Bona Fide Fake
My new fake boyfriend may not like me, but he needs me. There are worse foundations for a relationship.
Toni Fairweather is a liar and a fake. I suspected it the day we met, but when he lies to his friends about being my boyfriend, I know for sure. I’ll play along with his deception, but Toni will owe me – big time.
I have my own reasons for needing a boyfriend. Someone who can handle me. Someone who can keep me in line. Toni is demanding enough to fulfil every requirement.
I don’t need to like the man… to obey him.
I never meant to fake a relationship with the lead singer of a local rock band. But the fib popped out over lunch with my best friend, and now I’m expected to present my new boyfriend at his engagement party next month.
The good news? I’m not the only one in need of a date.
Being boyfriends for a month shouldn’t be hard, but I do have one condition: this won’t be some fake boyfriends deal. I want a real relationship, and Ned’s going to give it to me.
“You need a date for the festival. I need a date for Rodney and Leif’s engagement party next month. The answer is obvious.” I place a hand over my chest in a show of sincerity. “I think we should be boyfriends.”
Ned’s head falls back as he laughs out loud. “That’s why you’re here? You want to rope me into going to the engagement party with you?”
Hilarity isn’t the response I’d hoped for, but it’s better than instant rejection. “You have to admit, a twenty-minute acting job does not equate to an entire weekend away. This is simply a way to bring our arrangement back into balance. It’s only fair.”
He shakes his head at me. “How long are you planning to drag this fake boyfriend thing out?”
“Just until after the party. Then, we can break up and go our separate ways. It won’t be messy,” I assure him. “If there’s any moping to be done, I’ll keep it to myself. You’ll never have to hear from me again. However…” I lift a pointed finger to make sure he’s paying attention. “I don’t want to be fake boyfriends. I want to be real boyfriends.”
Ned’s amusement is replaced by confusion. “Real boyfriends.”
“Just like that?”
“Why not just like that?”
He gapes at me in disbelief. “People don’t go around deciding to be real boyfriends as though a relationship can be plucked out of thin air. It has to come naturally. You get to know each other, spend time together, develop actual feelings.” He gestures between us with one hand. “Do you have any actual feelings for me, Toni?”
“Yes,” I insist. “I think you’re incredibly sexy. That counts, doesn’t it?” His groan—half exasperation, half lust—makes me smile.
“Usually yes, but in this context not so much.” He crosses his arms over his chest. “We might be able to fake a real relationship for other people, but we can’t actually make it real. Tell me you know this.”
“Of course, I do.” In theory. My longest ‘real’ relationship didn’t make it to a monthiversary, so my practical experience is somewhat lacking. “But can’t we skip over all the getting to know you crap and go straight to the part where you adore me, and I make you happy?”
Groaning, Ned drops his head forwards.
“You need this as much as I do,” I snap. “Maybe more.”
Straightening, he places his hands on his hips. “How do you figure?”
“If we go down to the festival as friends, or let’s face it acquaintances, then I’ll be hard-pressed to stop you doing anything. This ex-boyfriend of yours will have power over you, and I will have none.” Ned opens his mouth as if to disagree with me, but then he must see sense because he closes it again. “If I’m your boyfriend… I will have power, too.” I give him a moment to contemplate my statement before I continue. “Trust me when I say I’m the jealous type. As long as we’re together, there is no way in hell anyone will be touching you but me. There will be no getting seduced by ex-boyfriends. No sneaking off into dark corners to be fawned over by groupies. Nada. You’ll be my boyfriend, and I will not allow you to disrespect our relationship.”
He stares at me with wide eyes, a slow smile appearing as his ears turn a lovely shade of pink. “I take it you don’t like to share?”
The word alone makes me grit my teeth. “I don’t even want to share the air you breathe.”
His tongue darts out to swipe across his bottom lip as he contemplates my offer. Taking a deep breath, he nods his agreement. “All right, you’ve convinced me. Real boyfriends it is.” A smile bursts onto my face, and his eyes close on a quiet groan. “Holy fuck, those dimples will be the death of me.”