Their happily ever after will depend on just how many tiny truths they’re willing to share…

Romance is not part of Rhiannon Saucer’s plan. Especially not when she’s up for a career-defining promotion. So, when her best friend told everyone they were dating, she almost set the record straight immediately. Until she realized going along with the fake girlfriend ruse meant he’d owe her one. Besides…what could possibly go wrong?

Zane Anthony has no interest in love, either. Getting unceremoniously dumped by his fiancée made sure of that. But his matchmaking family has made it their mission to see him paired off with someone—anyone—in their small town. So, he said he was with Rhiannon. After all, if you’re going to fake date someone, who better than your best friend?

The one and only rule when entering a fake relationship is that no one can ever let themselves develop any real feelings.

Too bad no one explained that to Rhiannon and Zane sooner…

“My sister loved the movie, so I went back the next weekend to watch with her, and she was right. It was epic and amazing,” Rita—my coffee date—was saying.
I couldn’t keep up, and I wasn’t interested in what she was talking about. If she’d just shut up for a minute, I could probably stand this date a bit more. But she’d been talking nonstop since I joined her half an hour ago. She only wanted to talk about herself. She asked about something pertaining to me, but then interrupted with her own related story, making the conversation about her again.
I didn't know how many more dates I could tolerate. At this point, I’d lost count of how many I’d been on. I didn’t know where my mom and sisters were finding these women. We lived in a small town. There couldn’t be this many single women here. Several women were ones I’d dated or hooked up with in the past few years. I guess they were shooting their shot again. There were a few I only greeted briefly while I was out. Others were ex-girlfriends from when I was a kid and even some younger—or older—sisters and cousins of women I’d dated.
The bell over the door chimed, taking my attention from Rita. Olivia entered first, carrying Brielle. She was followed by Savannah, who was holding the hand of her daughter Monroe, and Emeline. Gloria was behind them with Micah—Mason’s daughter, chatting with her, and Rhiannon who was right beside them. Rhiannon grinned at me and waggled her eyebrows. I glared at her, which only made her smile wider as she made her way to the end of the counter where Olivia and Brielle were already seated. Micah, Emeline, and Monroe claimed the other three stools and the others stood around them.
“Do you know the Saucer sisters?” Rita asked, and I looked at her and nodded.
The Saucer sisters were Rhiannon and Gloria. They had a brother who lived in Los Angeles; he didn’t come home much these days.
“I grew up with them on Mill Road. I’ve known them my whole life. Our mothers have been best friends since they were children.”
“Oh,” she replied as if she didn’t already know. “Gloria is cool, but Rhiannon is stuck up and always thought she was better than everyone else in school. She’s the same now and barely ever talks to me. Rhiannon’s always hanging out with her family and close circle of friends. She’s… whatever.”
Rhiannon was none of those things. She was introverted and dealt with anxiety when it came to meeting new people. Rhiannon had gotten better at managing it as she’d gotten older. But as a kid, if it wasn’t someone we all knew and had made friends with, Rhiannon wouldn’t do it on her own. She didn’t branch outside of her circle because she didn’t have to.
“Okay,” I said. “It’s been nice chatting with you, but I have some errands to run before I have to head to the farmhouse.”
“I need to go.”
Rita huffed and studied me for a moment. She seemed put out and like she wanted to say something, but I didn’t give a shit. She wasn’t someone I wanted to be around even before she said those things about Rhiannon. That just sealed the deal. There was no way I was ever going to be with another woman who didn’t like Rhiannon. I went through that with Hannah and regretted not standing up for her more. Any woman who didn’t like the women in my life had no place in mine.
“Fine. Call me if you need some company for one night. I’m not really looking for long term,” she stated, changing tactics.
“Well, I am, as was specified in the post that you responded to. So it’s clear we’re not compatible, but this was fun,” I lied.
Rita rolled her eyes and shoved her chair back. It made a horrible screeching sound that had everyone looking at us. She left in a huff, and I let out a long breath. I ran my hand over my head and down to my neck, which I gripped. I got up too, joining the others at the counter. My nieces greeted me first, making me smile.
“I take it she’s not the one,” Maggie teased.
“Why must all of you give me a hard time about this? I need new family and friends.”
“Wouldn’t help,” Gloria stated. “I’m sure in every life you’ve lived and will live, you’ve had a version of us to keep you on your toes.”
“Did Rita Hark say anything about me?” Rhiannon asked me.
I locked eyes with her. Hers were greener today than they normally were and danced with amusement. It was probably because of the green shirt she was wearing.
“She’s not your biggest fan, that’s for sure,” I told her.
Rhiannon didn’t look bothered by that, not that I thought she would. “Junior year, her boyfriend broke up with her to ask me to Homecoming.”
“Did you go with him?” Savannah asked.
She was a few years younger than even Rhiannon and Maggie.
“No. He was a jock, and you know that’s not my thing,” she answered, winking at me.
“I was a jock,” I deadpanned.
“That’s my point,” she said as if I was daft.
“What point would that be, Rhiannon?”
“That I don’t do jocks. I thought I was clear,” she stated.
“Don’t listen to her, Z. She’s done plenty of jocks, and you’re definitely her type,” Maggie told me with a sweet smile.
Rhiannon glared at her, and I wondered what that was about. “Anyway, before y’all interrupted me, I was telling a story. I told Rita’s boyfriend that I was going with some of our friends, so he got back with Rita. Only to do it again for prom.”
Savannah laughed while Maggie and Gloria grinned. It was clear they already knew this story. Olivia was chatting with the girls and not paying us any attention. None of them were.
“He was a douche, and she shouldn’t have taken him back after the first time he did it. When she did for prom, I was like wow,” Maggie added.
“She talked a lot. About some things I barely listened to,” I told them. “She had no interest in me and made it clear she wasn't looking for something long-term. I told her I was.”
“You’re a dick,” Rhiannon said.
“Language, Auntie Rhi,” Micah admonished.
“How many times do we have to go through this, Mic?” Rhiannon asked. “I’m an adult, so I can say what I want, and you can’t tell me what to do.”
“I can tell Ms. Irene and she can tell you what to do,” Micah challenged.
“You’re a little shit, you know that?” Rhiannon replied, cursing again. “We used to be best buds when you were younger and cute.”
We were all shaking our heads. Rhiannon—and all of us—had known Micah since she was born. Rhiannon loved Micah to the moon and back and would do anything for that kid. They just had a contentious relationship. Mainly when Micah tried to tell her what to do, which was often. I was glad we could all be there for Micah after her mother passed away a few years ago. She had a lot of women in her life who’d do anything for her.
“Well, it’s been fun, ladies. I’m going to go get some male bonding in,” I stated.
“Enjoy your play date. Try not to eat too much meat,” Rhiannon said with a cheeky grin.
“Why are you friends with her?” I asked Maggie.
“She keeps life interesting,” she said with a shrug.
“Screw you both,” Rhiannon quipped.
I left them to it and pulled out my phone as I walked away from them. Xavier had texted me. He was at his house with Mason, Caleb, and Hunter. They had Gloria and Caleb’s boys with them, so I headed there once I was in my car.


The Saucers’ farmhouse was already full when I walked inside. Emeline went streaking by, with Monroe, Brielle, Landon, and Lucas right on her heels. Olivia was sitting in the living room with Micah, showing her something on her phone. My dad was in the den with David Saucer and Adrian Wilson—Rhiannon and Xavier’s fathers. I could hear that a game was on, and when I greeted them, I saw it was one I’d been excited about. Mason and Hunter also occupied one of the sofas in the room.
I wanted to sit to watch the game, but I needed to go say hi to the moms before I could do that. When I made my way into the kitchen, I found most of the women sitting or standing around the massive island. I kissed my mom on the cheek and greeted Gloria and Rhiannon’s mother, Irene Saucer, and Xavier’s mother, Renae Wilson. I got sucked into a conversation Gloria and Savannah were having and ended up staying in the kitchen.
Rhiannon was directly across from me, talking to Maggie who was seated with her hand over her belly, rubbing it. I watched as she laughed at something Maggie had said.
“So, do you think you’ll have time to do some branding for the bar?” Gloria inquired, bringing my attention back to her and Savannah.
“You know I always have time for y’all,” I responded. “Are you any closer to getting Mr. Fisher to agree to sell it to you?”
“Nope,” Gloria replied. “We’re the reason the place is thriving, but he gets the benefits.”
“It’s probably because you’re doing such a good job that he doesn’t want to sell,” Savannah added.
“Probably, but I’m not going to half-ass it just to make the place less attractive and get him to sell. It’s just frustrating is all.”
“I’m sure he’ll come around eventually. He can’t work forever,” I said.
“That’s true,” Savannah agreed.
Before Gloria started working and managing the bar it was a sad place to be. It was outdated and most of the business was coming from the grill part of Rosa Oaks Bar & Grill. It was on the verge of closing since the younger crowd would rather make the drive to Atlanta than go to the outdated hole-in-the-wall bar. Updating the menu, incorporating themed nights, and the minor updates she’d done with changing out the tables and chairs and reupholstering the booths, was enough to breathe life back into the old bar.
Gloria had wanted to do more over the years but was hesitant to put all her money and energy into a place that didn’t belong to her. I hoped Mr. Fisher retired soon, so she could buy the place and really reap the benefits of the success of it. Savannah said something that made me chuckle, and that got my mother’s attention. She zeroed in on me, and I groaned internally.
“How was your date today, Zane?”
“It wasn’t the greatest,” I said honestly.
“Well, they can’t all be winners,” she replied. “What’s important is that you click with one of them. We have plenty more of these dates planned for the next few weeks.”

I held back a sigh. There was no way I could do this anymore. I couldn’t take any more dates, but I didn’t want to hurt my mom or Maggie’s feelings. I didn’t want them to be disappointed or worse, cry. Maybe I should just man up and tell them the truth. I considered it, but my next words shocked even me.

“I don’t need you to set me up on any more dates,” I told Mom.

“And why not?”

“Because me and Rhi are dating.”

Rosa Oaks Series, Book Two