Author: Davina Stone
Alice Montgomery’s life is like Groundhog Day. Five years after graduating, she’s still working in her mum’s bookshop, hiding her stash of romance novels under the bed and pining for the gorgeous guy who helped her over a panic attack before her final uni exam.
Aaron Blake loves to party—hard. His idea of commitment to anything other than his legal career is strictly three months. Until landing a job with the most prestigious—but conservative—law firm in town means he has to convince the partners he’s deeply committed to family values.
Aaron needs a fake date fast—and who could be safer than his bookish friend Alice?
Soon Alice finds herself dating her secret crush, sporting a daring new look of vintage frocks and itsy-bitsy lace lingerie.
Now the heat is notching up. Aaron’s feelings for his fake date are proving anything but safe, and Alice is discovering her inner sex-goddess.
But when secrets are revealed and lies uncovered, both Alice and Aaron will have to work out the hardest equation of all… what this crazy thing called loved is all about.
If you’re a fan of the fake relationship troupe, then this would be an excellent book for you! This was a very cute and well-done friends-to-lovers story with two likable main characters that are each relatable in their own way. I’m excited that this is a series as I love this type where it’s one universe and each novel in the series features one of the characters. Not only did I enjoy the characters, I also found the writing to be well-done and easy to read.
Alice is a 26-year-old single woman who works and helps run her mother’s second hand bookshop which suites her perfectly as she is a huge fan of reading. One of her top genres is regency romance novels and she wishes that one day she could be like the heroines she’s read about. While in college, she has a chance meeting with Aaron who soon becomes her best friend. Although she loves having Aaron in her life as her friend, Alice has been secretly in love with him for years.
Aaron is a confirmed bachelor who enjoys the single life as he is a serial dater who prefers to not be in a long term romantic relationship. Although he doesn’t wish for his beliefs to change, the new company he works for is all about family values and a single guy without a girlfriend would not bode well for his career. During his interview with the company, Aaron is asked about his love life. In a panic, he says that he’s in a relationship with Alice as that’s the perfect person that came to mind to help him fake it for his bosses. The problem is convincing Alice to go along with this charade. Alice agrees and the two of them start a fake romantic relationship that begins to feel too real at times.
Alice and Aaron were both very likable characters as each of them struggle with anxiety and cope with it in different ways. It was nice that both of them supported each other and I loved their friendship. Aaron was a great friend to Alice just like she was a great friend to him so it was nice to read a story that featured a fairly equal relationship. There’s a great balance between Alice trying to balance her real feelings and the fake relationship while Aaron struggles with beginning to feel something real when he’s ignored those feelings for so long.
The story flows well as each character fits their personalities established for them at the beginning while still growing to not be stagnant characters. As Alice and Aaron each are struggling with their own issues, it was nice that each character grew in their own way and one character’s solution for something wouldn’t necessarily work the same for another. Our two main characters have extreme chemistry and each struggle to fully admit their feelings for the other, especially at the risk of ruining their friendship. The balance between moving forward in romance while maintaining the friendship was very well-done on the author’s part and was enjoyable to read about.
Overall, this was a fantastic read that featured a cute and light-hearted romance. Polly was a fantastic side character and it’ll be nice to read the rest of the series where she’ll become a main. Alice grows a lot as a character as she not only deals with issues with her family that she’s been avoiding, but she helped herself with her self-confidence issues. Aaron also grows as a character as he opens himself up to his feelings and also his own issues with his family. It’s a well-done novel that I would gladly re-read again as it’s an extremely enjoyable read!
**I give a special thank you to BookSirens for an ARC to read and review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.**