Lindsay Winthrop has got herself in a bit of bind. As the voice of a weekly podcast about dating, sex and relationships, she’s ready for the next level in her career – writing a book on the same topics. There’s only one problem: she’s invented for herself a fiance (to give a boost to her authenticity) when one doesn’t really exist. Now the publishing company wants to do a photo shoot with her and her mystery man, and she’s under pressure to produce him. She’s just got to find the perfect man who’d be willing to pretend for the right price.
Malik Brooks is an up and coming metal sculpture artist. He’s looking to expand his connections and when his cousin Stephen contacts Lindsay for a favor, Lindsay figures out a way to make it a win-win situation for them both, despite having been turned down by Malik at a party of Stephen’s three years ago that left a bruise on her ego. In return for passing on Malik’s information to her half sister who is running the family hotel empire (and knows who might be looking for unique installations for their businesses), she’ll ask Malik to be her pretend fiance. Malik reluctantly agrees since he’s in a bind financially, but what starts as a simple photo shoot soon turns into something else. Their surface animosity towards each other is just a facade for the sexual attraction that simmers between them. Soon Malik has agreed to be Lindsay’s fake fiancee for a few months and their close proximity leads to a hot and heavy affair, despite Malik’s vow to remain celibate and focus on his art. But can their temporary arrangement lead to something more permanent?
Though I’m new to this author’s work having just read one previous story (Do Over, also a Brooks family romance), I’m already a big fan! She writes characters who are passionate and intense and committed to family and friendships. There’s also a healthy dose of full on sexual tension between the couples at play in her stories. Lindsay and Malik have an interesting history, but where Lindsay always assumed Malik just didn’t like her, the truth is far different once revealed in the story. It put things between them on a different track from then on, and Malik is unable to resist the temptation offered up by Lindsay to make their fake engagement look pretty real. Their love scenes are sensual and hot!
This is a slow burn, opposites attract romance. Malik doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, preferring to be quietly creating in solitude. Playing at being Lindsay’s fiance in public and helping to promote her book and podcast is not easy for him, but something he is able to do because he cares about her. He carries a burden though, a grudge against a company that coerced his mother’s life savings from her in faulty investments and left her broke on her deathbed, unable to pay for the medical treatment to save her life. Sharing his grief and anger with Lindsay is cathartic, though it takes him a while to trust her with those feelings. In doing so, it cements his feelings for her.
Lindsay is quite happy being in the spotlight, so long as certain things in her past remain a secret. Naturally, secrets are bound to come out at the worst possible time and they will affect what Lindsay and Malik have been building. In the end they must determine whether what they have can overcome what might stand between them. If you are looking for a sexy romance with realistic and flawed characters, you’ll enjoy this story. I highly recommend the Brooks family series and look forward to reading more!
Publication: August 10, 2018 | Garden Avenue Press | Brooks Family #3
It started with a little white lie…
Lindsay Winthrop’s weekly podcast on sex and dating has garnered thousands of listeners across the country, thanks to experience with a loving fiancé she’s been with for years. Except, her husband-to-be doesn’t exist, and now she’s in a bind. With a book deal on the line, she has to find a man fast, and Malik Brooks might be just the man she’s looking for.
If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll stay away from her…
A few years ago Malik gave up sex and now works hard as a metal sculptor. In doing so, he’s created enough pieces to fill a gallery, and his vow of celibacy has kept him focused. When a major deal falls through, Lindsay makes him an offer he can’t refuse, and all he has to do is pretend to be her fiancé. Sounds easy at first, but after one kiss, he wants more. Then things really get interesting.