Duping Cupid (A Valentine's Day Short Story) - Gina Ardito

This was a quick read. it was cute story after the first two chapters of clunky writing and cliché characterization. The trope is friends to lovers, and the conflict is one long Big Misunderstanding. Here is a run down of the good, the bad, and the ugly:



1. This might seem bias, but I love stories set in NYC. It is my second favorite city (London being the first), and allows for more attitude in the characters than middle-of-nowhere small town America.


2. The main MCs were likable and for the most part, the relationship was shown through their conversations rather than telling us the entire back story in one big info-dump. No TSTL - which I am finding a rarity in contemporary romance these days. Heroine actually stands up for herself against a-hole ex-boyfriend rather than let the hero come to the rescue.


3. The moment hero knew he was going to do anything to get his women. I may have sniffled a couple of times when he opened the present - a great big salve on his scarred heart. *contented sigh*



1. Did I mentioned the cliché characterization. Her family is a walking example of mental and emotional abuse disguise as "tough love." Oy. The wealthy client was an ex-model bitterly hurt by cheating husband. Rich people being self-absorbed and gaudy. Ex-boyfriend is still a dirtbag after all these years. The only likable characters were the MCs.



1. Ugh, her abusive family. They take certain pleasure in pointing out all the heroine's faults. It is so over the top, it would be less hurtful to take a blunt object and hit her over the head a couple times. And not once did the heroine stand up for herself - self-made business woman who could deal with a bitter wealthy client and take down ex-boyfriend with snark in front of his colleagues and friends, but can't tell her sister or mother to STFU or go to hell. This abuse happens twice, as the story runs from a couple of days before Thanksgiving through Valentine's Day.


I didn't squee over the story, but I would suggest it if a friend asked for a recommendation. It was a fun couple of hours reading the story. I would take the chance on this author again, but I am not going to hit the bookstore right away to glom her backlist. 3/5 stars.