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Fashionably Fake: A Fake Relationship Hollywood Romance (PAPERBACK)

Fashionably Fake: A Fake Relationship Hollywood Romance (PAPERBACK)

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Pretending to be his girlfriend is a decision tailor-made for disaster.

Ros

Falling for a movie star is every fangirl's wildest dream, but in my world, celebrities like Jackson Levi don’t fall for broke fashion designers.

But disaster has a way of stripping away illusions.

He wants me to pretend to be his Hollywood sweetheart and save his reputation.

I barely survived the summer without falling into his arms. How am I meant to hold onto my heart while playing his doting girlfriend for a year?

Because I have no doubt, with stolen kisses and secret moments, the lines between pretend and reality will blur until all I see is a man whose magnetic charm might just spin our fake affair into something more.

Jackson

Every Hollywood player knows there's one role you'll never win — husband.

Blinded by panic, a slip of the tongue might just work in my favour.

I have one year to convince Roseline Butler what we have is more real than gossip rags and adoring fans.

One year for this wild Scot to prove that his playboy days are over… and a forever kind of love is just getting started.

She's always thought of me as a star, out of reach. Little does my darling Ros know, she's the one woman I was born to make shine.

Fashionably Fake is a fake dating Hollywood romance with a Scottish hero, set in the Kings of Screen world. It can be read as a standalone.

 

PAPERBACK - Book 4 in the Kings of Screen Series, by Morgana Bevan.

 

 

 Paperback 310 pages
 Dimensions 13.97 x  x 21.59 cm
 ISBN 978-1-916719-13-2
 Publication date 25 January 2024
 Publisher C Bevan Publishing
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Jackson
Ros stared at me from her doorway, her arms crossed, eyes spitting fire. Every time I saw her, I’d almost come to expect the gut punch panic that something amazing might slip through my fingers.
It didn’t matter how long I went between sightings, how long it had been since she’d stopped responding to my calls and texts, that need to win her had never eased.
A couple of years ago, that might have worried me. Now, I was tired. Of the expectations placed on me, of the vice-like grip of my past failures, of watching my best friends couple up and suck me into their new realities.
A month ago, I asked Ros out. Let’s just say I was still reeling from the rejection.
“We need to talk.”
“So pick up the phone.”
My eyes narrowed on the pixie haired menace. “I did. You screened me.”
“I did not,” she huffed and her eyes flashed with indignation. “There’s such a thing as time zones, Jackson. How about letting me wake up first?”
I crossed my arms and waited.
Last year, she might have gotten away with that lie. Now, I knew every tell. Her days of bullshitting me had come and gone.
Ros Butler avoided anything awkward or emotional. She never would have called because then she’d have to deal with what happened and that would make her feel awkward.
She sighed, her shoulders slumping. “Fine. I wouldn’t have called you back.”
I nodded, satisfied. “And that’s why I’m here.”
I glanced down the hallway, checking for prying eyes or the odd paparazzo who’d followed me into the building. Aside from an elderly neighbour shuffling towards the lifts with her little dog, it was thankfully deserted.
Didn’t mean it would stay that way.
“Can we have this discussion inside?”
She stared at me, chewing on her lower lip.
“Ros, please.”
Fuck, it felt weird, pleading with someone. It didn’t matter that we had an odd sort of history; the words never came easy to me. But I didn’t ditch my company’s first film premiere, hijack our jet, and fly across the United States without a bodyguard in the suit I’d worn on the red carpet last night to give in easily.
“I know I screwed up.” I held my hands out, trying to present a totally unthreatening image. “You wanted space, and I gave you that, but I need help, Ros. I need your help. Please.”
She stepped back, gesturing me in. I didn’t celebrate, couldn’t until I had her on the jet back to Los Angeles. Still, I smiled and brushed past her. Despite me going for friendly, she scowled at me.
“Stop looking at me like that, pixie.” I shook my head. “It’s all going to be fine.”
Her brow arched. “Are there paparazzi camped outside my door?”
“Not yet.”
“Yet being the important word.” She shut the door, but her hard expression didn’t slip so much as an inch. Ros was the queen of bravado and, unfortunately for her, she’d handed over some of her keys this summer. “I have a life, Jackson. What the hell were you thinking?”
My smile turned sheepish as I scratched at my bearded jaw. “I might not have been.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Shaking her head, she led the way into the living room. I couldn’t stop myself from soaking in every eclectic piece of her flat. I’d missed it.
My house in LA was catalogue perfect. Whites, creams, and greys. Stark and sprawling. Ros’s apartment was tiny in comparison, but it held so much life, so much colour.
It was rare that I’d need to be in New York. All of my business was in LA unless I was filming. Over the summer, I’d found every excuse under the sun to be here, to spend time with her. Just hanging out on her threadbare sofa filled me with more energy than an hour at the swankiest Los Angeles restaurant or bar.
She would never admit it, but she’d been grateful for my visits. Eva had just moved out West to be closer to her sister, my best friend’s wife, Abi. That left Ros alone with a half-empty apartment. Now a clothes rack lined the wall in the living room, blocking the TV. Faded throws and pillows swallowed the single sofa, while art prints framed it.
Despite how in place everything seemed, it had all been pushed aside to make room for her true pride and joy. A black iron sewing machine.
She’d quickly claimed the space they left, but that didn’t mean she’d taken it well. When asked, she’d put on a bright smile and wax poetic about all the benefits, knowing that no one would be able to see the dullness in her eyes or the pinch to her lips.
She hated it, and she stubbornly pushed through.
The first time I spotted it, I’d made up excuses to stay in New York for a full week and hung out with her every night. Then I’d returned periodically all through the summer. We’d tried out new bars, watched every cheesy film she loved, gone to shows and scouted every thrift store in New York City.
And I’d loved every second of it.
Living, laughing, breathing… without so much as a grain of concern that the person sharing all my time was faking their interest in me to further their career or would turn around and sell me out to the press.
Instead, everything we shared was raw and real.
A friendship I’d screwed up by letting my growing feelings and attachment to her get out of hand and control my mouth.
I bit my tongue at the urge to ask if the loneliness had gotten better. The answer wouldn’t help. It might even make her more suspicious. She wouldn’t appreciate me using our history to guilt her into a life-disrupting arrangement.
No, I needed to play this straight and cross my fingers she saw reason.
Ros took a seat in the only armchair in the room. She tucked her feet beneath her and fixed me with a hard stare. “When are you retracting your statement?”
I sat on the edge of the sofa, leaning forward and resting my elbows on my knees. Deep breath in. Here goes nothing.
“I’m not.”
If I’d blinked, I would have missed the switch flipping in her eyes. She went from pleasantly irritated to incredulous in less than a second.
“I’m sorry.” She laughed, the sound nervous. “I can’t have heard you right.”
“I’m not retracting my statement.”
Her jaw shifted, my one and only warning before she shot to her feet.
“Yes, you are.” She paced the tight confines of the living room, her pale face reddening. “I have a job, a career I’m working my ass off to build. This,”—she gestured at me, her eyes wild—“you, it’s not in the plans, got it?”
“I know. If there were any other way, I’d take it.”
“There is another way.” She stopped in her tracks, staring at me. “Retract the statement. Admit you panicked. That’s the other way.”
“If I do that, they’ll think I lied about the other story too.” I shook my head. “I can’t do that, Ros. It’ll destroy all of my credibility right when I need it. And it won’t just hurt me, but Shaun, Finn, and Nathan too. Your best friend —”
“Don’t you dare bring Abi into this.” She pointed at me, her expression shifting to deadly. “You don’t get to fuck up and then emotionally blackmail me into going along with your bullshit.”
“Shit!” I scrubbed a hand across my face. “Ros, I’m sorry…”
I’d barely started and already I was screwing this up. It wasn’t a simple ask. If she agreed, she would have to uproot her life, I was fully aware of that.
“If you were sorry, you’d swallow your pride and do the right thing. Instead, you’re here.” She crossed her arms. “Not that I want you to, but you’re terrible at grovelling.”
I bit my cheek, holding in a grin before she read my reaction wrong.
“I can get on my knees, if it’ll help?” I arched a brow at her and almost grinned when she blushed. “Or we could start with me ordering breakfast from your favourite diner down the street and pouring you an extra strength black coffee before we get into the details?”
“There won’t be any details.”
“Ros, please,” I groaned. “Work with me. Just a little.”
“No!” She started pacing again. “Not everyone is a big shot actor who can command people to do whatever the fuck he wants. I have a job, a boss, a life that didn’t end just because my best friends skipped off to LA to follow you bloody celebrities.”
“Maybe you wouldn’t have to move.”
She laughed mirthlessly. “Feed that line to someone who knows nothing about your life. I’m not stupid.”
“Okay, so that probably wouldn’t work.” I held my hands out, trying to placate her. “But I’d pay you. Just name your price.”
Her mouth dropped open. Her shoulders fell, the anger draining away as she blinked at me. Dread dug its claws into my stomach the longer the silence stretched.
“That way, you won’t be out of pocket for taking some time off,” I rushed on before she could formulate a response that would cement the destruction of my career and any chance of us rekindling our friendship. “I could pull some strings and find you an even better job in LA too if you didn’t want to stop designing.”
“I can’t quit my job with no notice.” She shook her head, muttering beneath her breath as she started pacing again. “And I definitely can’t just pick up another job in LA. It doesn’t work like that.”
Then she went right back to muttering to herself. I couldn’t make out more than snippets. Fashion Week, proving herself, a couple of unsavoury things about me that I’d begrudgingly allow. The vast majority of it was incoherent grumbling.
My grip on the sharp edges of my panic quickly started to wear off. Jimmy wanted us on a talk show as early as next week. No matter how many times I tried to reason with him on the flight here, he refused to be logical.
She hadn’t even agreed yet, and he and Audra, my publicist, had already packed her schedule with dress fittings, red carpets, conveniently public dates where at least two paparazzi would be ready and waiting to snap photos of us.
She’d always made fun of me for my fame, claimed to not want so much as a grain of it. It had been one of the many things that drew me to her, even if it was contradictory. How could she be a fashion designer with her own label and not be famous?
I should have conceded defeat, apologised, and walked out the door. Returned to keeping my distance until Christmas when Abi and Eva would force her to join us in LA. If I had any other choice, I would have. But there were no other choices. She was my only hope.
Her rant cut off as I stood. Hope flickered across her face, making my resolve falter for all of a moment. Only I couldn’t afford even an ounce of weakness. Not now.
So I squared my shoulders and brushed past her. Such a brief touch but I had to clench my fists to stop myself from reaching for her.
“What are you doing?” she asked, as I walked past her and into her kitchen.
I froze on the threshold. I always forgot how tiny this bloody kitchen was. How had the three of them shared such a small flat and not killed each other?
The cabinetry created a cramped U-shape but two people wouldn’t have been able to pass each other. Especially not if the fridge or oven doors were open.
She deserved so much better.
“Jackson!” Ros shouted, tearing my focus from the outdated and inadequate space. “What are you doing?”
“I was going to make you breakfast,” I said as I opened her fridge. Nothing but a bottle of vodka, a packet of shitty American cheese and a few mouldy tomatoes. Not even slightly surprised. “But maybe I should just order in.”
I shut the door and started opening cupboards. If I couldn’t make her breakfast, at least I could make coffee.
“What are you looking for?”
“Your coffee stash.”
She snorted. “Why the hell would I keep coffee in the apartment when the better coffee is at the street cart down the road?”
“Good point. Safer than you burning down the flat first thing in the morning.”
We both laughed. The first real, genuine laugh between us in a month.
Fuck, it felt good.
If she just said yes, we could have this every day.
“Did you make it to that immersive Great Gatsby show?” I asked.
“No. I didn’t go.”
I wanted to ask why, but held the question in.
“Did Abi invite you to the premiere?” I asked, knowing full well that she had and Ros had refused. “I was surprised you weren’t there last night, at least for the catch up time with Abi and Eva. Minus the drama, you would have loved it.”
“She did, but I had things I needed to do here.” She shrugged.
“Why don’t I believe you?”
“What’s not to believe? Work keeps me busy. I live in the best city in the world.” She planted her hands on her hips, staring me down like she could actually cow me.
It was an oddly endearing sight.
“There’s no one in the apartment to complain about my machine running or to get annoyed when I miss dinner because I’m focused on my latest project. Life is great.”
“Right.”
Sighing, she relented. “Fine, it’s been lonely here and if you hadn’t pulled your shit, I would have been there, enjoying all the free booze and critiquing all the outfits. Happy?” She glared at the cabinet behind my head.
That pang of guilt returned to stab me in the chest. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your problem. I manage perfectly well on my own, like always.”
“I never said you didn’t.”
Her brows climbed.
“What? I didn’t.” I took a deep breath, getting my voice under control before I made this worse. “It is my problem. I know you well enough, Ros. Being away from your friends is making you crazy and, if it wasn’t for me, you would be in LA right now, enjoying time with them and getting a break from feeling lonely.”
“Don’t start.”
“If you accepted my offer, you’d be in LA, with Abi and Eva within easy reach at all times and zero concerns about money.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Would accepting my offer be so bad?”
She glared at me. “You can’t buy me off.”
“You’d enjoy it. You know you would.” I smirked. “All the red carpet events, talk shows, galas, private parties. A personal stylist and easy access to the latest fashions.”
She pulled a face that confirmed I was right.
Never one to quit while I was ahead, I leaned closer and dropped my voice. “You want to wear haute couture to a premiere? Met Gala? No problem. Want to grill a particular designer for industry secrets? I’ll set it up.”
Her eyes fell shut on a shiver of delight.
“You hate being sensible, Ros, so stop trying.” I took a step, closing the distance between us. Her eyes narrowed, but she didn’t back up. Minor success. “Let me help you escape. Just for a little while.”
“Hypothetically, if I said yes,” she held her hand out, silently cautioning me to keep my mouth shut when excitement shot through me. “If I said yes, how long would our arrangement last?”
“A year.”
“A year!”
“I tried. I promise I did.” I shot her an apologetic smile. “They think anything less would look suspicious.”
I thought I finally had her. I took a step towards her, forcing my most charming smile to my lips.
“We would— No!” She shut her eyes, shaking her head. “I don’t need to know. I’m not doing it.”
“Just think about it.”
“I don’t need to.”
I fixed her with a ‘get real’ look. “Forget the last month.” I stared into her face, willing her to hear the truth in my words. “I can’t handle this on my own. As my friend, I’m begging you to help me.”

Tropes

Fake dating, he falls first, opposites attract, resisting a charming rogue, only one bed, bet/wager, fish out of water

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