Faking It

What has reality ever done for you?

She has a history of forgery she’s trying to forget.He has a knack for scamming he’s trying to resist. But one fateful night, their good intentions go bad. And what they get up to is downright immoral, illegal, and irresistible.

Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who have run a respectable art gallery for generations. There’s Gwen, the matriarch, who sedates herself with Double-Crostics and double vodkas; Eve, the oldest daughter, who has a slight identity problem (she has two); and Nadine, the granddaughter, who’s ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn’t leading off a cliff. Holding everyone together is Matilda, the youngest daughter, who’s inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, a secret that she’s willing to do almost anything to keep, including breaking into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.

Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who’s just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that, he’ll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including breaking into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.

One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hit man, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a jukebox stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, a painting of three evil fishermen closing in on a dyspeptic tuna, multiple personalities, miscellaneous Goodnights and Dempseys, and the growing realization that they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be… or the people they were born to love.

Buy the Book: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Indiebound
Honors and Awards: A New York Times, USAToday, and Bookscan Bestseller, One of RWA’s Top Ten Romances of 2002, One of Amazon.com’s Top Ten Romances of 2002, Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club Featured Alternate

Book Notes

On writing (Why This Is Not A Sequel): This is not a sequel. I don’t do sequels because my books are usually about the most important event in my protagonist’s life, which would mean that the sequel would be the second most important event and inevitably be less interesting. I realize there are ways around that, but to do a sequel to Welcome to Temptation with any bite, I’d have to kill off Phin, and I’m not doing that. So think of this as a spin-off, Davy’s story, although it isn’t really. It’s Tilda’s story. Davy’s just along for the ride. Do not expect lots of appearances by the Temptation people. They’re not in here. Still, for those of you who want to know a little more about Temptation (and I stress “little”), we have a deleted scene of a short conversation Davy has with Sophie that was cut from the book. And if you want to know how it all started, try Welcome to Temptation.

On character: Originally, Eve was the protagonist of this book because I wanted to write about the different masks women have to wear to get by. I really liked Eve, but the book didn’t. As hard as I tried, it never warmed to her. I finally noticed her little sister painting in the background and started to write about her, and there was the book. Sometimes, you just have to listen to the girls in the basement and throw out everything you thought you were doing to get to the book you need to write. But I still like Eve. Plus I did all that research on drag which I had to toss. So maybe some day . . . And yes, there really is a shampoo called “Cinnamon Bun.” Philosophy makes it.

On animals: Steve Goodnight, the Gallery Dog, is based on a real dog, a silver dapple dachshund I was transporting as a courier for Dachshund Rescue while I was in the middle of writing this the book. I brought him home to spend the night with me before I took him to his final destination and just couldn’t part with him. His real name is Wolfgang because I thought he looked like a little mutant wolf, but he goes by Wolfie around here, as in, “Wolfie, get out of the garbage.” He has Steve’s horrendous overbite (his tongue falls through it), Steve’s taste for jumping cats, and Steve’s generally frantic approach to life. I can’t imagine what the book would be like without him, or how we ever got along without him in real life. Well, the cat can imagine . . .

On music: Most of the music in this book is girl group music, that great stuff from the sixties. A book usually chooses its own music and that was true for this one, too, but once I started to research it, I realized how apropos it was. Most of those girls really were girls, in their teens, and most of them were exploited by their managers who made a lot of money and underpaid the singers. They were perfect symbols of everything that had happened to Tilda and her painting. An even bigger influence in this book was Burt Bacharach. I played the three disc collection, The Look of Love, the whole time I was writing this book, and a lot of other songs didn’t make it in because it’s hard to put music in books without sounding hokey. For some reason, people can sing with each other on TV or in the movies, but writing it down just doesn’t work. But scenes like Nadine’s Poor Baby were written with music—in that case Gene McDaniels doing Bacharach and Bob Hilliard’s “Tower of Strength”—and the music added so much to those scenes that I can still hear it when I reread them. The trivia section has a complete list of songs, artists and the scenes in which they played.

On quoting movies: This is not a sequel to Welcome to Temptation, but since Davy is a Dempsey, he’s still quoting movies.

On the juke box: This is what Gwen’s juke box looks like. I gave her a juke box because I want one and can’t have one (they’re big, they’re expensive, and they tend to overwhelm the décor) and I thought somebody should get one.