The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a story by Annika Martin. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead. The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is the 4th book in the Billionaires of Manhattan series, however, it can be read as a standalone. All the books in the series can be ready in any order.
- Book Title: The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée
- Author: Annika Martin
- Series: Billionaires of Manhattan
- Publication Date: April 28, 2020
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 372 Pages
The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a dual POV, grumpy/sunshine fake dating romance. It opens with Tabitha Evans showing her employee, Amanda, how to cut grumpy billionaire Rex O’Rourke’s hair. She has cut his hair every Friday night at eight pm for two years, but now has a wrist injury and needs to take a few weeks off. Tabitha demonstrates how to cut his hair and lets Rex know she’ll be leaving. He is furious about this development.
Rex and his right-hand man, Clark, learn that a major client, Gail Driscoll, is doing an unexpected review before hiring their company to manage her company’s pension plan stocks. They think it may be because a recent article painted Rex as a player, which would be bad for Gail’s brand. Additionally, Rex is self-made and came from a poor neighborhood in Boston while his competition, Pete Wydover, is old money. Clark speaks with Gail about it and tells her that he and Rex will go on her yearly yacht trip and that Rex has a fiancée to bring. When Rex finds out, he orders Clark to find someone he will hate and writes a list of characteristics to look for—all of which describe Tabitha.
Predictably, Clark chooses Tabitha. When he approaches her about the offer, she is thrilled because she thinks Rex choose her and it will solve her cash flow issue. Because she is a fiancée for hire, she will have to get a complete makeover to tone down her bright, sparkly clothing to fit in with Rex and onboard she is expected to make public appearances with Rex but spend the rest of her time locked in her cabin, not bothering him while he works. After she accepts the offer, she and her roommate, Jada, go out to celebrate and make a fake fiancée questionnaire with more personal questions than the one Clark provides. They also create a fake scenario for how she and Rex went from hairdresser-client to engaged where Rex saw Tabitha out on a bad Tinder date, got jealous, then swooped into save her and threatened to rearrange the date’s face like a marble cake.
When they meet at Rex’s plane to leave and he realizes Clark chose Tabitha, he is furious. However, it is too late to change anything and so they start the ruse on his plane with his flight attendants. Tabitha marvels at the wealth on display while Rex is annoyed with her for noticing. They go over the questionnaires while in the air and talk a bit about their own pasts. Tabitha recommends they do a practice kiss because they may have to kiss on the yacht and, based on her encyclopedic knowledge of soap operas, people can definitely clock a first kiss. They go for a practice kiss and it escalates. Then Rex insists he needs to go back to work.
At the yacht, there is a repeat of the plane in that Tabitha is genuinely astounded by the opulence and Rex is stern with her, telling her to calm down. They are onboard when Gail arrives and are able to see her and her family from a distance. Tabitha has been studying and can name all of them. At the launch toast, she actually meets them and makes a good first impression on Gail. She also meets Marvin, Gail’s nephew from her estranged and now deceased sister, who Tabitha has a bad feeling about. Tabitha suggests that he may be a fake nephew, but Rex shoots this down, saying that Gail would have done a DNA test. Tabitha points out that a DNA test is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.
They go to the first dinner and Rex realizes he’s attracted to her. Tabitha has a box of intricately designed cookies from her friend that look exactly like the yacht. Rex tells her not to show Gail, but Marvin focuses on the box until Tabitha is forced to open it. Gail loves them. During dinner, Marvin insists on sitting next to Tabitha. Rex thinks he is trying to hit on her. Tabitha makes friends with others at the table and ends up telling stories, including two sad ones she makes sound hilarious. In one, her fiancé left her while she was in the hospital after a bike accident. In the other, her father forgot her 12th birthday and left her alone at the TipTop restaurant all evening. After dinner, Tabitha and Rex flirt fight so intensely that Clark has to come break them up.
There is a summary of the next few days as they try to make the con work and get used to each other. Tabitha also argues that she shouldn’t spend all of her time in the cabin and should get to go whale watching with the group. Rex reminds her she’s only there as a prop. Clark tells Tabitha a bit about Rex’s past and how this review is wearing on him because it feels so akin to his coming up in business without old money connections. Tabitha decides Rex needs to relax and plans to get him into the hot tub, which Clark scoffs at because Rex is a workaholic who never takes breaks.
Tabitha cuts Gail’s hair as a favor. While there, Tabitha tells Gail about her pipe dream business, which would be a storefront salon where employees could work with a stylist to select outfits while there, which would be cheaper than a personal stylist and also have some perks like online shopping. Gail likes it a lot and says she may invest if Tabitha brings her a business plan. Marvin shows up with a divot in his hair, which Tabitha can tell is suspicious because she would have noticed it before and the cut is clearly fresh to trained eyes. While Tabitha is finishing Gail’s hair he pushes her on the timeline for the review and Gail snaps back.
She reports back to Rex, who still thinks Marvin is hitting on her. She says she will only give him the information in the hot tub, so successfully gets them there. They run into Gail, who invites them to croquet. Tabitha also lets it slip that she and Jada call Rex Captain Sternpants. They go back to their cabin to get ready for croquet and have sex. After, when Clark comes in, Tabitha finds the “Rex Hates” list and realizes it describes her. She’s furious. She still plays her role, but will no longer be nice. Her anger makes Rex respect her more, and he realizes that he is starting to like her bubbly personality and the things he thought he hated, like how she narrates her reactions (like saying “gasp!” instead of gasping).
Later, still furious, Tabitha goes for a walk. She overhears Marvin on the phone telling someone that they need to move on Bellcore. He is scheming against Gail. When she is getting away she makes a small sound and worries he may have seen her. She reports back to Rex and Clark and this time Rex believes her. They decide to gather more information before moving. Rex and Tabitha go to a charity cocktail hour and Rex decides to win Tabitha back by showing interest in things she cares about. So they sneak into the salon to get Marvin and Gail’s hair, but it has been cleaned. They fight because she realizes he is just humoring her. Marvin shows up to spy on them. Rex spots him in a mirror and they stop fighting and pretend at foreplay. Marvin leaves. They have sex and then decide to break into Marvin’s cabin. This episode confuses Rex because if Marvin was into Tabitha, he wouldn’t want to see her with another man.
Rex spends more time with Tabitha the next day and even tells her some about his past. He sees her scars and understands her tattoos. Tabitha takes an opportunity to steal some of Gail’s hair. They then break into Marvin’s cabin and steal his toenails. Because Rex grew up in a bar in Boston, he is able to break in easily and isn’t worried about any consequences. They return to a stock market issue and after it is resolved Rex thanks his team for the first time ever. Tabitha realizes that she loves him but is too afraid to trust a man due to her past. She is adamant this is just vacation sex.
The next morning, Tabitha runs her focus group with Gail and it goes well. Tabitha and Rex visit St. Herve and mail the DNA. Then they have a romantic beach date that actually fits Tabitha’s personality, rather than who she’s pretending to be as a fake fiancée. Rex is doing his best to win her for who she is. On the boat back to the yacht, Tabitha realizes that Marvin has an envelope just like the one they sent and is worried he managed to get the DNA samples back. They aren’t able to see the label, so it remains a mystery. Clark hasn’t managed to find anything on Bellcore while they were gone.
The mystery of the package is solved when Marvin gives it to Gail. It’s a horse pin that belonged to his biological mother that Gail recognizes. Rex and Tabitha decide to back down and are very embarrassed now that he’s managed to procure a recognizable heirloom.
Bellcore goes into freefall because the CEO was shady and had mafia ties. Rex and Clark start to try to recover, but they’ve lost a lot. Rex talks to Gail and Marvin, who tell him the review is over. Marvin is smug, but Gail is sad. She really did want to work with Rex, but her board talked her into a review. Rex and Tabitha leave because he needs to be with his team to manage the situation.
On the plane back, Tabitha tells Rex again that they can’t be together. He tries to convince her there’s a middle ground between fake fiancée and life partners and they can date and figure it out, but she’s too scared since she was burned by her dad and her ex-fiancé. Rex keeps texting, calling, and sending her gifts. He comes to her apartment to talk to her, but she still says no to dating him and tells him to stop with the gifts and messages. He realizes he was so emotionally stunted that he couldn’t recognize how much he liked her those two years. The hate list was a list of things he noticed about her, which was big for him.
While apart, Rex manages a slight gain on the Driscoll account despite the crash. Tabitha starts a pop-up version of her dream business. Rex’s lawyer reminds him that Tabitha is contractually obligated for three events post-yacht. Clark has to deliver the news to Tabitha that she has to visit the TipTop with Rex on her birthday or risk losing all of the money. This is particularly heavy-handed, considering her TipTop birthday issues.
Rex agonizes over a birthday gift for her. He fails to buy her building and nothing else feels right. On the day of her birthday, the DNA results arrive. Marvin and Gail are not related. His PI says that Dana had a short affair with Pete, which explains how he got the pin, and that there is footage of Pete going into a bar when Marvin was working a few years before. It was a long con and Tabitha was right. Rex decides he has enough time to tell Gail before she transfers her account to Pete and still get to the TipTop. She confronts Marvin and he admits to it. With this revelation, Gail gives Rex the account and they start working on the transfer. He sends Clark to tell Tabitha that he has amazing news and to wait. However, two and a half hours later he realizes the only clock in the room is wrong and he is incredibly late.
In the meantime, Tabitha’s friends show up for her. She thinks people only want the happy side of her, not the reality, because that’s her experience with her dad and ex. Rex shows up after she leaves. He manages to talk to Jada on the phone, but she says there’s no coming back from this and hangs up. He goes back to Gail and confesses that the entire relationship was fake. She’s shocked and angry, because truth matters a lot to her, and decides not to work with him. Gail understands Tabitha signed an NDA and says he needs to find a way to get her to a meeting the next day about her business.
Rex meets Tabitha outside of her apartment when she and her friends are coming back from partying. He gives her the message from Gail and the DNA results. He tells her he loves her and that he’s been a bad person, not a secretly misunderstood one. He turns to leave. She realizes she doesn’t want to let him go and tells him she loves him too.
In the epilogue, several months later, they’re back on Gail’s boat. Tabitha’s business has been coming together with Gail’s investment and they’re almost ready to launch ten stores. She and Rex have been dating and are—for real this time—engaged. Marvin has vanished into obscurity and Pete has been arrested for unrelated financial crimes. Gail offers Rex her account (again) now that they are really engaged. And, in the end, Tabitha sees whales just like she had wanted to earlier.
I’m no Prince Charming, and the last thing I want is a Cinderella.
My instructions were simple: scour the city for a fake fiancée who’s not my type at all. Have her on my jet Monday morning, dressed for a yacht vacation.
I need a woman believable enough to convince a certain client that I’ve changed my playboy ways…yet too annoying to tempt me—no emotional entanglements, thank you very much. This is business only.
If she’s unfazed by my looks and wealth, all the better. Should be easy. Right?
Apparently not, because my people go and hire Tabitha. My hairdresser.
What were they thinking? Yes, I said annoying, but I didn’t mean her, the most aggravating woman in the world.
Tabitha is sunshiny. She has a pet hamster. She loves Hello Kitty, and she gets under my skin like nobody else.
As if that’s not bad enough, the minute we step on deck, she thinks that certain people on the yacht are up to something shady—based completely on her soap opera knowledge. She won’t listen when I tell her she’s being ridiculous.
But as the days go by, I find that we’re actually having fun. And our fake kisses are heating up. And suddenly her wild theories aren’t sounding so strange after all…