Today we have the blog tour of THE STAND-IN BOYFRIEND by Emma Doherty! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!
Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend
Author: Emma Doherty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
About The Stand-In Boyfriend:
Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.
Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.
I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?
“So, Saturday—we on?”
I nod my head.
“What’s happening on Saturday?” Courtney asks immediately, her eyes narrowed on me.
“Livy’s gonna help me study for the extra paper I have to do for McCarthy,” Jessie tells her, glancing over. “Or else I’m failing.”
Courtney pouts. “I could help you study.”
Sophie snorts. “Aren’t you in remedial math?”
Courtney’s pout turns to a glare but she doesn’t say anything back. I think she’s secretly in awe of Sophie and knows better than to take her on. “Well,” she says after a minute, raising her right arm and dropping it around Jessie. “I bet I could make it more fun when we finish studying,” she tells him, the innuendo clear for all to hear.
I stare down at my plate, my appetite suddenly gone. This does not sound like a couple that’s over, and Jessie is certainly not giving that impression either. He’s not shifting away from her or asking her not to touch him.
“You know, Livy,” Courtney begins, and I raise my head to face her. “I’ve been meaning to tell you how awesome you looked at Aaron’s party.”
“I really think you should consider wearing more makeup on a day-to-day basis. It’d stop you looking so washed out all the time.”
I actually hate her.
“Shut the hell up,” Sophie snaps. “Livy doesn’t have to wear any makeup. She has this thing called natural beauty that you weren’t blessed with.”
“Hey!” Jessie suddenly chimes in, interrupting me. “Don’t talk to Court like that,” he says, glaring at Sophie. “She didn’t mean anything by it, did you, Court?” He glances at me while at the same time reaching for Courtney’s hand. “She was just giving you some friendly advice.”
Courtney preens next to him and dismisses me from her view, instead turning and gazing into his eyes. “Yep, just some friendly advice.”
Sophie snorts and mutters something under her breath about her being an Abigail Baker wannabe. I’m trying really hard to keep my face neutral and pretend like this isn’t bothering me, but I can tell Soph knows I’m mad.
Really? Courtney sits here and insults me at my table—a table she shouldn’t even be sitting at?
I’m not even mad at Courtney; I don’t expect anything from her, but I do expect better of Jessie.
I stand up abruptly. “I’ll be right back,” I tell them.
Jessie glances up at me for a moment, looking a little confused at my sudden announcement, but then Courtney shifts even closer to him and he’s right back to gazing into her eyes.
I turn abruptly, unsure what I’m actually doing, and then I hear a loud laugh from Chase’s table and turn to see Brendon high-fiving him. Chase—right. I know how to get Jessie’s attention and pay him back for that little remark.
I walk quickly over to his table, weaving my way through all the different groups—the stoners, the mathletes, the debate club—and I even manage a grim smile when Hallie looks up from the girls’ soccer table and grins at me. I look confident as hell striding through them all, but by the time I actually reach Chase’s table, my legs have faltered slightly.
Aaron sees me first. “Hey.”
“Hi.” My voice is a lot softer than I would like it to be. The table quiets down and I can feel them glancing over at me.
Abigail, who is sitting directly in front of me, turns to look me up and down. The expression on her face makes my stomach roll. I’m clearly not welcome here. This is her domain. “Did you take a wrong turn?” she asks. I hear the gasps and snickers of her friends.
“Watch it, Abigail,” Chase snaps before I even have time to open my mouth. She goes to say something to him but the look he sends her shuts her up. No one else utters a word. Chase turns to look at me, and if he’s surprised I’ve showed up at his lunch table, he doesn’t show it. “Hey.” He smiles, his eyes warm. “You okay?”
I nod and force the best smile I can. “Uh, yeah. I’m good.”
There are a couple of seconds of silence while Chase waits for me to get to the reason I’m here, and my mind goes blank. What the hell was I thinking waltzing over like this? Everyone’s looking at me like I’m crazy, and while the guys at the table merely look like they’re waiting on me, the girls are starting to narrow their eyes, clearly judging everything about me right now.
“Uh…” I glance behind me quickly and find Jessie watching me, his brow scrunched up like he’s confused. For a while earlier this year he tried to chat with this group a couple of times at lunch, trying to sit with them, but they weren’t exactly welcoming. In fact, I think it was Chase who made it clear he should return to us. I turn back to Chase, hesitate for a second, and then walk around the table so I’m standing behind him, rather than across from him.
“Can I, um, can I get in here?” I ask, my face burning at how awkward I am.
Chase looks surprised but Aaron doesn’t bat an eyelid. “Sure,” he replies, immediately shifting away from Chase and pushing the girl on his other side down the bench so there’s room for me.
I step over and sit down between them, actually closer to Aaron than Chase because it still feels weird being near him and I’m definitely more comfortable with Aaron.
I look around, noting everyone’s stares, and I actually feel my heart thudding nervously in my chest. They’re waiting for me to speak, to say something—something to justify why I’m here. These guys eat lunch together all the time, every day, and rarely does anyone new ever join them. This is their group, has been since freshman year, and no one infiltrates it. It might be different if I were Sophie—hell, if it were Sophie, she’d already be talking a million miles an hour and have everyone hooked on her every word—but I’m not. I’m Livy Chapman, and right now I look like a complete idiot—a complete unwelcome idiot.
“Um, so, hi.”
“You already said that,” Abigail says dryly.
I let out the fakest laugh that’s ever been heard and shift uncomfortably.
“Having a good day, Chapman?” Brendon asks from across the table. He has his eyebrows raised and asks the question haltingly, like he’s not sure if it’s the right thing to do, but it’s sweet of him to try to help me out.
I nod my head quickly and when I glance behind him, my gaze settles on my lunch table in the background. Sophie has a huge smirk on her face, clearly seeing and being entertained by this train wreck of a situation, but right beside her is Jessie, who is staring straight at me. He has a strange look on his face, somewhere between confused and irritated. Either way, he definitely looks interested. Courtney must see too, because her smarmy hands reach under the table, and suddenly Jessie’s focus is all on her as she leans in and attaches her mouth to his.
Chase clears his throat next to me and I realize I’ve zoned out while they all watch me watch Jessie. He’s not looking at me now, completely wrapped up in Courtney. Chase raises an eyebrow, a small smile playing on his lips and a challenge in his eye.
I turn to face him completely. “So yeah,” I say, completely at a loss for how to do this. “Um, hi,” I say for the millionth time.
He chuckles. “Hi, Liv.”
Oh fuck it.
I reach out, grab his shoulders, and turn him so he’s fully facing me, and then before I completely lose my nerve, I raise my hands to his face, take a deep breath, tilt his chin down toward me, and kiss him.
I kiss Chase Mitchell.
In the school cafeteria. On a Wednesday at lunchtime. In front of everyone.
About Emma Doherty:
Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.
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