The deal is simple—pretend to be Ethan’s girlfriend for a psych study and we each get a nice payday. Despite him being a dumb jock who willingly gets punched for fun at my dad’s boxing gym, I can handle it. I’ve mastered the art of keeping others at a distance. Especially after… Well, never mind that.
Except, I didn’t count on him not understanding the definition of boundaries. Suddenly, we’re having to fake being in love all over campus to keep up the ruse. And when he tries to slip under the barriers I’ve worked so hard to create? Yeah, that’s not happening. Even if it turns out he’s surprisingly understanding… and funny… and charming… and smarter than I ever would have given him credit for. Not to mention that muscled body from all that boxing…
No, that’s irrelevant. I may have misjudged him, but that doesn’t mean I’m interested. He has no idea what kind of baggage I’m carrying. A relationship is the last thing on my mind.
Even if I’m not fooling anyone.
|Not Fooling Anyone
|Lessons Learned (Book 2)
|Category / Genre(s):
|Enemies to Lovers
Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:
|First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
|14th April, 2022
Wow! Just fantastic
I’m a big fan of Allie Winters’ stories but I really think that it’s her new adult novels where she absolutely shines. I adored the first book in this series (Under Pressure) and this second book has somehow managed to eclipse even that one. If you’ve not read the first book – fear not – while Mia and Tyler from that book do make brief cameos in this one, this is all about Ethan and Lexie. It stands alone and comes complete with an HEA.
Lexie is having a tough life. She’s got a whole host of issues and trauma from her past that has shaped the person she has become: standoffish, stoic, serious and pretty much closed off to anyone. How Ms Winters managed to make me like her was beyond me. But like her I did. I understood her completely and rooted for her absolutely. Perhaps it had something to do with my mutual dislike of people – or perhaps it was because I too fell for Ethan throughout the course of the book.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good angsty, broody hero. But when a hero like Ethan comes along, I realise that I also love the under utilised sweet, smart, jokey and irreverent ones. But this is no nerd in the traditional sense – Ethan is a boxer and has a rock-hard body and a beard to round out his look. He’s got his own problems, too, but he’s an absolute sweetheart. He really likes Lexie and I loved that he was an honest, kind and trustworthy guy. No unnecessary drama for our Ethan.
As a pairing, Ethan is the ideal foil for Lexie and they balance each other out perfectly. They have an immediate connection and while that’s often antagonistic in the beginning – or at least Lexie tries to make it so – their interactions are in turns sweet, funny, deep and meaningful. You could see the progression of their relationship and changing feelings as you read.
And as well as the emotions playing out on the pages, it’s also HOT! It starts off slow but there’s a spark and you just know it’s going to ignite. When it does – I nearly swooned. Ethan propositioning Lexie at the frat party was about the sexiest thing ever.
This is a slight twist on the fake dating trope as Lexie and Ethan are doing it for a psychological study – ultimately for cash. It felt completely believable to me and I enjoyed the way that their faking slowly started to seep into their real lives – almost without either of them realising. It was like we readers had a secret from our couple and I felt smug in the knowledge that they were falling in love but didn’t know it. I do so like it when an author tortures a couple. Okay, in honesty, there are some heavy subjects featured in the book but it wasn’t too angsty and was never overwhelming in terms of difficult emotions.
Like I said, Allie Winters writes an epic new adult novel. I devoured this book and adored every single minute of it. I was looking forward to this book and it met and exceeded every one of my expectations. This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far and without a doubt earns its 5 stars.
* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *
Allie lives in sunny Florida with her husband, daughter, and two cats. A librarian by day, she spends her nights writing happily ever afters. She enjoys reading, playing video games, and all things Disney.