A Spicy New Adult College Romance about Trust and Falling in Love
Not Fooling Anyone Book Cover Not Fooling Anyone
Lessons Learned (Book 2)
Allie Winters
New Adult & College Romance
Smartypants Romance
April 14, 2022

The deal is simple—pretend to be Ethan’s girlfriend for a psych study and we each get a nice payday. Despite him being a dumb jock who willingly gets punched for fun at my dad’s boxing gym, I can handle it. I’ve mastered the art of keeping others at a distance. Especially after… Well, never mind that.

Except, I didn’t count on him not understanding the definition of boundaries. Suddenly, we’re having to fake being in love all over campus to keep up the ruse. And when he tries to slip under the barriers I’ve worked so hard to create? Yeah, that’s not happening. Even if it turns out he’s surprisingly understanding… and funny… and charming… and smarter than I ever would have given him credit for. Not to mention that muscled body from all that boxing…

No, that’s irrelevant. I may have misjudged him, but that doesn’t mean I’m interested. He has no idea what kind of baggage I’m carrying. A relationship is the last thing on my mind.
Even if I’m not fooling anyone.

'Not Fooling Anyone' is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #2 in the Lessons Learned series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

“There are some things that are hard to share,” she whispers. “They bare a part of your soul. And you have to hope the person you show it to will keep it safe.”

Not Fooling Anyone by Allie Winters is a delightful standalone and second book in the Lessons Learned series. Lexie and Ethan both grapple with trust and communication as they traverse a fake relationship and attempt to find their footing as they leave childhood behind and embrace the real world with adult-sized challenges.

Lexie is good at hiding in plain sight. With a childhood and high school experience that leaves a lot to be desired, she’s the poster child for adaptability and resiliency. Because of her past traumas she’s learned to trust exactly no one and rely on herself for everything. Ethan is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s the middle child in a loving family, has recognized his learning disabilities and overcome them, and has been training as a boxer with Lexie’s father. In this sense, Lexie and Ethan have a beautiful “opposites attract” romance.

“No one in memory has ever touched me like this. With purpose. With care. With concern.”

I enjoyed that the theme of Ethan being steadfast enough to bring out Lexie’s impulsivity which starts at the beginning of the Psychology study and is present throughout the entire book. Even though Lexie hasn’t experienced trustworthy people, Ethan becomes determined to be the rock in Lexie’s stormy life. He’s the epitome of a good guy, wise beyond his years, and a testament to his upbringing. Even when he deals with his own issues, he shows his age, but ultimately his maturity is at the forefront. He’s the kind of character you had wished was your first boyfriend and not the skeezy one you regret. Not Fooling Anyone is full of the feelings that every new adult experiences: passionate determination, and confusing bewilderment—usually at the same time.

While miscommunication can be trying in books featuring older characters, all traits that Lexie and Ethan portray are on point age-wise for both of them. The conflict and forthcoming resolution were aptly addressed and handled in a way that I thought was appropriate for both characters. And because this is a spicy book, Allie Winters made consent a prevalent theme between Lexie and Ethan, which I admired! I truly felt for Lexie, but I admired her willingness to learn to open up, to admit when she was wrong, and in the end to finally own up to her own mistakes in a way that felt right for her character.

“That’s all I want from her. A reaction. To know this growing craving for her isn’t one-sided.”

Allie Winters has written a wonderful story full of love, trust, and communication. Lexie and Ethan will for sure win you over, as they did me. If you love new adult romance, set in college, and is chock full of hormone-ridden new love, then Not Fooling Anyone is the romance for you!