I’m a big fan of the fake relationship trope in romance. There, I said it. Yes, we know fake relationships never remain just that. Yes, we know the couple in question will eventually fall in love and live happily ever after, but in the meantime, that pretend relationship fosters delicious tension, occasionally features shared beds (squee), and causes lots of internal angst. *sighs dreamily*
In my latest release, PRETENDING HE’S MINE, by-the-books Hollywood agent Julian Hart falls for his best friend’s younger sister, Ashley, a free-spirited woman who enjoys ruffling Julian’s feathers. The real complication is that Julian’s best friend is also his most prominent client, and Julian doesn’t want to jeopardize his career. But when Julian agrees to pretend to be Ashley’s boyfriend for a hometown wedding, he struggles to remember their relationship isn’t real. It’s a bunch of tropey goodness: best friend’s sibling, forced proximity, and of course, a pretend relationship. I’ll tell you this: Expect shenanigans.
Here’s an excerpt:
Ashley bounds down the steps, jogs toward me, and launches herself into my arms. “I missed you, baby.”
Her voice rings out, purposefully loud and calibrated to travel.
“What’s going on?” I murmur against her ear.
Not that I’m complaining about holding her in my arms—she’s warm and curvy and smells like apples—but she texted me less than ten minutes ago and told me to stand down.
She burrows into me and tilts her head back. Staring at me intently and wearing a yes-I’m-happy-to-see-you smile, she slides her hands up my back, places them around my neck, and pulls me in for a kiss.
My grin vanishes, replaced by lips parted in confusion. But I’m alert enough to settle my hands on her waist and assume the role she obviously wants me to play. And I approach it like I’m auditioning for a career-defining part. Why should Carter have all the acting fun?
Our lips connect, and the need to taste every part of her consumes me within seconds. She’s pliant in my arms, sending me to a space that settles my nerves but causes my muscles to tense. It’s both soothing and electric to be with her this way, comforting in that I already know we have chemistry, daunting in that I know there’s nowhere for this to go. I’m feeling so much, I don’t know which way is up. But damn. The texture of her mouth, the way her soft skin brushes against my jaw, the low groan that erupts from the base of her throat, it’s all so fucking promising, and I want more.
And like Julian, I want more. More fake relationships, that is. Luckily, a chat on Twitter a few weeks ago revealed that a bunch of authors have tackled this trope, and several of us with new or recent releases informally came together as “The Fake Relationship Club.” Warning: Hide your wallet. These stories sound so good.
Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn: Book Two in Clayborn’s A Chance of a Lifetime Series, this books pairs a former cutthroat corporate attorney with a man who considers her his family’s enemy. A recipient of a 5-star Gold review from RT, I suspect this one will tug at your heartstrings. Buy here: amzn.to/2JNrCok
The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert: A reckless and deliciously dirty prince asks a woman to pretend to be his fiancée for a year. Fake relationship. Royalty. Talia Hibbert. Gasp. Buy here: amzn.to/2JNOPGL
Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau: This book is proof that a title alone can sell a book. I certainly read it and one-clicked. There’s a fake boyfriend. He’s grumpy too. Do I really need to say more? Buy here: amzn.to/2JKIhbZ
Real Kind of Love by Sara Rider: An audiobook narrator in desperate need of rest and relaxation claims she’s going on a romantic getaway, but when members of her quirky family invite themselves along to meet her new beau, she’s forced to find one. I predict lots of hilarity! Buy here: https://amzn.to/2HzXBHI
But wait . . . there’s more! If you can’t get enough of this trope, check out this Twitter thread for additional recs: https://twitter.com/miasosaromance/status/985615304901488642
Happy reading, everyone!
Author’s Note: I’m thrilled to be a part of an event that celebrates romance. Many thanks to Nix for inviting me to the festivities. Now let’s keep the party going. For a chance to win a $15 Amazon e-gift card and a digital (Kindle or Nook) or print copy of any book in my backlist, tell me this: What’s your favorite romance trope and why?*
*US only. Closes on 30th May 2018. I’ll select my favorite answer from among the commenters.
Mia Sosa is an award-winning contemporary romance writer and 2015 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist. Her books have received praise and recognition from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal (starred reviews), The Washington Post, Bustle, and more.
Book Riot included her debut, Unbuttoning the CEO, on its list of 100 Must-Read Romantic Comedies, and Booklist recently called her the “new go-to author for fans of sassy and sexy contemporary romances.”
A former First Amendment and media lawyer, Mia practiced for more than a decade before trading her suits for loungewear (okay, okay, they’re sweatpants). Now she strives to write fun and flirty stories about imperfect characters finding their perfect match.
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