Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is ten favorite novellas and short stories. I don’t read a ton of novellas and short stories, so I had to go a few years back to get a list of ten! All of these books are under 200 pages and I rated all of them at least three stars.
Cara Russo’s grandmother insists that she needs to get married if she wants to keep her graduate funding. And while Cara’s not thrilled at the prospect – and she doesn’t even know if her grandmother would make good on the threat – she needs to find a fiance, and fast. She wouldn’t do anything quite so crazy as actually getting married, but she’s not above hiring an actor (or an escort) to play the part.
Toby Hunt has watched his best friend’s little sister grow from an annoying little girl to one of his closest friends. He’s helped her navigate a number of challenges, but he just can’t let her hire an escort to please her grandmother. (Talk about dangerous!) Instead, Toby will take care of everything for the fake engagement. He just hopes that Cara’s still on board when she finds out her fake fiance is him.
As you’ve probably noticed, I love friends-to-lovers and I love the slightly forbidden feeling of a brother’s best friend romance. I even love the fake engagement that turns into real feelings trope. But somehow, despite all of the people I follow on Goodreads, all of the book blogs I regularly read, and the twelve thousand author mailing lists I’m subscribed to, I didn’t hear about Personal Escort until Indie Sage PR emailed to ask if I’d participate in a blitz. I knew right away that this would be a book I loved, so I signed up even before reading. (Then I preordered the book. Then I read it, in its entirety, on the day it came out.)
It was so good! This isn’t my first Ainsley Booth book, but it is my favorite so far. Cara and Toby were cute, their relationship was adorable, and I loved how little angst they had. There were no purposeful miscommunications, no petty arguments, and they actually behaved like you might expect longtime friends who start feeling some attraction to behave. Their romance moved a bit quickly, but at less than 200 pages and given the plot of the book, I guess that was sort of the point.
I have a few more of Ainsley Booth’s books gathering dust on my virtual TBR shelf. I’ll have to dust them off and dive in.
She needs a face fiancé. He’s secretly falling in love. Cara Russo needs to get married. Or at least, make it look like she got married. Toby Hunt can’t let his best friend’s little sister rush into anything foolish. So when she needs to hire an escort, he says he’ll take care of it. Now he’s waiting for her at St. George Station. This billionaire rom-com modern fairy tale was originally published in the Love in Transit anthology. It has been expanded for single title publication.
“I can’t stop thinking about our kiss,” Cara whispers into her phone. “How if things were different, it might have been the start of something.”
I fold myself into the armchair in the corner and lean back, closing my eyes as she talks. I picture the words sliding over her lips.
Don’t think about her mouth.
“Why did even we stop kissing? That was a mistake. You could have taken me back to your hotel that night, you know. We could have done so much more…”
I swallow hard. If I say something, if I push the conversation where I want it to go, she might stop me. If I say something, I might stop me. The spell might snap and I’d realize how stupid an idea this is.
You know how stupid—
I turn off my brain because thinking is definitely going to ruin this moment. “That’s exactly what would have happened, too. I’d have done everything to you that night. Kissed every last inch of your body and made you scream my name.”
If I thought that would shock her, I underestimated her. She makes a soft, sweet sound of acquiescence instead. “Yes…”
One word. All I needed to hear, and my blood is pounding. This isn’t how I was going to do this. Tomorrow, I’m going to show her everything in my heart that I’ve foolishly held back.
Tonight, though, I can share other secrets I’ve kept from her. Every dirty desire she’s enflamed, every secret fantasy I hope to play out together.
The Billionaire Secrets series: ➡ Personal Delivery – Jake and Jana
➡ Personal Escort – Toby and Cara
➡ Personal Disaster – Marcus and Poppy (currently available in the Rogue Desire anthology)
➡ Personal Interest – Ben and Skye, coming soon
About Ainsley Booth
Mom by day and filthy romance writer by night, Ainsley is super grateful for caffeine, banana and blueberry muffins, and yoga pants. She is the USAT bestselling author of Prime Minister and Hate F*@k and also writes sexy small town and military romance as Zoe York.