Title: Running Mate
Author: Katie Ashley
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 1 March 2017
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
The name’s Barrett Callahan. Yeah, that Barrett Callahan—the one the press dubbed “Bare” after those naked sexting pictures surfaced. At twenty-five, I was armed with an MBA from Harvard, an executive position at my father’s Fortune 500 company, a penthouse, and a different piece of delectable eye candy in my bed every weekend. I had a life most men dreamed of. But then my father decided to run for president, and my playboy lifestyle became a liability to his campaign that was built on family values. My “makeover” comes in the form of a fake fiancée who I don’t even get to choose–one who is an uptight, choirgirl acting priss but also sexy-as-hell.
My latest relationship had gone down in flames, and I was drowning in a sea of student loans when in true Godfather status, James Callahan made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Seven figures for seven months on the campaign trail pretending to be the adoring fiancée of his son, Barrett. As soon as he won the election, our engagement would be dissolved amicably for the press, I was free to ride off into the sunset a million dollars richer, and because of the NDA, no one would be the wiser. Sure, I’d never met the guy, but I’d been a theater nerd in high school. I could pull off any role from Lady Macbeth to Maria Von Trapp. But that was before I met my fake fiancé—the infuriating, self-absorbed, egotistical, drop-dead-sexy King of the Manwhores.
The race will be a fight to the death finish, and that’s not even the actual campaign.
Barrett embraces his playboy lifestyle, thriving on his reputation as a ladies man. He has absolutely no plans to change in the future, near or far, believing he is a consummate bachelor. However, there are repercussions for his family where his less-than exemplary lifestyle is involved. Especially as his father has entered the race for President. Family values are very important to Barrett’s father and his stance is juxtaposed by Barrett’s very public notoriety.
Enter the adorable Addison. Addison is an idealist who is prepared to back up her convictions with actions. Working on Senator Callahan’s campaign, she supports him whole-heartedly; her squeaky clean image makes Addison the ideal candidate to alter the publics perception of Barrett. It also helps that Addison is in economic disadvantage and the deal Senator Callahan offers her will enable her to pursue her dreams. Burned badly in a previous relationship which was also within the political sphere, Addison is certain she can maintain her emotional distance from the playboy she is now tied to. While Addison appears squeaky clean on paper there are hints to a skeleton in her closest. I have to say the revelation is not what I expected and is in fact adorable and quirky in its delivery ♥
Addison and Barrett set the framework for their time together with sarcasm and sass, masking their powerful attraction to each other from their very first encounter. There are times, however, that in an attempt top protect themselves they hurt the other person by highlighting their insecurities.
I loved Barrett’s character development through Running Mate, Addison makes him a better person in all areas of his life, they compliment each other perfectly. Barrett has struggled with his self-perception from a young age due to a childhood heart condition, it was interesting to see how his identity had been shaped by that single factor in his life and made him feel inadequate in comparison to his siblings. Katie Ashley ingeniously ties together Barrett’s literal heart condition with his metaphorical heart issues and inability to commit. It was a lightbulb moment to see the coloration play out.
Running Mate is a delight to immerse yourself on the campaign trail with Barrett and Addison, being able to witness the growth of their relationship and their characters. I adored the peripheral characters and really, really hope Ty gets his own story 😉