Arranged Love by Lacey Wolfe
They think they’re fooling their parents, but really, the joke’s on them.
Kayla Ames’s parents could win an award in meddling. Every time she turns around, they’re setting her up with someone new. Try as she might, she can’t convince them to butt out of her love life.
Ryan Newell isn’t looking for love. After having his heart torn to shreds by his ex, he’s determined to never again fall in love and leave himself that vulnerable to being hurt. His parents, however, believe he just needs some help finding the right woman, and their friends’ daughter, Kayla, might be a perfect match.
Realizing they both have the same problem—parents who won’t stop nagging them about finding a partner—Ryan and Kayla agree to an arrangement of sorts. All they have to do is pretend to date, and they don’t even have to see each other, they can discuss the details of their “dates” via email. But then the email conversations lead to real dates, and Kayla finds herself struggling to keep her feelings for Ryan in check as he’s made it clear love will not enter into the equation for him. Then Kayla’s parents suddenly announce they’re getting a divorce, and she begins to wonder if maybe Ryan has the right idea.
When it all gets to be too much for Kayla, she has a hard decision to make—agree to stay with Ryan and never experience love, or walk away for her chance to find it.
Leaning forward, Kayla grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. It was early still and since she wasn't tired, sleep wasn't an option. She could go out again. Maybe call a friend to go to a club or something. Or she could go back to the bar from last night…no, no she couldn't.
If she went out though, she'd have to change. And she was really comfortable. She grabbed the remote again, and as the TV turned on, she swore she heard someone tap on her door. Was Bunny chewing on something she shouldn't be?
Kayla got off the couch, but saw the rabbit had taken a corner and was lying there, far away from the front door. She peeked through the peephole and, to her surprise, she saw Doug, or whatever his name was. Why was he there? And what was he carrying in his hands?
Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. "Hi."
"It's nice to see you again." He smiled an oh-so-sexy grin. "Your parents sent me with food. They insisted I get this to you right away."
"They did, huh?"
He held the bag out to her and she took it. "Could I come in?"
She sucked in her bottom lip and weighed her choices. Send him away and be done with this, or see what he wants. What did she have to lose? "Sure."
Doug brushed past her into her house. She stood back a moment, watching him as he glanced around and then finally took a seat on her couch. Kayla joined the mystery man in the living room, tossing the bag of food on the coffee table as she sat on the love seat opposite of the couch he was on. Her stomach rumbled as she inhaled the aroma from the bag now sitting on the coffee table.
"So, what brings you by, besides the food?" she asked, and quickly added, "Please tell me your real name as well. It's only fair since you know mine."
"Kayla, and it's a lovely name. Mine is actually Ryan. Ryan Newell." He took a moment to rub his temple and proceeded. "Obviously, our parents are interested in us hooking up."
Hooking up…they'd covered that already. "I'm sorry. My parents are a bit over the top."
"I'd have to agree. Yours are a little worse than mine. Usually my parents leave me alone, but with your folks, it was like they were double-teaming me. They feel very strongly about you and I getting to know one another."
"Figures. I'd say we accomplished that in a way they probably weren't wanting."
He grinned again. Her heart fluttered. She needed to pack this man up and get him out of there.
"Why don't we give them what they want?"
What did he say? He couldn't really want to go along with them. "Excuse me."
"Let's date, for them. It'll get them to leave us alone."
She laughed. He wasn't serious, was he? "Brilliant plan, but I'll pass for now."
"Just hear me out. I'm not looking to fall in love. But if we pretend to be dating, our parents won't try to set us up anymore. We don't even have to see one another. We can discuss our dates and be on the same page with our stories."
"Wait." She held her hand up, staring at the dark-haired man that made her stomach do summersaults. "You're saying we aren't going to actually date. We never have to see one another. But our parents will think we are."
"I'm in." Kayla shrugged. "What could go wrong?"
4.5 Stars for Arranged Love! It is a fun, quick read that's more spicy than sweet. I enjoyed this story of family pressures and crazed exes. Ryan and Kayla pretend to date to get their parents off their backs, and even move in together to keep up the charade, but they end up with feelings for each other in the process. Seems perfect right? Wrong! Ryan no longer believes in love after having his heart stomped in the past, or does he? And Kayla has to decide if she's willing to settle for what he's offering, sex and companionship but nothing more. I thought the situation with Ryan's ex was played out extremely well, it could've gone over-the-top easily but it didn't. This one kept me turning the pages like mad! I only wish that the story had been expanded and the characters fleshed out a tad. There is a lot of emotions, conflict, and outside influences here. It would've been wonderful to see that explored in greater depth. Overall, a good book that's worth picking up! I recommend!
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