In her second novel in the Men of St. Nacho’s series, Z.A. Maxfield brings the reader further into the wonderful world of Epic, who is so much more than meets the eye. A Flighty Fake Boyfriend features a lavish wedding scene, long walks at a posh resort, a young man with a sexy dominant streak, and an older one with little time other than to work himself near to death for a very good cause.
Ryan works for a non-profit that tracks down sex traffickers and the like in order to bring the victims home. While Ryan himself is more an information tracker, he still gives hours over the normal workday to bring justice and hope into a dark and deadly world. On a rare vacation, Ryan travels to St. Nacho’s as a stopover before he goes to the wedding of his wealthy ex-boyfriend. In a sudden turn of events, Ryan finds himself without a date to the event and asks Epic to help him out and be his plus one. Epic readily agrees and the two of them are off to the gorgeous five-star resort where the wedding is to be held.
Between shopping, sight-seeing, fancy dinners, and evening strolls, the two men finally succumb to their growing attraction. It is here that Ryan will discover more than a few things about himself—the least of which is that he never fully got over the loss of his ex, Luis. But with Epic’s help, all that changes and the two men realize they fit together so well that it actually begins to frighten Ryan, especially when Epic is faced with a major change in his life after they return to St. Nacho and Ryan has the chance to make what he has with Epic more real. But all of Ryan’s bleak thoughts about his chances to ever find “the one” may prevent him from taking the chance on a happy ever after with Epic.
I adore Epic. Those who read the first in this series will remember him as the feisty waiter at Bistro and his ever changing name due to him losing his own name tag to many times to ask for yet another to replace it. Hence, he takes whatever badge is available, giving him a different name each time Ryan sees him. This story is an age gap, BDSM light D/s story filled with lots of emotion and gorgeous romance. Ryan is in desperate need of someone to take care of him—to remind him to eat, to quit smoking, to breathe and not always work, and Epic is the man for the job. Despite his younger age, Epic is brilliant and funny, usually self-assured, and always positive. But beneath all that, there is just a touch of vulnerability in Epic that makes him so very lovable. His desire to dominate is a perfect foil to Ryan’s need to be guided, both in the bedroom and out. But Ryan’s low self-esteem, his utter lack of self-preservation, and his over-the-top work ethic make him gun shy of any kind of relationship, primarily because he feels he doesn’t deserve one since he screwed up his chances with his former boyfriend. It takes Epic to unravel most of those defenses and bad ideas, but not even he can break through every barrier Ryan has placed.
While I acknowledge that life and, hence, the stories set in St. Nacho are often on just shy of reality and more fairytale-like in their warm fuzzy feelings, I do think the scenario Ryan finds himself in one evening at the wedding weekend was a bit too much. I can’t go into detail, but suffice it to say the proposition he receives is kind of odd and I felt it came right out of the blue and just didn’t seem to fit into the rest of the novel overall. I felt that there should have been a better plot vehicle for the author to use to tip the scales and get Ryan and Epic into bed with each other. However, that may just be my own faulty opinion and you must decide for yourself. Other than that one small glitch, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to see who is featured next in this series. A Flighty Fake Boyfriend is a sweet romance with a marvelous pairing of two men who both find that perfect one they never knew they were searching for after all.