Pretending to be in love never felt so real.
Henry Lu hates being a superstar. Action movies have left a sour taste in his mouth and filming a queer period drama on the Yorkshire coast sounds like the perfect antidote. Meeting grumpy coffee shop owner, Alex, is the cherry on top.
Alex isn’t impressed with the appearance of Hollywood royalty in his life, especially because Henry refuses to accept that Alex doesn’t like him. But when rumours about the production draw the attention of stuffy streaming service bigwigs and the ire of Henry’s superhero franchise, Henry and Alex must put on a show and fake a relationship to smooth things over.
Alex doesn’t want a relationship, and Henry isn’t good at them, but their arrangement is only supposed to be for a few months, then they’ll both be free to go back to their lives. The only problem is that pretending to be in love never felt so real.
Like I Pretended is a slow burn contemporary MM romance featuring a sunshine Hollywood superstar whose never been told no, a grumpy coffee shop owner who wants to be left alone, bad attempts at flirting, terrible catering, and finding home.
It is book four in the Heather Bay series and while it can be read as a standalone, it’s best enjoyed as part of the series.
If you’re a fan of Charlie Novak, you know Henry Lu. Action superstar, brother to Jason Lu, he’s been on the fringes for a while. And he finally gets his story.
If you’ve read the other Heather Bay books you know that they were anticipating a show being filmed there. Turns out they are, it’s a gay regency romance and Henry is one of the stars. And you know Alex, best friend to Noah who just moved out to live with his boyfriend- Alex’s brother. And even with all of that you can read these as stand alones. But why would you?
Alex is one of the only people to ever call Henry out on his BS. And Henry likes it. But no amount of charm can sway Alex. Until the studio asks him to be Henry’s fake boyfriend.
Because of the fake boyfriend status, and Alex’s past, this story is a slow smoldering burn. Henry quickly befriends Alex’s core group of friends as he also tries to both be respectful of Alex and to woo him.
Alex’s friends are the same snarky, loving group of guys who really just want to see him happy. And even if Alex doesn’t want to admit it, Henry is the guy.
You can’t help but love Henry. He’s like a puppy. And Alex is the housecat who doesn’t like anyone. How can anyone not love a puppy eventually?
Very satisfying story where no big concessions were made, the angst was low and a happily ever after was had. And the epilogue shows that Alex is still a bit prickly, but in the best way.
4 pieces of eye candy