Book Scene: 'Faker' is a genuinely sweet haters-to-lovers romance


Inklings Romance Book Club is reading two titles this October. One is “Faker,” a fun and sexy multicultural debut romance by Sarah Smith in which two office foes hammer out their differences to build a love that will last.

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails — the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps.

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get ... heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

Sarah Smith’s debut novel is charming. It’s a sweet and heartwarming haters-to-lovers office romance, while at the same time dealing with some more serious topics such as prejudice and sexual harassment at work.

Tate is the star of the show. There is no doubt from beginning to end that he has a thing for his coworker and does not have the guts to say or do anything about it.

He is quiet and keeps to himself. His closed-off, serious and at times rude demeanor are his ways to hide from the world — and he likes it that way.

After Emmie suffers an accident at work, his overprotective and possessive side starts to show. As does his sweet, charming, caring and loving personality; he is in every way possible adorable.

Emmie is a force of nature. Working with so many guys every day is not easy, and she has mastered it.

The book focuses strongly on Emmie and Tate’s growth and life struggles. She’s a Filipino girl who moved to the Midwest as a kid and got picked on all throughout school; he’s a very introverted guy who got made fun of or was disliked for being quiet.

Their slow-burn romance is entertaining and left me with a smile on my face. Being a debut novel, I cannot tell you the book was perfect, but it was certainly an enjoyable read.

“Faker” by Sarah Smith was published by Berkley on Oct. 8. It retails for $16.

Anne Zastrow works for Inklings Bookshop. She and other Inklings staffers review books in this space every week.

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