Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Sophie Kinsella meets Jennifer Crusie in your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL!

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.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

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

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When I clock out and head for the park, anticipation runs through my veins like a good buzz on a night out. A reunion booking could be my way out of trouble. A five-day gig might bring me very close to the finish line.

Along the way, I stop in front of a dry cleaner, check my reflection in the plate-glass shop window, and reckon that I look the part April wants: dark jeans, motorcycle boots, and well-worn T-shirt that shows off the ink on my arms. Tribal bands, a sunburst, and a compass. I haven’t shaved in two days, and my stubble is rough. If she wanted clean-cut and business attire, I’d have covered up the tats with a crisp white shirt and a fine silk tie, then slid a blade across my jaw in the a.m. If she wanted sophisticated, I’d have given her the smooth, James Bond voice to boot. She could have me as a country boy, even, in a pair of steel-toed cowboy boots and with the drawl to match.

But April wants the guy who might have screwed her in the restroom of a bar.

She wants gravel and sandpaper, ink and danger, shades and leather.

The more you give someone what they want, the more you get in return.

When I reach the park, I head to the Terrace Bridge. She’s not here, but I’m early, since I like to get a read on any and every situation. I scan the surrounding area, noting the benches, the nearby tables, the cool placid water gurgling under the bridge. June in New York City can seduce you or it can trick you.

What it has in store today is anyone’s guess. I lean my hip against the stone railing, and I wait. Two minutes later, I spot a threesome walking in my direction. My heart thumps, and I groan quietly.

Why does the universe do this to me?

Blond curls, lips like a bow, a tight trim waist. Even from several yards away, I can tell she wears little makeup—she has that fresh-faced, rosy glow about her, and something innocent yet knowing in her expression. Like Lily James, whom I developed a wicked crush on when I watched her in her latest movie.

April’s not tiny, but she’s not towering either. Maybe five-three, five-four. A delicious dream. Which translates roughly to “just my type.” She wears tight jeans, a long black shirt that clings to her figure, and a huge silver necklace with a heart charm that dangles between her breasts.

As if I wouldn’t already be checking them out without the pendant between them.

I’ve had many clients. Keeping it platonic has never been an issue since I’ve never been attracted to a customer.

Until now. Looks like I’ll be getting familiar with how to resist temptation.

About Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat,

heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she'll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

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Yvette's Review:

Lauren Blakely + a romantic comedy = an automatic must-read for me! Especially a rom-com with the fake relationship trope. Twist my arm, why don’t you. After reading the blurb for The Real Deal, I was immediately intrigued. I mean, finding a fake boyfriend on Craigslist? The only thing I’ve managed to get on Craigslist is an overpriced television with a remote that didn’t work. But I digress... There’s nothing I love to read more than a rm-com and Lauren Blakely has once again delivered a fun, flirty, un-put-downable read. With an unconventional romance, characters that are lovable and entertaining, and a storyline that’s both lighthearted and emotionally gripping, The Real Deal is the picture-perfect blend of humor and romance.

With the looming prospect of being set up on blind dates by her female family members, April Hamilton is determined to attend her family reunion with a plus one. After her date has a last-minute change of plans, though, she resorts to a Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire. Enter Theo Banks, her handsome and devilishly charming new fake boyfriend. A bartender by trade, Theo makes extra money transforming into any woman’s idea of the perfect man, which, for April, is the bad boy with a heart of gold. His job is to convince April’s family that the two are crazy about each other and to keep any potential suitors at bay - a task that gets exponentially more complicated as their ruse starts to feel like the real thing. It’s not all fun, games, and romance, however. Theo’s troubled past soon intrudes on their present, threatening to disrupt their burgeoning connection.

Set in the picturesque town of Wistful, Connecticut at a family reunion, The Real Deal has a happy-go-lucky, Hallmark movie vibe going on. The undeniable attraction and overabundance of chemistry between Theo and April, combined with their quick-witted, teasing banter is enough to leave a smile permanently fixed to your face. It’s the complexities of these characters – the unveiling of their backstories and their innermost thoughts and desires – that give the narrative added depth and tug on your heartstrings. Throw in a slow burning romance with heaping amounts of sexual tension, and the steam level rises to levels that’ll make your cheeks flush and your pulse race. Every element of the story, whether it’s achingly sweet, heart-wrenchingly emotional, or deliciously dirty, combines to make one unforgettable romance.

If you’re in the mood for a rom-com that’s heartwarming, funny, and romantic, read The Real Deal. If you’re looking to be introduced to compelling characters you can’t help but fall in love with, read The Real Deal. If you like your romance with an extra dose of steam, read The Real Deal. In short, just read The Real Deal.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars
✮✮✮Reader's Choice Giveaway!✮✮✮

Everything you need for Date Night except the date:). Find the perfect date in the Real Deal! $100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, $50 gift card to the movie theater of your choice, and $50 gift card to the retailer of your choice. ($200 value)  

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