We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Review: When I first opened this book, I thought all the heat and action was all going to be confined to the subtitle chapter: “One Time I Kissed Him First.” But I was so wrong! The author very cleverly divided the story into six chapters— one for each of the kisses (and sometimes more) mentioned in the title, and of course, one for the subtitle. But rather than proceed in chronological order, she takes us on a journey back and forth through time, establishing the friendship and, ultimately, the relationship between thesetwo thirty-somethings. A word about this up front—though I first thought it would be confusing, it actually turned out to be exactly right for the telling of the journey this couple takes over a twenty-five year time span.
We don’t learn how Evan King and Scott Sparrow met until chapter two because the story opens with the second kiss— one that occurs during a party at Scott’s girlfriend’s house at the end of summer before their senior year in high school. It ends in misunderstandings and a decision, apparently on both their parts, to forget the kiss ever happened.
The first kiss? The first kiss was between two seven-year-old boys as they were sitting in a cardboard fort they had built in Scott’s back yard. I loved this scene so very, very much that I highlighted the whole thing and plan to read it over and over again. The author captured the essence of pure innocence that can only be true of the very young. Carried away by the moment, the boys decide that since they like each other so much they should be married. A short excerpt:
“Okay.What do we need to do?”
“Well, I say I want to marry you, and you say you want to marry me, then we kiss, and then we eat cake.”
The innocence is gone by the time we witness the third and fourth kisses, but those kisses eventually lead to more than just two lips locked together. This is a beautiful love story that spans the test of time, and in fact, is reminiscent of watching time-lapse photography. Evan knows he is gay by the time he’s in his teens while Scott takes years to realize that he’s not just attracted to women. He’s known there’s something powerful between him and Evan, and he’s been attracted, but it isn’t until his sister’s wedding that he realizes just how much he cares for Evan and how much it’s going to hurt to walk away and go back to his life across the country.
Ultimately, the men do come together, and it takes a tragedy as the catalyst, but their love has indeed endured, and by the final chapter when the prediction of “One Time I Kissed Him” comes to pass, readers like me will be unwilling to put down the book until we get to share in their celebration of love.
I highly recommend this to all lovers of MM romance, and if you love slow burn, there’s very few that are more slow burn than this one, but are so worth the wait when the sparks ignite!