I’ve been reading so many romances, and I’ve tried all the possible sub-genres out there. This book has pretty much everything that a standard romance should have, and more! The hot, brooding, never-gonna-love again military millionaire, the down on her luck but totally down-to-earth bombshell, the meddling but well meaning family, fake girlfriend, dead wife, the abusive foster parent, a construction company, the minority best friend, two adopted dogs, the secret past, the murderous ex and the eventual “fight for her” grand gesture.
These just some of the tropes and cliches in this book. So why was it so much fun to read?
This was not an imaginative story, in any way. Basically, Harper has walked out on her cheating, sack o’shit boyfriend but took none of her belongings when she walked out the door – not even her cellphone. She tries to get to her best friend’s place but with no sense of direction and without the aid of a Google map, she ends up driving 4 hours in the opposite direction, landing herself in the small, but not so sleepy, town of Benevolence.
Fast forward to her meeting Luke, our panty-melting, charming, army, construction company owner and small town product. They hatch a plan, with the help of Luke’s meddling sister, to have Harper pretend to be Luke’s girlfriend for a month. At which time, she will have found her feet, he will deploy to Afghanistan and the family will be appeased and completely convinced that Luke is not a shut-in recluse.
What could possibly go wrong?
This was one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. It’s refreshing to come across a romance that doesn’t employ cringe situational comedy to deliver the humour. The characters are witty, the righting sharp and the tone endearing.
When I wasn’t out-right laughing, I found myself smiling while I read.
“What happened to your couch?”
“Josh [the toddler] spilled a juice box on it and Bitzy [the dog] decided to eat the whole cushion. She [Harper] could sleep on half a couch. But no juice boxes allowed.”
An abusive ex-boyfriend has just broken into the house. The ladies have managed to knock him out cold:
“Tape him up!” Sophie ordered. Hannah straddled Glenn and wrapped camo duct tape around his wrists.
“Get it up higher on his arm hair,” Gloria suggested, her breath coming in short gasps.
The first giggle slipped out and there was no stopping it.
These were some of the most relatable characters I have ever met in the written word. The women aren’t damsels but they aren’t afraid to ask for help. The men are full of shit but know that they are and try to be accommodating. No-one gives a fuck about their boo’s previous sexual partners and there is no need/expectation for virginity or inexperience form the women. The women don’t play head games and definitely don’t mope and sulk.
It was an absolute pleasure to read a book that was not part of a “lonely hearts trilogy” or some other inane series. It’s a standalone, one-shot, full length novel. Lucy Score, I love you! Mostly, it beautifully illustrated that family can be built form those who are not your blood.
My rating: 4/5
Buy Pretend You’re Mine from Amazon.com.
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