Published by Amazon Publishing on September 5th 2017
Bakery owner Willow Dalton's friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane's always had a reputation as a player. He's arrogant, and he's definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough for her to go along with a fake engagement a decade later--even if it comes with a real diamond ring?
Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America's hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An "engagement" to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move...provided no one gets hurt.
Now Zane and Willow's little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement and the real thing--including them.
Sometimes you just know that a book isn’t going to be for you once you start reading it. While I used to force myself to finish a book once I started it, this year I have stopped that practice. With the state of the world today, I think all of us need to allow ourselves to find enjoyment where we can. No one book is for everyone, so if it’s not for me that’s ok.
I love the fake girlfriend, fiance, wife trope in romance. Watching a couple who is faking a relationship fall for each other gradually in the midst of their efforts to con someone else rarely fails to delight me. At least one of the characters is so sure that relationships aren’t for them that it’s entertaining to watch their life be turned upside down when they figure out they fell for someone when they weren’t paying attention.
As excited as I was for a new fake relationship story, I knew very early on that The Real Thing wasn’t going to be for me. I found Zane’s actions to get Willow to help him improve his image, regardless of whether she wanted to or not, to be extremely selfish and aggressive. Why wouldn’t he call her and ask for her help as opposed to tricking her into believing she had a catering job for her bakery and ambushing her? The fact he went so far as to have a moment between them captured by a photographer before even giving her a chance to agree made me want to punch him in the face. And telling someone they owe you for you agreeing to take their virginity years ago just made him a douche in my book. By the beginning of chapter 4 I knew that I wasn’t going to connect with this storyline because as far as I was concerned, Zane needed to fall off the face of the earth.
On top of Zane being a jerk, I struggled with some of Willow’s dialog when it came to other women. I get that Zane is supposed to be a movie star player, but referring to what would happen when he was in town as a “Zane Hotter-Than-Hell Walker slutfest” was kind of gross. It implies the women are the problem when Willow’s real issue was with Zane’s behavior.
I am sure that both characters evolve throughout the book and we get to see more than the surface level interactions that I experienced to understand them better and that there will be plenty of readers who love this book. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.