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I Want It That Way audiobook

I Want It That Way audiobook

A marriage of convenience retro romantic comedy

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐200+ 5-star reviews

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Narrated by Alastair Haynesbridge & Amy McFadden

9.25 hours

Bingeing 90’s TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends have you jonesing for a time when email and cell phones were strange new things, and an app was something you ate before the first course? Then this slow burn, fake relationship, entertainment biz romantic comedy is just what the doctor ordered. Perfect for fans of Meghan Quinn and Lucy Score seeking all the feels in a sweet and sexy romance.

Book Description

Fake relationship? As if.

I don’t need a man to complete me, but to get my tubes tied before I turn thirty, I do need a husband.

When former child TV star turned producing director Lukas Keith comes to me desperate for a favor, the exchange of my services for his seems like a great idea.

I help him relearn how to drive a car, and he acts as my fiancé for a few doctor’s visits.

What could go wrong?

Bingeing 90’s TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends have you jonesing for a time when email and cell phones were strange new things, and an app was something you ate before the first course? Then this slow burn, fake relationship, entertainment biz romantic comedy is just what the doctor ordered. Perfect for fans of Meghan Quinn and Lucy Score seeking all the feels in a sweet and sexy romance.

Look inside






DANI
I’m disappointed by the real Lukas Keith.


When I signed on to this made-for-TV-movie production as personal driver for the guy—as in the Lukas Keith, aka the actor famous for his role as Joey in Our House—it wasn’t like I expected him to be exactly like his character.

You know, cheeky but adorable, beloved by all.

I’ve been driving for movies and TV shows here in Wallington for a few years now. I’ve had plenty of opportuni- ties to be disenchanted by famous people. I get that an actor’s personality is likely to be very different from the roles they play .

I’m still disappointed by the real Lukas Keith.

Maybe, because Lukas was Joey right there in our living room for most of my childhood, I felt like I knew him already. Maybe, because my friend Violet—a casting assistant on the movie—told me Lukas would be playing a role just like Joey, I assumed he always plays himself.

Or maybe it’s because he’s even better-looking in person.

It’s not that he’s been obnoxious. He hasn’t hit on me, or asked me to buy him drugs, or thrown up in the car—all things that have happened with previous clients. He’s just been borderline rude. Every single day it’s the same. He gets in the car, mumbles a greeting without making eye contact, and then slumps down in the back seat to bury his nose in a script.

When we arrive at his destination, he mutters a thank you and practically runs away from the car. Like I’ve got the plague or something. He never says anything else, not even to arrange the next pickup. The second AD does it for him.

I don’t know what is up with the guy, but the tension he carries around with him is exhausting. So, even though I’ll miss the extra income, I have to say I’m relieved as I pull into the driveway of his rental house for the final pickup. Once I drop the guy off at the Wallington airport, I’ll never have to deal with him again.

When I arrive at his rental house, I turn off the stereo, Smashmouth’s “Walkin’ on the Sun” still ringing in my ears. I don’t play music unless clients request it, and he never has. He appears at the top of the stairs as soon as I park and insists on loading his own bags into the trunk, but after I shut the passenger door behind him, he hides behind a script again.

His body language made it clear from the very first day of this gig that conversation between us is not welcome. But he can’t be learning lines now. The movie wrapped yesterday.

“Already preparing for the next role?” I ask, against my better judgment.

“Yep.”

He pops the P at the end of the word so aggressively, I know I should just let it go, but instead, I poke the bear. “Is it any good?”

He doesn’t answer, and when I glance in the rearview mirror, he’s white-knuckling the script. Reminding myself that my only job is to get him to the airport, I keep my mouth shut for the rest of the drive.

After I park under the Departures sign, I pop the trunk and paste on a professional smile, counting the seconds until this job is over.

He’s out of the car and dealing with the Skycap by the time I turn off the ignition, and I debate whether I should even get out. It’s not like the time when I drove the actress who shared every detail of her mother’s battle with cancer, who cried as she hugged me before she went through those doors. Or even the aging British cinematographer, who told me so many hilarious stories that I wanted to adopt him as my grandpa. Who invited me to visit anytime I was “over the pond.”

I’m not even sure Lukas Keith knows my full name, and I’ll be doing my best to forget him once those sliding doors close behind his very fine ass. He proves the truism: not all pretty faces have personalities to match.

“Danielle?”

The pretty face in question, dominated by soulful blue eyes framed by chestnut brown brows, suddenly appears in the open passenger side window. He’s never looked at me directly when he says my name, and the force of his attention pins me to my seat.

“Sir?” a man calls. “Your baggage claim ticket?”

“Can you wait a sec, Danielle?” he asks me. “I have something for you.”

He jogs away, and it’s like the sun disappearing behind a cloud. Everything dims a little bit for a few moments. When he returns, sliding into the front seat and turning that intense gaze back on me, I’m not only blinded by its force, but I suddenly don’t know what to do with my hands.

Meanwhile, my heart’s like the rabbit my dog Skye chased around the backyard last week, desperate to get away, racing from one side of my chest to the other. I don’t know whether it’s his movie star presence, or what, but the blood pumping through my veins is so loud, I have to lean closer to hear what he’s saying. This puts me in range of his intoxicating scent, which riles up parts of me that have been dormant so long I thought they’d expired.

I’m not sure how long he’s been holding out the wrapped package before I take it from him, but once my eyes have something else to focus on, I can at least breathe again.

“You can open it.” His hushed tone wraps around my shoulders like a favorite sweater on the first chilly day of autumn, making me want to snuggle closer.

“If you want. You don’t have to,” he continues, almost like he’s nervous. “I usually get my driver a nice bottle of booze or something, but I don’t know. I thought you might appreciate these. I actually had fun hunting them down.”

My cheeks could set fire to an ice cube, but curiosity is going to kill this cat if I don’t open the gift, so I just rip into the paper. When I see what’s inside, I literally gasp.

“I hope you like them.” His voice now tentative, he leans closer to lift the collection of neon sticky notes from the box, only to reveal another in pastels.

“Wow,” is the only response I seem capable of uttering.

“Maybe it’s dumb.” He sounds so vulnerable that my gaze shifts to his face, where his expression is equally unsure. “But I noticed how you use sticky notes to organize your planner, and I thought the different colors would be useful.”

He’s waiting for a response, I know he is, but I’m afraid if I say anything I might cry. I mean, it’s just paper, but it’s like the guy sees me. The guy who I thought didn’t even know my name has peered into my heart, examined my soul, and given me the perfect gift.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
75%
(9)
25%
(3)
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l
ldierks
One of my favorites!

This book has moved to the top of one of my favorite Karen Grey audiobooks. I love a strong heroine that knows what she wants! And I love a hero that respects what the heroine wants. This slow burn, unique marriage of convenience story hit me in all the feels. I loved listening to Luke and Dani build their fake relationship into a real one. Amy McFadden is one of my all time favorite narrators. She did an amazing job with this book which made this listen even better. This was my first time listening to the male narrator and he voiced Luke perfectly. I was engrossed in this story from start to finish, and I didn’t want it to end. The 90s theme was also fun, bringing me back to my childhood. Overall, a quick, fun summer listen. I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

D
DarcyLovesLiza
Carolina Classic #3 may be my favorite…

Story: 4.5 ⭐️s
Narration: 5 ⭐️s

“How about we practice acceptance, empathy, and love instead?”

This third installment of Grey’s Carolina Classic series might just be my favorite so far. The handling of the tropes and themes pulled me in from the start and I continuously felt like shouting AMEN as the story played out. I love that Grey doesn’t treat women or womanhood as a monolith; we don’t all have the same needs, wants, desires, or experiences. To have that play out in conjunction with the theme of choice was just *chef’s kiss*.

As usual, Grey makes realistic struggles part of her characters’ lives, taking mental and bodily health seriously, while also still providing the moments of humor and romance that a well-written rom-com should. And the overarching core of the Carolina friend group is still here and never feels forced for the sake of maintaing a series thread, but serves Dani’s particular story.

The theme of choice is skillfully developed throughout - being able to choose for yourself, whether in matters of career (for our H) or in matters of body (for our h). What makes this book so refreshingly different is that both MCs are already sure of their choices, they know what they want and the conflict is not about them questioning or second-guessing themselves; rather, the friction is more that there are others around them pushing, thinking they know better what Dani and Luke need. I love that both characters know that those voices are bs; and keep to their guns despite the opposition. We don’t all have to make the same choices to live a fulfilling life, and the world would be a better place if more people practiced that kind of empathy.

Having a partner who respects your choices and accepts you as capable of knowing your own mind is the romance we all deserve. Someone who understands the true gift of not only being heard, but being heeded. In a conversation with his mother Luke asks, “Can you please try and hear me?” And I think both he and Dani have been looking for that and ultimately find it in each other. Following along on their journey makes for a great read.

My only complaints here are minimal. First, the book could have used another pass by the copy editor, as there are minor but frustrating grammar errors present throughout. And second, as with my feelings regarding Hold on to Me, the explanation of some of the on-the-job stuff for Luke was similarly clunky. Especially with first person p.o.v, it just seems really odd when a character explains their own job in their head. Still, these are minor quibbles and the execution of the themes (choice, autonomy) and tropes (marriage of convenience, sex bargain) with two enjoyable MCs taking the lead make this well worth reading. Can’t wait for the audio version!

May 2023: I received an advance reader copy via the author. All opinions are my own.

Audiobook Addendum

This was another well-cast audiobook on Grey’s part, with solid performances from Amy McFadden and Alastair Haynesbridge. McFadden is a narrator who can be hit or miss for m, however her work here was enjoyable - effective character differentiations and she added to my admiration for Dani as a character. I enjoyed Haynesbridge’s performance slightly more than McFadden’s. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered one of his performances (I think my last was ‘Fake Fiancé by Ilsa Madden-Mills), but his skill has remained consistent, and that skill adds to the pile of positives that makes this audio a great listen. (As does the bonus epilogue from Luke’s pov - pure joy!)

Overall, I definitely recommend this one. Grey continues to audio production A-game to the Carolina Classics series.

August 2023: I received an ALC copy of the audiobook via Home Cooked Books. All opinions are my own.

P
Patty R
A nostalgic, slow burn story!

There is something about Karen Grey's writing when it comes to the Carolina Classics. I raised my kids in the 90's and it's a nostalgic feel as I go back in time with these books! This fake relationship, childhood star crush had me from the very start. As a childhood star, Luke was on the cover of all the teenage magazines. Between his curly locks and catch phrase he was the one to love. But now, he has come to Wallington to produce the television series, Lawson's Reach. It is in need of a fresh view and he is hoping to bring it. Dani was his driver, and he has a fondness when it comes to her. When she is in need of actor to help her with a problem, he is right there willing to do it! But things never go as planned, and the two end up deeper into the problem than either anticipated. But feelings come into play. Will the two find their way together? Will Dani keep her independent streak and let her childhood crush go? Will Luke give up on his feelings? This is a fun, slow burn story packed with emotions and relevant issues. I fell for these two as they navigate through life. It's messy and scary and wonderful, and Grey pulls it all out with a plethora of emotions. I loved it and as always look forward to hearing more from her.

Grey's pick of Amy McFadden and Alastair Haynesbridge could not have been more spot on! I think she heard their voices as she was writing this one. McFadden is that independent, stubborn yet vulnerable under it all woman. Each breath has the right feel and I could totally relate to Dani as she created her. Haynesbridge has a smooth sound, a bit insecure as Luke navigates his new profession. I love how he works through his problems and gives Luke the confidence he gains as time goes on. This team is perfectly cast and a pleasure to listen to.

J
JaeBirt
Fake Dating turns Marriage of Convenience with a dash of fighting for "Her Body Her Choice"

Book 3 in the series of interconnected stand alones. Characters cross over so while it's not required to read in sequence, it will definitely give the most depth on the characters.

In this one we focus on Luke and Dani. They each need something and the other one is the best person to help them achieve their goals.

Dani was obsessed with Luke as a kid and it's absolutely adorable to hear her inner thoughts and see how she builds off her fangirl knowledge of him. She doesn't want kids and has a bit of a reaction when getting intimate with someone knowing that there is always a minor possibility. And because the world is unfair to the Nth degree, she can't get her tubes tide without a husband to consent or waiting until she's over 30.

Luke helps her out since she's going to help him figure out how to overcome his driving PTSD and get behind the wheel again. He also then gets the idea to help her overcome her intimacy issues without the surgery while they wait for her day in the OR. And as we all know, fake dating leads to marriage of convenience leads to real friendship and real feelings and I AM HERE FOR IT!!!

The audiobook was performed by 2 new to be narrators: Amy McFadden and Alastair Haynesbridge. They worked so well together for this story. I loved the mild twang in Amy's voice for Dani, I'm not an accent expert but it felt so genuine for the character. Dani goes through a lot and I was really happy to follow along and watch her fight for what she wants in life. Alastair was terrific as child start turned reluctant actor turned passionate director Luke. It was so great to listen to him find his happy place in the hollywood world and with Dani. His emotional journey dealing with anxiety and PTSD was really great to hear. And his ways of helping Dani with her exposure therapy... yes please, I want more of that.

I requested and was provided with an advanced copy of the audiobook. These are my honest opinions.

L
Leigh Ann Jordan @read_pair_share
arranged marriage, let's make a deal

Story Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ 4.75/5
Audiobook Rating: 🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 (0-5)
Overall Rating: 4.875/5 😜
Steam: 🔥🔥🔥 (0-5)

What I’m Starry-Eyed Over:
🤩 Retro 90s, small Carolina beach town setting.
🤩 Entertainment business/sitcom production world.
🤩 Great prologue—I love both MCs already, especially Luke because my love language is gifts/giving.
🤩 I love a let’s make a deal—you do this for me, I’ll do this for you.
🤩 Fake engagement/arranged marriage—two of my favorites.
🤩 One bed & forced proximity—thank you for these fantastic tropes. The Two Truths & A Lie is my absolute favorite part of the whole book. ❤️‍🔥
🤩 The way they so lovingly help each other.
🤩 Reproductive rights and women’s health care issues. Lukas Keith is total book boyfriend material for supporting Dani in this area!! And he’s a hottie!
🤩 The two narrators are so entertaining. They express feelings really well: excited, worried, teasing. . .
🤩 Slow burn that I could not stop listening to once I started.
🤩 The first (and second) kiss yumminess. 🥵
🤩 When Dani drinks too much wine without eating all day. 🤣
🤩 And then George & Tina show up. 😂 You can meet them in the series novella What Happens in Carolina and I highly recommend it.
🤩 These two MCs are so absolutely supportive and encouraging of each other—that is true love.
🤩 Secret pining and attraction at its BEST!
🤩 Laugh-out-loud funny.
🤩 Beautiful family/side character LGBTQ+ representation.

What I’m Wishing/Dizzy About:
💫 Please tell me there’s a fourth book in the series. I’m crossing my fingers for Whitney & Ford.
💫 I believe in the HEA, but I just really love some physical connection (steam) after the drama/time apart. But, I still want to listen again, so I guess I’m just being a brat. 🌟