Roomies/Friends/Lovers – Review of “Not Pretending Anymore”

In “Not Pretending Anymore” Molly is tearing her hair out after interviewing a dozen roommate applicants, none of which possess the qualities she specified in her ad. Molly is an ER nurse in Chicago and she’s freaking out about the rent coming due. Her next applicant looks almost too perfect on paper but, hope springs eternal.

Expecting a female as she answered the door, Molly is surprised to see a gorgeous guy as her last applicant. Since the ad specified a female, Declan Tate had used only his first initial. If he could get his foot in the door he knew he could convince her he would be an ideal roomie.

All his charm and good looks aside, Molly is too conventional to color outside the lines but then she discovers that Declan’s cooking skills would rival those of any five star chef’s, and he paid six months rent in advance. So alright. She agreed to give it a try.

They each had a crush on someone else so the possibility of being roomies with benefits didn’t get in their way and they became the very best of friends. And then they hatched a cockamamie scheme to make their respective crushes be jealous. You’ve heard that line about the best laid plans? Yeah, plans can backfire and then someone always gets burned. Who will it be?

Well, the DWD (Dynamic Writing Duo) Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, have done it again with “Not Pretending Anymore”. It’s a romance for the ages with terrific dialogue that runs the emotional gamut and an engaging original plot that will carry you away. I laughed and cried and wished I could be there to offer emotional support because that’s what friends do.

As for characters, their backstories are fully developed so we understand their actions and reactions. Declan is too scrumptious for words and not just in looks, but Molly holds her own too and is more complex than I originally gave her credit for. Sister Catherine (aka Declan’s Sister-Sister) is an unexpected bonus. Made me wish the Nuns who taught me had been more like her. The narrative is delivered in first person by our dual protagonists in alternating chapters which appeals to me. I love the authors’ writing styles and sometimes think I can guess who came up with certain lines even though it’s a collaborative effort.

It’s not often a romance novel puts me in an existential frame of mind but this one had me thinking about the fear of rejection in matters of the heart. Our personal experiences are probably the most influential in why we are afraid to risk our hearts and reveal our true selves to those we love. What if our affection is one-sided? Does our risk aversion encourage us to guard our fragile egos rather than take a leap of faith? I think I raised more questions than I have answers for but authors Keeland and Ward illuminated the path that takes us to a crossroad. The path each of us takes is our choice and whichever path you take, may it be one that will lead you to happiness. See what happens when you’re still reading at 4:00 a.m. Four and a half stars.

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