Sneak Peak into The Dating Charade

First off, let’s just get this out of the way. What is The Dating Charade about, you ask? Well, to put it simply….


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 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?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and 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.

The Dating Charade is all about a girl whose super skill is escaping in the middle of terrible dates. She’s a pro. And, to take from her words exactly:


It’d taken months to create the perfect escape plan. Months of trial and error, of late nights scribbling elaborate routes under lamplight, of miniscule alterations schemed up with her most devious of friends.

But here, watching the stingrays circling the scuba diver in the aquarium glass behind him, she knew she’d finally done it. Her plan was positively, utterly airtight.


The location of Cassie Everson’s perfect escape route is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Conveniently, my own home is just a couple hours east, in Bristol, Tennessee. I won’t give away more of the book, but will say that I did visit the aquarium with my kiddos (twin 4-year-olds, and my 2-year-old), and fun fact, something I overheard actually made it into the book:


A middle-aged woman stood supervising around a shallow, oblong area of water to their left, the sign “Touch A Ray Bay” written in clear letters above her. A dozen kids and their families leaned over, hands in the water as stingrays surfaced and swept by. “Remember, kids,” she trilled merrily, wiggling her fingers in demonstration, “When sharks go by, fingers toward the sky!”

A parent hastily grabbed his daughter’s fingers as a fin swept past.

Huh. Seemed like an insurance oversight right there.


Yes, people. I was so blown away by this employee’s happy-go-lucky, let’s-not-worry-about-the-toddlers-sticking-their-fingers-in-the-shark-water station, I sought some comfort by making it a point in the book. I mean, really. It has to be an insurance oversight. Straight up one of those nonsensical things of the world the comedian, Brian Regan, talked about when seeing a Blasting Zone sign and saying, “Shouldn’t that sign say, Road Closed?”


            The Dating Charade debuts with Thomas Nelson December 3rd. You are SUPER DUPER ENCOURAGED TO PREORDER IT (thank you!! My publisher will love me and in turn love you!) on Amazon, check it out on Goodreads, or find it anywhere else books are sold.


Warmest Wishes!

Melissa Ferguson