This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—
but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?
but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?
THE REAL THING
Sugar Lake #1
Releasing Sept 5, 2017
In The Real Thing (Sugar Lake #1) by Melissa Foster, Zane Walker is known for his roles in action films, but in order to get people to take him seriously as an actor about to have a starring role in a romance film, he needs to clean up his reputation. However, the only way he sees possible is to ask Willow Dalton to be his fake fiancé. Will Zane be able to convince Willow that he wants their fake relationship to be the real deal, or will Willow walk away before she gets hurt?
What an enthralling, fast-paced, wonderful read Ms. Foster has penned in this first book of her new Sugar Lake series, which encompasses the fake relationship and brothers best friend tropes; two enchanting main characters that have some tough obstacles to overcome; and fantastic dialogue that had me loving the interactions between the hero and heroine as well as between the main and secondary characters. The way this story started had me liking the heroine immediately, as she's determined to do whatever it takes to make her business the best it can be in hopes she'll be able to expand. Will her dream come true? However, it was from the moment the hero and heroine come face-to-face for the first time in this story where this story became very intriguing, as Willow can't believe Zane had the nerve to trick her the way he does.
Both the main characters kept me entertained from start to finish due to their back stories and their growing relationship that had me wanting to know why the heroine was so annoyed and unwilling to give the hero a chance when they first come face-to-face. What did Zane do in the past that has the heroine so bothered by his presence? Is it only because he's tricked her or is there something else going on? Moreover, the heroine is resilient and courageous when it comes to doing everything she can to help the hero. I also liked how kind, caring, and hard-working Willow was, which is proven by everything she has done to make her business a success and how much she is loved by the townspeople. Yet, what I liked most of all about the heroine is the tight bond she shares with her family and that she would do anything to help one of her sisters finally move on from the loss she suffered.
While the hero, he's confident, protective of Willow when it comes to the media, and I liked how determined Zane was to win the heroine over, because it's palpable how much he loves her by his dialogue and his actions. I also liked how kind and caring the hero is and that he would do anything to win over the secondary characters that aren't all that happy with him being together with Willow, which is proven by what he does for Willow's nephew. Who knew a gorgeous A-List actor could win the hearts of children so easily? Yet, what I liked most of all about the hero is how he rose to the challenge Willow provided him with her sassiness.
Overall, Ms. Foster has delivered a worthwhile read in this book, which has me looking forward to more of this series and where the chemistry between this couple was intense; the romance explosive due to the hero's dirty talk and illustrates how good Zane and Willow are for each other; and the ending had me worried for this couple's happy ever after because of what happens that tears their relationship apart. However, I liked Zane's determination and how far he was willing to go to win the heroine back, as she means everything to him. Certainly, his actions show he's not afraid to do something embarrassing to take the spotlight off Willow when it comes to the media, while his words are beautiful when it comes to getting what he wants and what he wants is a future with the heroine. I would recommend The Real Thing by Melissa Foster, if you enjoy the brothers best friend trope, the fake relationship trope, the friends to lovers trope, or books by authors Melanie Shawn, Bella Andre, Erin Nicholas and Melody Grace.
Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?
Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.
Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.
**THE REAL THING is being published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read it HERE, order the paperback.
“You're sleeping on the couch,” Willow said for the fifth time in as many minutes as she and Zane left their suite. He was busy texting, and she wasn’t sure he was even listening anymore. He used to be such a great listener. When they were younger, he’d never acted like he was above her, despite the fact that he was the star quarterback, lead pitcher, and eventually the prom king, and she was two years behind and as awkward as a foal on new legs.
“Are you listening to me?” she asked as they walked down the hall.
“Yes. I just got confirmation. You’re catering breakfasts for the set. Cool?”
“Yes, perfect. But did you hear what I said?”
She had almost backed out of their deal twice since she’d accepted. First when she’d seen the king-size bed, which really drove home their situation, and again when Zane had whipped off his shirt to change and her sex-starved body had buzzed to life. She was still a little nervous about the whole thing, mostly due to that second issue, but she felt a certain obligation to help him. Regardless of how arrogant he was, she’d never forget how tender he’d been with her when she’d given her almost-eighteen-year-old self over to him, and he was a true friend, even if they had a weird friendship. The truth was, even if he hadn’t done her that favor before college, she would have agreed to his plan. She liked him despite his insatiable appetite for women. He was everything she loved in a person and more. He was confident and funny, direct and thoughtful, and honest when it counted. Painfully honest. The exposure for Sweetie Pie Bakery was just the icing on the fake-fiancée cake. What a difference national exposure could make.
Zane shoved his phone in his pocket. “Yes. Sleeping on the couch. Got it. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.”
She laid her best damn-right-I-can stare on him and pushed the button for the elevator.
“Fine. I’ll behave. Jesus, Wills, you’re never this uptight when I visit.”
“You mean that five minutes twice a year?” Willow remembered how happy he’d been when he’d finally left town to pursue his dream of being an actor. He’d been bursting at the seams for a bigger life. But her “five minutes” comment wasn’t really fair. He never missed Ben’s birthday, and he almost always made it back for a few days over the holidays, even though his parents had moved to Florida right after he’d graduated from high school and left town. He’d been back a few other times when he was filming nearby. Even though she rarely saw him, their texts—and the fact that he was her first real love, even if he didn’t know it—had kept him in the forefront of her mind. Unfortunately, it also kept her heartbreak pretty close to the surface, no matter how deep she tried to bury it.
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Releasing December 5th, 2017
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.