by: Leddy Harper
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
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From bestselling author Leddy Harper comes a sizzling romance about an aspiring young chef who may discover that the perfect recipe for love involves all accidental ingredients…
Tatum Alexander is so close to realizing her dream of becoming a sous chef she can taste it, but working at her ex-fiancé’s restaurant with his new girlfriend was never in her career plan. To save face and prove she’s moved on, Tatum cooks up a lie that she’s in a relationship with her best friend’s superhot cousin. There’s just one problem: Jason only recently moved to town, and he has no idea they’re already “dating.”
Jason’s a recovering ladies’ man who shouldn’t be on the menu, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to Tatum’s quirky charm. Giving her lie a kernel of truth, they decide some no-strings-attached fun between the sheets can’t hurt. But as Tatum’s forced to keep making up stories to cover her original fib, she has a hard time separating what’s real and what’s fake—including her feelings for Jason.
With too many tales spun, Tatum can only watch in horror as her collection of yarns begins to unravel, leaving everyone she cares about feeling betrayed. After so many lies, will it be too late to set the record straight? And more importantly, will she be able to convince Jason there’s truth in their love?
You see, what had happened was…my fiancé dumped me in the most epically humiliating way—while sitting at a table in a fancy restaurant, waiting for my friends and family to join us for my birthday dinner. But, he wasn’t just my fiancé (well, technically, my ex-fiancé), he was also the owner of the posh restaurant I worked at. And rather than quit my job after he dumped me, I stayed because it would’ve been career suicide to leave after I’d gotten so close to being a sous-chef (my dream job). The one thing I hadn’t expected was that a few months later, my ex-fiancé would hire his new girlfriend—who happens to work in the kitchen, one station away from me. Needless to say, I was unable to escape the embarrassment and devastation that surrounded my breakup…especially since the kitchen was full of nosy-bodies.
And since my ex has the heart of a corpse, he decided to schedule me and his new girlfriend to work side by side at the town’s annual foodie festival. She’s not a bad person—kind of sweet, really, aside from the whole dating my ex thing—so it wouldn’t have been that bad had she not spent the whole time discussing how “wonderful” her relationship was. Before I knew it, I was telling them all about the new guy I was dating. (I’ll let you in on a little secret…I wasn’t dating anyone. Didn’t really even know the guy, but that’s what I get for trying to sound like I wasn’t bothered by her stories of her “amazing” boyfriend.) I guess you can say that was the beginning of the train wreck. And boy, what a train wreck it was!
Looking back on it now, I can see where I went wrong. Then again, hindsight’s twenty-twenty. If I had to make a list of all the mistakes I made while forming this “half” truth of sorts (AKA my new boyfriend), I’d probably start with the boyfriend himself. You see…I had recently met my best friend’s older, extremely hot, sexy, and single cousin. And somehow, while describing my faux-beau, I ended up giving a very detailed description of said older, extremely hot, sexy, and single cousin of my best friend. The very next mistake happened about five seconds later when I was asked what his name was. Jay. Sounded simple enough. Except my bestie’s cousin’s name is Jason. Technically not the same name. But still, it would’ve been smarter to have gone with Ricardo…or Thor. Anything other than the first syllable of his real name. And the very next mistake happened five seconds after that…when I stupidly showed the girls his picture. It could be argued that that had been the biggest mistake of them all, considering the real Jason showed up to the very same foodie festival I was working. Although, with as well as I’d detailed his entire body, they could’ve very well picked him out of a crowd without a picture.
My story doesn’t end there, but I don’t want to bore you with the details of how my “lie” became somewhat of a “truth”…right after everyone I worked with witnessed him cheating on me (in his defense, he had no idea we were dating. In my defense, I had no idea he’d become interested in me after all my co-workers thought him to be a lying, cheating scumbag. But I digress.) All of that could’ve easily been avoided if I was a better liar, if I wasn’t such an awkward person—especially around a certain extremely hot, sexy, single guy—if I hadn’t kept it all from my best friend, or if that same best friend hadn’t “forbidden” me to see him in the first place. So all in all, it wasn’t entirely my fault.
But at least I now know what not to do when creating a fake relationship. So, if any of you find yourselves in a situation like I did (oh, who am I kidding? I’m literally the only person on the planet who could manage that) or in any situation where one might need an imaginary boyfriend, I have a few tips to keep in mind. One—never use a real person. Especially his name. It would be best if you take eleven or twelve different men and describe their physical traits as if they were one person. That way, the chances of anyone “finding” him will be slim to none. And if he is found…I’d say that’s as good as any sign I can think of that he’s your soul mate—which might behoove you to pick some pretty delicious-looking men, if you ask me. Two—and this one’s important, so pay very close attention…never, and I mean never show anyone a picture of this guy. If anyone asks why you don’t have any photos, make sure you have a realistic list of excuses. Such as: he’s camera shy; you lost all your pictures in the last software update on your phone; he’s a celebrity and doesn’t want to risk putting you in the public eye. Okay, that last one might be a bit too much. I never claimed to be a good liar. And three—which might very well be the most important tip I could ever give…do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him (especially if you’ve made him up…because then you’d have a few additional problems to deal with rather than just getting caught in a lie).
Trust me…getting caught in what I call a “domino-effect” lie (once one falls apart, the entire thing comes crashing down) is not fun. So, if you’ve learned anything from me today, I hope that it’s the importance of a well-crafted lie. But in the event you get caught, always remember…it’s not a lie; it’s a “half” truth.
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Harper is now a mother of three girls, making her husband the only man in a house full of females. She published her first book to encourage her children to go after whatever they want, to inspire them to love what they do and do it well, and to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.
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