If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I don’t really write a “review,” but rather share a selection of short snippets to let the book showcase itself. I may or may not add a bit of commentary about why I’ve selected particular snippets.
This book is a reread because the 2nd book in the series is coming out on August 2, and I want the details for book 1 to be fresh in my mind.
In this book, hand to heart, I could open to a random page anywhere in the book, close my eyes, swipe a couple dozen times in either direction, plant my finger on the screen, reopen my eyes, and select a snippet including the words I’d landed on, and you wouldn’t be able to tell it wasn’t one I’d deliberately highlighted for the purpose of sharing with you. That’s how lovely and needed every word of this story is.
I did just that for one of these. Bet you can’t guess which of these snippets was randomly selected rather than carefully curated:
James Royce-Royce sucked in an audible breath. And, suddenly, everyone was studiously looking in different directions. “Sorry,” I muttered. “I… Sorry. I’m a bit upset right now, and I use being a prick as a defence mechanism.”
The conversation hadn’t so much died on us as been taken out back and shot in the head. And I knew I should be playing paramedic but I couldn’t quite bring myself to or work out how. Instead, I crunched on some of the baked salisfy and parmesan that had just arrived (which was delicious in spite of the fact I had no idea what salisfy was, and didn’t want to give Oliver the satisfaction of asking him) and wondered what it would be like being here with somebody I could actually stand.
“You know you’re wearing pyjamas wrong, right?”
He didn’t look up. “Oh?”
“Yeah, you’re supposed to just wear the bottoms, and have them hanging low on your hips, displaying your perfectly chiselled V-cut.”
“Maybe next time.”
I thought about this for a moment. “Are you saying you have a perfectly chiselled V-cut?”
“I’m not sure that’s any of your business.”
“What if someone asks? I should know for verisimilitude.”
The corners of his mouth twitched slightly. “You can say I’m a gentleman and we haven’t got that far.”
“You”—I gave a thwarted sigh—“are a terrible fake boyfriend.”
“I’m building fake anticipation.”
“You’d better be fake worth it.”
“Do you ever half-arse anything?”
He thought about it. “I gave up about two-thirds of the way through Wolf Hall.”
“I don’t know, really. It’s quite long and involved, and I think I got distracted. Isn’t that precisely what half-arsing entails?”
Out of nowhere, I was laughing. “I can’t believe I’m pretending to date someone who just used the phrase ‘precisely what half-arsing entails.’”
“Would you believe me if I said I did it deliberately for your amusement?”
Luc O’Donnell is tangentially—and reluctantly—famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.
To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately, apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.
But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.