Jade C Jamison is, admittedly, one of my favorite authors. Her Bullet Rockstar Romance series is one of the best ones out there, not just because it spawned my favorite book boyfriend, but because of the depths of emotion and the gritty realism I could relate to entirely too well. Eventually I also read her Nicki Sosebee series, which is romantic suspense, and her standalones, including Finger Bang, which Substitute Boyfriend is a spinoff of. It is not necessary to read FB first, but it is a fun and cute read.
I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from Substitute Boyfriend, but I didn’t expect the deep revelations I am still digesting that came to me as I read this one. I will get to that in a few, but first, I have to say that this was a fantastic quick read on so many levels. Fun, quirky, SEXY, and actually, incredibly romantic to me. At first glance, and probably never to some who dwell on fairytale romance, it might not seem that, but once again, Ms. Jamison has snuck up and sucker punched me with a story that hits home.
Beth/Lizzie/Eliza is an English professor at a community college by day, and, unbeknownst to all closest to her, an author of erotic romance by night. Worried that her ability to write sexy scenes could become repetitive, with alcohol added courage, she has found Ridley, her pretend boyfriend, to help her work out details – to “test drive” some of the ideas she comes up with for her fictional characters, just to make sure that they could realistically work. This situation has worked for some time with her bad boy pretend boyfriend, but she begins to wonder if she would ever be able to toss the pretend part of the moniker, though she realizes Ridley has plenty of all too human (as opposed to fantastic book boyfriends) flaws, and very little in common outside of their unconventional relationship. Though I will vehemently defend that guys and girls can be platonic friends, I will also say that I think it would be nearly impossible to set up a template like Beth has with Ridley and not wonder about more, no matter how different they are.
When Ridley tells her he has plans for a night when she calls last minute, she decides to go out to the bar she first met him in. She wasn’t completely shocked to see him there with another woman, but it hurt, nonetheless. This spurs our introduction to her best friend, Roman. Roman is a pysch professor at the same community college she teaches at, and they have conversations that turn lunches into all afternoon affairs, they are concert buddies, they occasionally even work out together, and generally keep each other sane in their shared workplace insanity. She has never thought of him as more than a friend, though she admits he is a good looking guy, probably to preserve the best friendship she has ever had.
She runs to Roman after the Ridley humiliation, and finally shares her alter ego with her friend, and the entire pretend boyfriend situation. He suggests a substitute for the pretend boyfriend, and get your fan ready for a HOT ride to come. Enjoy every moment of it! The only possible complaint I could have about this one is that I want more! This one will definitely be read again; there is simply too much I loved about it.
And sometime down the road we can have a long conversation about where women get the horribly misguided idea that their boyfriends shouldn’t be their friends….
Obviously for a mature audience only for explicit sexual content.
If you need a little mood music to go along with this one, go with one of my all time favorite cover songs, Great White’s Substitute.