Title:Faking It (Ringside Romance #2)
Author: Christine d’Abo
Release Date: May 8th 2017
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, 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.
I ‘ve come to really like this series! Christine d’Abo is a relatively new author to me, but I really click with her writing. The characters are flawed but very well-sketched, the narrative is smooth, sprinkled with a nice dose of dry, sarcastic humour, and the romance is always present.
I’m not a big fan of the “fake boyfriend” trope, but it was almost perfectly executed here. Grady needs a pretend fiance as his date to his brother’s wedding, and Max could use some financial help with the reopening of Ringside Gym. Also, Max was looking for a new adventure, so this proposal came at the right time.
This is also an opposites attract story. Grady is a spoiled, rich brat, but what made him different (thus likeable) to me, was that he acknowledged his fuck ups, but was just too weak at the time to not relapse. And lets face it, his teenage years were a mess, and his father treated him like a complete asshole. Max on the other hand, was the epitome of responsibility. He’s grounded and independant, he’s a peacemaker that always wants to take care of people.
What I loved, though, is that by the end of the story both characters had grown up so much. Grady finally got his shit together and faced head on some new challenges. And Max understood that it’s ok to let go sometimes and put yourself first. Great character development here.
I loved Max and Grady’s chemistry. It’s very palpable throughout the story. The steamy scenes are plenty, although a bit muted. I absolutely loved how posessive/jealous/growly both MCs were for each other.
The story stretches over the course of a few weeks, so this is definitely a bit insta-lovey, which is my only niggle. That’s a personal preference, though.
The realistic portrayal of family relationships, flawed and messed up, but with potential for improvement is another thing that I liked a lot.
I have a couple of theories about who the next couple might be but I can’t be sure. My money is on Eli, but I’m sensing that Justin could get a story too.