“Any Way You Dream It: An Upper Crust Novel” by Monique McDonell
Blurb: Sometimes when life throws you lemons, you create a fake fiancé. That’s exactly what Lucy does when her high school nemesis calls. She didn’t mean to lie. Really, she didn’t. But with nowhere to live and a car that has just decided to die on her, the thought of attending the reunion alone is one she can’t contemplate.
Cherie thinks arrogant, wealthy and way too handsome Chase is the answer to her friend’s dilemma and for reasons Lucy can’t fathom, Chase agrees. The man is too good to be true – he fixes her car, takes her to stay at his place – more castle than house – and seems to find her fascinating.
Life hasn’t been easy for Lucy and she has a hard time accepting anyone would believe Chase would be with her. Still, he turns out to be the perfect choice and in the month leading up to the reunion makes himself an indispensable part of her life, which may be the biggest problem of all.
Lucy knows life is not a fairy tale – she’s living above her place of work, her sister has run off leaving her with three kids and, when the weekend reunion begins, she has to go back to a town where her greatest humiliations took place.
Will her ‘romance’ with Chase be turn out to be the answer to her dreams or will the whole sham turn into just another nightmare?
“All I’m saying is, I’ve got my eye on you, Lucy. You’re my next project.”
“Fine.” I unlinked my arm and faced her. “First of all, I’m not sure you possess the matchmaking gift you think you do, but if you do, please keep your evil eye off me.”
“It’s not an evil eye. It’s a cupid’s arrow.”
“Well, aim that sucker elsewhere. I’m not in any way, shape or form in the market for a boyfriend.”
“A fling?” she asked, hopefully.
“Not even a fling.”
“You do know what they say: when you’re not looking….”
It was at that moment that my phone rang. I should have checked caller I.D but I didn’t. “Hello?”
“Hello, Lucy. It’s Patty Lewis.”
Great. On the list of people I least liked in the world, Patty would be on top. Patty was my high school nemesis and now she was married to my hometown sweetheart, Jacob.
“What can I do for you? But more to the point, how did you get my number?”
“Your mom gave it to me, of course,” she said in her saccharine voice. “And I’m calling because the high school reunion is in two weeks and I haven’t got your RSVP. I assume you’re coming because your mom says you’re doing really well in Boston, and only people with something to hide stay away from reunions.”
“I don’t have anything to hide,” I snapped. Well, apart from the fact that I was living in my car, not talking to my sister, and terminally single. “I’m just not sure with my work schedule that I can make it up to New Hampshire.”
“You can bring a date if that makes it less awkward for you. Even a girlfriend.”
I read between her lines: If you’re desperate and dateless and too scared to come back to town without a friend, then bring one, chicken.
That’s when I said it. The words were out of my mouth before I even thought about what I was saying. “Can I bring my fiancé?” I didn’t add my imaginary fiancé, of course.
“Your mother didn’t say anything about you being engaged.” Her voice held a very suspicious tone. I couldn’t blame her—considering that I was lying—and my mother would not be able to keep that secret. If I had a fiancé that my mother knew about, my entire home state would know it, too.
“I haven’t told her yet. It’s a secret. Naturally, I want to tell her in person. Don’t spill the beans yet, please?” I tried to sound all perky and conspiratorial.
“Well then, you’ll absolutely have to come so you can introduce your fiancé to your mother and the whole town. I, for one, can’t wait to see you. I’ll put you down for two tickets.”
The phone went dead and I wanted to die. Cherie was eyeing me suspiciously.
“Wow. I had no idea you were engaged, Lucy. No wonder you don’t want me to set you up. Have you been holding out on me?” She knew darn well I was a big fat liar.
“Shut up. Let me get inside and get a drink, and then I’ll tell you the whole, woeful tale.”
All of a sudden, sleeping in my broken-down car wasn’t the worst part of my day.
**Additional comments by the author: This is the second book in a series. If you sign up to my newsletter this week you can download a free copy of Any Way You Slice It, Book 1 in the series.
* * * * *
Monique McDonell is an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction, including chicklit and romance. She lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband and daughter and, despite her dog phobia, with a dog called Skip. Monique is a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen, whose anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read. She is also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. She has written five standalone romantic comedies and Any Way Dream It, is the second book in her new Upper Crust series.