Book Reviews

Pretend (Blackcreek 3) by Riley Hart

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 30-July-2020

Book Blurb

Mason Alexander thought all he wanted in life was something to call his own—something without the family name attached. He got that when he bought his bar in Blackcreek...but then a hard truth opens his eyes that he’s been lied to his whole life, and he’s tangled amid the family that loves him, a truth that haunts him, and torn between the life he wants for himself and the obligation he feels for his family.

Gavin Davis knows a thing or two about living a double life. Being a gay man with strict Christian parents who believe he’s going to Hell, has never been easy. Instead of dealing, Gavin lost himself in his career. Teaching music gives him solace. So when he loses his job at a private school for helping out a gay kid, he feels like he lost more than a job. He lost his identity.

Blackcreek is a new start for both of them, two men, loyal to a fault, who both feel obligated to people in their lives. What Mason and Gavin don’t expect to find in each other is the place where they can be real. They know they want each other, it’s the rest of it they can’t figure out. Caught between loyalty, obligation, fear, tragedy and family, Mason and Gavin’s lives threaten to pull them away from each other if they don’t get real, and stop playing pretend, for good.


Book Review

‘Pretend’ is the story of two men both caught between their families’ expectations and obligations, and the men they want to be. Gavin and Mason may have different problems with their respective lives but the underlying issues are very similar.


“It was crazy how alike they were in some ways, yet so different. Gavin’s whole life, he’d wanted parents who one hundred percent accepted him the way he was. If he had that, everything else would fall into place. Here Mason had grown up having just what Gavin wanted, yet it seemed he felt pressure, too. He’d still felt the need to be something specific for his family.” ~ Gavin


Gavin grew up in an extremely religious family and coming out was very difficult for him. His parents didn’t kick him out but they (especially his mother) filled him so full of guilt that he’s been living two separate lives ever since he was a teenager. He’s a music teacher but he recently had to leave the school he taught at because he tried to help a young student who was struggling with his sexuality. Gavin didn’t do anything except talk to him, but the student’s parents went off the deep end and Gavin was asked to leave. It hurt because he saw himself in the young man and all he wanted to do was spare this kid some of the pain he still struggles with.


Mason has spent his whole life knowing that his parents and their very successful restaurants are his legacy – something he’ll take over when the time is right. Unfortunately, he’s not sure it’s what he wants. He’s not sure it’s what he ever really wanted. On top of that he discovers his parents have lied to him his whole life about being adopted, and he’s not sure how to feel about all of that. Mason bought his bar in Blackcreek and he loves owning it but what does he really want?


The title of this book is very apt as both Gavin and Mason have spent a long time pretending. Not just with their families but with themselves as well. When they meet it’s an instant connection and a recognition of someone who understands their pain and frustration.


It was good to be back in Blackcreek but I think I might have waited too long between installments. I had difficulty relating to both of these men and, although I almost hesitate to say this, there was too much sex in this book for me. I know, right? What a thing to be upset about. But, for me, I struggled with finding a connection and, in my opinion, I think I could have had there been more internal dialogue that was taken up by quite a bit of passion. Gavin and Mason are definitely hot together so if that’s something that’s appealing, then this might be for you.


It was nice to see Noah, Cooper, Braden, and Wes again, and to see them all living their lives and being happy. ‘Pretend’ might not have worked perfectly for me but that is probably my own shortcoming and not the author’s.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 270 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-December-2014
Price $3.49 ebook, $10.99 paperback
Buy Link