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Dare to Love My Fake Husband

Dare to Love My Fake Husband

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Fine, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a diva. He’s a straight-laced plane-flying hottie hero who is my opposite in every way. He calls me the Brat, but he's the's Beast.

Narrated by Lorana Hoopes

  • Celebrity City Girl
  • Country living
  • Arranged marriage
  • Best friend's sister
  • Secret baby
  • Dating dare


Fine, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a diva. He’s a straight-laced plane-flying hottie hero who is my opposite in every way. He calls me the Brat, but he's the Beast.

New Louboutins? Check

Fashion design mogul? Check

VIP wherever it matters most? Check

An unsettled feeling about the future? Um, check

Pressure to live a certain lifestyle turned my world toxic. Late nights bubble with drama, my relationship with my “not-boyfriend” fizzles, and failing to meet my parents’ expectations means one thing. They arrange my marriage.

Yes, for real.

Dean Wolfson is not looking for love, nor does he want his family’s business to go under. When he has the opportunity to bail them out, he says yes to marrying his best friend’s sister—a hot mess. It’s just temporary and then he can get on with his life.

I resent that, thank you very much.

We’re sent to the countryside to “play house.” What starts as a disaster with a leaky roof, sneaky possum, and an indoor mushroom farm turns into distraction. Dean with his charm—showing me what real fun is. And I guess he likes my smile or something.

But when I learn about a secret from his past, do I dare love him?

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1: Blakely

My best friends say I’m the stylish one. My mother
pushed me into modeling at a young age and I shifted into fashion design during college, so that’s no surprise.

However, today, I’m feeling a bit flat, blah, meh. My monotone outfit probably doesn’t help matters.

Then again, I’ve been feeling an inner conflict for a while
now—a piece of fabric torn between my wild child days and a desire to slow down, settle down.

But who would I be without my carefree, fun loving reputation?

Also, no way am I going to change my ways just because
my mother, Her Royal Heinous, strongly recommends I rein it in.

I pound the rest of a florescent energy drink called BuzzPop
that the TV show assistant gave me after I stumbled over an extension cord while touring the set and dumped my large coffee with two shots of espresso onto the cameraman.

Yeah, it’s been that kind of morning.

The deep breath I try to take hitches in my chest. I smooth
my palms down my cream-colored blouse. My thumb snags in one of the long necklaces I’m wearing as part of the recommendation of a more sophisticated “rebrand” for BB Style.

The outer edge of my eye twitches. My skin tingles and I can somehow feel a humming underneath it.

To say I’ve been burning the candle at both ends is an understatement. I’ve been up for nearly twenty-four hours, prepping for today. There’s not even a wick left. I’m little more than a lump of wax. But as they say, the show must go on.

I take another swig of the BuzzPop. Cue the power of positives thinking that my life coach taught me. I can do this. I’m a lady boss. Hear me roar.
What feels like the second hand ticking on a clock spins me into a sudden flurry of ideas. After a slow start to the morning, and now fueled by caffeine, I spring into action, ordering my assistant to help me prepare for the three-minute live TV slot I
have showcasing fall style trends with Heidi Simmons and Don Mobitz, everyone’s favorite a.m. chat show hosts on the Coffee Break Morning Show.
I signal my assistant. “Tiff, change of plans. Instead of the
Fall-Lite line of cardigans and wide-leg trousers, let’s go with
the Neon-Nouveau line.” Inspired, my words trip out of my mouth faster than I can say them. Instead of a sluggish drone, I’m feeling bee-like, buzzed.

Tiff’s eyes widen and she tilts her head to one side, but she
knows better than to have me ask twice. I’m the founder,
designer, and CEO of BB Style and I own this town.

She rushes out the door and to our flagship store three blocks
away on Madison Avenue with our design studios above it. I call ahead to have my people there ready the racks.

I flit around the green room, calculating the changes that will need to be made to shift from the originally planned outfits in bespoke shades of autumn colors that the TV show suggested we
run to something more electric, vibrant, energized—more me.

At east this highly caffeinated version of me.

The show assistant pokes his head in the doorway. “I noticed
your assistant left. Fifteen more minutes until we’re live.”

“Change of plans, but Tiff will be back in time. She’s never
failed me yet.”

His brow furrows as he ducks back into the hall.

“Never question an artist,” I call after him as the BuzzPop
courses in my veins.

Nor do I question whether I can get my showcase outfit on
quickly enough and get the models in their new garb. I’ve
worked on tighter deadlines. As a former model myself, I’ve
walked at every notable fashion show. Now, as a designer, the models wear my creations on those same catwalks.

“We’ll have to change the music too,” I say to no one in

I hurry into the hall but don’t find the PA person before Tiff
reappears, struggling with the garment rack. The heavy black
bags sway from side to side.

The four models, already dressed in cozy knits, casual pants, and ready to walk in sensible flats, blink
their spidery lashes slowly at me.

“Girls, we’re going from tame, boring tea with milk to rock
star spicy cider.” I toss them combinations of clothing made of hot pink mesh, blue metallic spandex, and various neon animal prints.

Like Tiff, they do as they’re told and swap outfits. The
makeup artist swipes on eye shadow and lipstick that complements the bolder look. I pull on a skin-tight neon yellow vinyl dress with zippers, tease my hair, and strike a pose with one arm lifted in the air like Lady Liberty. “Wake up New York, Blakely Benedict is back.”

Everyone cheers and claps.
The funny thing is, she (I) never left. I’m feeling more alive
this morning than I have in ages. I went from zipping around the city during my early twenties, strutting from club to after parties as a VIP to being pulled in a different, more serene direction now
that I’m getting older. With no thanks to my mother who repeatedly tells me to tone it down and even staged an intervention a couple of months ago, saying my rash behavior isn’t acceptable
for someone my age. I’m not even thirty yet.

That just means I’m making the family look bad—there was
late-night dancing at a club that turned out to be the site for a charity event the next morning. She thought my “Criminal” fashion line was tasteless and then wouldn’t speak to me after an
interview when I mispronounced the name of the president whose country I was visiting. Honest mistake.

For better or worse, part of my job involves networking, and
that means going to parties and events. Lots of them.

My meddlesome mother wants me to go from high key to
low key?

Ha! Not today, folks. I’ve got rocket fuel in me and we’re
going to shoot for the moon.

The show assistant comes in, scratches his temple at the
chaos in the room, and then says, “BB Style, you’re up.”

Leading my parade of neon-clad models through the dim
hallway, we stride onto the set that smells like cinnamon and
apple pie, a piano melody that doesn’t match our high-wire
energy, and a deer in headlights Heidi Simmons standing next to
a mannequin dressed in cornucopia colors.

Don Mobitz squints as if we’re hard to miss.

“Good morning, New York!” I shout.

“Yes, good morning is right. If I wasn’t awake before, I am
now. Boy, those shades are bright. I could use a pair of sunglasses.” Heidi turns to camera two. “We have Blakely Benedict of BB Style with us this morning, ready to share her latest cozy trends for this coming season.” She clears her throat. “Over to you, Blakely.”

I introduce each of the outfits on the models, explaining my
vision for the Neon-Nouveau line and how important it is to
break through boundaries and expectations, especially in fashion.

Don Mobitz stares at us, either entranced or intensely
confused by the shock of color, prints, and my animated spiel.

“It’s an art form. A type of self-expression. A way for each
individual to showcase their unique self.” I rattle on, the words pouring out of me in a torrent as sweat beads along the nape of my neck and my heart buzzes like a bumblebee starved for pollen.

Heidi’s surprise turns to tight-lipped...something. I can’t tell
what. Amusement? Annoyance? “As a legend in the modeling world, it is a treat to have you here this morning—though I don’t expect you’ll want any of the apple pie our esteemed guest Maxwell, the Banker Baker, showed us how to bake.” Heidi giggles and flutters her eyelashes at a tall, handsome man standing on the edge of the set.

He grimaces then points toward his hip...maybe? My hip?

My thoughts scramble as the potency of the energy drink drains out of me like a sieve. My body starts to feel heavy as if I’m encased in rapidly drying cement.

The hostess claps her hands, snapping me out of it. “Well,
that’s about all the time we have here today. We can all agree this has been quite a show. Thank you to our talented guests for
joining us and our viewers for tuning in. Blakely, please show us your very best modeling moves and lead the way.” Heidi sweeps her hand for me to stride down the makeshift catwalk, strewn with autumn leaves per the original plan.

It’s then I become aware of a draft. I discretely smooth my
hand down my low back and toward the seat of my dress.

Oh no.

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