(Pity Series, #1)
Publication date: May 18th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out.
In all my twenty-nine years, life has never been smooth sailing when a man was involved. Astor Hill was everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner—handsome, successful, and interested in me. Until he started cheating. The cherry on the sundae is finding out the truth less than two weeks before we’re supposed to stand up for our best friends at their wedding.
When a staggeringly good-looking and kind stranger comes to town and offers to take me to the wedding, I jump at his proposal. Who cares if he’s gay? Astor doesn’t need to know that.
She thinks I’m gay?!
I’m taking a vacation from Hollywood and going back to Elk Lake. My grandfather hasn’t been doing well after Gram died and he needs my support. Luckily, I’m between blockbuster movies so I can make the time.
My first stop is Rosemary’s Bakery for one of the gingersnaps I remember so fondly from my childhood. The only problem is that the girl at the counter has eaten them all. After spilling my tea on me, she bursts into tears and tells me her troubles. I should be annoyed but I’m oddly charmed.
I know what it’s like to be dumped by a cheater, so I do the only thing I can think of: I offer to take her to the wedding to make her ex jealous. Unfortunately, with the help of the tabloids, things quickly spiral out of control…
I’ve had an invisible target painted on me that only members of the opposite sex can see. And boy are they determined to shoot me through the heart.
It started with Bobby McEntire in the first grade. My best friend, Anna, used to help me chase him around the playground as a way of declaring my undying devotion. He missed the point entirely and tripped me so that I fell face first into a mud puddle. That single act of war ended any love I’d once felt for him.
In the fourth grade, Kenny Franks caught my eye. He wasn’t the typical boy girls pined for, which made me think he could possibly share my feelings. He had moderately bucked teeth, a nose that turned up just enough to appear porcine, and he wore glasses. Surely, I was enough to catch the heart of one such as him.
Alas, when I asked him to be my boyfriend on Sadie Hawkins Day that same year, he laughed in my face. Laughed. At me. The disdain I felt lasted through our senior year in high school. When he approached me at a friend’s graduation party and asked why I hated him so much, I reverted to childish ways and threw my drink on him before walking away. How dare he forget his transgression?
Then there was that tourist I kissed—my first!—at a beach party the summer before my freshman year. I never got his name, nor did I see him any summers after that. I can’t really say what I felt for him was love, but a definite hormonal reaction took place. Also, I may have pretended that he was my long-distance boyfriend at Katie Ramsey’s big back to school sleepover the week before we entered the hallowed halls of Elk Creek High School. Go, Crappies!—as in the fish, not the poop emoji.
In high school, I was all about Adam Sanchez. Adam was so far out of my league, I knew nothing could ever come of us, but that didn’t stop my fantasies. I spent the whole four years imagining scenarios where he would claim me for his own. My favorite was the one where he strode into the lunchroom like a rock star taking center stage. He stopped right in front of me before loudly declaring my perfection to one and all. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to homecoming/prom/the spring formal—basically, whichever dance was on the horizon. None of that ever happened.
Junior year in college, I thought I’d found my life partner in Trevor Blake. Trevor was your typical tall, dark, and handsome specimen. He was sporty and studious. But more important than both of those things, he had a sense of humor that kept me laughing. The only problem was that after a year of dating, Trevor still hadn’t put any serious moves on me. When confronted with why, he claimed it was because he wanted us to save ourselves until we were married.
He saw us getting married, so, yay! But also, we did not live in Victorian times, so it was kind of hard to trust that was the real reason. In retrospect, I’m hugely grateful I didn’t believe him. A happenstance that was firmly cemented when I caught him making out with his roommate at a kegger their fraternity was throwing. As far as gaydar goes, I didn’t have any.
I dated a few different guys in my twenties, but none of them sent my heart into atrial fibrillation. I simply enjoyed going out with them while I was waiting for “the one.”
Enter Astor Hill. I knew he was it for me the night we met. One look at his sandy-haired Leonardo de Caprio (from Titanic) savoir faire, and my heart rate took off like a particularly vigorous Fourth of July fireworks display. Boom, boom, boom! Everything about him shouted he was destined to be Mr. Faith Reynolds. Although, I’m sure I would have taken his last name instead. I mean, Faith Hill worked so well for, you know … Faith Hill, that I was sure to have equal success. Even though I was no singer …
But then Astor showed his true colors and once again I was left behind. That’s when I should have probably converted to Catholicism and committed my life to God, a la the convent life.
I might have actually done that too, had it not been for the pity date …
My ARC Review:
This was my first read by Whitney, I do love a good rom-com, and this ticked a lot of my boxes – sweet, charming, funny, a friends to lovers / small town / slow burn read with some great banter!
Faith owns her own bakery Elk Lake, is going out with Astor, who she is expecting to pop the question to her. She is due to be a bridesmaid at her BFF’s wedding in two weeks, with Astor being the best man. But she finds out that he is cheating on her, and she takes it very hard and is struggling with life without him, beating herself up about it.
Teddy is the new darling of Hollywood, his first blockbuster movie has catapulted him to fame – but his personal life is not all it’s cracked up to be. He is still recovering from breaking up with his girlfriend two years ago and hasn’t been in a relationship since. Teddy’s grandfather lives in Elk Lake, he hasn’t seen him in a while and since his grandmother died his grandfather is losing the will to live fast, so Teddy is visiting for the summer.
Teddy’s first stop in town is the bakery he remembers from growing up there – this is where he meets a very emotional and blubbering mess that is Faith. A miscommunication leads Faith to think that Teddy is gay, and has no idea she is talking to a Hollywood superstar. Teddy is enamored with her straight away and offers to take her to her BFF’s wedding as a date, to get back at Astor.
They become firm friends fast, with Faith wishing Teddy wasn’t gay, and Teddy wishing he had never gone along with the idea that he was gay. Lots of fun ensues!
Teddy was a very caring and humble person, not looking for the limelight, preferring the ordinary. But his past has a way of catching up with him that throws any relationship with Faith in doubt!
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
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