ARC Review: THE REAL DEAL by Lauren Blakely

July 09, 2018

The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on GigsforHire since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau -- the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

Goodreads | Amazon


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

April Hamilton is heading home for a family reunion, but she refuses to go alone. Ever since her fall from grace when she dated a married man who said he wasn’t married, her well-intentioned relatives have all banded together to set her up with someone nice. Unfortunately, their version of ‘nice’ means someone back home, taking April away from the city and away from her career. As well meaning as they are, they don’t understand her or her passion for her work. So going on this trip alone is a no-go. So what’s a girl to do?


And that’s where Theo Banks comes in. Bartender by day, character actor by night (or day or afternoon, really any time you need him). His services come with a price and they are strictly platonic. A reformed grifter, he’s living his life on the straight and narrow. He’s got one debt left and he’s home free. And this gig with April is a win-win for both of them. He gives her the full fake boyfriend package, he gets paid. But what happens when the fake starts feeling more real than either of them have ever felt before?

I believe this was the cutest story I’ve ever read from Lauren Blakely. It was sweet and funny and heartwarming and romantic. These characters had instant chemistry and their banter and intimacy were both comfortable and natural. It was easy to like both of them and get on board with them finding their way to a real relationship. With a merry cast of side characters, this story was a delightful treat!

Release: July 10, 2018 | Genre: Contemporary Romance/RomCom | Dual POV - 1st person | Heat: 3 | Standalone | Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

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