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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review by Wendy ♥ The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

 A Review by Wendy
 5 Real, Real Stars
* * * * * 
Spoiler Free 
First, understand this is a Terrific Rom/Com. However, I have some thoughts first of what this story brings to the table...

Each of us are unique. We are products of our genetics, how we are nurtured and what we experience in our formative years. That doesn't say whatever happened is set in stone or people have no control of their lives. It is how we react and the challenges we have to handle allow us to make changes and grow.

In Lauren Blakely's The Real Deal, she takes all of those ideas and makes them relatable. We are able to see many of the challenges these characters go through and remember possible situations we went through, too. I mean, how many times have you had to explain to your parents exactly what your career just because it may not fit into the standard configuration of Lawyer, Doctor or is just as rewarding and fulfilling.

Or what about those who had life deal them a heartbreaking hand... where families are not picture perfect and children end up having to raise themselves. Where trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies shape more than what society deemed fit...

Some of these circumstances may not seem to be equally important... but then again, people can only judge from their own lives... so when presented with individual challenges...each has weight and we dig in to figure out how we handle them.

So with that being said, picture the woman who has taken the road less traveled. April Hamilton came from one of those families that was close knit, financially more than solid, was invested in what their children did with their lives and if that wasn't enough....lived in a small community.

Her family loved her unconditionally yet truly didn't understand how successful April was in her chosen profession. She was a sought after body painter... the one who made models look as if they were wearing clothes when they were naked... or created them into snarling animals. She had paid her dues in the toughest market, New York City, but to them she was still the teen who painted butterflies on kids cheeks at the town fairs. All they wanted was her to settle down and move back home.

And on April's last visit, she made a critical error; she got a little drunk and shared how she had been done wrong by the last guy she was with. An Asshat had played her good. He was juggling her and a WIFE! So when she lamented about the situation, others heard her and decided to step up.

Yup, that small community was the kind that was in Everyone's Business so when the annual family reunion approaches, April starts receiving emails about different men who are available to meet for coffee, walks or any number of other things...

Gahhh, April knew her family loved her but she was not moving back to her hometown and did not want to be the object of fix ups during this visit. She reached out to her good friend and lined him up to pretend to be in a relationship with her. Unfortunately, at the last minute, he got a professional offer for the same time he couldn't refuse.

He did have an idea, though. He told April about Theo Banks who does these type of pretend dates for a living. He is the guy you can hire to be the Break Up Guy, the Sh!t Disturber for an In Your Face Family Event, or the Best Boyfriend Ever...April is really stuck, trusts her friend as he vouches for Theo, so she reaches out.

Theo does this business of Pretend Guy and does it well. Presenting a different persona or acting has been something he has done from a very young age. He and his brother had to figure out how to keep a roof over their heads...and slowly came into understanding what they could do...As they developed into men, choices were made, lessons learned and Theo is close to making his final obligation from those years be done.

When April reaches out to Theo for this week visit, she hasn't decided yet if this is happening. They both chat a bit and from the very first moment, there is this connection. It is as if they start this dance... one comment is met with a another and soon a story is formed of how they met, their attraction and when they knew...It is banter, laughs and thrilling in the speed they connect. April decides this is happening, lays out the needs and Theo makes sure April understands the rules... He is a pretend boyfriend, not a Lay. Both are on board.

Over the course of a few days, they text... with fast responses feeding into each other... smart, funny, sarcastic, quick. Both are a bit intrigued and taken with each other...and both keep remembering no hanky-panky.

The day arrives for the train ride to the town, April is nervous because this is it, she is meeting him for the first time...Theo comes towards her and she has to just relax. They talk on the ride...and then April drops the bomb... this reunion is going to be a bit more then expected. People she does not wish to see may be there and then there is her competitive family. Theo looks deeply into April's eyes and tells her he's got it.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. The level of layers and concern for the characters is just right. The swoon worthy moments are there. The respect and consideration for April by Theo is there. April learns to appreciate being cared for...and Theo is the one to show her how wonderful she is outside of her career.

Their chemistry is off the charts and everything you could want. There is more then just fun and games, though. We do have complications which add challenges for Theo. He has some reckoning to handle and learn from.

Lauren Blakely's writing works in so many ways for so many readers. There is a reason; She just gets how to rope you in from the start, gets you to care for both of the main characters and gives you a romance to make your heart sing. What more could you want...whatever it could be... She's got that covered too!

A gifted copy was provided by author for an honest review.

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional second chance romance.

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