Nick, a smart and rather geeky human college student, works in the writing lab as a tutor, helping other students make their way through research papers and essays. His life isn’t very exciting and his best friend, Cascade, a siren, is always trying to convince him he needs to get out and enjoy college life. Nick’s convinced himself he’s happy where he is, so he just keeps a low profile.
Alex is a wolf shifter who is in the running to be the next Alpha of his pack. It’s his birthright, but he’s feeling a little anxious because the other wolf in consideration for the position is equally, if not more, qualified. Alex thinks it may help his chances if he has a significant other by his side, but he doesn’t have one, and really isn’t all that interested in having one in the first place.
Alex comes to Nick with a proposition: pretend to be his boyfriend until after the Mardi Gras ball where the next Alpha will be chosen. In exchange, Alex will take Nick out to places and buy him food. Being a starving college student, the idea of free food is enough to get Nick to agree. The two begin to spend more and more time together, deciding that, even if Alex isn’t chosen as Alpha, they could be friends.
The Mardi Gras ball brings a surprise and throws a wrench into everything. What’s next for Alex and Nick?
I really wanted to love Fake Boyfriend. I love the whole fake boyfriend/boyfriend for hire trope. They’re usually formulaic…meet, make the deal, spend time together, get physical, fall in love, HEA. I have no problem with that formula. I figured that, with the shifter/paranormal aspects (because you all know by now how much I love shifters), this book would be even more up my alley than usual. I’m sad to say, I was disappointed.
First of all, Fake Boyfriend is a rather short book, so there’s no real time to develop the characters. Also, even though we’re told the college is full of paranormals (shifters, sirens, fairies, etc., are mentioned), they are not really explored.
I didn’t connect at all with Alex or Nick. I felt like I never got to really know either of them. Yes, one’s a shifter, the other a smart geek, but there must be more to them, right? They did spend time together, with Alex teaching Nick archery. In fact, I considered those few scenes to be the best in the whole book. If I didn’t know how the story was to end, I would have never guessed they were supposed to be falling for each other. I also didn’t feel the emotion of Alex’s outburst at the ball. He seemed to be pretty easy going and it seemed out of character for him. The big, final romantic gesture was pretty romantic, but truthfully, by that time, I’d kind of checked out. Also, since Cascade accompanied Nick, it wasn’t as awesome as it could have been.
There was no graphic content in this story. Alex and Nick talked about sex a bit, but the conversation was about previous lovers they had, and mention is made about the men practically living together at the end, but there were only a few kisses here. Now, I like sex in a story, but I don’t need it. This was not a problem with me whatsoever, but I did want to mention it because the blurb suggested to me that there is more shown here than there is.
There were a few background characters worth mentioning. The first is Cascade. She’s siren and Nick’s BFF. She’s trying to start a cosmetics company and I liked her. Alex’s pack friends were pretty cool too. I thought they were easy going, and I though the way they immediately took to Nick was nice, considering he’s a human. Zara is the other wolf in consideration to become Alpha. She was not portrayed as a bad guy as often happens in books like these. In fact, she was lovely. She and Cascade have the basis for a relationship of their own, and they were adorable together.
All in all, I can’t say I hated this book. In fact, I feel if there could have been more time and a little more detail about Alex, Nick, and the other paranormal aspects, this could be quite the story. Also, I see that one of the authors, Noah Harris, has a few shifter books available, and I have no problem checking them out.