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.
Professional hockey player Ben Williamson doesn’t quite know how he got himself into this situation; hiring someone to be his date to his brother’s wedding is way out of character for him. But with family pressuring him to settle down, going stag just isn’t an option. It would just be one more thing his polite, cultured family uses as ammo against him.
Ryan Cruz is having a bad day. Wait, make that a bad year. Broke, technically homeless, and living on a friend’s couch, she’s now also unemployed after her sharp tongue gets her fired from her job. So when a handsome stranger approaches her out of the blue with a proposition–he’ll pay her to be his date to his brother’s wedding for the weekend–accepting his offer is a no brainer. She needs the cash and figures it wouldn’t be in the best interest of a professional athlete to murder her.
What starts as a simple business arrangement soon becomes more as these opposites attract and get caught up in the wedding magic. Will Ben and Ryan be able to turn their relationship into something more? Or is love based on a proposition too much of an obstacle to overcome?
Love sports books? How about books about guys who really are nice (and sexy and athletic and charming). How about books which have the perfect level of realistic drama? Well, this book should be right up your alley. I’m a sucker for sports books, especially when the guy is nice. I’m new to this author (well, authors), but I can definitely say that their writing style is quite attractive.
I loved these characters. Even though Ben is a pro athlete, but he’s not perfect. He’s sweet, but he’s also real and flawed. Despite all of this, he’s not over the top; he’s the boy next door who went pro rather than a caricature of a man. I think this made me appreciate him all the more. His relationship with his brother and himself brought extra elements to the story, making the plot feel complete.
Ryan faced a lot of adversity in her life, but I admired her grit. She never let her misfortunes dictate her life. Sure, she’s much rather not have to do her current job, but Ryan is a survivor above all. And she’s a perfect match for Ben.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to future books from Elizabeth Hayley!
“All right, all right,” Gabe said. “I’ll be serious and help you.”
“Thank you,” Ben said, happy he had the support of both his best friends. The three had been practically inseparable since they’d met in college and roomed in the athletic dorm. All three had been lucky enough to play professionally, Gabe as a shortstop for Philadelphia and Jace as a quarterback for New Jersey. His friends’ close proximity to one another was the reason Ben chose to get an apartment in Philly and spend his time here in the off-season. “I knew you were kidding when you mentioned the bet, but—”
“I wasn’t kidding. I have an idea that might work.”
“No,” Ben said sternly.
“Didn’t you learn anything from me, Torres?” Jace asked Gabe. Now that the bet they’d made last summer was behind them, they could all joke about it. But a year ago, it would have been a different story. Jace had nearly lost Aly when the three friends had competed to see who could bring the hottest date to an awards ceremony. Jace had unexpectedly fallen hard for the beautiful doctor, but all of that had almost crumbled when she’d learned he’d initially asked her out because of a bet.
“Okay, I get why doing a bet again would be a bad idea, but I do think that finding some arm candy as a distraction is a solid plan. A buddy of mine brought some chick he met at an airport to his parents’ anniversary party, and everyone thought they’d been dating for months.”
Ben was skeptical. “Like a fake girlfriend? There’s no way that’ll work.”
“I don’t know, man,” Gabe said. “It might. The secret to a good lie is you gotta believe it yourself.”
“You’re so wise,” Ben said flatly.
“I’m serious,” said Gabe. “The chick I was telling you about ended up getting my buddy’s grandmother’s crab cake recipe, and that shit’s for family only.”
“Just to make sure I’m understanding you right, I should believe you because of a crab cake recipe?”
Jace raised his eyebrows at Ben and Gabe. “It’s actually not a bad idea.”
Ben rolled his eyes. “Not you too.”
“You got any better ideas?” Jace asked. When Ben was silent, Jace continued. “I didn’t think so. There’s a decent chance this could work. We just need to figure out who to get to pretend to be your girlfriend. You’re gonna be up there for a few days.”
Ben rubbed a hand over his forehead in frustration. “I don’t know. Fuck. No one’ll want to spend that much time with my family. A few hours with them is more than enough.”
“She doesn’t have to want to spend time with them,” Gabe said, a look in his eyes that told Ben he was up to something Ben was probably going to want no part of.
“Should I even ask what you’re talking about?” Ben said.
“Probably,” Gabe said. “Because I have the answer to your problem.”
Ben looked at him expectantly, but when he realized that wasn’t enough, he said, “Fine, you’re really gonna make me ask, aren’t you? Why doesn’t it matter if she doesn’t want to be there?”
A smile spread across Gabe’s face. “Because you’re gonna pay her,” he said simply.
“Like a prostitute?” Ben replied.
“Not a prostitute,” Gabe said. “An escort.”
Elizabeth Hayley is actually “Elizabeth” and “Hayley,” two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels. This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own. The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel. They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands’ chagrin).
They live with their husbands and kids in a Philadelphia suburb. Thankfully, their children are still too young to read.
Elizabeth Hayley’s writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis: “I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”