Note: This ARC was provided by Montlake Romance in exchange for an honest review.
Bestselling author Melissa Foster's latest offering is the first in her brand new contemporary romance series entitled Sugar Lake, and it's quintessential Foster from start to finish, offering fans and new readers nearly everything they could want in a love story. We're welcomed to the town of Sweetwater, New York, and meet frenemies Willow Dalton and Zane Walker. She was the girl he was secretly crushing on, a fact that Zane couldn't let his best friend know, not with Willow being the guy's younger sister. He was her older brother's best friend--the very same guy she begged to take her virginity. Since then, they've kept in touch, mostly via text messages. He's now an A-list actor with a reputation for being a manwhore, erm, playboy, and she owns a bakery. It's that reputation of his that leads Zane to insist that Willow help him out in cleaning it up. How? By becoming his fake fiancée, of course! The public will eat it up and it'll make him look squeaky clean and more palatable to producers. Convincing her won't be easy, but she owes him, after all. It's fake, and no one could possibly ever get hurt. Right?
My use of the term "frenemies" to describe Willow and Zane may not be entirely correct. It's not as if they hate each other. Let's just say that their relationship is rather...complicated. Of course, that added texture makes for a hell of more entertaining read, especially since she doesn't hesitate to put him in his place and he doesn't mind pushing all her buttons. But is the much-needed chemistry there? Why yes. Yes it is! These two were fun and flirty and goodness, they were far from boring. I liked how their engagement may have been fake, but the undercurrent of attraction was very much real, more so when old and forgotten feelings are stirred up once again. She was nearly eighteen and he was more than two years older than her when they slept together, but instead of it leading into awkwardness, they ended up having a weird sort of friendship. Said friendship is still on display, even with more intimate goings-on and romantic feelings entering the picture, and it's the evolution of that friendship while remaining true at its core that I loved most about The Real Thing. This gets five stars and I can't wait for book two. ♥
Date Read: 12 September 2017
Learn more about Melissa Foster.
Purchase The Real Thing on Amazon.