Pretend by Riley Hart ~ Book Review by Caroline

23154941 Title: Pretend

Author: Riley Hart

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars


Mason Alexander thought all he wanted in life was something to call his own—something without the family name attached. He got that when he bought his bar in Blackcreek…but then a hard truth opens his eyes that he’s been lied to his whole life, and he’s tangled amid the family that loves him, a truth that haunts him, and torn between the life he wants for himself and the obligation he feels for his family.

Gavin Davis knows a thing or two about living a double life. Being a gay man with strict Christian parents who believe he’s going to Hell, has never been easy. Instead of dealing, Gavin lost himself in his career. Teaching music gives him solace. So when he loses his job at a private school for helping out a gay kid, he feels like he lost more than a job. He lost his identity.

Blackcreek is a new start for both of them, two men, loyal to a fault, who both feel obligated to people in their lives. What Mason and Gavin don’t expect to find in each other is the place where they can be real. They know they want each other, it’s the rest of it they can’t figure out. Caught between loyalty, obligation, fear, tragedy and family, Mason and Gavin’s lives threaten to pull them away from each other if they don’t get real, and stop playing pretend, for good.


Pretend is the perfect title for this book as that is how both characters live their lives.

Mason Alexander who we met in the previous book moved to Blackcreek to prove to himself he could make it on his own and finally do something for himself. He opened his bar, Creekside, made new friends and thought his success had finally given him everything he wanted. His relationship with his family is tenuous after learning a long buried secret and his ex Isaac is like a bad smell that you can’t get rid of.

Gavin Davis was kind of pushed out of his job as a music teacher when the school found out he was gay. Memories of his own childhood bullying prompted him to help out a young gay student and the parents and establishment didn’t like it. Music and teaching were his life and he is now unsure of what comes next so he heads to Blackcreek to visit his best friend and first boyfriend Braden. Gavin was brought up by strict Christian parents who pray for his soul daily and will never accept his sexuality something that hurts him deeply.

When Gavin walks into the local bar and meets Mason the two men hit it off immediately over a conversation about music. When they bump into each other again at Braden and Wes’s wedding Mason has offered Gavin a part time job at the bar before he can even think it through properly. There is an obvious attraction between the two men but neither of them are looking for anything serious still happy to pretend they each have everything they want or need in life.

There isn’t a great deal of angst between them as far as their relationship goes but there is massive family drama that causes issues. Between unrepentant religion and a serious family illness the two men have to deal with more than their fair share of stress.

There are some real heart warming scenes in this story especially when Gavin’s dad has a lucid day and finally realises that his son’s sexuality is a part of who he is. It was very easy to feel angry towards their attitude to their son so it was nice to see it partly dealt with even though it wasn’t resolved. Nothing worth having comes easy and this pair is certainly put through the wringer before they get their happy ending but the journey is full of fun, lots of sex and a very bossy Mason in the bedroom!

Buy Links

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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