Title: Faking It With The Grump
Author: Kate O’Keeffe
Release Date: March 14th, 2023
Standalone/Series: Standalone (can be read as part of a series)
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary – Romance
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
I liked it
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a smalltown bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.
It’s one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you’re both from.
As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryan, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”
I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.
So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.
The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn’t mean a thing.
Not. A. Thing.
Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.
That is until the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…
I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I’m here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.
After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Nothing more. Not when my entire future is at stake.
Faking It With The Grump is a grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract, fake relationship romance set in the small town of Hunter’s Creek, Washington. It’s the first book in the new Second Chance Café series. Each book follows a different sister’s love story and can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.
MY THOUGHTS (Spoiler-Free):
Faking It With The Grump was a quick and enjoyable rom-com that featured two of my favorite tropes: fake dating and small town romance. There were definitely some Hallmark vibes here, and that’s a good thing in my book.
We follow Harper and Christopher. Harper returns home to Hunter’s Creek from LA after her long-time boyfriend and popular actor broke up with her and the whole fiasco went viral. Christopher is in Hunter’s Creek from New York. His company wants to buy the town’s lumber mill so he’s there to check if that’s a good idea. He’s only focused on work and getting that big promotion he’s worked so hard for. But when Harper gets a little tired from the entire town pitying her, she makes up a new boyfriend on the spot just so everyone will leave her alone. And said new boyfriend is no one else than new-in-town Christopher. Who is her complete opposite in every way.
While enjoyable overall, I did have some mixed feelings as well. I loved the first half of the story. I loved the set up of both of the characters, I loved the small town vibe that we get in Hunter’s Creek, the variety of quirky town people and their love of flannel and their tendency to name every establishment in town after a bear. Both Harper and Christopher were fun characters and I loved the switching POV’s to get into both of their heads. And I adored their meet cute and the set up of the fake dating hijinks. All the good stuff, all the tropes I loved were there.
But then the second half fell a bit flat for me. The romance went from fake dating to real feelings a bit too quickly for me and I would have preferred bit more slow burn. I also missed some depth in both of the characters, their feelings and even the rest of town people. But what irked me most of all after finishing the book? There is no way you could call Christopher a grump. He was serious and a bit uptight, yes, but he was also a sweet cinnamon roll. Never a grump! So I definitely disagree with both the title and marketing calling this a sunshine/grump story.
Overall, I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a quick and easy rom-com read with Hallmark vibes and all that small town romancey goodness.