cover image The Dating Charade

The Dating Charade

Melissa Ferguson. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7852-3100-4

Ferguson’s delightful debut follows a first date that turns quickly into a childcare quagmire. After yet another date with a man who forgot to mention he was married, 33-year-old Cassie Everson gives up on dating and focuses on her work at Girl Haven, a center for disadvantaged teen girls. Firefighter Jett Bentley has had a crush on Cassie since high school. After Cassie’s best friend, Bree, goes into Cassie’s dating app to set up a date with Jett, Cassie doesn’t even give Jett a chance. Undeterred, Bree and Jett conspire to create a surprise that hard-to-please Cassie can’t help loving. But after the dreamy date, both their nights take a sudden turn. Cassie has to intervene when one of her Haven girls, Star, along with Star’s two sisters, is threatened with being taken into foster care. Meanwhile, Jett is surprised when his sister, Trina, shows up with her twins and a new baby—and then disappears. Since both Jett and Cassie had told each other they weren’t ready to take care of children, each resorts, in a somewhat confusing plot twist, to shenanigans and misdirection to hide the fact that they are caring for children. While light on faith elements for inspirational fiction, Ferguson’s humorous and chaotic tale will please rom-com fans. (Dec.)