Maddox has been lying to everyone for years, but doesn’t see a way out at this point, not that he seems too worried about it. When he couldn’t handle the pressure of being expected to marry his high school girlfriend, he told her he was gay and left their small town. She, in turn, outed him and now everyone, including his parents, thinks that Maddox is gay. It’s been five years and the past has come calling as he’s expected to show at his ex’s wedding. He’s also expected to bring the boyfriend he says he has, but Maddox doesn’t have a boyfriend, because he doesn’t date men. Until, he meets Damon, his friend Stacy’s brother, who has agreed to be his date, which leaves Maddox questioning everything.
Damon reluctantly agrees to this plan for the weekend. In exchange for pretending to be Maddox’s boyfriend, Damon will have the chance to meet a professional athlete who could be a prospect for his career as a sports agent. Damon was all set to be a professional baseball player, but when an injury put an end to that, Damon is still trying to stay close to the game. But, it’s not so easy because Damon thinks Maddox is hot and the vibes he’s getting, as well as the kisses, may have everyone thinking Maddox is not as straight as he claims to be.
The fake boyfriend trope isn’t my favorite, I will state that up front, but the blurb on this one looked interesting so I went for it. While the fake boyfriend aspect starts off the story, it doesn’t last too long as Maddox and Damon have genuine feelings for each other. But there are many reasons why they don’t act on those feelings right away and they both have issues to deal with.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about Maddox at first and that feeling stayed during the course of the book. He never felt that he fit in with his family or the small town where he grew up. When he felt boxed and trapped by his high school girlfriend, he lied to her and got out of town. So okay, he was 18 and did what he did. But he never told his family the truth and has been living this lie for five years. It comes out early on that most of the town thought he was lying and his close friends know that he is lying. But it came off at times as a joke about everyone thinking he was gay with his friends making the stereotypical gay jokes, and it didn’t sit well with me during some scenes. But Maddox has so many issues going on, including the encounters he had with his college roommate, that he never fully addressed to himself and he has never sorted out his sexuality. When he meets Damon, he has to confront it head on.
Damon has his own issues going on. He has no intention of falling for the straight guy, which is easier said than done. But Damon’s relationship with his best friend, Eric, ended badly and Damon is being overly cautious to not get himself involved with anyone. He also has no intention of being Maddox’s experiment.
Both Maddox and Damon had a lot of issues and there was a lot of drama in this book. The issues helped to fill out the story and these guys certainly had work to do to be together. Maddox was the one that would run, and Damon did his own share of not communicating when he thought it would protect himself. In addition to some of the other issues I had, there were a few holes in the story for me. The meeting that Damon was supposed to get for going to the wedding with Maddox was brushed aside and the issue with Damon’s friend Eric wasn’t shown as strongly as I needed it to be for the fallout it caused in Damon’s life. Damon’s sister, and Maddox’s best friend Stacy, was also an issue for me as she was a character that did not appeal to me at all. Her antics were not entertaining to me and everyone kept giving her a pass even when she was causing harm.
Fake Out did offer two guys trying to grow and work out their relationship. Overall, I did enjoy seeing their relationship evolve. This book starts out a new series by Finley and with two interesting characters coming up in book two, I will look forward to checking out how the series progresses.