The Real Deal

By Lauren Blakely


April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?


I’ll be blunt, I debated for quite a while about whether to read THE REAL DEAL or not. I’ve read a few books from Lauren Blakely before and my most recent reads did not win me over. But THE REAL DEAL sounded different from those books—it sounded light and fun—so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I sooooo glad I did.

I really liked Theo and April. Despite the crappy hand life had dealt him, Theo was a nice guy. He was very down-to-earth and he had a wonderful sense of humor. April came from a more blessed background, but she never acted like a spoiled princess. She never judged Theo for his past and she worked hard to carve out her own life and successful career path. I really liked April’s family as well, especially her mother and father.

As the bulk of this story takes place over five days, THE REAL DEAL is most definitely an insta-love romance. But what I found interesting is that it didn’t feel like one. The chemistry between Theo and April was exciting from the moment they met, and watching that chemistry build as the story progressed made their time together feel a lot longer than just five days.

THE REAL DEAL is told in dual POVs and is currently listed as a stand-alone. If you’re looking for a read that flows well and includes a fake boyfriend, meddling but well meaning family members, competitive games, and some laughs, then THE REAL DEAL is for you.

The Real Deal

My Rating:  

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