Marty Valdez is a quiet, out, gay man who lives in fear of his family’s disapproval. A year ago he broke off his relationship with his cheating ex, Christian, a successful attorney. Since then, Marty is pretended to be dating “Tim,” an underwear model based in LA. As Marty’s sister’s wedding draws near, the pressure is on to produce Tim, or ‘fess up. Problem is, Christian is best friends with Sophia’s fiancé, so admitting his lie will embarrass Marty in front of his family and his ex.
Luke Myers is an FBI agent whose deep cover has been blown sky-high. Trying to nail El Dragon, a notorious Mexican drug lord, has been his objective for the past several years, and he has to go in hiding just when El Dragon is poised to appear on U.S. soil. Still, a chance meeting with Marty outside a gay club may provide the cover Luke needs…if he will pretend to be Tim.
There’s a bit of quid pro quo going on, and Marty is a terrible, but touching, blackmailer, or so Luke thinks. He’s used to being a one night stand, but Marty’s so sweet and (mostly) innocent that Luke is drawn to him—and his intrusive, but loving, family.
There are certainly enemies in their midst, as Luke’s identity could only have been leaked by fellow agents. Marty’s close family is straight and narrow (well, Marty’s not straight) law-abiding folks who work hard and live right. The idea that some of his family have gone astray isn’t in Marty’s head much, until he’s confronted with some very real bad guys that Luke needs to manage. The misapprehension that Marty has concerning Luke’s true identity is amusing, and allows for some fun conflicts. Also, Luke’s guise as Tim is so fun—he’s adored and abhorred, by turns. Expect Christian to have a hand in the latter.
I was amused and engaged in this one from the beginning. I love the fake boyfriend trope, and thought it was well executed, especially as Marty and Luke are strangers who end up falling for one another. That part was also well done. Marty’s family is the type that won’t quit–and their tenacity was honest and well-meant, even if they are meddlesome and overbearing–in the “I love you so much I’m going to ENSURE you have a good life” way, which was more charming than chafing, to me. There’s a lot of action in the book, with the wedding and the shake down of the baddies, so the pace is hopping. It’s the beginning of a series, and I’d totally grab the next book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.