A fashion designer and a textile manufacturer get swept up in a fake engagement on the eve of her big debut.
The second book in Alexander’s (Tempo of Love, 2017, etc.) Brothers of Theta Delta Theta series is set in Raleigh, North Carolina, where fashion designer Alexis Devers is about to launch her debut clothing line. At 30, she’s confident and refreshingly unconcerned with finding a man, but when she meets her brother’s college friend Bryan James at a step show, she can’t help her attraction. It just so happens that Bryan is the chief marketing officer of Royal Textiles, a family-owned manufacturer of clothing and leather goods, and the attraction is mutual. Bryan’s domineering father wants him to prove his value by signing a big new account, or he’ll give control to Bryan’s sleazy car salesman cousin, and Alexis’ line seems a perfect fit. Inexplicably, Alexis’ business partner decides to garner pre–fashion show publicity by telling the press about the designer’s nonexistent handsome new fiance, and a deal is born: Bryan will get Alexis' business and play the role of her fiance. While the fake engagement is a beloved romance trope, this one generates no tension, as both characters are unfailingly honest and caring and don’t seem to mind the fact that self-interested motives brought them together. As Bryan puts it, "The fact that we're attracted to each other will only add to the realism of this little game we're playing." The pile-on of convenient circumstances detracts from the plot. Subplots including Bryan’s devotion to a mentoring program for at-risk youth and Alexis’ successful attempt to extract her sorority sister from an abusive relationship burnish their characters but add little excitement.
A lack of tension and too-perfect leads mar a well-written romance with a nicely developed cast of secondary characters.