Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!
Today’s pick is an absolutely delightful fake dating romance.
While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory
This book takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it starts with our hero, Ben Stephens, who is running late to work. Ben works for an ad agency, and they have a major project pitch to give to a tech company. He did a lot of work on the project and knows it backwards and forwards; however, this doesn’t really matter because Ben knows his bosses and the rest of the team will do the presentation and take the glory while Ben, the only Black person, will be present to show how “diverse” their team is. At least, that’s how it normally goes, and that is what Ben is expecting. The universe has other ideas, and he gets a call from the rest of his team, who are stuck in L.A., which is an hour flight but a good six-hour drive from where they need to be, so Ben is going to have to give the presentation alone.
He arrives at the company, about to start his presentation when the most beautiful woman he has ever seen walks in the door to the conference room. This woman is Oscar-nominated actress Anna Gardiner, and she is the talent for this ad campaign. No one expected her to show up to the pitch meetings, and she was counting on that. Of course, she was charmed by Ben, and he got the contract. At Anna’s request, he also oversaw the entire project, and they spent a lot of time together on set.
During one of the shoots, Anna gets a call. Her parents are down near Palm Springs on a trip, and her father has to get rushed to the hospital. Unbeknownst to everyone, Anna deals with severe anxiety. She knew it would be ridiculous to rush down to Southern California to check on her dad when it was likely just dehydration, but she really started to freak out a bit. She called her assistant to get her a flight, but there were none that could work with the schedule. Ben notices Anna’s barely controlled freakout; one thing leads to another, and there is suddenly an impromptu road trip to Palm Springs.
The attraction between the two of them is palpable, and they don’t even try to hide their flirting and chemistry. They get to Palm Springs, but the hotel they get to only has a single room. They keep their physical fun a secret, but Simon, Anna’s manager, catches on. Simon’s not mad; he actually thinks it’s good for Anna’s image, and Ben agrees to no strings and only fun, just how they both want it (this is totally not sustainable).
This book was so incredibly steamy while also being incredibly hilarious.
It’s happening, readers — we’re bringing paperbacks! Whether you (or a reader you know and love) hate carrying around bulky hardcovers, you’re on a budget, you want a wider range of recommendations or all of the above, you can now get a paperback subscription from TBR, curated just for you by one of our Bibliologists. The holidays are here, and we’ve got three different levels for gifting (to yourself or others) to suit every budget. Get all the details at mytbr.co.
That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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