All Remington Marlow’s father wants is for his son to be happy. But while Remington is happy enough with the occasional hookup, his dad thinks happiness is settling down with that special someone and starting a family. The picket fence, the dog, and especially the grand kids! When Remington proves to be just as stubborn as his old man, Jackson Marlow gets a wonderful idea. He cuts Remi off. Now, instead of living the billionaire life, Remi has to make do with his much smaller paycheck until he proves to his father that he’s ready to make someone his soul mate.
Elros Carter is living every day like it’s the last. His mother is dying, and he never knows if today is the day she’ll leave him. He takes every hour of overtime he can in order to pay the bills, not that he’s told anyone at work what’s going on at home. El doesn’t want their pity. He just wants his mom to survive one more night, one more morning.
When Remi offers El the chance to earn a little more money simply by pretending to be his boyfriend, El is — well, to be honest, it sounds like a good idea. It’s good money and his boss is hot (he may or may not have the tiniest crush on him), and more than that, the idea of El having a boyfriend, fake or real, brings a smile to his mom’s face. And for that alone, El would say yes.
Remi has grown up with money, and he isn’t shy about spending it. What he is shy about is his own heart. He had a boyfriend, several years ago, who he loved, who he thought loved him back. However, Harry was more in love with Remi’s bank account and the split was far from amicable. Now Remi is quick to flirt and fuck, but he’s not willing to get personally involved. Which is why a fake boyfriend is perfect. No hurt feelings, no expectations of love and romance, just a business agreement where they can both benefit. He has no intention to just use El, he also wants to do what’s right. He’d like, at the end of this, to be friends with the other man. Say what he will, Remi has been lonely in his ivory tower.
El can’t relax. He can’t help but feel guilty every moment he’s at work, even though it’s one of the few places he feels close to happy. At work he has a task to complete, he has a goal that can be accomplished. At home, he can’t even get his mother to feel up to a bowl of broth. It hurts, it hurts so much and there’s no way to go to get away from it. But when Remi and he are together, laughing in the kitchen, chatting on the couch, it’s … nice. For a time, he can forget about anything but Remi; for a time, he can take pleasure in the small things.
The fake boyfriend gambit leads to something more real as the two men realize that there’s an honest rapport between them. Neither Remi nor El realized how alone they were. El doesn’t just see Remi as either his boss or the guy he has the crush on; he sees him as a person, as someone he likes and likes talking to. When Remi looks at El, he sees a good guy who makes him feel comfortable and safe, and — used to getting what he wants — Remi reaches out for El, only to find El reaching back.
The pacing is good, the writing is solid, but … I don’t know. Something about the way it was all put together just didn’t quite work for me. The conflict in the book comes from a standard “it was all a misunderstanding” moments, and they didn’t feel at all genuine to me; personally, I don’t think the story really needed the inclusion of the ‘villain’ of the piece because he added nothing but artificial drama that was quickly brushed aside because neither character was stupid enough to believe him or believe in him. This is a pleasant enough story, but it’s one of those that isn’t particularly memorable. While I doubt I’d ever pick this up for a second read, other readers may find that it’s right up their alley.