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Faking With Benefits by Lily Gold


Faking With Benefits

by Lily Gold

Self-Published


WANTED: Three fake boyfriends. Must be tall, ripped — and willing to teach me how to kiss.


My name is Layla Thompson, and I am undateable.

Seriously. I’m twenty-eight and I’ve never had a boyfriend. And with my thirties rapidly approaching, I’m starting to lose patience.


Lucky for me, I have three overprotective best friends who are all-too-eager to help hone my dating skills.

There’s Zack, the huge rugby player with the cheeky grin and rippling biceps.

Josh, the boy-next-door with the sculpted jaw and calculating stare.

And Luke, the silver-haired divorcee… who also happens to be my old professor.


After a bad date leaves me crying on their shoulders, the three men are determined to help me find a guy. Together, they agree to be my ‘practice boyfriends’, and come up with a lesson plan packed with fake dates, make out sessions, and classes on flirty texting. In return, I just have to make an appearance on their relationship advice podcast once a week. Easy.


But as my lessons become more and more intense, we soon find ourselves getting in too deep. Every butterfly-inducing touch lingers a little too long, and every molten kiss ends in fireworks. It’s not long before I realise that their friendship isn’t enough for me anymore. I want more.


The guys have been teaching me how to get a boyfriend, and now it’s time I put their lessons to the test.


Three times over.


Faking With Benefits is a sizzling fake dating romance featuring multiple love interests, tons of molten fake relationship heat, and a whole lot of heart. No cheating, and an ultra-sweet HEA guaranteed!

Genre:


Triggers:

Memories of the death of a fiancé

 

Funny story, but Faking With Benefits was not on my TBR.

I actually had never even heard of this book before.

It was my best friend and mine's weekly hangout. We sometimes go for dinner somewhere. Coffee at Starbucks. A mix of browsing and shopping before heading back to her place to continue to chat. Or have her force a TV show or movie on me.

One of these nights we went to our local Value Village in hopes we could find some books.

It's usually a hit or miss.

That night, it was a miss for me, but my friend picked up this book, Faking With Benefits, because it looked good. Being us, we of course checked to make sure it was spicy first, because no way was she spending money on a book with no smut. haha.

Oddly enough, I had a few days between ARCS, and was looking for something to read.

Faking With Benefits was a recommended read for me, and it was a kindle unlimited book, so I decided to read it.

I loved it!

This is the first rom-com reverse harem I have ever read. I didn't think it would work. Usually reverse harems are a bit darker, or broody.

Faking With Benefits was funny!

It was sweet!

It was unique!

It was also hot as hell.

The whole story was interesting. Picture this: the amazing show that is New Girl. That's the vibes it gives off. A successful, driven woman, who is a disaster on a date, gets help by her best friends and three male neighbors, who run a sex and dating advice podcast. Brilliant! All their different personalities, their individual issues, all come together in this sometimes hilarious, mostly sweet, very hot and unexpected romance. Lily Gold's addition of transcripts of the podcast during their dating experiment added a whole other element of fun, because as someone who listens to podcasts frequently, I could hear it playing out in my head. The social media reactions to each episode were funny, and an accurate portrayal to actual social media comments.

The characters really add the flavor to the story, though. Lily Gold did a good job rounding out each character so that they all had very different personalities, but it made sense that they all lived together and are friends. I loved the drive of Layla. An independent and successful business owner and designer. She seems like she has it all, but she is such a crazy planner, that she gets too into her head on dates. She felt relatable. The guys were written in a way that felt like there was a guy in the trio that every woman or man who read this book would gravitated to, ensuring you remain interested. Zach, being the jock, wasn't my favorite, but that's because his cocky personality wasn't something I would gravitate to. But he was sweet, and I liked him for that. I definitely enjoyed Josh, and Luke. Quieter. Josh and his broody personality, secret pining for Layla, and his deep seeded need to help people got to me. Luke is a hot, silver haired PROFESSOR.

Did I mention this book was hot?

Because HOLY that cover is all kinds of adorable, and totally doesn't look like it would be hot, but it. Is. Hot.


While Faking With Benefits was not even on my radar until we came across it looking for book treasure, I am so glad I read this book. It was the perfect pick me up between darker reads. Lily Gold proves that you can write a lighthearted reverse harem, with a happily ever after, and have a few laughs along the way.




I’ve never seen her this tipsy before. She’s usually so uptight.

Zach: “I love her. She’s so cute. Oh my God.”


Layla: “Oh God. I’m sorry.”

Zach: “S’all good,”

I tell her, patting the sofa next to me.

Zach: “What’s some drunk propositioning between friends, eh?


Layla: “An advertisement slot.”

Josh nods, making a mark on his paper.

Josh: “How does thirty seconds sound?”

Layla: “A minute. And not just a repeated script during your ad break. I want an actual back-and-forth with you guys about my products. In every episode that I’m in.”

Zack whistles.

Zach: “You drive a hard bargain, pet. God, what a chore. How on earth am I gonna talk with you about thongs for a whole minute?!”


Josh smiles, still focused on the ribbon.

Josh: “You’re like a present.”

He says lowly, giving it the tiniest little tug.

Josh: “Makes me want to unwrap you.”


Layla: “Ooh. A rich man. Maybe I should go flirt with him instead.”

He stiffens, his hand still on my throat.

Josh: “Don’t. I’ll end the night in a jail cell.”


I should just focus on my work. Maybe one day, I’ll be rich enough to buy a husband.


Luke: “You’re being ridiculous. I’m ten years older than the girl. I used to be her teacher.”

Zach: “Yup. That’s pretty hot."


LUKE: How do you think the date went?

JOSH: Oh, she’s even worse than we expected.

LAYLA: It can’t have been that bad. I still got a goodnight kiss.

ZACK: Aye, because you’re pretty. I just stared at your face and tried to ignore what your mouth was saying.


ZACK: Aye. See, I find dating easy, ‘cause I assume everyone likes me.

LAYLA: (whispers) Arrogant prick.

JOSH: He is, yes, but he’s also right in this case. Dating isn’t about making people like you. It’s about working out whether you like them.

ZACK: And remember, when they don’t like you, it says nothin’ about you as a person. You just don’t have chemistry. Unlike me and Layla, who cannot be in a room together for longer than five minutes without causing a fire.

LUKE: Because you’re… arsonists?

ZACK: Because we have a spark. Duh.

LAYLA: Oh, honey, we talked about this. I know you like sticking your fingers into things, but you’ve got to stop fiddling with the plug sockets, it’s not safe.


Josh: “Here,”

I offer it to her.

Josh: “I got these for you.”

Layla: “Oh.”

She takes them awkwardly.

Layla: “Um. Yeah. You shouldn’t have.”

I wait patiently. She stares at the bunch of flowers in her arms for a few seconds, then sets them carefully down on the floor.

Jesus Christ.

I shake my head.

Josh: “Okay. Give me them back.”

She frowns.

Layla: “But they’re mine!”

Josh: “Nope. They were a test. You failed. Hand them over.”

Begrudgingly, she picks the flowers back up, and I take them back.

Josh: “We’re going to try this again, and you’re going to act like a regular human person, okay?”

Zack: “You’re giving out strong alien vibes,”


Layla is silent for a moment.

Layla: “Why is there a dick in here?”

She asks eventually. I rub my temples.

Josh: “Sinsters is an adult toy company. And Zack is an idiot.”

Zack: “No I ain’t!”

Zack says enthusiastically.

Zach: “This shit is important.”

He takes the box off her.

Zack: “I didn’t know what toys you’ve already got, so I figured I should order you the full range. Never hurts to double up. Look.”

He starts rummaging around in the box.

Zach: “You got clamps. Cuffs. A bullet vibe. This one has a little rabbit head, apparently that feels real nice. A blindfold. A plug. Look, ain’t it pretty?”

He pulls out a plug with a little jewelled heart on the end. Layla stares at it.

Layla: “What is it meant to plug?”


Zach: “You want sex lessons, too? We can totally provide that.”

I close my eyes. Luke freezes in the doorway.

Luke: “What?”

He barks, looking around the room.

Luke: “What the Hell is going on here?”

Josh: “Zack has become an unlicensed sex therapist,”


Layla; “Is this important? It’s not like I need to come to have a boyfriend.”

I frown. It’s such an un-Layla thing for her to say.

Josh: “Do you want to come?”

Layla: “Well, yes, but—”

Josh: “Then it’s important.”

Layla: “But—”

I cut her off.

Josh: “Layla, one of your best qualities is that you’re never ashamed to ask for what you want.”

Zach: “And your legs. They’re a great quality, too.”


Zach: “Good girl,”

Zack practically purrs, licking a hot line up the shell of my ear.

Zach: “Take your time with her, Josh. I’m enjoying this.”


Zach: "I’m trying to be a gentleman.”

Layla: “You said I should tell you what I want,”

she points out as I kick open my bedroom door.

Layla: “I don’t want a gentleman.”


Layla: “Go. Now. I’m good.”

Zach: “Yeah?”

She frowns.

Layla: “Yeah.”

I can’t resist messing with her.

Zach: “You sure? We could just stay like this for a bit, if you’d prefer.”

Layla: “I could murder you in your sleep, if you’d prefer.”


LAYLA: For those of you who don’t know, my company Her Treat focuses on making ethical, affordable and adorable undies for people of all shapes and sizes. Today, I want to talk to you about my latest design — the Butterfly bra. Josh, what is the number-one most disliked feature on a regular bra?

JOSH: … The… cups?

ZACK: I know! It’s the underwire!

LAYLA: Correct. Underwire has been around for eighty years, and women have been complaining about it the entire time. Instead of underwire, I designed the Butterfly to have a thin, very strong strip of elastic at the bottom of the base, wrapped in glossy ribbon. This allows the design to provide the same support as an underwire by contouring to your ribcage, but without the irritation and potential stabbing. Okay, I’m going to pass one of my pieces to all of you. What do you guys think?

LUKE: … It’s very nice, Layla.

LAYLA: That’s all you have to say? No other comments?

ZACK: It’s well soft.

LAYLA: Yes, it is. The cups are all made from microfibre fabrics that are strong, silky, and extremely durable. It’s the perfect option if you’re taking hormones, or you have sensitive skin, or you’re nursing. Or you’re just on your period and you’re extra sensitive. The Butterfly also features a front-clasp, which is ideal if you have limited arm or finger mobility — no more fumbling around behind your back when you’re trying to get ready in the morning. And, best of all, it’s hot as Hell. Zack, since you apparently know the most about women’s clothing, how would you describe the overall look of the design?

ZACK: Dunno, lass. It’s pretty, but it’s hard to review clothes without seeing them on someone.

LAYLA: Okay, hang on. I’m wearing one right now. (Muffled sound of clothing) What do you think?

JOSH: Jesus.

LUKE: Layla! Put your shirt back on.

ZACK: This is the best day of my effing life.

LAYLA: Thanks. Review, please.

ZACK: Um. Yeah. Your tits look huge. Five stars. Would recommend.

LAYLA: The pants match.

ZACK: Please tell me you’re wearing them.

LAYLA: Yes, actually, let me just—

JOSH: (speaking quickly) Use the code THREESINGLEGUYS for twenty percent off. Terms and conditions apply. The full collection launches August 1st. Layla, for the love of God, please put your shirt back on before Zack’s drool breaks the equipment.


Layla: “Josh?”

Josh: “Mm?”

He says, stroking her arm.

Layla: “Zack is in my bedroom.”

Josh: “Unfortunately.”

Zach: “Oh, I don’t know.”

I lean against the wall, looking down at her.

Zach: “Maybe this is just a wet dream.”

She shakes her head, burying it back in the pillow.

Layla: “Can’t be. You’re wearing clothes.”

Great. Now I have a semi.

Zach: “That can be rectified, lass. You just say the word.”

Layla: “Sorry.”

She sniffs.

Layla: “I don’t sleep with home invaders.”

Zach: “You can’t blame me,. I got lonely. Did you two get it on last night and not invite me? That’s just plain rude.”

Josh rolls his eyes. Layla stretches like a cat.

Layla: “We just cuddled.”

I can’t help the grin that spreads over my face.

Zach: “You? Cuddled?”

Layla: “He did most of the work.”


Layla groans into my shirt.

Layla: “God. You’ve been giving them HEX codes for the colour shades, haven’t you?”

Zach: “... yes?”

Layla: “Honey. No. You’re designing a shirt, not a website logo. You need to give them Pantone codes for the cotton and vector codes for the print.”

She snuggles closer. I stare at Josh.

Zach: “We’re literally dating a girl who went to fashion school. How did we not think to ask her?”

Layla: “Because you’re dumb,”


Zack: “Oh, you found Josh’s Mute button,”

Zack says casually, uncapping the bottle.

Zach: “That’s nice.”

Layla: “Where’s yours?”

I ask sweetly, sucking on the pulse beating under Josh’s skin. He groans, shuddering.

Layla: “Could come in handy.”

Zach: “Right under my balls. Feel free to try and find it any time.”


JOSH: We also had several people saying that Layla should join our listener advice segment. So, while you’re here, love, would you like to read out a listener email? I’ve got one for you right here.

LAYLA: Sure. (Paper rustles). Okay. ‘My boyfriend’s always asking me to ride his face — but I’m a bigger girl, and I’m worried I might hurt him. From Curvy in Kentucky.’ Okay, babe. I don’t know how strong the human head is, and I don’t think it matters. There’s no weight capacity. Just sit on his face, and if he dies, he dies.

JOSH: (Coughs violently)

ZACK: Damn straight. Bury him alive. Lucky guy.

LUKE: The human head can withstand up to about five hundred pounds of pressure. But that’s not really a weight limit, since in this position, you’d be kneeling, with your weight balanced on your knees. If you struggle to hold your balance, try holding onto your headboard.

LAYLA: Nope. Don’t listen to him. You don’t have to kneel. Sit on his mouth like a throne. Enjoy your ride, doll. Josh, do you need some water?

JOSH: I’m fine. I just didn’t realise you were so experienced at sitting on guys’ faces.

LAYLA: I’m not at all, actually. Hopefully, I will be one day. Very, very soon. (A brief pause. A chair scrapes back)

LUKE: Alright, I think we’re done for the day. You’re coming with me.


ZACK: So, this is the end of week four of our experiment. Today, we focused on your sexting skills. Layla, what did we learn?

LAYLA:… that if a guy sends a grey sweatpants pic, don’t respond with the magnifying glass emoji.

ZACK: Or?

LAYLA: The laughing face emoji.

ZACK: And? What else?

LAYLA: (sighs) That if a boy says ‘send nudes’, they’re supposed to be pictures of me.

JOSH: Although to be fair, that basketball player did have a very nice bum.


LAYLA: Um, yeah, I’ll give it a go. I’ve never been to a wedding before.

LUKE: They’re awful.

LAYLA: We can trauma bond, then.


Zach: “Now, lass,”

he rumbles, his blue eyes very kind.

Zach: “We’re going to break you down a bit. Keep you on edge. That okay?”

I automatically try to reach him, frowning when my arms stay stuck in place.

Layla: “For how long?”

Zach: “However long we want.”

Zack strokes some hair off my cheek.

Zach: "We’re gonna take you as far as you can handle. And then we’ll give you as much pleasure as you can stand. It’ll be worth it, I’ll promise you that.”

I consider him, pursing my lips.

Layla: “You know, I can handle a lot.”

He grins, his eyes twinkling.

Zach: “Oh, pet. You really shouldn’t have said that.”


Layla: “No. You want to know what’s unfair? You made me trust you. You told me, over and over again, to open up and be honest with you. You made me feel safe and loved and comfortable. And now, when you’ve finally peeled away every defense I used to have, you’ve decided to have one last quickie with me, and then break up with me while your goddamn come is still inside me?! And you’re somehow telling me that it’s my fault, when you’re treating me like a fricking flesh light? What the Hell is wrong with you?! You’re not my friend, you don’t respect me at all! No friend would treat me like that!”

I take a deep breath.

Layla: “Hell, the guys back in high school hated me. They spread lies about me. They made me feel like a dirty, worthless slapper, but at least none of them tricked me into letting them inside me.”

I take a step forward, so we’re standing chest to chest. I can feel his heart hammering under his shirt. His hard eyes don’t leave mine.

Layla: “That’s the cruel part in this, Zack. So stop lying to yourself, and get it through your thick head that you are just as much to blame as me.”


Luke: “I love you,”

he says into my hair, and I nod.

Layla: “I love you too. Do this to me again, and I’ll throw you on the street so fast you’ll find gravel up your asscrack.”


Layla: “I won’t run away.”

I try to stand, and he yanks me back down, settling me back into the crook of his arm and sighing happily.

Layla: “Zack.”

Zack: “What do you need? Luke will get it.”

Layla: “Get what? A catheter? I need to pee, for Christ’s sake.”

He pats my knee.

Zach: “You can do it here, I don’t mind.”

Layla: “Zachary.”

He heaves a massive sigh and lets me go.

Zach: “Fine. I’ll miss you.”


Zach: “You’re so scary,”

Zack says into my ear.

Zach: “Where’s the bathroom? I need to jump out the window to get away from you.”

Layla: “Most of my dates feel a similar urge. Breathe deep, it’ll pass.”

 
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