author: Layla Hagen
series: The Maxwell Brothers #8
published: 1 December 2023
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: | series rating:
Reese Maxwell meets her happy-ever-after in Layla Hagen's latest. What starts as a pretend romance soon turns into so much more...
Newly divorced Dominic Waldorf is the most coveted bachelor in Chicago. At least, that’s what he thinks. I’d describe him as more of a Neanderthal with a really nice backside.When I accidentally spill champagne on him at a charity event, he accuses me of hitting on him. Then later, I run into him in an empty coat room, and he’s convinced.
The truth is even more embarrassing.
I’m hiding from my ex-fiancé, who showed up with his new wife—my former best friend. I try to hold it together, but instead spill my guts to this handsome stranger.
Dom surprises me by suggesting an we pretend to date. I get to rub it in my ex’s face and he appears off the ‘market’. You scratch my back—I scratch yours, that sort of thing.Dom is an excellent fake boyfriend. He’s protective and caring, and even gives me a smoking hot kiss.Then things get complicated. The charity has another event for us to attend —out of town, and overnight.
Between late night confessions and three more smoking hot kisses—not that I’m counting—I start wondering if he’s really faking everything.I’m certainly way past pretending.
Soon after, Dom admits that he wants to date me… me, Reese Maxwell, for real!
But my heart isn’t allowed to make any decisions anymore.Except — maybe — this one last time…
- a few notes
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content warning: ❗some graphic violence❗
POV: dual, 1st person
keywords/phrases: infidelity, trust, stong women
tropes: fake dating
- I love the family dynamic that is such a huge part of any Layla Hagen book, and this is no different.
- The character creation is great, really bringing them to life for the reader.
- The two romantic leads are really well balanced together.
- The first-person perspective allows the reader to really delve into the characters’ minds.
- There are so many wonderfully emotional moments throughout the story.
At the heart of this book, and the series, are relationships, both romantic and familial. The Maxwell family is tight-knit and so supportive of one another, through good times and bad. They are fabulously created characters, and Reese, the star of this book, is one of my favorites. She’s been done dirty in love, and it’s time for her to find her own happiness. There is such a great balance between Reese and Dominic. She is strong and independent, full of snark and humor and intelligence. Dom is slightly broody but swoonworthy, smart and, like Reese, fiercely loyal to those he loves.
I also enjoy the first -person perspective the author uses, allowing the reader to really get into the heads of the main characters. It allows the reader to fully immerse themselves into the poignant, and often bittersweet, moments of the story.
There are some great plot twists, some lovely moments aside from the romance, and a beautiful story!
Read this if you enjoy romance with strong fiesty women and low-key alpha males, as well as a story that doesn’t shy away from real-world moments.