Release Date: February 23rd, 2021
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Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.
That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.
Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic–from NYC and all the way to Spain–for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me.
Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister’s wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie?
Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.
“When I finally kiss you, there won’t be any doubt in your mind that it is real.”
In her visually stunning debut, Elena Armas delivers a story that has some of the best tropes in romance and she spins a tale that is so addictive that you’ll stay up till 2am reading even though you’ve got a long day of work ahead of you the next day.
To set the scene, Lina is single after leaving her Spanish hometown to come study in the US. She’s got this great job, she’s a team leader and her life is looking pretty great. But her sister is getting married and Lina feels weird showing up alone, especially when her ex is part of the wedding party and has a new fiancee. So what does one do in a situation like this? Find a fake date. A fake boyfriend. And of course it ends up being the one person she loves and loathes at her place of work – Aaron. He’s all broody, grumpy, scowly and handsome. But he’s also Lina’s only chance to really impress the pants off of her family and attend this wedding painlessly.
But is everything going to go according to plan?
The Spanish Love Deception is such a wonderful book. The thing I loved most about this was how Elena sets the scene and makes you feel like you’re right there in every page. Written in first person with a single point of view, you’re getting only Lina’s side of the story, but she’s such a relatable and fun character. She’s got all your usual worries about work and friends and men and how she wants to strangle all the misogynists in every room and kick every idiot to the curb. You’ll find yourself chuckling and giggle at many points because you are Lina and Lina is you.
When it comes to tropes, Elena brought on the gamut of the best ones – we’ve got a beautifully crafted enemies to lovers, we’ve got an office romance, we’ve obviously got a fake relationship (the title alone says deception, duh!), a one bed only situation and we’ve got the most incredibly frustrating slow burn! I’m not kidding, it’s delicious, but I was so ready to see where they were going.
“I was welcomed by the image of a man on the brink of losing control. His gaze was hazy, clouded by the same need that was pumping through my bloodstream.”
Aaron and Lina are a great pairing and they fit into these tropes wonderfully. Aaron is sexy, guys. Sure, we don’t see a lot of him and what really might appeal to you till they’re in Spain, but he’s got that gruff, no-nonsense, grumpy, needs to restrain himself thing going on and it’s very endearing. I know that’s weird to say, but Aaron Blackford is all kinds of amazing. The transition from being this gruff co-worker to being a doting fake boyfriend was incredible. At first, I wasn’t convinced, but the looser and more relaxed Aaron got, you get to see just how deep his affections for Lina go and that just makes you fall in love with him.
And guys, their chemistry. *fans self* Good grief. Yes, it’s a slooooooow burn, but so well worth the wait. There’s just so much to unpack there and quite honestly, I don’t think I could do it justice with how beautiful it was. It fell into place so wonderfully and even though they didn’t break the bed, they broke the bed. I do wish we’d gotten to see more of Aaron’s unravelling as he lets his guard down around Lina, because we see it start and then we see the end result, but I wanted more.
While I loved the book, the romance and the delicious slow burn, I felt like we went through a lot of Lina’s day to day life and experiences more than we needed to. There were parts that I found myself wanting to skim through because it felt like it wasn’t adding anything to the story. And this final point is a very personal thing, but I get really worked up when characters who aren’t in a relationship call each other ‘baby’ right off the bat. There’s just something unsettling for me.
But all said and done, this book takes you on a great journey and it makes you feel all the feels and honestly, that’s all you want when it comes to a great book! The Spanish Love Deception is worth a read and as a debut, it’s fantastic, congratulations Elena!
Thanks to Elena Armas for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.