I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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4.5 stars, rounded up because of Dinky.
Samuel Dalton, a kind, hard-working, young state Democrat Senator in NC with aspirations to the US Senate, has a problem. His Republican opponent in the upcoming election has taken an innocent moment and turned it into a sleazy allegation. On Facebook, of all places.
See, our young Senator shared a smoke and a congratulatory hug outside his election office with one of his campaign volunteers, a younger veterinary student named Gary, and a grainy photo of this hug is now being used to 'out' our young Senator and question his ability to be a good politician.
Sam is actually gay, but has never given much thought to being in a relationship, or even having a hook-up, because for most of his life, politics came first. (yes, yes, he's a virgin) He's in the closet about his sexuality, but that one Facebook post is about to blow those doors wide open.
Sam's team start the spin machine immediately, and it doesn't take long before they cook up a plan and approach Gary with a proposition - pretend to be Sam's no-longer-secret fiance for a year or so, and get his veterinary school paid for.
Gary likes Sam, and would also like to not be drowning in debt after school, so he agrees to the ruse.
I just love this particular trope, and the author did a really fantastic job exploring it in this book. There's actually very little relationship drama here. No last-minute break-ups, no prolonged separations - no, Sam and Gary embark on this adventure and begin to get closer and closer until the pretense turns into reality. (hey, you knew this would happen, right? It's a romance!)
I adored both Sam and Gary. They fit each other really well, and both went into the pretend relationship with an open mind, as well as a secret longing. There were mutual sparks from the start, and as time went by, those sparks grew into something beautiful and real.
The supporting characters were also well done. Sam's mom especially - ha, I giggled out loud when she did that thing for them. No, I won't tell you what that thing is - find out for yourself. But it was above and beyond, and while it may have caused a bit of embarrassment for Sam, I thought that it was a really sweet gesture as well, showing her support of the couple in a rather cute way.
This is by design a slow-burn romance, with Sam and Gary becoming friends first, but the UST runs high throughout, and when they finally do the deed - oh my. KC Wells sure writes some of the most fantastic sexy times.
Of course, with this being a book in the Dreamspun Desires series, there's of course a fabulous HEA.
And a dog named Dinky, who not only is part of some humorous scenes, but also - well, no... you read it for yourself.
This is possibly my favorite book in this series so far. Brilliant writing, a super sweet romance, some great comedic moments, one of my favorite tropes - I loved every minute I spent inside the pages of this book.
You will too! Highly recommended.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised return. **