Review: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely


Sometimes you need to find a boyfriend-for-hire in the most unusual of places…

What do you get when you mix a bad boy with a heart of gold and a smart & sassy heroine with a desperate need for a fake relationship? THE REAL DEAL, a brand new, standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely!
Get a copy of your next favorite feel good rom-com now!



April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on GigsForHire since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?


Can this book transform into a real person so I can give it a massive hug for making me feel complete and happy? Or better yet, can someone bring Lauren Blakely all the way to Mexico so I can give her a hug for always making my heart content with her insanely amazing romances? Someone please make it happen because I desperately need to tell Lauren how much her books mean to me. In the meantime I guess this review will have to do!

Fake relationship stories are my everything. They are the love of my life. Let’s just say that if they were a person we’d be married and have a child and a dog and a white picket fence, that’s how much I love them. Are we clear on the amount of love I have for that trope? Yes. Okay. Moving on. Because I love fake relationship books so much, my expectations when it comes to them are quite big but mix that with my expectations when it comes to a book by Lauren Blakely and you have expectations the size of the sun—well, no quite but close. Of course, while I went into The Real Deal with massive expectations I was also pretty confident because I knew in my gut Lauren would give me a fantastic book and that she definitely did.

THE REAL DEAL is full of fun times, family games, flirting, slow-burn moments and charming family members. It’s a story about two quirky people who help each other out with a fake relationship. They have to pretend they are in love for a week but what started as a charade quickly transforms into a real thing.

April and Theo, our main characters, are a very unique, lovable and brilliant pair. They are both fantastic at banter. Their connection is so strong they fall hard and fast but it never feels rushed because it truly feels like they know each other. Lauren Blakely is the best at writing getting-to-know-each-other dialogues and I can promise you they will have you grinning from ear to ear and believing you can fall in love in just a few days. 

Even though the story is told from both their points of view and you get to know them and understand them really well, there’s still some things about Theo that are kept in the dark until pretty much the end of the book. That just adds another layer of amazingness to the story. It makes it impossible to stop reading because Theo will steal your heart and run away with it and you will want to uncover every little piece of him.

Like always, Lauren Blakely had me feeling like I was on cloud nine the entire time I spent reading this book and I know y’all will feel the same way. This book made me smile the biggest smile the whole way through. And the ending is just to die for. Don’t you just love an ending that can give you all the feels and make you shed a tear or two from the happiness overload? Because if you do then you need to run to your closest bookstore and get your hands on this book right. about. now. 


Thanks to my lucky stars for making me win an advanced copy of this book!


5 / 5 flowers


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✦The audiobook is narrated by Zachary Webber and Erin Mallon!✦





When I clock out and head for the park, anticipation runs through my veins like a good buzz on a night out. A reunion booking could be my way out of trouble. A five-day gig might bring me very close to the finish line.

Along the way, I stop in front of a dry cleaner, check my reflection in the plate-glass shop window, and reckon that I look the part April wants: dark jeans, motorcycle boots, and well-worn T-shirt that shows off the ink on my arms. Tribal bands, a sunburst, and a compass. I haven’t shaved in two days, and my stubble is rough. If she wanted clean-cut and business attire, I’d have covered up the tats with a crisp white shirt and a fine silk tie, then slid a blade across my jaw in the a.m. If she wanted sophisticated, I’d have given her the smooth, James Bond voice to boot. She could have me as a country boy, even, in a pair of steel-toed cowboy boots and with the drawl to match.

But April wants the guy who might have screwed her in the restroom of a bar.

She wants gravel and sandpaper, ink and danger, shades and leather.

The more you give someone what they want, the more you get in return.

When I reach the park, I head to the Terrace Bridge. She’s not here, but I’m early, since I like to get a read on any and every situation. I scan the surrounding area, noting the benches, the nearby tables, the cool placid water gurgling under the bridge. June in New York City can seduce you or it can trick you.

What it has in store today is anyone’s guess. I lean my hip against the stone railing, and I wait. Two minutes later, I spot a threesome walking in my direction. My heart thumps, and I groan quietly.

Why does the universe do this to me?

Blond curls, lips like a bow, a tight trim waist. Even from several yards away, I can tell she wears little makeup—she has that fresh-faced, rosy glow about her, and something innocent yet knowing in her expression. Like Lily James, whom I developed a wicked crush on when I watched her in her latest movie.

April’s not tiny, but she’s not towering either. Maybe five-three, five-four. A delicious dream. Which translates roughly to “just my type.” She wears tight jeans, a long black shirt that clings to her figure, and a huge silver necklace with a heart charm that dangles between her breasts.

As if I wouldn’t already be checking them out without the pendant between them.

I’ve had many clients. Keeping it platonic has never been an issue since I’ve never been attracted to a customer.

Until now.

Looks like I’ll be getting familiar with how to resist temptation.




Everything you need for Date Night except the date :). Find the perfect date in the Real Deal!

$100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, $50 gift card to the movie theater of your choice, and $50 gift card to the retailer of your choice. ($200 value).

Enter HERE!



A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional second chance romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

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