So, if you’ve learned nothing else about me up until now, you’ve at least learned that I’m an avid reader and that I love books…I hope you’ve learned that at least.  If not, let me tell you now:  I love books.  Digital, paperback or hardcover, it makes no difference — I love everything about books in any format.  And I’ll read almost anything.  I’m not crazy about science fiction, and fantasy has to pull me in within the first couple of pages, but otherwise there isn’t much I won’t read.  And, when my brain is too full of things (as it has been lately) I love to read “fun” things that don’t make me think to hard.  Books that are fairly predictable with happily ever after endings.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]A couple of weeks ago, I was trolling Facebook when I ran across one of those Facebook ads for a book called Big Rock.  It had a picture of a very lovely man lying in bed with a sheet wrapped around his hips to cover anything little eyes shouldn’t see.  Something about the teaser pulled me in so I followed the link to Amazon where I read the synopsis.  And then I laughed out loud.  The voice was unlike anything I’d read.  It was written in first person point of view by a crude-talking man — and he was funny!  Though clearly arrogant and not at all lacking for self confidence, the voice drew me in pretty quickly and, on a whim, I downloaded it to read.  Sadly for everyone around me, the voice didn’t let go of me and I had to keep reading until I’d turned the last page.  And, if I must be honest, I loved it.  I laughed, and dang-near cried, and then I fell in love with the main character before laughing again.

So the story is the tried-and-true “best friends become lovers” trope, but it was unique and just “worked.”  Spencer is a rich bachelor whose dad owns a string of Tiffany’s-like jewelry stores.  His dad has hand-selected a buyer for his precious business so that he can retire, but the buyer is this stodgy prig who doesn’t like that Spencer has been dubbed a ladies man.  So, on a whim, Spencer — the loyal son (that’s a refreshing change)  — lies and says that he’s recently fallen in love with his best friend since college, and that he’s proposed.  And then the scam begins.  He has to (1) convince his best friend (Charlotte) to pretend along with him for one week, and (2) not fall in love in the process.

Well, you can see where this is going:  of course they’re going to fall in love.  It’s a romance novel, after all.  But, in order to pull off the charade, Charlotte insists that they act the part of an affianced couple pretty much 24×7 — which means that their scam extends to the bedroom.  I mean, really!  If your male best friend was as studly as Spencer is supposed to be, then of course you’re gonna wanna find out what all the buzz is about right?  C’mon ladies — don’t lie!  You know it’s true!

So the charade plays out for a week and, though the ending is predictable, I’ll not ruin it for you.  Instead I’ll just let you know that of course it has a Happily Ever After ending.  But…

What made this book so delightful wasn’t exactly the story, but the writing and the characters themselves.  They were funny, and Spencer was beyond charming.  My initial instinct that he was going to be a real tool was totally off-base.  He’s the son that every parent wants, the brother that every sister needs, and the stand-up guy that every girl wishes she knew.  And he was hilarious!  Honestly, Charlotte and Spencer together were fun and had me laughing.  The chemistry was just spot-on.

Oh..and since I’ve brought up the chemistry, I should probably warn you that this is a very steamy romance.  The imagery is graphic and Spencer’s language is frequently crude, and yet it surprisingly didn’t take away from the story.  In fact, I think I fell in love with this couple together just a little bit.

One of the things I think I loved best was that the story is told from the guy’s point of view.  It felt real and not at all contrived, and it was fun to see Spencer “sweat” about finally manning up to his feelings.  It was also fun to watch him interact with his father man-to-man.

I really enjoyed this book.  I think it’s my first Lauren Blakely novel, and I would certainly purchase another.  In fact, she has a followup to this one featuring Spencer’s best friend that I’m sure to purchase.  I just wish I had more time at the moment to read it.

So my review?  I whole-heartedly give this novel a 5-star review and strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance with a whole lot of steam, who can handle a crude-talker without taking an instant dislike to him.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure I was capable of the latter, but the truth is that I dub Spencer as my new Book Boyfriend!  🙂