Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 8, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
Max Tremblay should be happy. His nightclub, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.
Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.
When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.
TROPES: fake dating, fake engagement, class disparity, family
TAGS: contemporary, adult, sexual content, romance, athletics
WARNINGS: homophobia, ableism, classism, slurs, emotional abuse, alcoholism, mentions of suicide
He leaned forward until he covered Grady as much as he could, and angled his mouth to dvour him. He needed to taste, to feel the heat from Grady’s body bleed into his clothing, wanted to rub his scent all over Grady until there was no doubt that this man belonged to him.
As many of you undoubtedly know, fake dating is basically my favorite trope. So I was going to pick up this book anyway, because I absolutely adored the first one and the anxiety rep was so on point, but once I found out it entailed fake dating? LOOK OUT, WALLET, HERE I COME. Reader, I preordered it. Then I requested it on NetGalley because I wanted it sooner and knew I would love it.
I was correct; I loved it.
Both of the main characters, Max and Grady were such lovable puppies. Max, the business owner who tends to take care of everyone else before himself. Grady, the black sheep of his rich family who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble when it means provoking his father. The two of them end up having a fake engagement when Grady finds out his father plans to push him into an arranged marriage with a barely out 20 year old kid in order to make a business deal. Max is, of course, reluctant at first because he doesn’t even know Grady, but finds himself impulsively agreeing to the scheme.
Admittedly, I would have liked for the fake dating/engagement part to be a bit longer so they could get to know each other more, but I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t immediately dive into bed together (though it didn’t take too long). But they got to learn a bit about each other and have some character and relationship growth, together and individually.. It wasn’t all sex, all the time–they were able to hang out, be silly, talk, and get to know different sides of the other.
Also, it was so fun to be able to see more of Zack and Nolan from the first book of the series, and to get more tidbits of information about Eli, Zack and Max’s third and one of the main characters of the third book. I’m looking forward to reading more about him!
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.
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