’s furious she’s gorgeous. Her alabaster-toned legs cross at the ankle and contrast beautifully against my black refrigerator. Stepping back, I admire just how fuckably luscious she is when she’s making bodily threats against me.

Turning around, I walk to my coffee mug, attempting to camouflage the smile that is cracking my cheeks. A thought crosses my mind that makes me have to bite the inside of my lip to keep from laughing out loud. How much money could I make by selling tickets to see the great Rachael Early helpless on top of a refrigerator? Millions. I could make millions.

Leaning against the counter, I take my first sip of coffee and face the wrath of my pissed-off Tinker Bell.

“Quit smiling,” she seethes. “None of this is funny. The White House needs me and I’m stuck up”—she gestures wildly at her perch—“up here.”

“So you are,” I reply as I take another sip, smirking at how damn cute she looks.

Her arms unfold and she lets out a hmmmph.

This is a Mexican standoff, except that I’m winning. She’s pregnant, and if she’s anything like my sister was, she’ll eventually have to use the restroom, and she can’t get down without my help.

Her phone is still in my hand. I place it dramatically on the counter, as if I’m presenting a precious jewel. A little part of my brain says that I should turn it into a puppet and make it do a hilarious dance, but then I think better of that plan. No need to poke the bear.

Picking up from where The World: According to Rachael left off, Graham Jackson and Rachael Early are at a crossroads…

Rachael is the first female White House Chief of Staff. She’s damn good at her job—and the President is on the downward slide toward the end of his Presidency. Which means Rachael is coming to the end of the only job she’s ever known—she’s worked for the President since she graduated from college. And at thirty-eight, she’s fallen in love with what could be perceived as the enemy. 

Graham Jackson is one of the Sons of Liberty—a political group that’s gained immense popularity since the last election. Because of her fierce devotion to the President and his legacy, Rachael makes the toughest decision of her life and ends her relationship with Graham.

But as the saying goes, “Fate is a fickle bitch,” and Graham and Rachael are forced back into each other’s lives. But the question remains regarding whether they can get over their past hurts and move forward. Will Rachael see Graham for the man that he really is, not just his radio persona, Revere? And can Graham accept Rachael’s independence and figure out a way to get her to work with him, not against him?

Sigh. This quote sums up their relationship so beautifully: 

“This is love. This right here and right now. This man carrying me to bed without me asking because he knows that most of the time, I can walk beside him as an equal partner, but other times in a relationship that set of four footprints must become two.”

Graham and Rachael are far from perfect. They’re both intrinsically flawed, fiercely independent and love the other with all their being; they just need to figure out a way to make it work for them. 

Every bit of love, lust, sadness, pain, happiness, confusion and regret burst from the pages of this beautifully written book. I felt everything—felt like I was experiencing the feelings right along with Graham and Rachael. This is what I love about Layne Harper’s writing. Her ability to make the characters become REAL. I loved every bit of this book. I'm giving it 5 stars...but it's really more like 20.
~ Review by Missy

Layne Harper taught Tom Brady how to throw a football, and she's E.L. James' red room consultant. In her spare time, she travels the world with Angelina Jolie helping orphans. Not really, but it sounds more exciting than her normal life. She's mastered the art of takeout dining, turning down the volume right before the singer says a bad word, and disguising wine in a thermos for evening soccer games. She can make a snow cone that rivals the best in the world. Layne writes constantly in her head, on napkins, her kids' homework, or whatever is close by.

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