Cassie is fed up with online dating, but just when she’s finally decided to give up, firefighter Jett Bentley takes her on an amazing first date. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.
But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.
No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout—but when Cassie finds herself caring for three sisters in an emergency foster placement, she decides to hide them from Jett to avoid scaring him off. When Jett’s sister’s addiction issues land her three children at his home, he decides the last thing Cassie needs to know about is his family drama.
Neither dares to tell the other about their unexpected and possibly permanent family members for fear of scaring away their potential soulmate, especially since they both listed "no kids” on their profiles! With six children between them and secrets mounting, can Cassie and Jett find a way forward?
Melissa Ferguson’s warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.
Praise for The Dating Charade:
“Melissa Ferguson is a sparkling new voice in contemporary rom-com. Though her novel tackles meaningful struggles—social work, child abandonment, adoption—it’s also fresh, flirty, and laugh-out-loud funny. Ferguson is going to win fans with this one!”—Lauren Denton, bestselling author of The Hideaway and Glory Road
“The Dating Charade will keep you smiling the entire read. Ferguson not only delights us with new love, with all its attendant mishaps and misunderstandings, but she takes us deeper in the hearts and minds of vulnerable children as Cassie and Jett work out their families—then their dating lives. An absolute treat!”—Katherine Reay, bestselling author of The Printed Letter Bookshop
- Stand-alone contemporary romance
- Full-length novel (76,000 words)
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Bestselling author Melissa Ferguson lives in Tennessee, where she enjoys chasing her children and writing romantic comedies full of humor and heart. Her favorite hobby is taking friends and acquaintances and turning them into characters in her books without their knowledge. Connect with her (and prepare for the possibility of becoming her next character) at melissaferguson.com; Instagram: @our_friendly_farmhouse; TikTok: @ourfriendlyfarmhouse.