Tawna’s romantic comedy from Entangled: Lovestruck | July 2014
A satisfying category romance from Entangled’s brand new Lovestruck imprint…
Former Marine MacArthur Patton has made a small fortune on top-secret government contracts and black-ops missions, but his new assignment involves something more dangerous—marriage.
Well, fake marriage anyway.
To keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, Mac has to secure a fiancée. A sweet, demure, compliant fiancée to serve as his arm candy for a few weeks while he completes the covert arms deal in Mexico. His sister claims to know just the woman, and sends her best friend to play the role.
“Sweet” and “demure” aren’t in Kelli Landers’s repertoire. A badass veterinarian who neuters big dogs and bigger men on a regular basis, she can’t wait to bring Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Detached to his knees. Her longtime crush on the commitment-phobe makes her plan to seduce him even sweeter.
Love wasn’t part of the plan, but the deeper Mac and Kelli fall into their ruse, the more danger they attract, until more than just their hearts are on the line…
“Those books that make you cry laughing? This is one of them. I laughed my socks off at the exquisite perfect dry humour that Tawna Fenske has injected into Fiancée for Hire. And balance the humour with romance, fun, action, passion, emotion and a couple who have a fabulous chemistry and you get the full package.”
Kelli Landers inked her signature on the prescription form,
carefully dotting the i with a heart the way she’d done since
learning to spell her name at age four. She blew a corkscrew
blond curl off her forehead as she tucked the pen into the
breast pocket of her pink scrubs.
“Here you go,” she chirped, her voice always a few
octaves higher than she wished. She handed the form to a
man who had to reach down to grab it, given he was a foot
taller than her.
The man blinked. “How the hell did you do that?”
“Wrestle Rocco to the ground when he was snarling
and fighting like that? He weighs a hundred and fifty-five
“A hundred and sixty-five, actually, which is ten pounds
heavier than I’d like to see in an Italian mastiff of his build.”
Kelli paused to jot a few words on a notepad beside the
clinic’s display of Neuticles. She could feel the mastiff’s
owner staring, and wondered if he was looking at her or at
the impressively large prosthetic dog testicles in the photo.
She tore off the paper and handed it to him. “Here’s the
name of brand of dog food I recommend for trimming a few
extra pounds. That and a little exercise.”
“Exercise,” the man repeated, eyeing Kelli up and down.
“You look like you work out.”
“Huh.” He scratched his beard and nodded toward the
Neuticles display. “Ever put the Saint Bernard ones on a
“Want to grab a bite to eat sometime?”
“No, thank you.” She offered her sweetest smile, but the
mask was wearing thin.
The man leaned close, not getting the message. He gave
her a lecherous wink and touched her arm. “A little spitfire
like you—how about we just get it on?”
Kelli jerked back, cherubic smile faltering. “I may look
like a Cabbage Patch doll, but you should know I have a
pump-action shotgun, a black belt in karate, and a vibrator
that doubles as a jackhammer,” she replied, her voice still
soft and bright. “If you’re not out of my office in ten seconds,
I will demonstrate all three on you, starting from the bottom
of the list and working my way up.”
The man blinked, opening and closing his mouth like
a hooked fish. Without a word, he turned and walked out,
his horselike dog dragging him through the doors of the vet
clinic. Kelli took a halfhearted swipe at the dog slobber on
her scrubs, then gave up as the front door chimed again.
She smiled with relief as her best friend strolled through
sans dogs, cats, or kids.
“Hey, girl!” Kelli greeted, dodging Sheri Patton’s
intended hug. “Might want to take a rain check on that. I’m
covered in slobber.”
“That makes two of us,” Sheri said, hugging her anyway.
“There’s so much slobber on my shirt I had to wring it out
in the parking lot.”
“Are the twins teething, or is Sam drooling on your tits
“Yes,” Sheri replied, affirmative on both counts. “The
boys are actually with Sam and my brother while I run a few
“Mmm, speaking of drooling.” Kelli heaved a dramatic
sigh. “Which brother?”
“Mac. He’s back from his latest top-secret mission and
en route to another.”
“Mr. Tall, Dark, and Completely-Detached-from-
Humankind.” Kelli grinned. “My dream man.”
Sheri rolled her eyes. “Your dream man has been pissing
“Sounds par for the course. Come on, you can tell me
whatever Mac’s done to piss you off while I neuter Mr.
“Please tell me that’s a cat and not last night’s date,”
Sheri said, following her into the back room.
“Don’t be silly. I neutered last night’s date right after
Kelli began scrubbing up as Sheri parked herself as far
from the surgical table as possible.
“I was just about to operate when a guy came in needing
a sticker pulled from his dog’s paw, so I have to get this
neuter done before the anesthesia wears off,” Kelli said. “We
can talk while I work.”
Sheri cocked her head and studied the cat. “He looks
like a frat boy after an all-nighter in a karaoke bar.”
“He’ll be singing soprano in about ninety seconds.” Kelli
tugged on a fresh pair of gloves and got to work plucking
fur from the cat’s groin. “So, your brother—” she prompted,
maneuvering deftly around the cat’s fuzzy little scrotum.
“Right,” Sheri said, wincing. “Are you giving that cat a
“We pluck, rather than shave cat scrotums for neutering.
They’re too prone to razor burn. So your brother—”
“Right, sorry,” she said as Kelli began swabbing the cat’s
love spuds with disinfectant. “That’s actually what I came
here to talk about. You know how you’ve lusted after Mac
since—well, um, puberty?”
“Of course. Your brother is hot.”
“And you know how he’s barely aware you exist?”
Kelli picked up her scalpel and quirked an eyebrow at
Sheri. “Are you planning to make a point here?”
“Right. Yes, definitely.” Sheri cleared her throat as Kelli
poised her scalpel for the first incision. “Will you marry my
Kelli blinked, then slid her scalpel through the cat’s
scrotum. “This is always how I imagined my first marriage
“I’m serious,” Sheri said as Kelli focused on the incision.
“Well, sorta. See, Mac has this business deal. And he needs a
fiancée to pull it off. A fake fiancée. That’s where you come
Kelli slid the cat’s testicles out, marveling for the
millionth time that they were the exact size and color of a
pair of great northern beans. Maybe she should make white
chili for dinner.
“What does Mac’s top-secret military bullshit have to do
“He can’t tell me much,” Sheri said, looking away as
Kelli began tugging the testicle to break down the ligament.
“That’s the nature of top-secret military bullshit, as you put
“I’m sure that’s what it says in the contract.”
“Right. Anyway, here’s what I know. Mac told a fib to
land a deal. He said he has a fiancée, and now he needs to
produce one quickly so he can close the deal. You’d need
to spend a couple weeks in Todos Santos, Mexico. You’d
attend a few functions, play the doting bride-to-be, collect a
ridiculous amount of money for your trouble, and say goodbye
at the end of it.”
Kelli felt her heart kick up a notch. “Todos Santos?”
“You know it?”
She nodded, feeling a bubble of excitement low in her
belly. “They’ve got an enormous feral cat colony. I’ve always
wanted to do a spay-and-neuter clinic there.”
“I even applied for the permits and made contact with
some volunteers over there who could assist. I just never
had the time or the money or—”
“Money’s no object with Mac,” Sheri said, waving a
dismissive hand. “He’s a private contractor with a jillion
government contracts and endless military resources. None
of us are exactly sure what he does, but it’s very lucrative.”
“He’s paying me to marry him?”
“To pretend to marry him. You’d be well compensated
for your time if you’re willing to play the fiancée role for
a few weeks. You just need to be compliant, soft-spoken,
beautiful, sweet, demure, and drama-free.”
Kelli raised an eyebrow. “You’re aware you just gave a
complete list of antonyms for my personality.”
“Well, you are beautiful.”
“Thanks. It all sounds so romantic,” she deadpanned.
“Will Mac throw in a ride on a white stallion before we trot
into the sunset to make beautiful babies and live happily
“You’re allergic to horses, afraid of babies, and horrified
“Do I at least get to bang your brother?”
Sheri shrugged. “That’s up to you, I guess. And Mac. He
made it clear this is strictly professional.”
Kelli looked down at the unconscious cat and frowned.
“Something tells me your brother and I have different
notions of professional. What aren’t you telling me?”
Sheri was quiet a moment, then shrugged. “I think Mac
is vaguely aware you exist, but only as the pigtailed friend of
his baby sister. He kinda hasn’t been around much since we
“Absence makes the crotch grow fonder.”
“For you, maybe. As you pointed out, he’s a little
detached from humanity. He’s never really noticed you.”
“Thanks for the reminder.”
“Right. But what do men who don’t know you generally
Kelli maneuvered her hemostat in a figure eight to tie
off the spermatic cord. “That I’m tiny, sweet, docile, perky,
quiet, and no trouble at all.”
“Exactly. It’s not ‘til they get to know you a little that
they realize you’re a sharp-tongued, badass, sex maniac.”
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all week.”
Kelli beamed. “So let me get this straight—you’re siccing me
“My brother has no qualms about meddling in my life.
Doesn’t it seem fair I should meddle in his?”
Kelli smiled, recalling Mac’s under-the-table hiring of
a marine sniper to be Sheri’s nanny. That had worked out
well enough in the long run, with Sheri and the manny now
But a fake fiancée?
The thought of seducing MacArthur was enough to
leave Kelli tingling. She’d been lusting after him forever,
egged on by the challenge of his complete oblivion to her
existence and the fact that Mac was the only person on earth
who seemed more incapable than she did of handling any
sort of long-term commitment.
Commitment leads to love, which leads to attachment,
which leads to abandonment, which leads to—
“So Mac is expecting sweet, calm, and pliable fiancée?”
Sheri nodded. “And instead we send him you.”
Kelli gave her most angelic smile and sliced off the cat’s
testicles. “I’m in.”