Happily never after?Natural born charmer, Nate Mackenzie, is in the middle of a plus-one dilemma. Wedding dates inevitably take one look at the bride and measure Nate for a beach house, a chocolate Lab and a diamond solitaire. Worse, going stag will leave him at the mercy of a set-up by his ever-hopeful sisters.Enter Saskia Bloom - a bohemian beauty researching online dating. She already has a house (ramshackle), and a dog (rescued), and an ex who turned commitment into a four letter word. And since there's no shortage of sexual attraction between them he’ll give her all the data she’ll ever need!But when the fake affair starts to feel real, will they even make it to the wedding? Or can they beat the odds and make it happily ever after.
There are two versions of Faking It to Making It's book cover at the top this week - mainly because I got given the Harlequin Kiss version by the lovely Ally Blake, but the left hand version's the one available on the UK Market at the moment.
So I'm a bit of a sucker for the 'let's pretend we're boyfriend and girldfriend to get our family/friends/work colleagues off our backs' scenario. It's the sort of the thing that makes you go a little weak at the knees and swoony. It is also, however, quite difficult to do without rehashing every version of the story that's ever been done before.
This time, though, Blake pulls it off. I personally think that this is - in part - to the way they meet. Online. Internet dating is in my opinion, fun, flirty and the best source of hysterical stories that I've ever come across. At the time horrendous dates are simply that - horrendous - but afterwards they're the sort of things you regale your friends with over one too many glasses of wine. Plus it works. The bf and I met online and, considering we're still going strong 6 months later (despite his grumpiness when he's hungry), I think that's pretty good going.
So when it was made apparent within the first page that Saskia was doing research into the online dating market for her business, I was very happy.
And then there's Nate. Firstly I'd like to point out that this is not the first time we've met Nate - the other book in this series (The Secret Wedding Dress) will be reviewed here later this month - but his character gets properly developed here, no more the puppy dog eagerness.. He's got all the classic signs of a commitmentphobe: doesn't date, never brings anyone home to his family and is a workaholic.
Now all this sounds standard fare, but the thing that makes this stand out from other 'fake relationship' stories is the background to both characters. Saskia's been royally screwed over by an ex-boyfriend and is having to work every hour of every day to pull her life back from the abyss it was teetering on. Nate's a high flyer, but he's a high flyer who respects strong independent women - he comes from a family of them - and the things he likes most about Saskia are the things that make her unconventional.
Their relationship hurtles at breakneck speed as they soon realise that they can do the whole fake relationship in time for the wedding, and still have sex. (Btw, really decent sex scenes. Spicy and full of tension without being cheesy). And of course they fall in love.
The thing is, that fake relationship books often don't work well because either their not attracted to each other enough (you've got to be able to sense the sexual tension through the writing) or it's all about sex, in which case it becomes implausible that it's something that can last. Ally Blake manages to get the balance just right, and develops the characters and their backstories in a way that makes it quite clear that they are the answer to each others' problems.
Utterly lovely, and for once, a blond over whom I'd happily go gaga. Go read.
Mills & Boon Boy 5:
Sam (aka Sam the Man)
Reaction to Photograph Request:
More than happy to do the photo, less than happy with the pinkness of my kindle cover.