Bar manager Paul Chapman is sick of his family's traditional ideals. Marriage, babies, and a white picket fence? Not his gig. But now that his 'golden child' big brother is tying the knot, Paul's screwed. His ex will be there...and she's having his cousin's baby. Unless he wants to show up to the wedding alone and face his family's scrutiny, he needs a girl on his arm. Now.
Cocktail specialist Libby Harris has spent her life earning the nickname Little Miss Perfect, all to win the love of her wealthy, controlling father. But she deviated from his plan, and now her business is on shaky ground. If it fails, she might as well kiss his respect-and her dream-good-bye. Her only hope? Convince the hottest bar in town to take on her product.
Luckily for her, the owner's brother is sexy as sin and in need of a perfect girlfriend...
Each book in the Behind the Bar series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 The Rules According to Gracie
Book #2 Pretend it’s Love
Book #3 Betting the Bad Boy
About the Author
Originally from Melbourne, Stefanie now lives in Toronto with her wonderful husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies and drink coffee. By day (and night!) she writes romance with humour, heat and heart, and tries not to spend too much time shopping online and watching baby animal videos on YouTube.
To find out more about her upcoming released be sure to sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bbhIsDLonger
Read an Excerpt
Pretend it's Love
A Behind the Bar Story
By Stefanie London, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Stefanie London
All rights reserved.
There were plenty of other things Paul Chapman would rather be doing than watching two people make goo-goo eyes at each other. He could stab himself in the eye with a steak knife. Or listen to his mother talk ad nauseam about the intricacies of the floral arrangements.
Either would be preferable.
"Man, you've got to lighten up." Noah Reid, his best friend and soon to be fellow groomsman, elbowed him in the ribs. "You look like you're about to go all Friday the Thirteenth."
"I hate pretentious parties." He shoved a bite-size piece of toast with smoked salmon into his mouth. "And I hate this stupid, tiny food."
"What did you expect?"
Noah had a point. Paul should have known what he was in for the second his brother announced the engagement party would be held in his fiancée's family home in Toorak, aka the "old money" part of Melbourne. The Greenes were rolling in it. It was fitting that they'd be drinking the fanciest champagne on the market and eating food that looked fit for a dollhouse.
"Is it so bad that I want a burger and a beer?"
Noah laughed. "If you're still hungry we'll do a Macca's run on the way home."
Paul watched the happy couple. His big brother looked more satisfied than he'd ever seen him, and Gracie, his pint-size wife-to-be, wore a smile that managed to out-sparkle her impressive engagement ring.
"Reckon that will be us one day?" Noah asked, studying Des and Gracie as though they were an alien species.
"No way. Marriage is for chumps." Paul screwed up his nose. "I'm only here because of Des."
Stomach grumbling, his eyes roamed, already on the hunt for something else to eat. The current options were miniscule sushi rolls and pieces of raw fish. What was the point of eating something if you weren't going to bother cooking it first?
He brought a champagne flute to his lips and knocked back the remainder of his drink. It wasn't his poison of choice but it was alcoholic. Better than nothing.
A gloomy funk had descended over Paul ever since the engagement had been announced. He was happy for his brother, of course. Gracie was good for him and they'd worked hard to get past the early hurdles in their relationship. But it was just another opportunity for Des to prove to their family that he was the favorite. The golden child. The chosen one.
The son who would live up to all their expectations.
Des ran the restaurant and bar, First, where Paul worked. His big brother's success in business would be further complemented by a wedding. Then it wouldn't be long before the bambini arrived, and Paul would never have a hope of catching him.
A waiter walked past carrying a tray of freshly filled champagne flutes. Paul switched his empty glass for a full one and downed half of it in a single gulp.
"Whoa there. You're drinking like an eighteen-year-old girl at O week." Noah shook his head, laughing. "I don't want to be holding your hair back later tonight when that all comes back up."
Paul opened his mouth to retort, but Des and Gracie were coming their way. He put on his best "happy brother" face and held his champagne flute up in salute. Gracie launched herself at the two guys, collecting them both in a hug that was impressive for a girl her size.
"How are my future brothers-in-law?" she asked.
Noah might not have been a flesh and blood brother, but the Chapman boys — and now Gracie — treated him as if he were part of the family.
"Enjoying the festivities. Paul here has taken a liking to the champagne." Noah smiled innocently as Des rolled his eyes.
"Me, too." Gracie leaned forward and winked at him, her cheeks flushed.
"Too many drinks, not enough dinner," Des said with a frown. "We should get something into your stomach."
"Don't be a bore. I haven't drunk like this since university — it's a special night!"
"Can I get that in writing so when you're glued to the bed all day tomorrow I can remind you the hangover is worth it?"
She poked her tongue out at him before turning to Paul. "Was he always this straight-laced growing up?"
"Uh, yes," Paul replied. "Hard to believe it, but he was worse."
"Yikes." Gracie giggled, covering her mouth with one hand.
When she wandered off to dance with her sister, Des shook his head. "The wedding planning has been a little ... tense."
Noah frowned. "Because of Mrs. Greene?"
No one ever referred to Gracie's mother as anything but Mrs. Greene, although Paul had been led to suspect her name might be Cecilia. Despite sharing her daughter's petite stature and flair for style, she lacked any of the warmth and charisma that Gracie exuded, and had a reputation as being a bit of a dragon.
"Yeah." Des raked a hand through his dark hair. "She's driving Gracie bananas, but I can't get involved. She gets worked up if I mention it. Good thing it'll be over in a few weeks."
Paul choked on his drink. "A few weeks?"
"Yeah, we're going to announce it tonight. The wedding is going to be in six weeks."
"Is she ..." Noah looked around to see if anyone else was in earshot.
Des folded his arms across his chest. "She's not pregnant."
"Not yet," Noah said, waggling his eyebrows.
"Why the hurry?" Paul set the champagne flute down.
Des looked over his shoulder. "I don't want this planning phase to go on any longer than it has to. Besides, we're ready to be married. It sounds corny, but I don't want to wait any longer."
Paul made a gagging motion. "What chick flick did you pull that from?"
"Mock me, oh little brother. One day this will be you, and I'll be the first one to remind you of this moment." Des turned to Noah and slapped him on the back. "And when it comes to the wedding you have to wear a suit. No excuses."
Noah had worn black jeans and an open-collared shirt under a leather motorcycle jacket, despite the fact that the invites had said Dress Code: Cocktail. "It'll be the first time."
Des moved on to talk to Gracie's older sister and left the two men to their drinks. The engagement party was intimate. Private. Immediate family and the bridal party only.
But the wedding would be filled with people Paul didn't want to face. Most of all, his ex-almost-fiancée and the guy she'd married ... who just so happened to be his cousin.
"Six weeks, can you believe it?" Noah shook his head. "How are we going to plan a buck's party in that time?"
But Paul's mind was consumed with the wedding itself. He'd thought that Gracie and Des would have a more standard engagement, like one or two years ... five, if he was lucky. Then he would have time to get his shit sorted, find someone he trusted enough to bring to a family function, and do something noteworthy so he didn't have to rehash the overdone conversation about his lack of direction in life. He could hear his aunts now.
Paul, why can't you be more like your brother? Why haven't you settled down with anyone yet? Don't you want to get married?
And the underlying question beneath it all: what did you do that was so bad your girlfriend cheated on you with your own cousin?
Like it was his bloody fault.
"Hey." Noah waved a hand in front of his face. "I said, do you think Des would want a weekend away for his buck's?"
"Maybe." Paul wanted to talk about anything that wasn't connected to the wedding, but his concentration had deserted him.
"You giving a speech?" Noah asked.
Paul looked up. "Huh?"
His friend pointed to a piece of paper sticking out of his suit pants pocket. "I thought you hated speeches."
"I'm not giving a speech, but I did get her number." He nodded toward the blond catering assistant who flushed when the two men turned to look at her.
"This is a family event." Noah shook his head.
Paul grinned. "Girls love me, what can I say?"
"You're so full of shit."
Truth was he hadn't really wanted her number, but old habits die hard. At one point women were the center of Paul's life, though not any one woman in particular. However, lately he'd stopped going out partying with Noah. He'd even deleted all the numbers in his phone that weren't family or his mates. Empty encounters had begun to fill him with resentment.
The kind that burrowed deep down and made you question everything.
The sudden decline in socializing hadn't gone unnoticed; both Des and Noah had questioned him to no avail. He didn't want meaningless sex anymore nor did he want to be chained up in a relationship hell. If only he could have some kind of in-between solution ...
But now Paul had bigger problems to deal with other than his sex-life limbo. Tonight's announcement meant he had only six weeks to find someone to stand by his side at the wedding and do something meaningful with his life. No big deal, right?
There was no way in hell he'd front up to his ex alone being exactly the same guy as when she'd dumped him two years ago. Not going to happen.
Libby Harris begged her cell phone not to ring again. After four calls bearing bad news, she was about ready to hurl the damn thing out a window. This couldn't be happening.
One press release and her business — which was on the brink of launching — was going down the drain faster than a Britney Spears comeback. Maybe if she stopped answering her phone the bad news would disappear.
"Stay calm." Her best friend, Nina Bauer, sat cross-legged on the couch in Libby's office and mimicked deep breathing. "I know it seems bad, but there's room in the market for more than one person. Everything will be fine, and we'll probably laugh at this in a few months."
"Laugh?" Libby held up her iPad with both hands and thrust it in Nina's general direction. "My business is going to die because I didn't launch early enough. That's nothing to laugh about."
"Freaking out isn't going to help the situation." Nina pushed off the couch and grabbed the iPad, gently setting it down on the coffee table. "And stop waving your gadgets in my face."
One month out from her launch party, Libby's business — a line of girlie infused vodkas and cocktail mixes — was in peril. That morning a press statement had been released that the infamous reality TV star turned sex-tape celebrity, Kandy K, was launching her very own line of flavored vodkas.
What were the friggin' odds?
Now all the businesses she'd lined up to stock Libby Gal Cocktails were dropping like flies — they wanted to jump on the celebrity bandwagon. Despite her social pedigree, Libby Harris was not a celebrity.
"We don't know how many places are going to pull out. Maybe the worst of it is over."
Libby dropped her face into her hands and tried not to hyperventilate. "I'm going to fail because I never made a sex tape. How ironic is that?"
Her phone rang again, and Libby threw it into the drawer of her desk, slamming it shut with a resounding bang. She couldn't take hearing one more restaurant owner tell her that they were "very sorry" but they needed to put their business first and "explore other options."
They didn't even have the guts to admit why they were dropping her.
"Trust me, in a few years you'll be happy you don't have a sex tape." Nina pulled open the desk drawer and retrieved the phone. "There's no point sticking your head in the sand. We need to focus on fixing this problem. How many are we down to?"
"Six, I think." Libby flipped open her laptop, scanning down the details neatly typed into a spreadsheet. "I had ten restaurants lined up for the soft launch in Melbourne; four have pulled out so far. But I'm pretty sure that" — she pointed at her phone, not daring to pick the damn thing up. It may as well have been a venomous snake baring its fangs — "was Lulu Bar."
"So we go into damage control. Let's meet with the restaurant owners and see what we can do. Don't they say market competition is good?"
Libby balled her fists. "This is not good, it's a bloody disaster!"
Nina sighed and grabbed one of the bottles of Libby Gal Cocktails infused vodka that sat in an open box, awaiting shipment. "Marshmallow and rose petal, my favorite. Just what the doctor ordered."
She screwed the top off before Libby could protest and fished out two of the branded shot glasses that were supposed to go along with the order. The sight of her business logo — a martini glass with a lip print on the side and her initials in pink and green — made her suck in a breath.
"We shouldn't be drinking the stock, Neens."
"Heavy drinking is often recommended in times of intense stress." Nina winked and waved the bottle in front of Libby's face.
Libby laughed despite herself. This was exactly the reason she was friends with Nina. The woman could put a smile on her face no matter how dire life seemed.
"I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of what's recommended."
Nina shrugged and set the shot glasses on Libby's desk, free pouring until the liquid reached the edge of the glass. "Bottoms up."
Libby brought it carefully to her lips. She downed the drink in a single gulp, shutting her eyes and letting the alcohol work its magic. The sweet scent of marshmallow and rose petals danced in her nose. It was the first flavor she'd ever made.
The business had started out as a hobby when she'd infused store-bought vodkas in pretty jars and given them as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. When Nina got married she asked Libby to make her a special blend for wedding guest gifts. Compliments and requests came rolling in, and Libby put her medical degree on hold to turn her passion into a business.
It was the first time she'd ever taken a risk on herself.
"Hit me again." Libby slammed the glass down on her desk and gritted her teeth.
She would not let her business die. She would not admit defeat because of bad timing. And she most definitely would not crawl back to her father and tell him that he was right.
"That's my girl." Nina grinned and blew a strand of her electric blue hair out of her face as she refilled the glasses. "Cheers."
Libby tipped back the second drink and dropped down into her desk chair, surveying her office. The room was originally a spare bedroom, but she'd turned it into her own personal command center. Boxes of product were piled up in one corner, and her adorable vintage couch and coffee table were covered in Nina's artwork for the launch party. Her desk was a bit of a hot mess, but she still had her beautiful makeshift flower vases — some of the prototype Libby Gal Cocktails bottles — holding rainbow bouquets of roses and oriental lilies.
This was her dream, and she would fight for all of it. Kicking off her towering emerald-green stilettos, she turned her laptop to face her. Slowly, she ran one pink lacquered nail down the column of restaurant contacts and jotted down names and addresses on a notepad.
"What are you going to do about The Chief?" Nina jumped onto the desk, swinging her bare feet back and forth. "You know he's going to be all over this like a rash."
Though her father was a world renowned surgeon, he approached everything from parenting to washing his car with a style more suited to the military. Hence the nickname.
"I'm hoping that he'll be too wrapped up in his latest wife to have noticed," Libby said.
"You think he won't mention it? Yeah right." Nina twirled a strand of her blue hair and let out a sigh. "He'll latch onto anything right now if it means dragging you back to his life plan."
"I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it." Libby pursed her lips. "But I know one thing for sure, I'm not going back to med school."CHAPTER 2
Libby gritted her teeth and strode along the footpath, ignoring the throbbing pain from a nasty blister on her heel. She'd been on her feet all day, dashing from one meeting to another in shoes that were better suited to a stilt walker than a burgeoning entrepreneur.
But her look was part of her brand — bright hair, big heels, in-your-face lipstick. People noticed her because of the way she looked, then she made sure they remembered her for what she said. She wasn't giving that up, blister or no blister.
Sadly, nothing had helped her today. She was zero for ten ... every single business she'd signed for her launch had backed out. If her life was a game then she'd hit the biggest damn snake on the board.
Excerpted from Pretend it's Love by Stefanie London, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2015 Stefanie London. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love well-written pretend relationships, and this one didn’t disappoint! Libby is a great leading lady and Paul is a wonderful match! She’s driven to succeed and he is just trying to get his family off his back, together they make such a dynamic duo and the chemistry is sizzling hot! Of course they can’t keep their hands off of each other, even though they set ‘rules’. HA, who needs rules anymore!? A romance isn’t great without a grand gesture and this book has the best grand gesture EVER! I won’t spoil it for you here, but just know that this moment in the book is worth the wait. I’m not ashamed to admit that I swooned…I became completely love struck! This book hits all the needed emotional parts and does it so well that it sucks you in and doesn’t let you put it down. This is my first book by Stefanie London and it certainly won’t be my last, her writing is amazing! *I received a complimentary copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
Two Birds One Stone What an exciting love story, Stefanie has done it again! Once I started reading I couldn't put it down until I finished, I had to know if Paul came around or kept his head in the sand. Libby is set to launch her new business, Libby Gal Cocktails—a line of girlie infused vodkas and cocktail mixes. However a female reality celebrity has beat her to the punch by a month. Now all the businesses she had lined up for her launch are backing out and dropping her like flies in favor for the celebrity. Libby's father wants her to stop her nonsense and go back to medical school. Her parents have never shown her the unconditional love and support that she's seen with family's around her. Paul enjoys being the bar manager for the bar that his brother runs. However he feels like he couldn't measure up to his brother's success, he is always in his shadow. When he finds out that Stella, his ex is going to not only be at his brother's wedding with her husband who is not only Paul's cousin, but the guy she cheated on Paul with, but she's pregnant too. He knows he's got to figure out a way to find someone he trusts enough to bring to the wedding, it's in six weeks! Libby needs a bar to take a chance and showcase her cocktails and Paul needs a perfect girlfriend for the wedding. It's a perfect solution for what they both need, a complete fake relationship. With ground rules in place of course... It's a business deal only, no emotions, no falling in love~ easy since neither do relationships. No sex with anyone.. Doesn't matter that they're both extremely attracted to each other. You'll have to read PRETEND IT'S LOVE to find out what happens between Libby and Paul. By the time I finished reading this story my cheeks hurt from smiling or laughing. Although this is the second book in the series, each story is a standalone novel that coincides with each other. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours through NetGalley in exchange for an honest blog tour review. Due to sexual situations, this book is recommended for readers 17 and older. Favorite Passages ~ ~ The gorgeous ones always made you pay with more than you could afford. They were like credit card debt: trouble from the beginning and hard to get over. ~ “That promise is about as solid as cotton candy.” ~ It would be easy to stay warm and cozy inside her comfort zone, but there was nothing there for her anymore. ~ Today would be the day she let her heart do the talking, and she’d have an answer one way or another. ~ “Besides, boys are stupid. We can’t crucify them for every little mistake.”
This was such a fun read! This is the story of Paul Chapman and Libby Harris. The story revolves around these two people but it's also about so much more. They thought a pretend relationship would benefit each of them but oh how they were wrong. Her issues with her parents were not the tragic kind but still broke my heart. His last relationship was horribly scandalous and it wasn't him who made it that way. Libby and Paul definitely have some issues. Will they solve them before it's too late? This is a fun romance with some sexy banter between main characters. There was definitely some steam coming off of my screen. This is my first book by this author and I can't wait to read more. Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed is my own.
Fun read. Too short though.
Fake to Real This book is such a sweet, sexy contemporary romance and the chemistry between the characters are undeniable. The humor is a bonus and losing a few hours of your day with this fast page turning book is so worth it. Libby and Paul both want nothing to do with Love and Marriage. They've been burned once and learned there lesson well. So, a plan of a fake relationship to a fake engagement is put into place to help Libby with her business and get Paul's family off his back. We follow along on the tale of friends to lovers and we just know these two will find there HEA after a couple interesting twists.
They "fake" their way to love. What gets me is they spend about 5 days of 6 weeks together and a fall in love? Otherwise it's a cute story.
Great storyline. Loved Paul and Libby, they make a great couple. Nice that Libby was the more driven one in the relationship, but didn't put her man down. Will read more by this author. Mjw
This is the 2nd book in the Behind The Bar series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this great series in the order intended. Paul & Libby meet in such a fun way in front of the bar where he works. He is the hero of the story right from the get go. Then they decide to enter into a fake relationship to fool his family for the upcoming wedding of Paul's brother. Libby, on the other hand, needs his brother's approval. Paul is the answer to several prayers. Assuming they can pull this off. With the sparks flying between them it is only a matter of time. Pretend can only last so long. Really fun and exciting read! I enjoyed all the joking and sexy times. This story kept me on my toes and this series is just getting better and better. I can hope we will get to see what's next.
Somehow the sequel to Stefanie London's Behind the Bar series turnrd out better than the original. Cute read.
Excellent! Hot romance, interesting story line and well written... Short (186 nook pages) but a quick read well worth your time... Enjoyed this one a lot and could not put it down till it was finished... Will look for more by the author...
What happens when two people who have been hurt by love agree to pretend that they're involved? Paul has given up on love when his girlfriend cheated on him with his cousin. Libby Harris was dumped by the man she loved and is bullied by her controlling father. Now she doesn't trust men and their motives. What happens when she finds herself with a sexy man who makes her feel protected? Paul and Libby have great chemistry. Too bad it's all make believe. Paul and Libby are such interesting characters. I liked them and wanted them to find each other. Their vulnerability broke my heart. I hoped that they would find the happiness that they deserved. Paul is such a stubborn man. I wanted to shake him and tell him to accept that he and Libby are perfect for each other. This story was touching and romantic. The secondary characters were colorful and fun. I loved being at the wedding of Gracie and Des (from the first book). I enjoyed Paul's family and their lively dialogue. Stefanie London wrote a fast paced and romantic story that kept my interest. I'm enjoying the Behind the Bar series. I hope that there will be more books to read.
Paul wants to get his family off his back. Between his mother pushing him to settle down and start a family and having to see his ex starting a family with HIS COUSIN, he needs to find a way to convince them he's turning a new leaf. Libby has put it all on the line to start her own company. Her father is not pleased and now a high profile competitor has blown any chance Libby has to succeed. Paul and Libby enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement that on the surface is a perfect way to get them both what they both want. But when the line between reality and pretend blurs things get crazy pretty fast. I loved Paul and Libby together. The secondary characters were great too and I can't wait to read more from London.
My Thoughts: After discovering Stefanie London from the first Behind the Bar novel, The Rules According to Gracie, I can't stop myself from standing by with grabby hands for the next book. When I found out about the second book in the series AND that it was going to feature a fake relationship (that trope is like chocolate to me), I knew I needed it straight away! I was charmed by both Libby and Paul from the very start. They have their own goals--hers is to get her product off the ground and his is to get his family to stop bugging him about getting married. Although they claim their fake relationship is all for show, their chemistry charges in to tell them otherwise. While I adored the romance (because it was a HECK of a hot romance), I think what I loved most was the unwavering support they had for each other. They both had their strengths and weaknesses, and each of them knew how to bring out the best in the other. Which is what made the romance more than just a fling for show. Pretend It's Love was a delightfully endearing love story! I seriously couldn't stop loving Libby and Paul. The growth in the characters was believable, and their interactions super sweet. Paul's insistence on the nickname he gave Libby (Tiger) was both funny and lovely. Can I have more Stefanie London books NOW, please and thank you very much? My Rating: Very Good
What a great book. This is the book version of the perfect romantic comedy movie. Paul and Libby have issues and they need each other so they make a deal. This is a great story of pretend becoming real and a sweet little happily ever after. I loved it! I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 stars I really enjoyed Pretend It's Love. What a fun and entertaining read this turned out to be. I enjoyed watching Paul and Libby get together. They had amazing chemistry and a strong attraction that you could see/feel right from the start. I liked both Paul and Libby, they were good people who'd been hurt in the past that left them feeling love and marriage was not on the cards for them. My heart was full of feels seeing them work through their fears and learn to trust their feelings. They truly were perfect for each other. Overall this was a heartwarming, fun and entertaining read, I highly recommend this book.
With a sweet and sassy heroine and a sexy hero, this 'relationship of convenience' story is a fun, quick read that will leave you smiling. When Libby meets Paul, a quick conversation leads to a business proposition - he'll help get her line of specialty drinks into his brother's bar if she'll pretend to be his girlfriend at a family wedding. They have chemistry between them and can easily fake their way through some family gatherings. But what happens when their pretend relationship starts to feel a little too real? I read and enjoyed Paul's brother Des's story so I was quite looking forward to this one and it was a delightful read. Paul and Libby both have some issues with trust - Paul because of a previous bad relationship and Libby because of failings on the part of her parents. They've both agreed at the start that this will be just a partnership in name only - no sex, no emotions. Naturally the no-sex proviso falls by the wayside quickly as the attraction between them is too good to pass up, leading to some sexy scenes. More importantly though, Libby is the first to realize that her feelings for Paul have changed and is willing to lay it all on the line in the name of love. I really liked her character as a no-nonsense gal (though with a tender heart). Paul is the quintessential playboy, the love them and leave them type ever since his disastrous past relationship. He's charming and flirtatious and uses these qualities in abundance with Libby, even though he doesn't intend to feel anything serious for her. By the time he realizes what he could have with her, it might be too late. Both Paul and Libby's families play key roles in the story and show just how different family dynamics can be. The plot moves swiftly and the happy ever after was just right. 4 stars (and hoping Paul's friend Noah might meet his match in an upcoming story!).
This was a sweet and spicy quick read that flowed very very nicely. I enjoyed the pairing of Libby and Paul. They were very similar in their self worth and wanting to prove themselves. And their immediate attraction was a whole lot of fun. Paul and his innuendo sayings, get a fan. I loved seeing them get to know each other and their interactions with his family. Very sweet. And when they defended each other, big time sighing and loving both characters. But my favorite part was a very special scene that was way too heartmelting, loved Paul a little more then. Well actually there were two scenes where he just makes you swoon, but the first one was the best. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
Paul Chapman is not in the market for anything resembling a serious relationship, his family is constantly pressing the issue of marriage and babies, and he doesn't want to hear any of it! His brother is getting married soon and he is expected to attend the wedding, which has him dreading showing up at the event alone, and setting himself up for more lectures from his family. If only he could find a girl who wouldn't mind playing arm candy for the night, and expect nothing in return. He sets his sights on Libby Harris, he thinks she will make the perfect fake girlfriend. Now he just has to convince Libby it's a good idea, and surprisingly she agrees on one condition...he help her out with a little business venture. Once the deal is made all they have to do is stick to the plan, which seems easy enough to do... This was my first experience with Ms. London's work and I have to say I found it to be quite an enjoyable read. The story line was a very inventive take on the friends to lovers premise, and proved to be quite entertaining. There was a smoldering and intense chemistry between Libby and Paul which helped to create some very hot and steamy love scenes. This was a very impressive first read for me, and I think it's safe to say Ms. London has earned herself a spot on my favorite authors list with this one!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
I give this one 4.5 stars!!! This story was well written and you immediately fall in love with the characters and become intrigued at how things are going to turn out in this story. I read this one in one sitting. I wanted to know how things ended for Paul and Libby!! Paul is the manager of the bar where Libby is trying to sell her drink mixes to. Libby think that if she can just get her stuff in front of people at an actual bar that her sales will take off. When she is denied at first, Libby knows that she has to do whatever to get her business off it's feet. Now that Paul's older brother is engaged and they are planning the wedding, Paul knows that he is going to be the next one on the families' list to get married and he is going to be help to his brother's standards. Paul is not looking forward to the wedding at all because his ex is going to be there and she cheated on him with their cousin and is now pregnant with his baby. Paul is dreading the whole wedding thing. When Libby and Paul have an encounter when Libby twists her ankle, Paul takes care of her and gets her home that night. Things spark between them and the business plan starts to take form for both of them. This was just supposed to be a way to get what each of them want and no feelings will get involved. Easier said than done!! You need to read this story to see if Libby and Paul end up being together in the end or is it really just a business deal that ends at the end of it's terms?? Stefanie London keeps your attention through the whole story and makes you want to flip the pages as to the very end. Thanks for the great read. I love these types of stories!!
A business deal, I'll help you get your product in the bar, you act like we are falling in love. rules: no falling in love, no sex. easy enough right? Pretend it's love follows Paul and Libby as the deal with past hurts and try to step forward into a successful life without messy love getting in the way. An entertaining plot takes us through the ups and downs of launching a business and navigating a family wedding. With funny spots, insightful spits, sad and love its full of emotion- that keeps the book flowing. The characters are very likable and you can't help but want to see them succeed, overcome and find true happiness.
Loved this one. Paul and Libby were so cute and you knew right from the start no matter how hard they fought it, the were destined to be together. Paul had his heart shattered once and that was more than enough, thank you very much. So - no long term relationships for him ever again. Now if he could just get his family to accept that and get off his back. When he learns that his ex is coming to a family wedding he desperately wants to show her he's moved on but he has no idea who he can take to the wedding that won't get the wrong idea! Then he meets Libby. Libby has tried her whole life to get the one thing she craves - her father's approval. No way can she go to him and tell him her business is failing. She has to get the hottest bar in town to serve her product. She's devastated when the owner turns her down. Then she meets his brother Paul, the sexy bartender who could be her ticket in! This is a fast, fun, sexy read that will definitely get you smiling! I highly recommend it
No need to pretend, I loved it! I’ve been missing out – this is the second book in the ‘Behind the Bar’ series and I haven’t read the first one! I certainly enjoyed this one so will be definitely looking out for others by this author in future. Sometimes fate just drops opportunity into your lap and if you dare grab it, there’s no telling where it might lead! Libby Harris has always done everything she can to win her father’s love and approval but never feels like she’s succeeded. She was studying to become a doctor to follow in his footsteps when she discovered a talent making flavoured vodkas that others love. She decides to opt out of studying and have a go at making this her business. Needless to say her wealthy father, as usual, doesn’t approve. All seems to be going well though until a celebrity launches a similar product, causing all sorts of problems for Libby so she’s distracted when she encounters into bar manager Paul Chapman. Paul is also at an impasse in his life. His older brother, Des, is getting married and one of the other guests attending is Paul’s ex who he found with his cousin, both will be attending the wedding and she’s now pregnant. He doesn’t want to appear a total looser so wants to show up with a girlfriend. He suggests Libby pretends to be just that to help promote her business to his brother who owns the bar and to help him appear a winner. A win-win situation for both of them! Or will it be as the attraction between them makes this much more than a pretend situation. Can they give their love a chance? Will pretend become real? Can they find their own HEA – together? With a full range of brilliantly written characters, an intricately developed plot and engaging style this is a great book to escape into. I really enjoyed the contrasting family interactions portrayed. Paul’s Mum is Italian, a proper classic Italian Momma, keeping an eye on her sons, promoting traditional values and relationships, encouraging them to marry, have babies and find their own HEA. Just wait to you meet the rest of the family – sorry, daren’t say more or I’ll be giving out spoilers and I really don’t want to do that! Libby’s Dad is the antithesis of Paul’s Mum, appearing hard, uncaring about anyone else’s plans, focussed on everyone doing what he wants, bullying and threatening others in order to do so. Get ready for fun when Paul meets him for the first time! This is a great story with well developed characters and some fantastic interactions. The journey of Paul and Libby is so well written that the reader finds it easy to empathise and travel with them, feeling their angst, turmoil and uncertainty, desperate to encourage them to be brave, face their fears and fight for their happy ever after. It is one of those delightful romances that you pick up, start reading and actually don’t really want to put down until you’ve finished reading it. It has plenty of feel good factors in it and the ending leaves the reader feeling happy that things work out in the end. A great journey from everything feeling like it is going wrong, through to the HEA. It may well be a predictable ending but that’s what most of us want from our romantic reads and this has plenty of twists and turns en route to ensure this is a charming, fun read that is lovely to escape into! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
This is a fun contemporary romance that introduces us to Paul and Libby - two people that have both been badly burned in love and settle into a fake relationship to help them each achieve a goal. While this is a predictable tale, it is told in such a charming and fun way, that you can't help but love it and be captivated by it. This is a quick read that will bring a smile to your face and is perfect for romance fans.