REVIEW: “Faking It” by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

It’s official Max Sterling, of “Faking It”, is the swoony-est hero in Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde’s Book Boyfriend series!  “Faking It” is the stand-alone second installment in the Book Boyfriend series.  The series revolves around the four friends, and partners, of Premier Realty.  Max’s a flirty and charming, confirmed bachelor; at least until he met Hailey Ellison.  She’s testing his resolve.  For the past three months he’s been helping Hailey Ellison try to find the perfect property for her matchmaking business.  Max’s been attracted to her almost since the beginning.  As a gentleman, he’s convinced he’s going to Hell since he’s lusting after an engaged woman.  Hailey’s been wildly attracted to Max but doesn’t believe he thinks of her as anything more than a client.  She’s riddled with body image insecurities since she grew up equating that Food = Love.  She had a terrible weight problem until college.

Hailey’s first sexual experience caused her to have massive body insecurities.  This causes her to sabotage all of her romantic relationships just before they get physical.  Her engagement ring isn’t because she has a fiancé, but for business purposes.  Who wants to go to a matchmaker who can’t find herself a man?  She inadvertently put Max into the friend-zone before they had a chance.  Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde create a fabulous world filled with intriguing and delightful characters.  The storyline is engaging, sweet, and sexy.  Max’s a caretaker, a sexy Beta, my favorite!  But his fierce protectiveness of Hailey puts him in the Alpha-zone as well.  I love Hailey!  I guess I identify with her, she’s facing her weight insecurities and attempting to move outside of her comfort zone.  The pacing’s lively and the plot’s fun, romantic and steamy which making it a fantastic read.

Max believes he’s heading toward eternal damnation.  He can’t stop thinking about all the filthy things he wants to do with his curvy little client, Hailey Ellison.  She’s an engaged woman, who belongs to another man.  Not cool.  Hailey loves working with Max; he’s completely invested in finding her the perfect property and incredibly patient with her.  She’s almost dreads finding The One; because once they find the building he’ll be out of her life forever.  Max’d never be interested in a Spanx-wearing girl like herself; he’s way out of her league.  An unexpected run-in with one of her clients mother brings the mysterious fiancé’s identity into the open.  Max’s shocked to find out he’s her fiancé.  He plays along and until they’re free and he drags her to his office for answers.  Max’s a little miffed but delighted at the potential to live out his dirty fantasies.

Once Max determines Hailey’s completely unattached to any man he claims her mouth in a scorching hot kiss.  First things first they complete the business on the perfect building they found and then discuss this engagement issue.  Hailey explains no one ever asked who fiancé was, when someone finally did she said his name out of reflex.  She had him on her mind due to the property hunt.  Now Max’s volunteering at a charity event as Hailey’s fiancé.  Max isn’t angry at this turn of events since he’s been attracted to her for so long.  He’s been punishing himself for three months for fantasizing about her late at night in his bed.  Now he has his chance to pursue his feelings, and see where it leads with Hailey.  She’s different, she’s honest, not shallow, fun, and they have sexual tension that won’t quit.

Max tells her this is perfect, he needs a fake fiancée himself.  He explains his mother believes her children can only be happy if married.  So she’s been pushing every single girl at him for ages.  The last girl, the daughter of one of his father’s clients, can’t take “No” for an answer  She’s been calling, texting, even showing up at work stalking him.  No matter what he can’t get rid of her.  Max asks Hailey to go with him to his father’s sixtieth birthday party, as his fiancée.  Hopefully the “psycho’ll” finally get the message and go away.  They can continue to be fiancés through to the charity carnival.  Natalie wants to protect her heart so she wants to plan for an amicable yet public break-up.  Max insists they need to worry more about acting like an engaged couple.  Firstly, getting comfortable touching each other and lots of kissing.

Max and Hailey’s close friends know the truth about their fake engagement.  However, they need to make everyone else believe it’s real.  Hailey meet Max’s friends, they also meet for lunch, and have dinner dates.  Their time together leads Hailey to confess things she doesn’t tell anyone, like how her weight issues came to be.  Also, why her relationships never move to the bedroom.  Max promises Hailey he’ll go slow and not push her into getting physical.  Max makes it clear Hailey turns him on, but when they have sex; she’ll have to beg for it first.  Late one night, over the phone, Max suggests they play a “get to know you” game.  They’ll ask each other questions:  favorite movies, would you rather, then Max’s final question leads to a more intriguing “answer”.  The question of “What’s your secret sexual fantasy?” leads to an intense bout of phone sex.

By the time Max’s father’s birthday party rolls around Max and Hailey are more than ready to hit the sheets.  Because Max’s family is so nice, and happy for them, Hailey feels guilty for lying to them about the engagement.  The presence of the woman who Max had three dates with at the party, who’s now stalking him, causes issues.  This woman knows the exact buttons to push which will trigger Hailey’s every insecurity about being attractive enough for Max.  The woman continues to harass them so they go to Max’s apartment where they finally let the sexy times roll.  Max makes thoughtful gestures which cause Hailey to feel as sexy and beautiful as he believes she is.  At the charity carnival Max’s ex-date confronts Hailey and despite the presence and defense of her friends, she’s upset.

In the middle of the charity event, the woman reveals Max and Hailey’s engagement is a sham.  They’ve been lying to Max’s family, but more importantly Hailey’s been presenting herself professionally as something she’s not.  Hailey runs away from Max.  Will he fight for her?  How does she protect herself from potential heartbreak and overcome her insecurities?

What makes “Faking It” so good is the Hero; Max’s incredibly thoughtful and sweet but with a definite naughty streak.  The perfect Beta Hero; he’s growly protective, growly possessive, and growly horny.  Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde have Hailey perfectly balanced by not having her completely dwelling on her body image issues.  Hailey and Max are fun and flirty plus they have amazing chemistry and marvelous sexual tension.  Max’s family is great and as usual the Premier Realty gang are entertaining and liven up the secondary character terrain.  I’m a sucker for the “Fake Fiancé Trope” and “Faking It” absolutely hits the spot!  This Book Boyfriend series is a winner and I’m sticking with it.

 

I’m giving “Faking It” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Gale Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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