#Review — Faking It (Ringside Romance) Christine D'Abo — Available Now!

Title: Faking It

Series: Ringside Romance - 2

Author: Christine D'Abo

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Publication Date: May 8, 2017

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Page Count: 238

Blurb:

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.

excerpt

Friday Night . . . before everything changed

Max Tremblay stood in the alley behind his bar, a bag of garbage in one hand and a puking patron in front of him, and wondered if this was really what he wanted from his career. Because the combined smells of those particular things was something he’d never needed to experience, and yet they’d somehow become a regular weekly occurrence.

Oh yes, the glamourous life of a bar owner.

This was the perfect end to a craptastic day. First, the order of limes hadn’t made it, and he’d had to run over to the grocery store and clean them out, which left more than a few people there pissed off. He’d had an almost fight with his dad on the phone, partially because the stubborn ass wouldn’t admit that he wasn’t feeling well again, but mostly because they couldn’t have a conversation without it devolving into a pissing match. Then Moe had called in sick at the last possible minute, which meant he’d had to take over behind the bar. That had led to some impressive cuts on his right hand—so much for his calluses—from the never-ending removal of bottle caps. Not to mention the three fights that had sent Teddy running and required Max to act as backup bouncer.

And now . . . a vomiting customer.

At least he’d come outside. Cleaning up the bathroom would have made things so much worse.

“Hey, buddy.” He stepped farther into the alley, tossing the garbage into the covered bin before carefully approaching the man. The last thing he wanted was to get punched by a confused drunk. Or get vomit on his shoes. He didn’t have to live through either of those experiences more than once to learn his lesson. “Are you with someone? Do you need me to get you some help?”

I could have opened a clothing store, or been smart and put my money into the gym with Zack like he wanted. But oh no, I wanted to own a gay bar. I wanted to live the high life and be in charge of party central.

He’d spent four years getting his business degree and another five setting up Frantic to be a successful club, but nothing had prepared him for the sort of customer service necessary when dealing with too much alcohol and not enough inhibitions.

Another heave and Max cringed. Dude probably had some friends inside, wondering what happened to him. “I’ll let the bouncer know you’re out here. Don’t want anyone worried about you.”

He turned to go back through the service entrance; one sharp yank and Max realized the security lock that Cameron had sworn up and down was totally and completely fixed this time, boss, wasn’t. Max let gravity take hold of his head, his chin dropping to his chest and the muscles in the back of his neck stretching out. They’d all been run off their feet tonight, and Frantic would be open for another two hours. After that, it would be at least another hour before he’d be able to head home to take a much-needed shower before falling into bed.

First, he’d need to dodge the drunk and go around to the front in order to head back inside. Max turned as the man pushed away from the wall. One look at the man’s blood-shot eyes and too-white skin and Max knew there was no way the drunk would be able to make it back into the bar. No matter how tired Max might be, he couldn’t in good conscience

leave someone this bad off on their own. No telling what might happen to him.

I could have owned a bakery, or become a personal trainer . . .

Max stepped cautiously up to the man, and when he was certain that he wouldn’t get a fist to the face for his troubles, he slid his arm around the man’s back. “What’s your name, buddy?”

“Gamaby.”

Max shook his head. “What?”

The guy cleared his throat. “Grady.”

“Okay, Grady, let’s get your drunk ass into a cab and get you home.”

Grady groaned. “Nooo.”

...

review

Faking It is the second book in Christine D'Abo's Ringside Romance series and I was excited to read about Max's story. He's a silent partner to the Ringside gym and the bar owner of Frantic but lately he's feeling a little restless and unsure if this is really what he wants to do with his life. Especially after he goes outside to dump the garbage and gets stuck taking care of a drunk man puking.

Grady Barnes has no recollection of how he got to his hotel until his father's spy shows up with a picture of someone helping him to his room the night before. Finding the bar and Max to make amends should have been a quick and painless thank you, but now that his father is trying to marry him to some guy he's never met—because of some business deal—he's hoping Max may want to help him one more time.

I loved this story and I loved Max and Grady's connection. Grady has a terrible family life with a terrible father that I wanted to strangle myself, but at least he does have a brother and sister-in-law on his side. 

Grady needs a fake fiance for two weeks and reluctantly Max agrees. They quickly fall into the role as if they have been boyfriends forever. I loved it when Max became the protector over Grady not even realizing he was doing it. 

Faking It was low angst with lots of humor and lots of good chemistry. What started out as fake quickly fell into a natural rhythm that felt believable and real. They had problems and some miscommunication that led to hurt feelings and some soul searching, so it wasn't all smooth sailing, but eventually, they worked it out. 

I loved it and I'm looking forward to the next story which appears even more intense. Put on the boxing gloves!

 

4 Stars

 

* I was provided a copy in exchange for an honest review from Net Galley *

 

...

Other books in the series

Working It

Ringside Romance - Book One

Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four executive assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.