Series: Sugar Lake, #1
Published by Montlake Romance on September 5th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?
It’s real, my love for this book is very real. Melissa Fosters’ track record is already spotless and I am already a die hard fan, but there is just something about this story that left me with all the happy feels. The Real Thing has landed on my 2017 favorites list. I simply can’t recommend this feel great romance enough. This story has ALL my favorite tropes; unrequited love, friends to lovers, and second chances.
Zane Walker hit the BBF of 2017 list. My love for him wasn’t immediate and I love that the story was plotted to slowly show us the truth behind what motivates Zane. When the story opens, Zane has returned home as big time movie star filming in his hometown for two short weeks. Zane’s been told to clean up his image for the PR sake of the movie. His ploy is to ask his childhood friend “Wills” to play his fiance and with her agreement, the story takes flight.
Willow is absolutely delightful. I loved being in her head. She’s witty, loyal , and self assured. I love that she’s a strong character and any fretting she might do over Zane is not over the top. It’s all within reason. In Zane Foster gives us the quintessential romantic lead and is an absolute dream. Forster created a wonderful connection between Zane and Willow and conveyed it perfectly. Their adventures and the way they have each other’s backs and solidifies the feeling that they are going to make it.
Melissa Fosters’ The Real Thing is a swooney heartwarming love story that took me straight to feeling the buzz of love and kept me there throughout the read. I felt the promise of Willow and Zane and Foster delivered. 5 Stars and a #mustread #2017favorite recommendation!
~Review by Cyndi
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Zane was going straight to hell for even thinking about putting Willow in this position. But he needed her. And she was storming away, her long blond waves bouncing against her back with every irritated step. Her rounded hips swayed with determination and confidence no actress could come close to. She even made that simple belted dress look sexy as sin, as if it were a designer piece made just for her. She’d probably gotten it on sale at Misty’s, the local dress shop in their hometown. Willow was the real deal. A smart, funny, no-bullshit, no-frills woman with real curves to prove it. She lived in cutoffs and jeans and ate cupcakes and éclairs like models downed weight-loss pills. And she was the only woman on earth Zane trusted—or wanted—enough to ask for help.
Goddamn it. Why had he thought this was going to be easy? Willow was never easy. Even all those years ago, when he’d gone back to Sweetwater for a visit and she’d asked him to help her lose her virginity, she’d been controlling. He’d been sure she was fucking with him or that it was some kind of test. Her older brother, Ben Dalton, was his best friend. He’d spent more time at their house than he had at his own, and he’d had a major crush on Willow for years. She had practically begged him to help her, saying she’d thought it all out and she didn’t want to go to college as an inexperienced virgin. She had a list of rules and had planned every detail. Where, when, how—all the way up to when he was supposed to let her walk home alone so she could process what they’d done, and then they’d move on like nothing had happened. It was a good plan. A reasonable plan, considering what was at stake. And God knew he’d tried to abide by her rules. But she’d felt too good, been too sweet and trusting, not to get completely swept up in her.
“Please, Wills,” he called after her.
Willow stopped abruptly. Her head tipped forward, her shoulders dropping a smidge as she turned, her hair curtaining one eye. “Zane, just tell me what you’ve done.”
He went to her and reached for her hand, feeling shittier than he’d thought he would. “There is no baking gig. I set all this up to get you here.” Anger flared in her eyes. He continued explaining as fast as he could. “Wills, there’s this focus group for my new film, and they’re worried my reputation will hurt the movie. That fans won’t buy me as a romantic hero.”
She scoffed. “Smart fans.”
“Come on. I need your help.”
“What am I supposed to do? Write a letter to the public telling them Zane Walker isn’t a self-centered playboy? Sorry, not your girl.”
She took a step away, and he hauled her against him. Her hands landed on his chest, which felt amazing, and even with darts shooting from her bright-blue eyes with deathly precision, she was still the most beautiful, alluring woman he’d ever known.
“No,” she seethed. “Whatever it is. No.”
“Come on. Just hear me out.”
Her lips formed a tight line.
“I need a . . .” He could hardly believe what he was about to say. “A fake fiancée.”
“A fake fiancée? What does that mean?”
“We’ll pretend to be engaged so everyone thinks I’m a stand-up guy.”
A disgusted look washed over her face. “No.”
“You owe me, Wills.”