Pretending in Paradise by M. UllrichPretending in Paradise by M. Ullrich is a lesbian romance with a lot of my favourite things—opposites attract, fake relationship, vacation setting, and two coworkers falling for each other.

Instagram influencer Emma Morgan is’s most popular blogger. That can’t keep her out of hot water, though, when a cocktail waitress at a resort Emma recently panned says there’s no way Emma could have seen much since they’d spent so much time together in bed. Emma’s bosses want to suspend her without pay for two weeks while they deal with the resulting lawsuit, but she can’t let them do that since she’s gotten an exclusive tip about a new couples-only resort in Florida. Emma can go, but under one condition—she has to take their new PR person with her to make sure she doesn’t get herself into any more trouble.

Caroline Beckett hates air travel and wants nothing less than to go with the flippant and kind of rude Emma, but she has no choice if she’s going to protect Travel Wisdom’s reputation. Things get trickier when it becomes immediately apparent at the resort that it’s a true couples-only place and they’ll have to pretend to be in a relationship if they want Emma to write her best review possible.

Caroline and Emma don’t even like each other, so how are they going to convince everyone else at the resort that they’re a real couple? Once they put their differences aside, after a while, things start to feel a whole lot less fake, but can their vacation romance survive real life?

The Characters

Emma and Caroline are super different from each other and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both of them. They totally grate on each other at first and while Emma could have been a lot nicer to Caroline, the whole enemies-to-lovers thing stayed fun and never tipped over into any real nastiness (that’s my main hesitation with enemies to lovers stories, having been burned by a few in the past). Their characters grow so much thanks to their time together and I especially liked seeing them revel in each other once they warm up and get past their initial antagonism.

The Writing Style

I’m a huge fan of fake relationship romances, so I was sold on this one the minute I read the blurb and I’m happy to say that Ullrich didn’t disappoint! It was especially fun seeing them pretend to be in love when they don’t even like each other, and it stayed great from there. When they start planning offsite dates, things get even lovelier, and I did a lot of smiling and happy sighing reading this story.

The Narration

Sometimes Keira Grace’s narration works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully this is one of those times where it does! She differentiates Caroline and Emma well enough that I always know who’s speaking and she does a good job of bringing the book’s laid-back vibe to life.

The Pros

Pretending in Paradise has it all: relatable characters, excellent pacing, great chemistry, and some seriously hot sex scenes. Oh, and the cutest ever makeup-after-breakup scene. I may have squeed out loud and put a hand on my chest when I got to that part.

The Cons


taras favourite lesbian booksThe Conclusion

Do you like vacation romances? Fake relationships? Sexy kissing? How about an all-around damn good contemporary romance? Then good news! Pretending in Paradise delivers it all. I loved my time in Florida with Caroline and Emma, and I can’t wait to see what M. Ullrich has in store for us next.

Excerpt from Pretending in Paradise by M. Ullrich

“This is a couples resort and retreat. Jackie said everything is catered to couples.”

Caroline’s mouth fell open. “She couldn’t possibly mean everything.”

“Maybe she did. Maybe she didn’t. But the best way for me to get my job done is to experience this place like any other traveler. So, what I need from you is minimal participation. In fact, it’d be best if you dropped the office ice queen persona and just enjoyed being on vacation.”

Caroline looked taken aback. “I’m not an ice queen.”

“Fun sponge, whatever—just try to be a tourist and relax.”

“Fun sponge? What does that mean?”

“It means you suck the fun out of everything.”

“I’m not a fun sponge, either.”

Emma pressed her palms together and looked at Caroline earnestly. “Please, do whatever you have to so you can enjoy a free vacation.”

Caroline held Emma’s stare intently. “Fine. I’m going to take a shower, and then I’ll see what kind of activities and amenities this place has.”

Emma breathed easily for the first time since meeting Caroline in the airport. “Thank you.”

“I’ll plan out an itinerary for us.”


“I’ll put together an itinerary for our stay,” Caroline said with what sounded a lot like excitement.

Emma stared blankly at Caroline. She was serious, and Emma had no idea how to derail what she had just put into motion. She watched as Caroline gathered her toiletries from her luggage. “Fun sponge,” she whispered.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635553994
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, Inc
  • Narrator: Keira Grace

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Note: I received a free review copy of Pretending in Paradise by M. Ullrich. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

About the author

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Tara Scott lives in Calgary, Canada with her family. If you don't find her with her Kindle in her hand, she's probably busy talking about what she's currently reading.