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Darker Water

(Once and Forever #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,035 ratings  ·  683 reviews
After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She's too busy for it right now anyway--she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she'll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 3rd 2014 by Off the Hook Publishing
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,035 ratings  ·  683 reviews

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Aestas Book Blog
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it

UNIQUE, FUN, & SEXY!! I absolutely loved this book!!

The banter was awesome and the chemistry was sizzling. It was almost the opposite of a traditional romance — the hero and heroine were both openly set on NOT falling in love. He was all tortured and damaged but also cocky and charming (and loaded with tattoos!!) ... Trust me, you want to meet him! ;)

One of the most refreshing things to me is finding a story that defies the norm. It's like a breath of fresh air, and that is exactly what Dar
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: Nadine Hook Me Up Book Blog
5 stars!

LIVE on Amazon!

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Lauren Stewart is an author I had yet to read. I had no expectations of this book, but a friend I trust recommended it to me so I jumped in. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I fell in love with both of the characters and their story. Such a funny, sexy and emotional read. There is no better feeling than taking a chance on an unknown (to you) and getting a 5 star read in return!
I was done lying to myself. Princes didn’t exist, happy endings never happened,

I didn't sign up for the pain but here I am.

In Darker Water we have this (non [hahaha!]) romantic story where Laney, a 23 years old artist, is leaving her love life behind. Too many frogs, she said. Love's just a fairytale, she said. And now she's done with men and love. She's not going to stay celibate and she's ready to try sex without any kind of commitment.
Carson is a young man who has suffered a lot and the only relationship he wants to have are the few hours type. No commitment and only go
* Meli Mel *

♥♥♥ 4.25 STARS ♥♥♥

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"Someday it won't matter what you want. Hopefully someday, with someone, you won't have a choice. She'll come into your life and show you how wrong you've been about everything you've ever known. And you won't stand a chance against her, little brother."

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

First and foremost, I want to say that I just LOVE the cover of this book. I am in serious lust with it. Makes me want to
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Messed Up Stars.

Laney kissed a lot a frogs, searching for a prince. He never appeared and her heart suffered a lot from it. So she swore of man until she finds the perfect one.


Enters Carson. They met in a coffee shot and immediately became friends. They both want something more, but Laney isn’t prepared for be involved with anyone and Carson doesn’t do relationships. He have seen in his past what messed up relationships can do to a person and will not follow that path.
So even when they bot
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
4--I Give it an F--Stars!!

An F for FUN and FUNNY....

This was a fun take on the Frog Prince fairytale! Laney the girl who turned all of the boys in her life into frogs. Who thought she'd never find love.

"if you kiss a lot of frogs, all you end up with us sore lips and a bunch of frogs. And if you kiss a lot of princes, hoping at least one of them will stay that way, all you get is a horrific amount of disappointment and even more frogs."

And Carson, who thought he was anything but a Prince. W

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.”


Until she found out her boyfriend is a liar, cheating bastard, Laney wanted like everyone else for someone to love her and to find someone she could love, someone who respects her and didn’t use her or manipulate her. But this was before, now she’s done with men, with relationships and with love. She’s single now, spending her time with her friend and roommate and creating art in her shop.

“I was done lying to myself. Princes didn’t exi

'Princes didn't exist, happy endings never happened, love was all make-believe'

Genre: Romance
Cover: 9/10 – love the symbolism
Writing: 8/10
Heroine: 9/10
Hero: 9/10
Humour: 6/10
Hotness: 3/10
Romance: 7/10
Extra book Details: Heroine & Hero POV; 1st person. Approx 360 pages. First in the series. Next book is about the hero's brother
After another painful breakup, Laney finally understands that love is a fairytale. Every guy she meets, she manages to turn into a frog. All she wants now is a
Natalie The Biblioholic
I almost DNF'd this book within the first 10% but I pushed on through.

I tried. I really tried to love this book. But I didn't. I ended up doing a lot of this:


And then I felt:


After skimming through I discovered some components of the book that I did enjoy. Such as the witty banter; a damaged hero because Carson suffered through repeated traumatic experiences; and a heroine who had all but given up on true love.

I love when a story tackles issues that effect much of society and handles it with sens
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Currently on sale for .99$! |


I really really liked this one!

Loosely based on the fairytale, The Frog Prince, this story was the perfect amount of funny, sexy, sweet, and emotional.

Quick background- Laney hates men. Hates relationships. Is over it all completely after being burned so many times. Insert Carson, sex on a stick bad boy with a heart of gold who tries to get into her pants the first time they meet.

They decide to be friends, and as you may have already guessed
Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥
Darker Water was a steamy, heart-felt story that constantly had me smiling. Just within those first few pages, I was already laughing and obsessed with our two main characters. It all flowed so seamlessly and I devoured it in no time at all. Darker Water became an instant favorite and I'm kicking myself that I didn't pick it up sooner. Especially since I bought this book four years ago.
He was ten times more wicked than anyone I’d ever dated, the complete opposite of everything I used to look fo
Lauren Stewart
Jan 27, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition

He leaned forward and spoke conspiratorially. “I’m new to this being-friends-with-someone-I-want–to-sleep-with thing, so you’ll have to help me out. What happens now?”

“I’m not sure. I’m new to the being-friends-with-someone-who-wants–to-sleep-with-me thing.”

“You’ve never had a heterosexual male friend?”

“Of course I have.”

“Then you’re not new to it. He just didn’t tell you.”

I touched my cheek as I felt it redden. “Do you think eventually I’ll stop blushing every time you say something?”

“I hope no
Jennifer Kyle
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 ~ 4 Frog Stars

"He was so far from being the perfect guy, and that was what made him so perfect for me. No expectations, no emotional crap, no frog."


Full review to come...
DNF @ 50%


Strike 1: The hero is a manwhore. But what I hated even more than that was hearing him go on and on about how much sex he has had. And he kept thinking about it giving me these damn visuals that really turned me off.

Strike 2: The heroine kept going back and forth between "Should I sleep with him or not?" and "Can I keep sex and love separate?" Bitch make up your mind! That went on for too long and eventually I got annoyed.

Strike 3: The heroine doesn't know this right away bu
Jennifer Lane
Deeper Water Is Better

My Goodreads buddy Mitsy told me I must read Lauren Stewart novels, and I’m glad I followed her advice. I particularly enjoyed the ending of this contemporary romance.

Laney is stuck in a reverse fairytale, dating princes who turn into frogs.

’You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.’ My mother’s favorite expression was completely wrong. If you kiss a lot of frogs, all you end up with is sore lips and a bunch of frogs. And if you kiss a lot of princes, hoping at
Jess-i-ca ~Sometimes a Gif Witch~
I really enjoyed this one. The banter between these two was great. Wish it didn't really have fade to black sex scenes but it was a decent read!

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Jacqueline's Reads
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 4-star-books
4 Healing Stars

Darker Water isn’t like the cover. I imagined something dramatic and slightly intense, but it’s really kind of sweet and light hearted. It’s not a comical book, but it’s cute and adorable, which I like.


Laney dates a lot of frogs and no princes. She dates guys who use her, treat her like crap and are no good for her. She loves passionately and it always leaves her broken hearted. This time she is telling herself not to fall for anymore frogs.

Carson doesn’t do relationships.
Arabella ~♡AB♡~
DNF @17%

Just not doing it for me. She wants a one night stand, so does he, they get interrupted so she goes home. They end up becoming friends even though she really wants to be loved, and he doesn't want a girlfriend, blah blah blah.

Sorry - It's not you, it's me.

Nadine Hook Me Up Book Blog

...Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the one....

When I heard that Lauren writes a contemporary romance book I was game right away! Why? I fell in love with Lauren's writing when reading her urban fantasy series, Hyde - which is hands down, one of the best series ever. Mitch is a bastard; a cocky, filthy-mouthed, hot 'I wanna rip his clothes off and hump him' kind of bastard. You'd love him and the whole plot Lauren came up with. Anyhow, ba
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 "frog" stars
This was a funny sexy read.

"You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince"

"He was so far from being the perfect guy and that was what made him so perfect for me, no expectations, no emotional crap, no frog"
Dec 04, 2014 added it
Shelves: dnf
It started off really good. I loved Carson and his straight to the point vibe. Laney was putting up a really good fight keeping Carson out of her pants. They made me laugh a lot! Then they had sex. That's when it went down the shitter for me. They are not in a relationship. There are no feelings involved. They spend almost everyday and night together. Like that's not a relationship. lol They will tell each other before they decide to fuck someone else. There's an evil step sister involved. Any w ...more
Nancy's Romance Reads
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites


What a FUN book this was, I loved it! From the very first pages the characters' personalities and their unique wittiness totally captured me and had me laughing so hard. So much so that I finished the book rather quickly because I could not put it down. All that sexy flirting, outstanding humor, and that perfect chemistry that transpired between the characters was enthralling.

Darker Water tells the story of of Laney and Carson, two characters who are brought togethe
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

First Of All , I really like the cover , but the name of the book along with it , gave me the impression that it was a dark read . which it is not .
Anyways , I really really enjoyed this book . I laughed out loud a lot and I actually shed a few tears here and there .

The book started out really good , It held my attention and I was intrigued from the get go. The way the prologue and the epilogue were written was unique and I really liked it.

The story is about Laney and Carson . Laney i
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable and well-written romance. The female MC was very believable and likeable. As usual, the male MC was somewhat stereotypical: rich, with a horrible childhood etc. Also, a bit too long in the end.
Title: Darker Water (Once and Forever #1)
Series: standalone series
Author: Lauren Stewart
Rating: 4.5 Stars
POV: Dual
HEA: (view spoiler)
Heat/Steam 1/5
Cliffhanger: . No.
Intolerable Heroine .No.
Über Douchebagery .No.
Taboo Subject Matter .No.
Cheating: (view spoiler)
Love Triangle (view spoiler)

The story is a sweet yet slightly angsty NA romance that I'm glad I gave a chance to. When I first read the blurb I was
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

This book started out with lots of good banter and sexual tension and slowly delved into topics that were pretty intense. Neither Carson nor Laney are looking for love. Really neither were looking for much of anything except maybe a quick roll in the hay. What starts out as an agreement between the two of them to not fall in love or even really be in a "relationship" turns into much more than either wanted for expected.

Both Carson and Laney have baggage. As their "relationship" progresse
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It reminded me of a time…

When I was 18 I fell desperately in love for the first time. Problem was the man at the time was older than my mother’s husband, had a daughter a year younger than me, and was divorced.

Obviously seeing what a dummy I was he sat me down and basically told me that what I wanted was a horrible idea and that while he was flattered by my attempts (I had all but been stalking him for a good month – this is what had me at his home for this conversation) ther
Tracie Payne
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
OMG I loved this book!! Exactly what I needed, fun, smart, sexy with the right amount of angst. The first time Carson and Laney met....perfect!! I could have highlighted something on every page, whether it was one of Carson's thoughts or dialogue between the two. There was no fluff here, no time was I wanting things to just move along. Perfect pacing of the story. I laughed at times and my heart clenched others. I felt them from start to finish. Lane wasn't a doormat, she was strong and honest a ...more
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time a mucky minded Mommy read a wonderful reinvention of the Frog Prince story. Although it wasn't completely what she she expected she fell in love with it nevertheless.
l came across this while struggling with what next to read. Reviews promised sizzling sex and witty banter so I knew this was for me.
Lancey is the princess of this story. After her latest arsehole prince turns into yet another frog she decides to give up on the fairytale and swears off men.
Carson is a self proclaime
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Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with a teenager, an almost-teenager, a mellow cat, and a very high maintenance, very large puppy. On the nights Lauren doesn't pass out from exhaustion, she reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you'll find elements of other genres--fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's lit ...more

Other books in the series

Once and Forever (4 books)
  • Virtually Impossible (Once and Forever, #2)
  • Deeper Water (Once and Forever, #3)
  • Immaterial Defense (Once and Forever, #4)
“If it could be anyone,” he whispered, “it would be you.” 7 likes
“I didn’t have feelings for Carson—I was in love with him. And what’s worse than falling in love when you don’t want to? Falling in love with someone who can’t love you back.” 5 likes
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