The Real Thing
Sugar Lake #1
September 5, 2017
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Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?
Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.
Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.
**THE REAL THING is being published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read it HERE, order the paperback.
Zane was going straight to hell for even thinking about putting Willow in this position. But he needed her. And she was storming away, her long blond waves bouncing against her back with every irritated step. Her rounded hips swayed with determination and confidence no actress could come close to. She even made that simple belted dress look sexy as sin, as if it were a designer piece made just for her. She’d probably gotten it on sale at Misty’s, the local dress shop in their hometown. Willow was the real deal. A smart, funny, no-bullshit, no-frills woman with real curves to prove it. She lived in cutoffs and jeans and ate cupcakes and éclairs like models downed weight-loss pills. And she was the only woman on earth Zane trusted—or wanted—enough to ask for help.
Goddamn it. Why had he thought this was going to be easy? Willow was never easy. Even all those years ago, when he’d gone back to Sweetwater for a visit and she’d asked him to help her lose her virginity, she’d been controlling. He’d been sure she was fucking with him or that it was some kind of test. Her older brother, Ben Dalton, was his best friend. He’d spent more time at their house than he had at his own, and he’d had a major crush on Willow for years. She had practically begged him to help her, saying she’d thought it all out and she didn’t want to go to college as an inexperienced virgin. She had a list of rules and had planned every detail. Where, when, how—all the way up to when he was supposed to let her walk home alone so she could process what they’d done, and then they’d move on like nothing had happened. It was a good plan. A reasonable plan, considering what was at stake. And God knew he’d tried to abide by her rules. But she’d felt too good, been too sweet and trusting, not to get completely swept up in her.
“Please, Wills,” he called after her.
Willow stopped abruptly. Her head tipped forward, her shoulders dropping a smidge as she turned, her hair curtaining one eye. “Zane, just tell me what you’ve done.”
He went to her and reached for her hand, feeling shittier than he’d thought he would. “There is no baking gig. I set all this up to get you here.” Anger flared in her eyes. He continued explaining as fast as he could. “Wills, there’s this focus group for my new film, and they’re worried my reputation will hurt the movie. That fans won’t buy me as a romantic hero.”
She scoffed. “Smart fans.”
“Come on. I need your help.”
“What am I supposed to do? Write a letter to the public telling them Zane Walker isn’t a self-centered playboy? Sorry, not your girl.”
She took a step away, and he hauled her against him. Her hands landed on his chest, which felt amazing, and even with darts shooting from her bright-blue eyes with deathly precision, she was still the most beautiful, alluring woman he’d ever known.
“No,” she seethed. “Whatever it is. No.”
“Come on. Just hear me out.”
Her lips formed a tight line.
“I need a . . .” He could hardly believe what he was about to say. “A fake fiancée.”
“A fake fiancée? What does that mean?”
“We’ll pretend to be engaged so everyone thinks I’m a stand-up guy.”
A disgusted look washed over her face. “No.”
“You owe me, Wills.”
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.