Fake Date by Monica Murphy
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Fake Date, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy.
But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can't stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party.
Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course.
Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake?
I thought this was cute from start to finish and read this pretty much in one sitting. I loved the back and forth between Sarah and Jared, and how just below the surface feelings weren't quite so antagonistic, despite their outward behavior towards each other. I have to admit I was a bit skeeved that he was going into Bliss seemingly to purchase lingerie for his lovers while feeling some type of way about Sarah, until it all began to click for me what he was actually doing.
I have nothing but respect for Sarah, being the one to step up and take care of her two younger siblings after the untimely deaths of their parents; and at a relatively young age, she's not been able to be the typical twentysomething who can just let loose and have a fantastic time with life. I love that she's got a great support system in her close group of friends who give her sound advice and will also poke fun at her out friendship and love.
Jared works for the family business although he does his best to avoid his family, with the exception of his younger sister Candice who pretty much inserts herself into his life. He's blunt to the point of being rude, and Sarah seems to be the one to call him out on his behavior. One thing I did wonder about while reading this was if Jared was always as rude as he is, or is that a manifestation of the loss of one parent, the subsequent second marriage by the surviving parent and what happened with his previous relationship.
As with the formula for these stories, there's always the buildup to what's going to happen to throw a curveball into the budding relationship and that does happen and I can say it's definitely all on Jared; no one should be blindsided the way Sarah was (unless it's the story's antagonist, they always deserve that).
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“Mr. Gaines,” I say, pasting on my best customer smile when he lifts his gaze to mine.
His dark brown eyes flash with an unfamiliar gleam and my breath catches in the back of my throat. “Back so soon, I see.”
“You know I can’t resist you, Miss Harrison.” His smile is slow. Wolfish, if that’s really
a thing. I read it in a romance novel once, thought it was kind of silly, but right now, it’s working for Jared.
His entire demeanor right now reminds me of a predatory creature. His face is all hard lines—stern, straight nose, granite jaw, sharp cheekbones, steely eyes. Yet his mouth, his lips are soft. Full. Lush.
Shaking my head at the wayward thought, I return his smile, trying my best to remain
“Is there anything in particular you’re looking for this afternoon?” I’m surprised by how steady my voice is, considering I feel like my insides are sloshing back and forth, like I’m on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
“You don’t have anything pulled aside for my appointment?” He raises a single brow, the expression on his face practically daring me to say no.
Well, guess what? I’m about to say it.
“No, I didn’t pull anything aside.” I shrug when he glares at me. “You never told me the nature of your visit.”
He glances about, making sure no one is around, I’d assume. And lucky for him, there’s no one in the store currently. It’s the middle of the week, early afternoon. We normally don’t get too many customers at this time.
We are the only two people in here. Even Marlo has disappeared.
“Perhaps you can show me some of your newer items,” he suggests.
“I can do that.” All new arrivals are at the front of the store, so we’re in the right spot. I lead him to a table showcasing our latest bra and panty design. “Celestial is the theme for spring into summer.”
I point to the bras made of thin, sheer netting and pink silk, tiny pale pink stars stitched in a scattered pattern across the tulle fabric. They leave nothing to the imagination, and the panties are the same.
“They hide nothing.” He holds up a pair of brief-cut panties, turning them this way and that. Every time he holds underwear in those big hands of his, I melt a little inside. I don’t know why he affects me like this.
“You’re right. They don’t,” I agree, grabbing a thong and flipping it over to the thin
string of lace that makes up the backside. “But they’re terribly sweet.”
I glance up to find him watching me. “Sweet yet sexy,” I counter, my cheeks going hot
from the way he’s studying me so carefully.
“You like the celestial theme?”
I nod. Press my lips together so I don’t say something I regret. Like, I love this theme, or Do you want me to model the panties for you?
Yeah. That’s a bad idea.
Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.
She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.
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