cover image Island Affair

Island Affair

Priscilla Oliveras. Zebra, $15.95 trade paper (298p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5017-9

The beachy first romance in Oliveras’s Keys to Love series (after His Perfect Partner) hits all the right beats of a fake relationship romance but rushes through them. Social media influencer Sara Vance planned to prove her stability to her judgmental siblings by bringing her first serious boyfriend on their family vacation, so when he stands her up at the last minute she needs to find a stand-in fast. Key West firefighter Luis Navarro is still reeling from his ex-fiancée’s infidelity when he sees a distressed Sara in the airport parking lot and asks what’s wrong. She responds with a desperate proposal that they fake a relationship. Though Luis’s driving trait is his desire to help people, it’s still a stretch to believe it when he agrees. Playing pretend leads Sara and Luis to connect on an emotional level, but both hesitate to share their feelings in fear that the other is faking it. Despite this, the majority of conflicts the pair encounters are conveniently dismissed as quickly as they’re introduced, leading the romance to feel too easy. Though the sunny setting will put readers in a vacation state of mind, this is strictly for diehard fans of the fake boyfriend trope. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore & Co. (May)