cover image The Love Plot

The Love Plot

Samantha Young. Berkley, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-43863-3

A straitlaced veterinarian and a carefree kid’s party entertainer fall in love while attempting to thwart family matchmaking attempts in this lighthearted rom-com from Young (A Cosmic Kind of Love). Raised by hippies, gig worker Star Shine Meadows is a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal. She makes no long-term commitments in her personal or professional life, unlike Rafe Whitman, the driven, handsome vet she meets while playing a princess at a birthday party. Buttoned-up Rafe is Star’s total opposite, but when he offers to pay her a huge amount to play his fake girlfriend and get his domineering mother and sister-in-law to stop setting him up on horrible dates, she agrees. Soon, fake dating turns into real love, and Rafe’s acceptance of Star’s quirks persuades the commitment-phobe to give a relationship a shot. Problems arise when Rafe’s wealthy family object to Star’s lifestyle (unbeknownst to Rafe) and she makes changes to appease them, confusing Rafe and driving a wedge between her and her friends. Will the desires of others destroy what Star and Rafe could have? Young’s take on the fake dating trope is sexy and charmingly unpretentious. This is sure to leave readers smiling. Agent: Lauren Abramo, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)