Faking It With the Grump
(Second Chance Café, #1)
Publication date: March 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
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.
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She looks suddenly nervous. “Okay, here’s the thing. I kind of told some people today that you and I are…well, that we’re…”
When she doesn’t complete her sentence, I lean in and ask, “You and I are what?”
She glances around nervously before she says, “Dating.”
I straighten, shocked.
As my brain tries to comprehend what she just said, I blink at her a few times.
I need clarification. In my experience, beautiful women don’t usually go around telling people they’re dating you without your knowledge.
Well, not sane, beautiful women, anyway.
“Did you say you’ve told people you and I are dating?” I ask.
She nibbles on her lip, reminding me of a rabbit. It only adds to her appeal. Despite my concern, she’s confirmed she’s not exactly sane. “I did warn you it was weird.”
“That’s true, you did. But that doesn’t explain why, exactly.”
She clasps her hands together, clearly uncomfortable.
I’m overcome with the strangest sensation, wanting to reach out and place my hand over hers to reassure her it’s okay.
She takes a breath. “I know this makes me sound crazy. And I’m not crazy. Really, I’m not.”
Said no crazy person ever.
“I don’t know if you recognize me or know what happened, but even if you don’t, I really, really need you to pretend to date me because—”
Her eyes dart to something behind me, and before I fully realize what’s happening, she’s pushed the bar stool to one side, closed the distance between us, a decidedly wild look in her eyes.
“Everything all right?” I ask her tentatively.
“Okay if I kiss you?” she murmurs out of the corner of her mouth.
I blink at her. “Now you want to…kiss me?”
She nods, her eyes darting behind me and then back to my face. “That okay with you?”
This gorgeous woman who smells like a meadow, the double threat, the woman who only just told me she wants to pretend to date me, now wants to kiss me.
As confusing as this situation may be, I’d be an idiot not to leap at this.
“Sure,” I tell her, the thought of having her soft lips pressed against mine making my belly clench.
It would appear she’s not a woman to be told twice.
Immediately, she pulls herself up onto her toes, places her hands at the back of my head, and before I can utter another word—like “why?”—she leans in toward me and kisses me.
I don’t move for fear this is some kind of mirage. Not that I think mirages are all that common in Washington, what with it not being a desert. But seriously, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me a whole lot. Or, you know, ever.
And I’ll be honest, as far as kisses go, it’s easily the most surprising of my life, hands down. One second, she’s explaining to me why she wants me to fake date her, and the next she’s kissing me, like it’s no big deal at all.
The problem is, for me to kiss someone like Harper Cole, it should be a big deal.
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kate O'Keeffe writes exactly what she loves to read: laugh-out-loud romantic comedies with swoon-worthy heroes and gorgeous feel-good happily ever afters. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family and two scruffy dogs. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
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