by Ali Parker
“My Fake Fling” by Ali Parker is a second chance romance with interesting and engaging characters. It’s the first book in the ‘Bancroft Billionaire Bachelors’ series. This book can be read and enjoyed without having read any other books by the author, who has written enjoyable books about other members of the Bancroft family. I do have to warn you though, don’t start this if you only have a short time to read and think that after a couple of chapters you’ll put it down and come back to it. That was my plan, and I couldn’t put it down at all!
Reese and Thea were together for years when they were both in their 20s, and then he decided they were too different to make a permanent go of things. She was devastated. Reese also risked his relationship with her older brother, who was his best friend. Ten years later, for complicated reasons, Reese asks her to be his platonic date for a business-related event. (I’m leaving out a ton of details because it’s a great story and I don’t want to ruin it for you). Thea runs an animal shelter and has done so since the day he dumped her. To entice her to agree to help him, Reese links it to assistance for the shelter. This is a romance novel, so as you’re reading it you know the general direction in which it will head. The way it gets there though … that’s the magic.
There are several storylines woven into the main romance story. Reese’s father is missing and some kind a foul play seems likely. Thea’s widowed, lonely father is being cruelly manipulated by a money-grubbing younger woman. The neighborhood surrounding Thea’s animal shelter has been going downhill for a long time, and at this point it’s dangerous. Her best friend is having problems with that woman’s teenage son. Thea is having major problems with the neighbor who wants her thrown out of her house. Yes, it’s a lot. But it never gets confusing; everything is woven together perfectly.
I rarely like second chance love stories because I find them so depressing, even with the usual happy conclusion. I always think about all the years wasted for the characters and that’s just a sad thing! However, this book is one of the instances where it really works well. Both main characters are likable. Reese does a stellar job making up for how badly he hurt her years ago. The dialogue and banter between Thea and Reese feels authentic, as does their physical connection. Dogs play a key role throughout the story, and that’s always a good thing. I thought the ending was terrific, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Continuing the overarching story arc that started within this book promises to be entertaining and exciting.