In the mood for a regency romance? Did you binge Shondaland’s Bridgerton on Netflix more than once, but are now having serious withdrawals? Be sure to check out Undercover Duke by Sabrina Jeffries (released May 25, Kensington) to help fill the void.
To be honest, when it comes to romance, hardly ever do I dabble out of the adult and YA contemporary realms. Yes, I have read and enjoyed some that have incorporated sci-fi, magical, fantasy elements to them, historical even, but a regency romance? I am a total newb.
Undercover Duke stars Sheridan, the Duke of Armitage, and Vanessa, who is to be wed ASAP, according to her mother. While our lovely Vanessa has eyes for Sheridan, she tells him that she has eyes for the playwright to what? To possibly make Sheridan jealous, when really, Sheridan thinks HE is being used to make this so-called playwright jealous. Good grief, enter the whole fake dating ruse with an extra layer of complexity, am I right? What’s in it for Sheridan? Does he have true feelings for Vanessa? Or, is his primary motive to get close to her is to get close to her mom so he can go all Spanish Inquisition on her and uncover some mystery of his mother’s first husband’s demise? Talk about some shady business. But, that’s why we love fake dating!
1. Every fake dating scheme comes with a set of rules that are always meant to be broken.
How many times have you heard the “no kissing” rule, or “no sex?” And, the classic “no falling in love?” Much like the Duke of Hastings, Sheridan isn’t one to marry. However, we all know that won’t last. And, as predictable as it is, we still love it.
2. The comical awkwardness that can ensue.
I can think of numerous awkward scenes that come into play. The beginning of a fake relationship is almost always accompanied with a slew of incredibly awkward moments. May it be with friends at social events or involving family in close quarters, when everything is all new, one just does not know how to act. Even when everything sounds easy and perfect in his or her mind.
3. Precarious situations the fake couple gets roped into.
Public displays of affection can be a little extra. When a partner in a fake couple has a motive to make a third party jealous, oh just forget it. Slobbery kisses and cringeworthy flirting can be quite hilarious.
4. The drama that surrounds the ruse.
A gossip channel is always the source, whether it be Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or The Society Papers. Someone somewhere has eyes on the fake couple and will conjure up all sorts of paparazzi-like rumors.
5. Forming a friendship becomes au naturale.
At this point, the dating may be fake, but the friendship bond is for sure happening. Somehow, it’s easier to open up to a fake partner than it is to a real one, so ha! Enter questionable feelings growing fonder, darnit.
6. The constantly growing blur between fake and real.
As the fake couple gets expertly good at fake dating, who are they fooling? They’re just getting comfortable. We all love how they have to stop, take a breath, and analyze their thoughts and rationalize their feelings.
7. When a fake partner performs genuinely loving gestures without any witnesses, that’s got to be real.
In the privacy of their own home, just the two of them, when no one is looking? Ah, swoon.
8. …Only to further intertwine conflicting feelings.
Oh, go on heart, you’re on your way to have a coronary.
9. The inevitable change to real dating.
Someone has to come forward and nip it in the bud, own up to all the heart stopping feelings, and squash whatever obscene expiration date the fake relationship had.
10. The rush of falling in love with the person you least expected.
Many romances with the fake dating trope star opposites—the bad boy and the good girl, grumpy and sunshine, famous and not famous—who find love, be better versions of themselves, and eventually, have their happy ending. And, it just doesn’t get old, I’m afraid.
So, is fake dating one of your favorite romance tropes, or what?