The Fake Mate
Grade : B+

I was looking for something light and fun to read and The Fake Mate was just what I needed. It’s about Mackenzie (Mack) Carter and Noah Taylor, who are both doctors and wolf shapeshifters. This is a steamy romcom with fake dating and grumpy/sunshine MCs.

Mack has been working in the ER for the past year. Her gran, who she loves dearly, wants to see her settle down and has been setting her up on dates that have been disastrous, like the one who was a mansplainer and even one who asked if she could keep her tail in her human form while having sex.  Mack does not want to go on any more awkward blind dates so she lies and tells her gran that she is seeing someone and when her gran asks for a name, Mack tells her Noah Taylor, a handsome but grumpy doctor that she works with whom she barely knows.

Noah is a well-respected interventional cardiologist and the department head at the hospital with a reputation for being a grouch. He is suspicious about why she needs a fake boyfriend but sees it as an opportunity. It turns out he needs a fake mate because someone filed an anonymous complaint with the hospital board that he is an alpha shifter and could be dangerous. (In this world, it's not a big deal to be a shifter--humans know about them and don't think it's any big deal--but alphas have a reputation for being scary.) Noah is facing a disciplinary hearing because he didn’t inform the board of his alpha status when he was hired. People are afraid alphas might not be able to control their temper but if an alpha has a mate they aren’t considered a threat. Only one person at work knows about Noah’s alpha status and Noah wanted to keep it that way--he has been taking hormone suppressants to mask his scent. He asks Mack if she would be his fake mate so the hospital board won’t fire him. She agrees and they begin their fake relationship.

She tells her best friend Parker, who works in IT in a cubicle in the basement about the fake dating, and he is the voice of reason warning her to be careful. Soon their Mate status becomes the focus of gossip around the hospital. I was surprised that people had so much time at a busy hospital to talk about their love life and this went a little over the top for me but maybe it was meant to add humor to the story.

I liked Mack. She was chatty, full of sunshine, beautiful, and always saying funny things to try and make Noah laugh. She was raised by her grandparents after her parents passed away when she was younger. Her gran was a lot of fun and she along with Mack’s friends from work made me laugh with their banter.

Mack and Noah start seeing more of each other as they plan their Fake Mate dates. They are of course--it's a romance!--wildly attracted to each other and there is a nice buildup of tension between them, especially when they decide to be fake mates with benefits. The Fake Mate has many spicy hot scenes and is even a little steamier than Ferguson's last book, The Nanny.

As they continue to fake date and have sex, the two begin to develop real feelings for each other. Noah turns all possessive alpha for Mack and it’s sweet that he’s there for her when she goes into heat. Mack is the perfect fake mate for Noah, even standing up for him when he needs her most. The two are the kind of couple you completely believe in and I really liked their interactions both in and out of the bedroom.

I haven’t read a lot of shapeshifter romances so some of the terms used in the story were new to me like alpha, omega and knotting plus I couldn’t wait to see them both shift. I felt like the author did a good job introducing the shapeshifter world without making it overwhelming.

This is a charming feel good romance with sweet and funny moments and entertaining banter. There is a mystery as they uncover who is causing all the chaos for Noah and Mack. I recommend this book to readers who like shapeshifter romance or want to escape with a story that is fun and different from typical rom coms.

Reviewed by Kayne Spooner
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : December 6, 2023

Publication Date: 12/2023

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Kayne Spooner

Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers. https://www.instagram.com/kspoonerfish/.
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