by Jackie Lau
Series: Holidays with the Wongs #3
Also in this series: A Match Made for Thanksgiving, A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas
Publisher: Jackie Lau Books
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
After his family’s matchmaking extravaganza at Thanksgiving, high school teacher Zach Wong is terrified of what his parents might do for Chinese New Year. Surely they’ll try to set him up yet again, especially now that his older brothers are in relationships. Zach, however, has no interest in dating, not since his fiancée left him.
The solution? Find a fake girlfriend to avoid his parents’ matchmaking.
Jo MacGregor, the town dentist, is the obvious choice. They both live in Mosquito Bay and have been friends for years, ever since they bonded over broken engagements. A few kisses and dates around town, and everyone will believe they’re in a relationship. No problem.
Except their fake relationship is starting to feel more and more real…
OK, just by the cover, you know there’s going to be yummy food in this one! Ginger beef! Nanaimo! Butter tarts! This is my favorite so far of the Holidays with the Wongs series, probably because I’m a big fan of both the fake dating and friends-to-lovers tropes.
“She was going to get exactly what she wanted.
Pity it would all be fake.”
Zach’s happy with his life in the small town of Mosquito Bay. He’s a high school science teacher, knows everyone, and gets to see his family at least once a week. He’s certainly not interested in another relationship, except that he suspects his family will try to ambush him with a girlfriend (again!) at Chinese New Year’s. So what’s a guy to do other than ask his best friend to be his fake date? For Jo, the town dentist, it’s an automatic yes – she’s been nursing a crush on Zach for years, after they met and bonded over their broken engagements at the local bar. But will the realities of fake dating in a small town ruin their friendship?
“She swiped the sauce off and wiped it on her napkin, but he wished he’d gotten a chance to suck it off her finger instead. His body didn’t seem to have gotten the message that this relationship was fake. He needed to have a few words with it in his stern teacher voice.”
This book kept me laughing constantly, from Jo and Zach’s disaster of a “first date” to seduction by pictionary. I loved that the fake dating extended for a few weeks around the actual family dinner (to make it more “authentic”) and how it gave Zach a chance to see Jo outside their usual drinks-at-the-bar night. Though this is still relatively low angst, there is a little bit around Jo hoping that the fake relationship will lead to Zach developing feelings for her, though her best friend thinks she’s deluding herself. The book itself is a good mix of sweet relationship bits (holding hands while skating, awww) and sexiness (what happens after the skating!), and of course there’s the wonderful Wong family (Ah Ma!) to provide warmth and more comedy. In previous books, Zach made fun of his brothers when they fell in love with their partners, and it was fun to see them turn the tables on him!
Overall, another delightful book, and I’m very much looking forward to the last book in the series!