Author: Chris Cannon
Genre: Contemporary Romance/YA/High School
Publisher: Entangled Publishing-Crush
Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Source: Gifted for review by publisher
Purchase: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | iBooks
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Sometimes, blackmail is the only weapon a girl has…
Haley Patterson has had a crush on golden boy Bryce Colton for ages. But when she hears a rumor that he hooked up with her she gives him a choice: be her boyfriend for a month to show other guys that she’s dateable—despite her overprotective and very intimidating brothers—or deal with the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up with.
Bryce didn’t know the other Haley even had a boyfriend. He was just trying to get his ex off his back. And now, not only is he being blackmailed, he's being blackmailed by an honor student. His new “girlfriend” has two three-legged dogs, her father mows grass at the country club, and she's…well, difficult. And different.
Can something so fake turn into something real?
“We need to talk.” Bryce gave an exaggerated sigh.
“Okay.” I opened my bag of chips.
“I’m sorry, but there’s someone else.”
He wanted to break up with me in the cafeteria? Fat chance. I leaned toward him and touched his arm in a girlfriend sort of way. “If you planned to stage a public breakup with me, you can forget it.”
Amusement showed in his hazel eyes. “Think you can stop me?”
“Yes. First, I’m going to appeal to your sense of decency. I’m not a hook-up kind of girl. Thanks to you, the entire school thinks I am.”
He snagged a chip and popped it in his mouth. “Do you even date?”
Ouch. "It’s hard to have an active social life when you have two older brothers who chase everyone away, which is why I need you to stick around and stop that cycle.”
“Sucks to be you.” He stole another chip.
“If you don’t go along with Operation Boyfriend Bait, I’ll go with plan B.”
His brows came together. “Ratting me out to Denny?”
“After he pummels you into the ground, people will definitely believe you slept with his Haley and not me, so doesn’t it make more sense to play this my way? We both win.”
Jane came back and took her seat. “What did I miss?”
“He’s trying to break up with me. I gave him two options.” “You or dismemberment by Denny?” she guessed.
“Exactly.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “What will it be?”
“I pretend to be your boyfriend for a week, and you keep your mouth shut.”
“Two months,” Jane chimed in. Bryce grabbed another chip.
“One week and you can keep the Homecoming tickets.”
“Five weeks and you can have the Homecoming tickets back,” I countered.
“Two weeks,” he said. “And I don’t want the Homecoming tickets.”
“Four weeks.” He reached for another chip and I smacked his hand.
His mouth dropped open, and then he laughed. “That was not good girlfriend behavior.”
I pulled the bag of chips closer. “Landing me in detention was not good boyfriend behavior.”
He grinned all-knowingly. “You didn’t mind at the time.”
My face heated. “Whatever. I want four weeks, the Homecoming tickets, and a double date with Jane and Nathan.”
“Thank you.” Jane bounced in her chair.
“Thought I’d share the wealth.” I smiled at Bryce. “And this should go without saying, but I expect you to play my monogamous boyfriend. When this is over, we’ll do a mutual breakup with no one to blame.”
He sat back and seemed to weigh his options. “Three weeks, keep the tickets, one double date, and a no-fault breakup. Deal?”
* * *
“Get away from my boyfriend,” a girl called out from behind us.
I froze. “Is she talking to me?”
Bryce ran his hand down his face. “Welcome to my nightmare.”
Good to know I ranked somewhere above nightmare status. Maybe I was only a mild pain in the ass.
Bryce placed his arm around my shoulders, and we turned in unison. A tall blonde with giant boobs, bright red nails, and crazy coming off her in waves, walked up to us.
“Bryce, what are you doing?”
He pulled me closer, as if to make a point. “Brittney, I broke up with you. Remember?”
“You didn’t mean that.” She twisted a lock of hair around her finger and smiled. “We’re so good together.”
Bryce sighed. “Brittney, we talked about this.”
“Don’t you miss me?” She moved closer and whispered, “Just a little bit?”
And suddenly this was all sorts of awkward.
“I’m sorry, but we’re through. I’m dating Haley.”
Brittney sniffled and blinked her eyes quickly like she was trying to cry. “We were meant to be. You’ll figure that out soon enough.” She turned on her heel and strode off.
“What was that about?” I asked.
He dropped his arm from my shoulders and stepped back. “I broke up with Brittney three times this month.” He held up three fingers as if I might be unfamiliar with the number. “It didn’t take. Every morning she acted like we were still together. She started talking about where we should have our destination wedding and what we should name our kids. I tried being nice. I tried being mean. Nothing worked. Finally, I went for drastic measures. I figured once she heard about my weekend hookup, she’d take the hint and move on.”
This threw a new light on Bryce’s weekend activities. “So you’re not a man-whore?”
“Oh, no. He is,” Nathan answered with a serious face.
I laughed and headed into Physics lab to catch Jane up on the latest chapter in my new reality-TV-worthy life. “You came into the room way too early.” I told her about Brittney and my secret hope that Bryce wasn’t strictly a hit-and-run kind of guy.
“I think you might be giving him too much credit,” she said.
Since this was my fake relationship, I chose to believe my smoking-hot pretend boyfriend was not a man-whore. Hey, it was my delusional world. Why not go for broke?
* * *
Bryce stood outside of the theatre looking like an Abercrombie model, wearing dark jeans, a pale blue shirt, and a black leather jacket. As we climbed out of the car and strode across the parking lot, I was privy to the Bryce Colton reality show, where two girls, each as tall as he was, engaged in a hair-toss and giggle-flirt fest.
He laughed and talked with both of them, touching each of them on the arm in a subtle way. As we drew closer, he spotted us, or should I say, me. Do you think he told those girls his date was here and graciously excused himself from the conversation? Nope. He made eye contact with me, nodded in acknowledgement and then...he continued his conversation.
Real date or not, that was rude, and disrespectful, and I was ten seconds away from telling those girls he was a post- op-transsexual and all his parts were not in working order. Or maybe I should post that information on YouTube. It was a satisfying fantasy. In reality, I stood off to the side with Jane and Nathan, and waited for Bryce to wrap up whatever he was doing.
When he joined us, he said, “Hi.” And nothing more. Why did he have so much to say to those girls while I was only worth a one-syllable greeting? Was there any way I could realistically dump a cherry slushie in his lap during the show?
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or snarky romantic comedies.
I really enjoyed this book. It was cute during multiple parts, and I really loved that Haley wasn't a doormat with Bryce. Sure she had a crush on him for a long time and he was a good-looking guy but she didn't turn into an invalid around him. I really appreciated that about her character.
Bryce, his reactions to Haley were really great. He was so dumbfounded by her not taking his crap. Something he clearly wasn't used to, it made him make decisions on his own and become his own person a little more.
Haley and Bryce, when they weren't arguing, were really cute. And sometimes when they were arguing they were still pretty cute.
When ever I read a book that involves the very rich, I just have to assume that they life style and the way the parents are is a norm to some degree. Since I grew up in a really small town were everyone had the same level of "wealth", there were no rich kids and poor kids at my school. At least not in the same way it tends to be in books like this.
All that aside, this book was really cute and the characters were pretty believable as people. Like wanting to take legal action against vandalism and other things. In some books when things like that happen the characters want to "take care of it themselves". Which is not really a normal reaction.
I would have liked the ending to be more wrapped up or for their to be more story in some way with these characters. Some things were kind of left up for speculation, and I would have liked those things to be wrapped up more if there's not going to be at least a companion sequel.