cover image The Boyfriend Subscription

The Boyfriend Subscription

Steven Salvatore. Afterglow, $12.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-335-04159-3

Salvatore (Can’t Take That Away) delivers all the feels with this charming queer revamp of Pretty Woman. Green-thumbed Teddy Hughes feels “unrooted” after he is bankrupted by his ex-husband and loses his dream store, Plant Daddy. Then he meets the überwealthy Cole Vivien in a dive bar and the men have a one-night stand. Cole, the owner of VERSTL, which is set to become the “first publicly traded sex work company,” is in need of a date for his sister’s wedding, and proposes to pay Teddy to be his fake boyfriend for a week. Cole does not kiss his hook ups as a policy, but sparks still fly so intensely that Teddy has to remind himself it’s not a “real relationship.” When he overhears Cole’s best friend Jason hatching a shady plan to get VERSTL some PR, he debates whether to tell Cole. Meanwhile, Jason puts a bug in Cole’s ear that Teddy is a con artist. Despite betrayals and doubt, Cole eventually realizes that “love is more than a declaration. It’s action,” leading to some swoon-inducing moments. Readers will be anxiously rooting for these guys to stop lying to themselves and others, and couple up for real. For fans of fake-dating romances, this will be a treat. Agent: Jessica Regel, Helm Literary. (Mar.)