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Dating Games Series #1

Dating Games Audiobook

Dating Games Audiobook

Contemporary Romance

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Regular price $4.99 USD Sale price $12.99 USD
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Heat Level

🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ - At least two intimate scenes, explicit language with a variety of sexual acts.

Tropes

Age Gap, Cinnamon Roll Hero, Beach Romance, Billionaire Romance, Fairytale Retelling, Fake Relationship, Forced Proximity, Hidden Identity, Opposites Attract, Rags to Riches, Rescuing Her From Mr. Wrong,

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My rules for being a Manhattan billionaire's fake girlfriend... No kissing. No fooling around. No falling in love. What can possibly go wrong?

Note to self: When your boyfriend dumps you on your thirtieth birthday, it's probably not the smartest idea to drink so much that you wake up in the same bed as the mysterious hottie wearing the gorgeous suit who you noticed sitting across the bar.

The only silver lining in my obvious lack of judgment is the promise of never seeing Mr. Suit again, not in a city the size of New York.

Or so I thought, until a story I'm working on about the country's most sought-after and elusive escort lands me in the same café as Mr. Suit.

So I do what any self-respecting woman of my age would do in my shoes... Try to ignore him.

But he won't let me.

Instead he makes a proposition that leaves me questioning whether I need to have my ears checked.

Be his fake girlfriend for a summer of wealth and excess in the Hamptons. In return, he'll help me win back my boyfriend's heart.

Juvenile? You bet.
Effective? Could be.
Bad idea? Most likely.

But what do I have to lose?
Apparently, a lot more than I originally bargained for.

Let the games begin...

Dating Games is a standalone modern retelling of Cinderella meeting her billionaire Prince Charming. If you like a sassy heroine, a sinful hero, and a whole lot of laughs, then you'll love this fake relationship romance.

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Want to read the first chapter?

Dating Games Chapter One

I’ve always had an affinity for the number three.

Third time’s a charm.

Past, present, future.

Beginning, middle, end.

Three is considered the perfect number, and not just by me. Many religions view it as a sacred number, a holy number. Even Plato recognized the idealism in it, dividing his Utopian city into three populations — Laborers, Guardians, and Philosophers. 

Three is also the “magic” number in fairy tales. A hero or heroine is often given three choices, or they overcome the obstacle on the third try. Think back to the beloved tale of Cinderella. When the prince searches for his perfect match, with the aid of a glass slipper, Cinderella’s is the third foot he tries after unsuccessfully attempting to shove it onto her darling step-sisters’ feet. There’s a tension inherently built into this number that has always spoken to me on an ethereal level. Throughout my life, everything always happened in threes, perhaps due to my own insistence.

I graduated third in my high school class. Granted, there were only a whopping ten people in my graduating class, but that made it even more significant, considering I was in the top 33.33%. I kept my circle of best friends small, only three of us. And up until now, I’ve only had sex with three people.

The first was my neighbor, Brent. There was no romantic attraction. I was almost eighteen and thought it best to have a practice round so I’d be fully prepared when it counted. Plus, we both felt like we were the last two virgins our age in all of Nebraska. Years later, I found out Brent was gay. I hope it wasn’t his experience with me that made him realize this.

My second sexual encounter was with Christian Murphy. He was the one I wanted to practice for. (Thank you, Brent.) Handsome. Popular. Smart, without having to try. I thought he was the man I would spend the rest of my life with, which concerned me, because he was only my second.

But when Trevor Channing walked into my History 101 class freshman year of college, it was suddenly goodbye, Christian, and hello, Trevor!

You know those scenes in movies where the heroine locks eyes with the leading man the first time and an explosion of orchestral music fills the background? That’s what happened with Trevor. Without saying a word, I knew he’d forever be my number three. My perfect match.

Which is why it feels like all the wind has been sucked from my lungs as I stare at him incredulously. I must not have heard him correctly. There’s no way those words came out of his mouth, not when we’re celebrating my thirtieth birthday at the sushi place where we shared our third meal after moving to New York.

All day, I’d been confident this was the night he would pop the question. After all, we’ve been together over ten years. Not to mention the fact I often said I wanted to wait until I was thirty before I got married. Surely, Trevor would have taken the hint that this meant he should propose on a birthday of such significance. Every sign pointed to me screeching “yes” after he got down on one knee in front of a restaurant full of strangers and poured his heart out. Hell, in my fantasy, he even shed a few tears because of how overwhelmed he was.

As is typically the case, my fantasy was so far from reality.

Perhaps Chloe brought the wrong batch of brownies to the office and this is the result of having mistakenly consumed one of her “special treats”, as she refers to them. Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep from pulling an all-nighter to rewrite my article for the magazine. Perhaps it’s due to the shot of Jameson I threw back to settle my nerves before heading here. But as I stare into Trevor’s deep-set hazel eyes, his expression filled with pity and something else I can’t quite put my finger on, I know none of those circumstances are true. 

The truth is my boyfriend just broke up with me.

The man I moved my world for so I’d be near him during law school.

The man I supported by working two jobs while he studied for the bar exam.

The man I imagined for myself when all other girls were dreaming of marrying that year’s boy band lead singer.

“Evie?” He cuts into my thoughts, snapping me back to the present. I used to enjoy listening to him talk. Now it oozes with betrayal. “Please, say something.”

I place my hands on the small wooden table, bracing myself as I draw in a deep breath. “Are you seriously breaking up with me?” My voice rises in pitch, unable to reel in my disbelief at this turn of events. My jaw tenses as I peer at him with an unfocused gaze. I’m convinced I’m in some alternate universe, like when Alice daydreamed about a world of pure nonsense, then ended up in Wonderland where everything wasn’t as it seemed. That’s got to be what’s going on here, too. Any minute, the White Rabbit will come scurrying in front of me. Right? Right?

Trevor leans closer, hushing me, not wanting to make a scene. He’s always been this way. He’s not boring, per se, but he can be quite…serious, perpetually worried about even the most subtle hint of impropriety. After all, he is a lawyer. His maturity was one of the many things I found attractive about him.

Until Trevor, I was convinced the entire male species was the same. That they only cared about when the next Call of Duty would be released, despite my naïve hope they’d eventually outgrow that kind of thing when they sprouted hair on their balls. It was a rude awakening when I went away to college and walked through the hallways of my dorm to see my male counterparts huddled in front of a screen, their fingers glued to game controllers in a way that solidified my suspicion they’d probably never touched a clitoris with such excitement. Hell, they probably couldn’t even find a clitoris. At least I’d never let them near mine.

Then I met Trevor.

Handsome.

Intelligent.

Mature.

I thought this was it. He was it. The person I was meant to be with. My Bogart, my Grant, my Gable. 

“Please, Evie,” he implores. My stare only becomes more harsh as I recall everything I’ve done for him, everything I’ve sacrificed for him...just so he can walk away after twelve years. “You have to understand how difficult this is for me.”

“For you?” I blink repeatedly. “You think this is only difficult for...you?”

He glances over his shoulder, anxious about anyone overhearing. If he wanted to avoid a scene, he should have considered that before breaking up with me in public. The restaurant isn’t too busy yet, considering it’s only a little after five. I’d originally thought it odd he asked me to meet him for dinner so early, but I figured he wanted to devote as much time as he could to celebrate my birthday.

Apparently, he forgot about that, too.

“I gave you over a decade of my life, Trevor. I did everything to support you, to make you happy, to make this relationship work. I sacrificed my own dreams so you could pursue yours. I worked two jobs while you went to law school so you wouldn’t have to worry about working and could focus on your studies. I’ve done everything for you. Every decision I’ve made over the past twelve years has been for you, for us.”

“But that’s the thing...” He blows out a breath, running a hand through his dark hair. “We started dating when we were eighteen, too young to experience life.”

“We’ve experienced life. Together.” I reach across the table and cover his hand with mine. The familiar warmth of his smooth skin comforts me. But it’s fleeting. Too soon, he pulls his hand away. The corner of his mouth twitches, a nervous tick I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. 

“We’re not the same people anymore.”

“People change all the time. It’s part of being in a relationship. We all grow, regardless of how long we’re together. The important thing is that you love the person you’re with. I loved you back then. I still love you now. And I know you love me. That’s why this is so hard for you. Because you know you’re making a mistake.”

He shakes his head, slowly, deliberately. “I’m not, Evie. We’ve grown apart. We no longer want the same things.”

“All I want is you,” I say, grasping at straws.

Standing, he re-secures the button on his suit jacket. Then he retrieves his wallet, throwing several bills onto the table to cover the tab. At least he didn’t break up with me and expect me to pick up the check. 

“But I no longer want you. I need to think about my future. I work for one of the top firms in the state, if not the country. If I want to be taken seriously for partner, I need to consider the type of woman they’d want me to be with.”

His words are like a knife to the heart, yet he manages to hold his head high, acting as if he hadn’t inferred he was choosing his job over me. 

“And you don’t think they’ll take you seriously dating me.” The truth leaves a sour taste in my mouth, one even the aroma of ginger in the air can’t alleviate.

“Can you blame me, Evie? This is a very conservative firm with a client list that includes direct descendants of the Vanderbilt’s, Rockefeller’s, and Kennedy’s…to name a few.” He lowers his head, avoiding my gaze. “Didn’t you ever wonder why I never asked you to come to any of the firm’s events?” He glances up, chewing on his lower lip. “I can’t exactly tell them what you do for a living, not when it entails doling out ridiculous dating advice or recommending vibrators.”

I blanch, my mouth growing slack, my eyes wide. “You always knew I wanted to be a writer. I was an English major when we met. The fact I’m doing what I set out to do shouldn’t come as a huge shock to you, Trevor.”

“It’s not. It’s what you’re writing. You were one of the few girls I’d met who seemed to know precisely what she wanted and had a plan to achieve it. I knew you wanted to work in the magazine industry. I thought you’d want to do more than pen fluff pieces about how a woman could tell if a guy’s really into her. Maybe your parents are right. Maybe you’d be better off if you got your teaching certificate. Then you’d have a more respectable profession.” 

He holds my gaze for a moment longer, then steps back. “You can stay in the apartment until you find a place of your own. I’ll be working long hours over the next month anyway. I’ll sleep on the couch for the time being. You’ll barely notice I’m even there.”

“You’re kicking me out?” I practically screech.

“Don’t say it like that. Technically, it is my place. I pay the mortgage. My name’s on the title. But there’s no rush. We can be roommates until you’re able to find your own place.”

“Roommates?” I ask, still unable to wrap my head around this.

“I don’t want this to ruin our friendship. We started out as friends. I hope that doesn’t change.”

I shake my head, at a complete loss for words. How can we be friends after this? I’m pretty sure we crossed that line, oh, about eleven years ago when he told me he couldn’t imagine his life without me. I still can’t imagine my life without him. Why did he suddenly change his mind?

“I’ve got to get back to the office,” he says after stealing a glimpse at his watch. “I’ll see you...” He stops short of saying anything more than that. Then he turns from me, everything about his stride confident, as if he didn’t just end a twelve-year relationship.