Updated: Jan 17
by Cora Carcack
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Book 2 in the Losing It series
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem.
Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.
Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Some Steam #ContemporaryRomance Sweet
Faking It is Cora Carmack's second book in her Losing It series, and centers around Cade, Bliss's best friend from Losing It, and Max, a musician who has a problem. Cade is trying to move on from his unrequited feelings for Bliss, and when he finds out Garrick is planning to propose, he is reeling. Enter Max, with her bright red hair, her retro 50's dress, and tattoos, who just found out her ultra-conservative parents are 5 minutes away, surprising her for Thanksgiving. After they hear her unsuitable boyfriend in the background, they are expecting to meet a guy - and Cade looks like the kind of guy her parents would approve of. As they continue their fake relationship, attraction and tension builds, and all of a sudden, it doesn't feel fake anymore.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Faking It. It started out like your very typical "fake relationship" trope. I have read a lot of those, and in order to enjoy them, I need a nugget of uniqueness. Luckily for me, Cora found it. Cade being heartbroken and lonely, and Max, with her tragic backstory and her wish to be free from her parents expectations, it made the typical fake relationship trope more interesting. It also had this whole opposites attract thing going on. Max is the exact opposite of Bliss, and Cade is the exact opposite of the men Max typically dates. There is a very identifiable attraction and chemistry between these characters, and as they slowly tear each others walls down, it becomes undeniable. While there isn't a whole lot of steamy scenes, what we do have is good.
Faking It was a fresh take on the fake relationship trope, that kept me interested from beginning to end. There is no beating around the bush with this couple, and it makes for a quick, satisfying read. So if you like this trope, sexual tension, some steam, and interesting character backstory, you will also enjoy Faking It.
Cade: "Sir, I'm Cade Winston. You've raised an amazing daughter."
My father shook his hand and said,
Mr. Miller: "Really?"
REALLY. He said really.
No, "Thank you" or "I know." It took him a full five seconds before he smiled ... like me being amazing was his doing.
Mr. Miller: "It's nice to meet you, son."
They'd already married me off.
I needed to sit down.
Spencer: "I think you're fine."
Max: "And you'd be right."
Spencer: "Because you've got balls of steel."
Max: "Spence, I don't have balls. Good thing, too, because they'd look terrible in the lingerie I'm wearing."
Spencer: "You want to her what I have so far? It's a work in progress, but it goes 'Your boyfriend's a dick, a prick, take your pick. But you should take his drumstick and -' "
Max: " - Point proven, Spence."
Cade: "Oh, are they magic shots? If I pour one out on the busted concrete outside will a beanstalk grow?"
Milo: "Oh, they're magic, all right. They're supposed to make you grow a pair."
Cade: "You should never have children."
Milo: "What makes you think there aren't a few little Milos running around out there already?"
Cade: "Because Armageddon hasn't happened yet."
Milo: "Cade Winston, by drinking this shot, you hereby swear to do something out of character tonight. Should you fail, you'll be cursed to a lifetime filled with premature ejaculation."
Cade: "Seriously, man?"
He held up his hands and laughed
Milo: "Hey, the alcohol gods giveth and they taketh away."
Milo: "Stop looking at me like that, Winston. I'm not going to be your rebound either."
I rolled my eyes
Cade: "I'm not drunk enough for those kinds of jokes."
Cade: "This is my friend Milo. Milo, this is Mackenzie."
That was for calling me Golden Boy.
Her head swung around to face me
Max: "Are you looking to get in another fight tonight?"
Cade: "No, I just like seeing you angry."
Max: "Come on. You're covered in blood."
Cade: "Too gross for you?"
Max: "Either really gross or really hot. I'm not sure which."
Max: "I can't think of what else to tell you."
Cade: "I believe the word dirty was thrown around earlier."
Max: "I got my first kiss from my babysitter's son when I was five and he was seven. He kissed me and then pulled my hair."
He chuckled and dabbed at a scrape just above the waistline of my skirt.
Cade: "We have different definitions of dirty."
Max: "To this day, nothing turns me on more than when a guy pulls on my hair."
There was silence above me, and his hand still against my back. I would have killed to see his expression.
Max: "Wait, let me do you."
I tried to keep a straight face, I really did. But no male in my condition, whether he's fifteen or fifty, could hear those words and not react.
She rolled her eyes
Max: "Your head, Golden boy. The one that's supposed to do your thinking."
Max: "So you gave up?"
Cade: "There was no point. I couldn't compete."
Max: "Bullshit. You're Golden Boy. You're good at everything. You're sweet, gorgeous, and probably stop to help little old ladies cross the street. If you can't compete, the rest of us are completely fucked."
I smiled. Hearing her say I was gorgeous was a pretty good consolation prize.
Cade: "The other guy is British."
She tossed her head back and laughed, and my eyes caught on the smooth line of her neck.
Max: "Yeah, you're shit out of luck, Golden Boy."
Mace: "Maxi Pad!"
And ... he was drunk.
Max: "We've talked about this, Mace. There are funny nicknames, and there are atrocious ones. That one is the latter."
The devil made me do it.
And by devil, I mean my uterus.
If look could take physical form, the one she gave me would have been a bitch slap.
Cade: "Pain changes us. Mine made me want to be perfect, so that no one would ever want to leave me again."
Max: "Yours made you Golden. Mine just made me angry."
Cade: "Your pain made you strong. It made you passionate and alive. It made us both who we are."
A laugh pushed its way past the pain that lived in my lungs, and escaped from my throat.
Max: "Golden Boy and Angry Girl."
Cade: "We should make a comic book about our adventures."
Max: "What are you doing?"
Cade: "I swear it's not as creepy as it looks."
Max: "Said the serial killer to the police."
Max: "Cade was head-over-heels for me a long time before that though. He just kept asking and asking and asking me to go out with him. It was a little creepy at first."
I gave her a grim smile.
Cade: "I am persistent."
Mr. Miller: "And we sure are glad. We were beginning to think Max would never meet someone."
Max frowned and added
Max: "It did get kind of obnoxious there for a while. Almost disturbing. You were practically stalking me."
Mr. Miller: "Don't mind her. You have my permission to stalk her anytime."
Max closed her eyes and whispered under her breath
Max: "We'll just finish out dinner, and then it will be over. I'll tell them in a week or two that we broke up. They'll get over it."
Cade: "Just tell them I chose fantasy football over you. Your dad seems like the kind of guy that would buy that."
Max: "How flattering."
Cade: "You know I'd always choose you over football, Max."
Max: "I want you. How many times are you going to make me say please?"
Cade: "I think that one did the trick."
Sex had never been like that for me. It had always been about bodies and sensations and simplicity. Sex with Cade was confusing. It was adding one plus one and getting an answer other than two. It was more than it should have been, and it threw my world off balance.
Milo: "Not that big of a deal? I will call bullshit on that so many times that the word bullshit will lose all meaning."
Max: "I know how I work, and that's why I don't trust myself to be with you. My heart is fickle and inconstant, and I'm terrified I'll wake up one day and feel differently."
He smiled sadly
Cade: "I think you're terrified you won't."
My mouth snapped shut. As was becoming a pattern ... he was right.
Cade: "And if you do wake up one day and don't want to be with me, I will fight for you like I am now. I'll remind you every day how amazing it feels when your body touches mine. I'll remind you of the good times, and help you forget the bad. I'll remind you who you are when life has beaten you down and made you doubt it. I'll bust down your door in the middle of the night and kiss you until you remember that your fears are just that, and they can't control you. I'll take my chances against your fickle heart if it means it's mine."
Max: "I'm going to be a raging bitch most of the time."
Cade: "I thought you were working on that."
Max: "Horrible attention span."
Max: "I'm glad you fought for me."
Cade: "I'm glad you let me."
People started clapping, and I looked at him over the microphone and mouthed
Max: "I love you."
I blinked, and just like that I saw ten more years unfold.
Check out the rest of the Losing It series