Feb 27 2014 2:46pm

Trope of the Month: Fake It ’Til You Make Out (or, Faux Lovers)

Yours to Keep by Shannon StaceyAcademically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s]," which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.

But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.

Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).

Romance makes much use of the fake relationship trope, in which a hero or heroine asks a friend (or hires an escort!) to pose as his or her significant other for a run-in with an ex/high school reunion/family gathering/business meeting, only to realize the pretend feelings between them are legit after all. The trope is fun and lighthearted and inevitably leads to things like accidental spooning and awkward conversations with friends who know which way the wind is really blowing. What's not to love?

Here are a few recommendations for this trope off the top of our heads:

  • Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
  • Faking It by Cora Carmack
  • Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young
  • The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
  • Fallen by Celeste Bradley
  • Fake it by Jennifer Chance
  • The Expert's Guide to Driving a Man Wild by Jessica Clare
  • Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
  • A Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh
  • The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville
  • His Wife for One Night by Molly O'Keefe

What books would you suggest for fellow readers with a fake fiancé itch to scratch?

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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
I said this recently on Twitter, but I can't WAIT until Jennifer Chance's Fake It. Fake Boyfriend + Biker = My. Crack. Oh. My. God!

I LOVE the Fake Fiance/Boyfriend trope. I'm surprised that there are so many historicals on here because I always associated it so strongly with Contemporary. To me, it was always the modern take on the Marriage of Convenience that forces two characters to get together who otherwise wouldn't have been together.

And as you know I LOVED Faking It by Cora Carmack.
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
Me being me, one of the first things that came to my mind when brainstorming for this trope was the "You've Got Sext" episode of The Mindy Project when Mindy and Danny pretended to be engaged in front of his crazy neighbor. GOLD.

I KNOW I've read this trope a lot in my favorite contemporary novels, but I can't think of any more examples at the moment...
3. lauralee1912
@redline - Loved that episode!

Two more contemporaries I can think of is The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins and Three Little Words by Susan Mallery.
Laura Bracken
5. Night -owl
I don't know why, but the only book that comes to mind is, All Jacked Up( Keely & Jacks story from the rough riders series) by Lorelei James ;-)
6. Verlyn
As soon as I read the theme, I immediately thought of one book. It barely came out about a month ago, and it is self-published, but still Amazing Good! It's called Knight in Shining Suit, by Jerilee Kaye. The woman, Astrid, is the one that's sets up the fake fiance, and I loved watching their relationship grow. You can read her book on, the pre-publish edited version. It was so good!! Now available on and
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