Olive Smith is a Ph.D. candidate working on her thesis at Stanford and really has neither the time nor the inclination for anything romantic. However, she did briefly date a guy who her best friend is now gaga over, and because Olive needs to convince her BFF, Ahn, that she is well and truly over said guy, she lies and claims she dating someone else. However, since her friend remains skeptical, Olive needs somebody she is supposedly dating, and this is how she ends up panicking and kissing a random guy in the science labs while she knows Ahn is watching. That her fake boyfriend turns out to be Professor Adam Carlsen, Stanford’s science darling and well-known bane of many of the Ph.D. candidate’s existence was NOT what Olive was prepared for.
To Olive’s surprise, Adam agrees when she goes to him to suggest that they continue to fake date for a while, just to make absolutely sure that Ahn believes the charade. While he is famously moody, dictatorial and a pain in his students’ backsides, he’s also tall, dark, and decidedly interesting-looking and must surely have no reason to entertain far-fetched schemes from strange female students. However, Adam explains that the Stanford funding board is worried he’s going to take his giant brain and brilliant research and leave for another university, and they’re holding a large chunk of his funding money hostage. Appearing to have an on-campus girlfriend who has yet to finish her own Ph.D. would very much serve his purposes, as it might reassure the people holding the purse strings that he intends to stick around at Stanford for a good while yet.
So Olive and Adam agree to meet publically for coffee at least once a week, and at various faculty events, and as is the case with all fake dating stories, one or both of the parties inevitably catch real feelings. Olive discovers that while he may not be as outgoing and effortlessly charming as some, Adam is nevertheless not the ogre that many at Stanford would paint him as. By the time a big out of town science conference comes around, the fake dating has been convincing enough to Olive’s friends that they assume she’s going to share a hotel room with Adam, and while there is, in fact, more than one bed in the room, it still involves even more up close and personal time to act on all those feelings. Will their fake dating ruse become the real thing by the time of their mutually agreed deadline?
Full review here.