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You Get What You Give

You Get What You Give

a Rivals-to-Lovers, One Night Stand retro romantic comedy

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐550+ 5-star reviews

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Violet's the newest casting director in her small beach town that's become a haven for TV show production. But suddenly there's a rival company in town, and oops, it's run by the guy who she just had a hot one-night stand with. Can the pair join forces...and go from lovers to enemies to lovers again?

Book Description

From insta-lover to insta-enemy. All that, and a bag of chips.

I’ve put it all on the line: Sunk all my savings into rent, begged and borrowed for office equipment and waved goodbye to my full-time job teaching high school drama. It may be risky, but It’s a good bet to open my own casting business in my hometown. Known as the “Hollywood of the East,” the hottest new dramedy of the 1990’s starts production here next week.

Since graduating college, it’s been my dream to be my own boss. To nurture local actors while making a living doing what I love.

I’m so close to success, I can taste it.

Until one of the biggest casting agencies in Los Angeles decides to open up a rival office to mine. Not only do they move in right next door, they co-opt my business name, and steal the Lawson’s Reach gig right out from under me.

But the real kicker? The guy they’ve sent to run this office is the drop-dead handsome, charming, surfer boy son of the owner.

Who I just happened to have slept with last night.

Do not read this book unless you enjoy:
• Found Family Friends
• Parents behaving badly
• Dogs who go to the office
• 1990’s pop-culture nostalgia
• Small, Southern Beach-town vibes
• Outdoor Shower Smexy Times

Look inside


WHEN I FIND MY FRIEND DANIELLE’S FACE BEHIND THE BAR OF the Rumrunner hotel, I head toward her like a heat-seeking missile. My mood must be clear because the moment she catches my eye she mouths, “The usual?”

By the time she finishes delivering drinks down the bar and mixing my White Russian, I’ve settled into a seat, but indignation still has me restless.

“Stop destroying my swizzle sticks,” Dani says as she sets the glass of cold sweetness in front of me. “I can’t believe you’re still obsessed with these.”

I lift my glass in a toast. “To The Big Lebowski. Its cast included some of the finest actors of our generation, and it taught me about the yummiest cocktail I’ve ever tasted.

“Where’s your boy toy?” she asks while pulling a beer for another customer. My job requires a certain amount of multi- tasking, but Dani’s busier back there than ants at a picnic. However, she’s bartended since the minute she turned twenty-one seven years ago, so she’s able to listen while she works.

I stir my drink until the ice cubes spin. “That’s an excellent question. He was supposed to meet me at Mediterraneo for dinner an hour ago, but he never showed.”


“Go ahead. You know you want to say it.”

She just zips her lips.

“I know I should break up with him.” I tick the reasons off on my fingers. “He’s too young, he’s not very smart, he’s unreliable.”

When she returns from delivering drinks, I finish the list. “But he’s hella hot, and it would be mad awkward at the office if I broke up with him.”

She just smiles and shrugs, but I know what she would say if she weren’t so chill. “I know, I know. As soon as this is over, I’m swearing off baby surfer dudes.”

“How old is he, anyway?”

I tap my chin. “Twenty-two, I think? When he first came in to sign up for work as an extra, I’m pretty sure he filled in his birth year as 1975.”

“Six years between you is a dog’s age,” a bright and bubbly voice says behind me.

“Hey, girl. Whatcha drinkin’?” Dani asks Whitney—our other best friend—as she slips onto the barstool to my left. As per usual, guys up and down the bar stretch their necks to check her out. From her blond highlights to the big blue eyes made even bigger by artfully applied makeup, her look is designed to capture the male gaze, and it always does.

“A glass of chardonnay, please,” Whit says primly before turning to me. “Thought I might find you here.”

“You were looking for me?”

Biting a lined lower lip, she digs through the Fendi baguette she must have spent a ridiculous amount of money on. I mean, I love that new show Sex and the City too, but I can’t afford to dress or accessorize like any of those women.

“When I dropped Skye at your place, Lance was there.” Whitney slides a folded piece of paper across the bar, but when I try to take it, she won’t let go. “You have to promise not to kill the messenger.”

I snag the paper. After a quick perusal of what’s written on it, I just shake my head. I should’ve known better. You never pair a leading man with a character actress.

“That bad?” Dani asks.

“What does it say?” Whitney whispers.

“You didn’t look?” I ask her.

“I would never,” Whitney protests. “But Lance did say he was afraid to tell you in person. He was just going to pin it to your door.”

“Afraid? Of what?” I demand.

Whit flinches. “Of you yelling.”

I blow out an impatient breath and pick up the piece of paper again.

“Did he break up with you?” Dani asks.

The White Russian is hitting the spot, but I push it away so I’m not tempted to gulp it down. “He not only broke up with me, he’s moving to LA.”

Which means I’ve lost my receptionist as well as my boyfriend—or whatever he was.

“Is this seat taken?”

I squeeze my eyes shut before answering the question posed from behind me. In fact, I find myself squeezing every- thing shut in response to the tone of that voice. Not that it’s grating or bullish, the kind of voice that rubs me the wrong way. This man’s luscious, mellow tone is catnip that has me wanting to rub against him.

Please be hideous, please be hideous, please be hideous, I chant silently as I move my boho bag from the bar stool next to me. Armed with the Southern hospitality my grandma raised me to use, I scoot my seat away as much as I can in the crowded space. “It’s all yours.”

When I turn to look at him, the words As am I resound inside my skull. Where did they come from?

Let me count the ways.

First off, the dark-haired, five o’clock–shadowed guy with the sinful voice and a naughty look in his eye is a dead ringer for that guy from Steel Magnolias and The Practice, Dylan McDermott. I’d long ago shelved fantasies that the actor himself would shoot a movie in town and sweep me off my feet, but this guy’s right here, and he smells like—

“Crowded for a Sunday night, huh?” That voice startles me back to reality. Man, I hope he didn’t catch me sniffing him.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
This captivating lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance was a joy to get lost in!

When Nate moves to town, he meets Violet out one night. They have an instant attraction that leads to a night of fiery passion. Violet never thought she would see Nate again, until she finds him working next door and as her competition! This small southern town isn't big enough for two casting agencies. Violet put everything on the line to open the agency of her dreams, and Nate is determined to succeed for his own reasons. When they are forced to collaborate, they start to understand each other more, and the sparks begin to fly again. They are opposites that are so perfect together. But they both have walls up for protection, and Nate always had an end date to go back to LA. What happens when their hearts are involved, but Nate has to leave? Are they strong enough to fight for each other or where they always doomed to be alone with their broken hearts? I really just devoured this story. It was so easy to fall for Violet and Nate along with all their friends and family, who added so much fun, tension and warmth, making me laugh, cry, and swoon.

Anni Reynolds
Fantastic start to a new series - very highly recommend this book!

Fantastic start to a new series - very highly recommend this book!
Book 1 in the Carolina Classics series, is incredible! I have loved absolutely every book Karen has written, and this is definitely one of her best (I still adore the Boston Classics, but this is so good)!

It picks up about 7-8 years after the prequel novella (I’ll Stand By You, about the friendship of the five), and is about Violet living her dream of being a casting director in the Carolina town of Wallington. The current big project she’s casting for is Lawson’s Reach (a take on Dawson’s Creek), but suddenly, that cute guy she met at the bar last night moves into the office next door and happens to be a rival casting director for a competing company…

Now, cute guy Nate goes from being a one night stand with potential for more, to being the new work enemy, for a company looking to drive Vi completely out of business. His father and uncle’s rivalry is actually at fault, and hopefully something can be done to fix things before it’s too late for everything…

As always, Karen’s writing is at the top of her game, and this is an absolute must-read.

I definitely recommend picking up the prequel novella first (I’ll Stand By You), so you get a bit of the group of friend’s background and what the boys are fighting about and why the five each went their own way so many years ago, but this is a complete stand-alone if you opt not to read it. You’ll be hooked and like me, chomping at the bit for the next book in the series! There’s also a novella in the Smartasses anthology that features 2 of the show writers, and runs concurrently with the timeline (What Happens in Carolina), as both stories are more fun if you have the background of each, together!

A top fave narrator brings another brilliant performance to Vi (Maxine Mitchell, a very long-time fave!), and a new-to-me male narrator who brought Nate to life in a fantastic fashion (Jack Calihan) - I’m definitely looking forward to hearing a lot more from him!

A brilliant story and even better when re-listened to with the audio!! This is a definite must-listen book for everyone, and I highly recommend you hop on over to Audible to pick it up today!

I received an advance copy from Karen Grey and Home Cooked Books, and this is my honest feedback - thank you so much Karen! It was even better the second time around!

Vi & Nate

While the Carolina Classics series is a loose “spin-off” from Grey’s Boston Classics series (both sets of MCs meet in the prequel, I’ll Stand By You) – you could start here and be fine. New location, new folks, new connections.

Grey mixes it up a bit and this series isn’t interconnected standalones. Each book focuses on a different couple, but you’ll meet all the MCs and there’s definitely some story lines (drama!) that will weave throughout the whole series. I love these kinds of series where you can settle in and really get to know all the characters. 🥰

That doesn’t mean that Violet & Nate are cheated out of their chance to shine. Such a fun couple to get to know as individuals and together in a relationship. After an amazing one-night-stand, a family feud immediately pits these two against each other. Working for competing casting companies suddenly turns lovers to enemies. I really enjoyed the way Grey brought them back together, helped Nate find his real passion, and Vi become a standout in her own right.

Most of the drama comes from Nate’s family, Vi’s friends, and a hurricane. Coastal folks know the chaos created when a tropical storm upgrades at the last moment. Violet’s lifelong friends: Dani, Whitney, Ford, & Sully are also weathering their own storms. While Nate & Vi get a wonderful HFN, a big announcement ends the story on a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see who gets the next book.

Nicole Ortiz
Love It!

This is a new series from this author that now are around the 90's. It does give off the Dawson Creek and Friends vibe which I love because both shows were my favorite. This is Vi's story. Vi has a one night stand with Nate who then turns out to open the same type of business as her right next door. So now she is in the middle of a feud of between Nate's dad and uncle. Love their story and the characters.

I listened to the audio book of this book too! The narrators did an excellent job bringing the character's to life. They each took a chapter. I really loved the southern tang the female narrator gave Vi and the male narrator when he voiced Nate.

Claire Annovazzi
This series starts with a bang

What a great start to a new series! It was a pleasure from beginning to end. The story was well paced, with little events that moved the romance forward in a seamlessly manner.

The author has a way with male characters in touch with their feelings. Nate, like most of her previous heroes, isn’t an alpha male, but isn’t a pushover either. He’s just a man who values his feelings and isn’t afraid of expressing them. It influences his romantic relationship with Vi, of course, but also the way he interacts with other people. A lovely man indeed.

On the opposite side, Violet is a bit older than Nate, and is bossy and strong. Mostly because she’s fueled with passion and empathy, and some residual abandonment issues. She freely gives the best of herself to people, often forgetting herself in the process. She was an interesting character.

Their romance was just steamy enough to see the attraction between them, while they slowly forge stronger connections. They completed each other in the most perfect way, two puzzle pieces that fit. I loved it.

The whole casting/movie industry background was fascinating. As Violet’s and Nate’s job, they did it quite differently, while Nate’s father provided yet another way. The people working in and around a show/movie, the interactions between the various players in a crew, the writing and planning… You get a feel of what it’s like to work in the movie industry.

And the 90’s feeling? Amazing. I’m the right age to remember all the references to that era, and it was delightful. As were the short transitions at the beginning of each chapter.

Well written, with great characters and a good story, this series starts with a bang.

The audiobook was nothing like what I was expecting. Both narrators were good, but I'd have never thought of them for a romcom. I felt they darkened the mood, bringing more into the little dramas than into the lighter atmosphere. Feelings were there though, and they certainely did the job.