Author ~ Anna Martin
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 20th May 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
and One Time I Kissed Him First
When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.
As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.
When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.
This is a sweet “best friends to enemies to friends to lovers” story, with a touch of angst, that spans over 20 years from the time Scott and Evan first meet at eight years old. Using a non-linear timeline, and told from Evan’s point of view, the story highlights five important years on their rocky journey to love, each based around Scott kissing Evan and the fallout of each kiss. The final part of the story jumps into the future (the one time Evan kissed Scott first) for their happy ever after.
It starts off with their second kiss when the boys are about to start their senior year of high school. The two are very different, but best of friends and Evan is angsting over his deepening secret crush on Scott as teens are apt to do. Evan’s artistic and quiet, raised by a single mother, while Scott is athletic and outgoing, never hurting for money or female company. This section also sets the tone for much of the story with Scott initiating a kiss and Evan winding up with his feelings hurt and communication between the two suffering or breaking down. After this section, the timeline then jumps to the fourth kiss 10 years later between an Evan and Scott whose entire relationship has apparently crumbled.
While I liked the wibbly wobbly, non-linear timeline and the slow reveal of their lifelong relationship, I can see how the sudden shifts in time could be problematic for some readers. Each section is broken introduced by which kiss and the year it happens, but it is a bit startling as their relationship is always very different from where we left them.
The third kiss, when they are in their second year of college, is the one that did the most damage. Mistakes and miscommunication on both their parts result in them not talking for years. This is one time where I really missed having Scott’s point of view, and I think the whole reason for their separation would have worked better for me if that was included. While Scott came off harsh in Evan’s eyes, it was obvious he was really struggling with his feelings and his bisexuality was somewhat of a puzzle to him. I could absolutely agree to them needing a break from each other after being so close all their lives, yet not being completely honest as they grew and feelings got stronger. Add to that their different outlooks on life and the natural changes when they are going to different schools, Scott feeling that he’s finally putting himself out there while Evan is trying not to get hurt, and their emotions get the better of them.
When the two finally get their act together, they are absolutely adorable (although nothing could be as sweet as their first kiss) and have great chemistry. Scott is clueless and seemingly still not fully embracing his bisexuality, but he really does love Evan and his efforts are sincere even if he does sometimes still come off a bit disgusted by certain things. While the sex was hot, I was hoping for them to have had a little more conversation to straighten things out that had hurt them in the past and really close that door. I also wanted to find out where Scott really was in accepting himself and his sexuality beyond the obvious love and want of Evan.
I liked that their families as secondary characters were always supportive of them and even when things weren’t good between Scott and Evan they never took sides. Scott’s family was able to keep up a relationship with Evan while respecting his feelings and need for privacy and distance when it came to Scott.
There were a few times when the UK usage of words or phrases slipped through to the American setting, but overall the story was well written and moved along at a good pace, even managing to pack in three weddings, one of which is possibly the cutest and most adorable things I’ve ever read. The extended happy ending came full circle, with a blast from the past moment from their high school days and a chance for Evan to finally grab a moment and kiss Scott first when it matters, leaving me feeling that they had finally found the place where they always were meant to be.
Meet Anna Martin
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, she is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), travelling, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Although her most recent work is in the LGBT romance genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen or Young Adult genre, Romance and Fantasy novels.
Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; "My favourite books," she says, "are 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee and 'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood." She also owns multiple copies of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.