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Publisher's Summary

Get ready for your next favorite romantic comedy audiobook from Lauren Blakely, The Real Deal!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.  

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.  

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau - the bad boy with the heart of gold. Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. 

What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal. She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down. He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parents' home. They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game. But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

©2018 Lauren Blakely (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"I loved everything about these characters, from their sparkling banter to their electric attraction. Witty, clever, and swoony." (Amy E. Reichert, New York Times best-selling author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake)

"A hilarious, hot slow burn. The Real Deal is full of witty banter and characters you'll fall head over heels in love with." (Helena Hunting, New York Times best-selling author of Shacking Up)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kerry
  • Peshtigo, WI
  • 07-22-18

Good story, however...

I really do like this book so far and the story. I have 2 hours left to listen to. The only thing I do not like is the female narrator. She drags out her words. Instead of April, it's Aprilllllll. Instead of Chapter thirty three, it's chapter thirty threeee. Exactlyyyyy. Dayyyyy. Sevennnn. Reflectionnnnn. Reallllll. Delightfullllll. I have noticed many times and I find it annoying. I like this book very much though.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The narration made it even better!

5 Crazy Ass Must Read Stars!!!!!

Lauren Blakely is on fire! She really knows how to write a great rom-com and this one was no different. This was funny, sweet, full of sexual tension, and sexy.
The basic trope of escort to family function is a common theme out there but Lauren Blakely totally made this her own. I could not put this down. I'm all about procrastination when it comes to a gorgeous summer day that leads to lounging by the pool kindle. That procrastination was pushed even further when I started reading this. Goodbye laundry and household chores and hello Theo.
Lauren Blakely does not disappoint and I look forward to her next release eagerly.

Audible Review: 5 I-Wish-I-Could-Give-More Stars!
I'm a sucker for Zachary Webber and even though I had just finished reading this book, I snatched up the audiobook with this months credit just because of him. Imagine my surprise once I started listening and my favorite female narrator, Erin Mallon was narrating as well. I was one happy book whore.
As evident from my review above, I loved the book without narration but these two made the story even better. They added a whole other dimension to it and really brought it all to life for me.
I wish I could give it more stars that what I have already because the narration was the bomb.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A FANTASTIC FICTIONAL FAIRYTALE FLAWLESSLY TOLD

Now that’s how to write an absolutely flawless story that has you smiling with each addictive chapter, has you swooning at each romantic scene, has you drooling with the perfect - yet real with baggage - fake boyfriend and has you totally entertained by the close family antics as they all happily compete in their yearly games. It was an instant connection April and Theo felt for each other.. but both had a past that burned them.. so they fought the attraction hard.. however, the heart wants what the heart wants and these two were lost to each other from the get go.

This could have been Lauren’s best book.. but I say that each and every time with her books.. and what made this stand out above the sea of so many in this genre was the brilliantly executed dual POV narration by Erin and Zachary whose voices captured each character perfectly, whose tones and tempos were just right and whose range and pace made this book come alive.

Worth a credit? A ten star feel-good chick/lit rom/com that had a great balance of everything I love.. and YES it’s so so so creditworthy.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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⭐️5 Star Narration & RomCom! ⭐️

The Real Deal was hilarious, sweet, and absolutely romantic! Basically everything I’ve come to expect and love from Lauren Blakely novels.

I loved April and Theo! The girlfriend/boyfriend for hire trope is one of my favorites because it tends to be so fun and The Real Deal didn’t disappoint. Ms. Blakely blends the perfect amounts of fun, witty as hell banter, and delicious steam. And dear baby Jesus that chemistry between April and Theo was scorching! The build up between them was just as hot and had me constantly reaching for some chapstick because of all the lip bitting it induced. Even better than that was their friendship. Their anecdotes kept me smiling and made my heart happy while their banter kept me laughing out loud. The combination of everything made me lose myself in the story and didn’t want it to end. One of my favorite romantic comedies this year!

Narration by Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber was freaking fantastic! Both narrator embodied the characters perfectly! Erin Mallon once again blew me away with her damn near magical ability to perform a male voice. I’d have her male voice’s baby, it’s that good! Zachary Webber’s narration is delicious as always. His transitions between sweet and sexy are flawless and had me in a constant state of swoon and fit perfectly for Theo. I loved this narration duo, this book, and Lauren Blakely for making it all come to life. 5 Stars.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cyndi
  • Beautiful Michigan
  • 07-10-18

🌟🌟 5 Stars 🌟🌟

Another great book by Lauren Blakely! She is always my go to author for a fun, feel good, and sexy Rom-Com. This was a really entertaining boyfriend for hire story line.

April is a real witty, fun loving character, she had me giggling many times during this audiobook! She is over the whole dating thing and needs to bring a date to her family reunion otherwise she'll have to deal with her whole family trying to set her up. He family might be a little overly invasive, they are a very stable and caring family. Theo is also a very quick witted and fun character but he has a little bit of a past and is trying to get out from under it. What better way to make money than be a boyfriend for hire! He was a little cocky & still a little vulnerable which made his character completely swoon worthy! These two together were seriously cute! I loved how they got each others clever comebacks and every quip without skipping a beat. They has chemistry before they even met in person. I loved this couple, they truly were perfect for each other. I don't know if I have ever listened to a book with two characters had my from chapter 1! I love Lauren's writing style and how she always adds some fun facts and/or hidden secrets to her stories (maybe not secrets but something you will only know if you read her other books). At the end of this book I was laughing out loud!

Perfect story, perfect characters, perfect writing style and PERFECT NARRATION!! Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber are both amazing narrators! They were cast perfectly for these characters and did an awesome job bringing them to life! No one would have been better in my opinion!

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perfect Narrators for this Romcom!

I completely loved this sweet and hilarious romantic comedy! Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber were absolutely PERFECT as April and Theo! I don't think any other duo could have pulled off this story as well as these two. Both narrators perform male and female voices so well and they brought just the right amount of sweet and sexy to this story. I just love their voices together!

The Real Deal was exactly what I was looking for and I couldn't get enough of April and Theo! The fake boyfriend/boyfriend for hire trope is always fun and Lauren Blakely executed it perfectly! The backdrop of the Hamilton family reunion and games kept the story light and fun and really gave April and Theo time to connect and shine without the drama of their every day lives. They had incredible chemistry (Gah! The build up was delicious!) and I couldn't help but have a huge grin on my face while reading this book. Their banter and witty comebacks were fantastic and I loved each and every one of their "Do you remember..." stories.

One of the best parts of the book though was the Hamilton clan! I especially loved all of April's female relatives! They had me laughing out loud with their good intentioned meddling and it brought some great comic relief when things got a little heavier. I really appreciated that though there is some drama and angst, it didn't overrun the story and created just the right amount of push and pull. The epilogue was wonderfully sweet and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending! Even if you've read the book, I definitely recommend listening to the audio as well!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Nice story!

I liked the story and Zachary Webber does a great job with his narration. The way Erin Mallon reads a little too breathy and puts so much emphasis on the ends of words is a little off putting, but not enough to ruin the story. It’s like I kept wishing she’d just talk in a normal voice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 07-16-18

Fantastic!!!

I love how good I feel listening to Lauren Blakely books. This book features the main characters of April and Theo, and is totally original. Lauren knows how to write endearing characters, incredible imagery, humorous banter, clever dialogue, a well plotted story, and weave it all into one incredible book. I also love how the book had the hope, redemption, starting over, and finding one's way. The idea of hiring a boyfriend to turn off the matchmakers was brilliant. April and Theo had such wonderful chemistry and I was laughing out loud so many times. Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber performed this book flawlessly. I love their banter, inner musings, and distinguishable voices for various characters. Both narrators are truly gifted performers and delightful to listen to. I especially loved the ending of this book, as it was so well done.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

RomCom at it's best!

I was in the mood for something witty and fun, and Lauren Blakely's The Real Deal fit the bill! This book from the very start had me engaged in the lives of the characters and at times even laughing out loud. April is going home for her family reunion and hires Theo as her fake boyfriend to keep her family's matchmaking at bay. Neither is looking for love, but as they weave their backstory, the sparks begin to fly, and temptation steps in. I loved their banter, their chemistry, but I think the most fun in this book was the stories they made up. I love that each gave a line, the stories flowing with heat and love even before they realized how perfect they were together. Put the two in the Hamilton Family Reunion on top of it, with all of April's zany family members and crazy antics and it's a fun-filled, eventful 5 days that I enjoyed living through with them!

Throw in narration by the talents of Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber, and this romcom takes on a life of it's own. Their comedic timing, and expressive performance breathe life into the characters. It's a listen you do not want to miss!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A sweet arrangement! Zachary and Erin were great!!

So awesome!! Theo and April are too cute. April, needing to keep her family from setting her up when she goes to the family reunion, hires Theo to be her "plus one" for the event. And Theo, working as a boyfriend-for-hire to pay off a debt, jumps at the chance to get closer to ending past transgressions. There are sparks between them from the time they meet, and that complicates their uncomplicated arrangement. Zachary and Erin narrate this story beautifully.

I loved the layers in this story. April is trying to strike a balance between the career she adores with the family that really doesn't understand why she wants to live in the "big city," and not just come back home where everyone loves her and can help take care of her. Theo is trying to keep his past behind him, and he's determined to make a better life for himself. But first, he has to take care of one last thing.

This story was so sweet, so funny, and very heartwarming. And dirty...there is dirty! We all have family members sticking their noses in our business, but it's usually coming from a loving place. And we love them all the same.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Book addict
  • 07-21-18

Good book

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book as I’ve listened to the author in the past and found the characters and stories a bit lacklustre. This book was much better though! The pretend boyfriend to real boyfriend plot line has been done many times before, but this is a good example of it. Definitely worth a listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • V Nerd (Kermit), Reviews by Audio Killed the Bookmark
  • 07-15-18

5 "Just Friends" Stars


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐"Just Friends" stars

Well well well, why am i not surprised that Ms Blakely has done it again!!

No matter how many books this lady releases, she always manages to knock it out of the park, and this one was no exception.

April has been invited to stay with her parents for the annual summer reunion.

Unfortunatley whenever she goes home for any time, her friends and family always try and set her up with someone, mainly so that she will stay in the town where she was born.

April doesn't want to stay in the sleepy town, she has a brilliant job and is doing really well, much to her parents dismay, New York is her home now.

Whats a girl to do, how can she stop her parents from trying to shack her up with someone??

Trent is a bit of a bad boy, he has been in trouble a few times, but is now trying to get himself on the straight and narrow, pay off his debts, and live a happy life.

He does this by being a Dial-a-Boyfriend, for those people in need of a plus one, advertising on Craigslist, he manages to make quite good money from it.

After placing her order, April sets the ground-rules to Trent and they toddle off together to the reunion as pretend Boyfriend and Girlfriend..........but things don't always play by the rules, and rules are there to be broken after all 😜

🎧🎧 Narration was perfect with this one, with Zachary "sex voice" Webber and Erin Mallon #ErinMallonsManVoiceMakesMeSexuallyConfused

These 2 together are like a kettle waiting to boil, the witty banter that you expect and love from Blakely's books is there in spades, and the fact that these 2 narrators have the hottest voices around doesn't hurt either 😇

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Happy Reader
  • 08-23-18

good story, but one narrator irritating

Nice story. it starts really really well and loved the unusual characters. Past the midway point it slowed down and became a bit predictable and the male lead went form strong bad boy to a bit helpless and clueless. But Zachary Webber read the part really well which made up for it. He's a great audio narrator
Sadly the same cannot be said of Erin Mallon. She reads well, but has a sing-song way of reading that gets annoying after a while. She also puts a breathy stress on her words as if she's reading a children's book. by the end I started skipping her chapters because it just got on my nerves. That's a shame, the book would have been better with another reader

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  • Stephanie
  • 08-13-18

Couldn't stop listening

Loved ask of this book.
Voice artists did a really good job of bringing the characters alive.
Well written and enjoyed.

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  • Kibbit
  • 07-11-18

A REALLY Good Read!

This was a funny, sexy easy read story. I love both these narrators!!!! They made the story come to life. Didn't put it down. Great read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-15-18

Didn't finish this.

The narrators both tried to sound savvy and sexy but failed in both. Such a turn off. And they really need to brush-up on their 'other character' voices that all sounded so similar I couldn't tell who was talking. A mediocre story, with a predictable but foolproof plot, that may have been bearable by other narrators.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-18

Dragged out

Found it had a good storyline, but a lot was boring. Think it needs different narrators