Cover & Exclusive Excerpt Reveal - Like I Pretended by Charlie Novak

Coming July 20th...  Pretending to be in love never felt so real.

Cover by Natasha Snow

LIKE I PRETENDED, the new spicy, sweet, and slow-burn MM romance from Charlie Novak is coming 20th July, and here is the gorgeous cover! 

Pretending to be in love never felt so real.

Henry Lu hates being a superstar. Action movies have left a sour taste in his mouth and filming a queer period drama on the Yorkshire coast sounds like the perfect antidote. Meeting grumpy coffee shop owner, Alex, is the cherry on top. 

Alex isn't impressed with the appearance of Hollywood royalty in his life, especially because Henry refuses to accept that Alex doesn't like him. But when rumours about the production draw the attention of stuffy streaming service bigwigs and the ire of Henry’s superhero franchise, Henry and Alex must put on a show and fake a relationship to smooth things over.

Alex doesn’t want a relationship, and Henry isn’t good at them, but their arrangement is only supposed to be for a few months, then they'll both be free to go back to their lives. The only problem is that pretending to be in love never felt so real. 

Like I Pretended is a slow burn contemporary MM romance featuring a sunshine Hollywood superstar whose never been told no, a grumpy coffee shop owner who wants to be left alone, bad attempts at flirting, terrible catering, and finding home. 

It is book four in the Heather Bay series and while it can be read as a standalone, it’s best enjoyed as part of the series. 

Pre-Order your copy today!


“Er… can I get a cappuccino too, please? Just with normal milk.”

“Sure,” I said as I reached under the counter to start grabbing a selection of takeaway cups. “What size did you want?”

“Just a regular. I don’t need as much caffeine as them. And can I get one of the cornflake nests too, please?” He smiled at me warmly then turned to his companion. “Come on, Henry, what do you want?”

The taller man, Henry, gave me a dazzling smile that revealed perfect white teeth. Definitely something to do with the filming. The name Henry nagged in the back of my head, but the rest of me was too busy trying to make coffee. “I’ll have a large latte also with an extra shot, please. And…” He glanced at the cabinet filled with baked goods that Spencer had been up making since five. “What would you recommend?”

I tried not to sigh with irritation. I wasn’t a baker and I didn’t know what anyone else except me liked. It was all very well saying I loved this Danish or that cake, but as soon as I did, the other person was bound to say, Oh, I don’t like that.

Why fucking ask if they already knew they didn’t like things I might suggest?

“What do you like?” I asked, letting my eyes meet his.

“I’m open to anything,” he said and from somewhere beside him, someone sighed. Was he trying to flirt with me? Cute, but that wasn’t happening. Ever.

“Try the apple and miso Danish then. Sounds like an unusual combination but it works.”

“I like the sound of that.” He looked me up and down, and I knew he was taking in my eyeliner, tattoo sleeves, and dark nail polish. “Unusual things can sometimes be the best.”

I stared at him, expression neutral. “Seriously? You’re going with that?”

“With what?”

“Unusual things can sometimes be the best,” I said sarcastically. “If you’re trying to flirt with me, don’t. You’re not good at it.” Someone snorted and another one of them muttered, “Ouch.” I turned to Gemma and just said, “That’ll be twenty-eight ninety-five. Cash or card?”

Gemma paid with her card and I hurriedly made all their drinks and slid their food into individual paper bags. Henry was staring at me, his mouth open like a shocked goldfish. I almost wanted to say something. “Thanks so much,” Gemma said, taking twenty quid out of her purse and putting it into the little tip cup someone had put by the till.

They took their drinks and headed towards the door. I watched them leave, almost relieved to see the back of them.

“Alex,” said Spencer’s shocked voice from behind me, and I turned to see him and Cleo standing in the kitchen door. “Please don’t tell me you just snarked at Henry Lu?”


“Fucking Christ,” Spencer muttered. “Bro, that was Henry Lu. The actor.”

“And Gemma Lee, Tamsin Chu, and Jude Kane,” Cleo added. She was practically vibrating in shock. Or maybe it was excitement. “Holy fuck, Jude Kane was here and you didn’t even fucking tell me. That’s twice I’ve missed him!”

“I… That wasn’t…” I glanced back at the door as if the group of people would magically reappear. There was something about Henry’s smile and casual flirting that had gotten under my skin and irritated me in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. “Well, next time you can deal with them. Henry Lu is a fucking ass.”