Parrish Partridge didn’t grow up in Licking Thicket, but he is starting to feel at home there as he works to open a new restaurant as part of the family business. Parrish is also not actively looking for a man, but when he sees Diesel Church, he wants to keep on looking at the hot, tattooed man. Parrish is flustered and doesn’t think that Diesel could ever be interested, but Diesel is also smitten at first glance.
When Diesel asks Parrish to be his fake fiancé to help Diesel secure custody of his niece, Parrish has no idea how he wound up in this situation and he wants to pretend he’s not affected by Diesel or the baby, but he’s knows that’s a lie. The more the men get to know each other, the more they want to know. They both think their relationship has a time limit, but that’s just another lie they tell themselves.
The fake relationship trope seems to be everywhere these days and it’s not one I usually gravitate towards. Often, as this title suggests, there is a fair amount of lying that goes along with this trope and that’s not my thing. Having read Fakers, which was the first book that took place in the Licking Thicket series, I was interested in returning to the town and seeing what was going on. This book does build off of the first one with town antics, as well as cameos from other MCs, and I always feel these books read best in order for the full picture.
Parrish and Diesel are opposites, with Parrish being wealthy and educated and successful. He is also incredibly high strung, many of his thoughts are vocal, and he answers his own questions. Diesel had a more difficult childhood after his parents died and he owns the local salvage (junk) yard and people judge him on his appearance first.
Things move quickly for the men as they start their fake relationship, which isn’t so fake to either of them. Diesel’s sister willed Diesel custody of her infant daughter, but the baby’s grandparents are challenging him. (These are not Diesel’s relatives as his sister had been adopted after their parents died and it makes sense within the context of the story.) The grandparents fall into the familiar model of the rich caricatures who are the “bad guys.” Parrish has always wanted a family and falls hard and fast for Diesel, his niece, and his chickens, but both men have reservations for different reasons.
The story also brings back the antics of the town, which aren’t too over the top here, but small town innuendos and traditions would have to appeal to fully appreciate some of the scenes here.
The men fit well together, but the book was too long for me for the story it was telling. The men also fall into most of their relationship. It starts fake and things snowball from there and the course was never corrected and, by the end, while the men did care for each other, I felt that their relationship was all due to specific manufactured circumstances.
The story overall was cute, if a little slow due to the length. If you have visited Licking Thicket with the first book, then you might want to pay the town another visit with Liars.