Today, author Rebecca Raine is guesting. She’s here to talk about her latest release Bona Fide Fake, book two in the Experimental Love series, a m/m contemporary romance. Be sure to read my review. And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
The Same Old Story – But Not
As a reader, I am a huge lover of tropes. Friends to lovers? Hell, yes. Forced proximity? Give it to me. Brother’s best-friend’s bi-sexual awakening with a side order of hurt/comfort? Now we’re talking!
I also love tropes as a writer. A few simple words, like enemies to lovers or second chance romance, can spark all sorts of new and interesting ideas. Add in some compelling characters and suddenly I have a new book on my hands. But in starting to work with a new trope, I’m often looking for ways to put a fresh spin on it. I want to come at the story from an unexpected angle.
When I started thinking about Toni and Ned’s story, I knew I wanted to incorporate the fake boyfriends trope. The idea of two men falsifying a relationship for the world, only to find themselves falling for each other when they least expect it, is romance gold to me. I’d been eager to tackle this trope for a long time.
There was only one problem. We’d already met Toni, if only briefly, in my previous book, The Experiment (the first book in the Experimental Love series). Before I even put pen to paper, I knew one thing for sure: there was no way in hell Toni would consent to faking anything. That right there was an angle that intrigued me.
The plot for Bona Fide Fake quickly grew out of Toni’s insistence that his time-limited, plucked out of thin air relationship had to be ‘real’. For Toni, real means going on dates, spending time together, and plenty of nights between the sheets. Ned is dubious, but when he agrees to give it a try. Toni is thrilled. Who cares if they’re total strangers and their relationship will only last a month? As far as Toni’s concerned, it still counts.
But, of course, real love can’t be faked – no matter how determined Toni is to prove otherwise. When reality begins to clash with wishful thinking, both Toni and Ned will find themselves confronted with the true cost of falling in love.
Book Title: Bona Fide Fake
Series: Experimental Love, book #2
Author: Rebecca Raine
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: Fake boyfriends, Rock star, Mild sub/dom vibes
Themes: Authenticity, Trust in self and others
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 80 000 words
Release Date: January 24, 2022
My new fake boyfriend may not like me, but he needs me. There are worse foundations for a relationship.
Toni Fairweather is a liar and a fake. I suspected it the day we met, but when he lies to his friends about being my boyfriend, I know for sure. I’ll play along with his deception, but Toni will owe me – big time.
I have my own reasons for needing a boyfriend. Someone who can handle me. Someone who can keep me in line. Toni is demanding enough to fulfil every requirement.
I don’t need to like the man… to obey him.
I never meant to fake a relationship with the lead singer of a local rock band. But the fib popped out over lunch with my best friend, and now I’m expected to present my new boyfriend at his engagement party next month.
The good news? I’m not the only one in need of a date.
Being boyfriends for a month shouldn’t be hard, but I do have one condition: this won’t be some fake boyfriends deal. I want a real relationship, and Ned’s going to give it to me.
Note: This is Book Two of the Experimental Love series, but it can be read as a standalone. The book does not end on a cliffhanger. It has a solid HEA.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
From Chapter Six (Toni’s Point of View)
“You need a date for the festival. I need a date for Rodney and Leif’s engagement party next month. The answer is obvious.” I place a hand over my chest in a show of sincerity. “I think we should be boyfriends.”
Ned’s head falls back as he laughs out loud. “That’s why you’re here? You want to rope me into going to the engagement party with you?”
Hilarity isn’t the response I’d hoped for, but it’s better than instant rejection. “You have to admit, a twenty-minute acting job does not equate to an entire weekend away. This is simply a way to bring our arrangement back into balance. It’s only fair.”
He shakes his head at me. “How long are you planning to drag this fake boyfriend thing out?”
“Just until after the party. Then, we can break up and go our separate ways. It won’t be messy,” I assure him. “If there’s any moping to be done, I’ll keep it to myself. You’ll never have to hear from me again. However…” I lift a pointed finger to make sure he’s paying attention. “I don’t want to be fake boyfriends. I want to be real boyfriends.”
Ned’s amusement is replaced by confusion. “Real boyfriends.”
“Just like that?”
“Why not just like that?”
He gapes at me in disbelief. “People don’t go around deciding to be real boyfriends as though a relationship can be plucked out of thin air. It has to come naturally. You get to know each other, spend time together, develop actualfeelings.” He gestures between us with one hand. “Do you have any actual feelings for me, Toni?”
“Yes,” I insist. “I think you’re incredibly sexy. That counts, doesn’t it?” His groan—half exasperation, half lust—makes me smile.
“Usually yes, but in this context not so much.” He crosses his arms over his chest. “We might be able to fake a real relationship for other people, but we can’t actually make it real. Tell me you know this.”
“Of course, I do.” In theory. My longest ‘real’ relationship didn’t make it to a monthiversary, so my practical experience is somewhat lacking. “But can’t we skip over all the getting to know you crap and go straight to the part where you adore me, and I make you happy?”
Groaning, Ned drops his head forwards.
“You need this as much as I do,” I snap. “Maybe more.”
Straightening, he places his hands on his hips. “How do you figure?”
“If we go down to the festival as friends, or let’s face it acquaintances, then I’ll be hard-pressed to stop you doing anything. This ex of yours will have power over you, and I will have none.” Ned opens his mouth as if to disagree with me, but then he must see sense because he closes it again. “If I’m your boyfriend… I will have power, too.” I give him a moment to contemplate my statement before I continue. “Trust me when I say I’m the jealous type. As long as we’re together, there is no way in hell anyone will be touching you but me. There will be no getting seduced by your ex. No sneaking off into dark corners to be fawned over by groupies. Nada. You’ll be my boyfriend, and I will not allow you to disrespect our relationship.”
He stares at me with wide eyes, a slow smile appearing as his ears turn a lovely shade of pink. “I take it you don’t like to share?”
The word alone makes me grit my teeth. “I don’t even want to share the air you breathe.”
His tongue darts out to swipe across his bottom lip as he contemplates my offer. Taking a deep breath, he nods his agreement. “All right, you’ve convinced me. Real boyfriends it is.” A smile bursts onto my face, and his eyes close on a quiet groan. “Holy fuck, those dimples will be the death of me.”
You read the blurb, so I’ll get straight to the review. I must say, I LOVED why these two had to fake a relationship. Really. It was a great idea. Even better, the book takes place down under, and I do enjoy reading romances set in Australia.
Bona Fide Fake has a lot going for it. I will admit I was hesitant when I first met Toni. I was thinking, “Oh boy, how long do I have to spend with this guy?” Yeah, he’s pretty obnoxious LOL. But you know something? The author did a great job fleshing out his character. There is so much going on for Toni other than being “fabulous.” Best of all, I love his voice. It was so Toni. I swear Toni wrote his narrative, not the author. He literally pops off the pages. So yeah, he’s fabulous. Or is he? Is there something he’s hiding under all that fabulous-ishness? Yeah, I made up that word. Haha.
As for Ned, he’s a likable guy from the get-go. Down to earth. Friendly. Nice. Just your overall good guy. But he’s got his own secrets going on that he’s hiding. The same as Toni, Ned’s POV comes across strong, and he also jumps off the page.
The book is strong in characters arcs, steamy sex, and great chemistry between the duo. It concentrates solely on Ned and Toni and I liked that.
I mentioned the steamy sex for a good reason. The scenes between Toni and Ned allow for major character growth. These aren’t written for titillation. I always enjoy when character growth happens during these intimate scenes and the author did a bang-up job.
The writing is impeccable, fresh and true to character. The dialogue is so real, you’re watching conversations unroll naturally between the characters, and even the secondary characters.
I must admit I found Leif a little bit judgey. Poor Toni. But Leif did have his reasons, as did Rodney, Toni’s BFF. Mind you, I woulda thought “get a room” too with the amount of PDA they showed in front of Toni. That gets old. So I’m in agreement with Toni. They were a tad annoying.
I also enjoyed the introduction of Ned’s ex, a great character for Ned’s backstory and why Ned had to jump the hurdle or sink.
The plot was so tight, and everything within the novel fit perfectly. I can’t say enough what a great book this is. I could go on and on with this review, but I’ll stop here. If yo love m/m romance, you’ll love this book. The two main characters are awesome. The writing is awesome. And the plot is awesome. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.
Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog.
Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.
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