Review: Not His Kiss to Take by Finn Marlowe

not his kiss to takeRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Never ending migraines led to an addiction to prescription pain pills, ending Dr. Evan Harrison’s career as an ER doctor. Being a doctor was his dream, and now he is basically a recluse, shut at home in the dark and quiet with headaches that don’t seem to stop. One night things are good enough that Evan heads to his local bar for a while. There is sees the most beautiful angel of a young man and finds himself instantly attracted. When Jamie is injured and needs care, his refusal to go to a hospital leads Evan to take him home instead where he can help Jamie heal.

Jamie is young, stubborn, and definitely straight. But even so, Evan finds himself incredibly drawn to the young man. He knows he should keep his distance; between the age gap, the fact that Jamie was his patient, and Jamie’s interest in women not men, Evan knows the beautiful young man is not meant for him. But when Jamie’s curiosity and unexpected attraction leads him to seek out Evan’s advances, Evan can’t help but accept Jamie’s interest.

challenge monthJamie is everything Evan could want. He brings energy and joy into Evan’s quiet life. He is stubborn and snarky and challenges Evan in a way that he loves. And sex with Jamie is thrilling. But there is one crucial problem… Jamie is not gay. And Evan knows that at some point, he must let the young man go so that he can pursue relationships with woman and get on with his life. But now that the two men have grown to care for one another and found a wonderful connection, losing Jamie will be the hardest thing he has ever had to do.

I have had Not His Kiss to Take in my TBR pile for a while now, so it seemed like a great choice for our Reading Challenge TBR Pile Week. I have enjoyed other books by Finn Marlowe and I had skimmed through this one a bit before, so I am glad I finally got a chance to read it.

This is a story that pushes so many of my hot buttons and I just loved it. First, we have the age difference between these guys. Not just age, but experience too, as Jamie has never been with a man or even that many women. I love that sense of discovery as someone experiences sex for the first time, and Marlowe does a great job capturing Jamie’s wonder and enthusiasm, combined with that slight edge of anxiety as he questions his sexuality. Marlowe gets that balance so nicely. Once Jamie lets himself accept it, he is so hot for Evan and so eager to try new things. But he also struggles with these new feelings for a man and what that means for him. There is just the right amount of tension without the overwhelming “but I’m not gay” angst we sometimes find in this type of storyline.

I also love a good bratty bottom and so I had such fun with the way Jamie challenges Evan. Even before they are sexually involved, Jamie loves to push his buttons. As much as he makes Evan crazy, Evan loves that Jamie challenges him and brings a brightness to Evan’s life. He has spent so much time shut away and suddenly he has this ray of light in Jamie who brings new energy into his life.

And finally, this book is nice and dirty and totally did it for me. There is a layer of kink here that I wouldn’t say goes quite into BDSM territory, but they are definitely not totally vanilla. Evan is a super kinky guy with a dominant personality and he loves controlling Jamie’s pleasure. Nothing too hard core (though there is an erotic enema scene), but definitely some kink. But I think what takes the story up a notch is just that little layer of taboo. Not only is Evan older and more experienced, and not only is this Jamie’s first time with a man, but there is a bit of the doctor/patient aspect to things that just slightly pushes the boundaries. Now if you want to have a firm line here, Evan probably shouldn’t be getting involved with Jamie at all. And he definitely feels guilty about it. But at the same time, Jamie is clearly capable of making his own decisions and he comes to Evan ready and willing. Still, just that little bit of taboo adds a lot to the story and I found it gave the book that perfect sexy edge.

So I really enjoyed this one and am so glad I finally took the time to read it. I continue to enjoy Marlowe’s work and would definitely recommend this one.

P.S. I couldn’t find this on either Amazon or ARe, but it is available at Smashwords for FREE in a variety of formats.

This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for TBR Pile Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize of a loaded iPad Mini sponsored by Dreamspinner Press, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on TBR Pile week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes! 

jay signature


  1. I have a vague memory of having read this one. Was it one of Goodreads’  M/M Romance group’s Don’t Read in the Closet submissions a few years back? At least I’m fairly sure I read it when it first came out, and what I mostly remember, though not in any sort of detail, was that it was the one with the doctor kink (probably the enema scene 😉 and that after I while I actually got tired of the sex (hehehe, what’s wrong with me?!). Other wise age difference is one of my “things” too, and I don’t mind well done kinky scenes, not even enemas in the hands of the right author and handled with great care. Nice review!

  2. I think you are right Sara, it was part of the DRitC events.
    I have read this three times now, and I do like it. The attack on Jamie is gruesome, the descriptions of his injuries make me shudder.
    There is the taboo aspect of taking in someone vulnerable but by the time they get it on Jamie is able to reason of he wanted to. I loved the banter and all Jamie’s names for Evan.

  3. This is one of my all time favourites – tight on the relationship, medical kink, loads of h/c and deliciously naughty. I just love it.

  4. It seems that even with the handwaviness of Jamie and Evan’s relationship (vis a vis Evan’s guilt for getting into a relationship with someone so vulnerable), there’s enough in this book for me to add it to my ever-growing TBR pile. *g*

    Off the top of my head, I don’t recall reading anything with medical kink (though I have a vague idea of what that entails) so there’s that to check out in the story. I do have to admit I’m a bit less enthused with the idea of reading an enema scene (worse comes to worse, I can skip it). Regardless, this seems like a good book to check out (and the fact that we can dowload it for free is a great incentive too). Thank you for the review. 🙂

    • Luce, it is definitely worth giving it a try, especially since it is free. I don’t think the angst and handwringing is too bad actually. Definitely a theme but not so overwhelming as to be annoying. I hope you enjoy!

  5. I’ve had Not His Kiss to Take on my TBR list for a while now, too.  Thanks for the great review – makes me want to move it up in the queue.  Sounds like the level of kink I would like – except maybe not the enema part.  Those are just not at all fun to me.   I have read at least one book by Finn Marlow and like it.  So this one bodes well.  🙂

    • LOL, yes everyone seems to dislike the enema. But actually the story does a good job of conveying why someone might like that (for both players) so that helped.

  6. Jen and Luce, the enema scene is more about control than anything nasty or ‘dirty’ – from memory, Jamie’s pov is more about trying to keep his body in control and then the high of release. I found it quite deeply emotional.

    • Yes, totally agree Suze. It is not like scat play, it is about giving control up to someone else and the sensory feeling of the sex afterwards. I don’t think it is anything to really worry about.

  7. I’ve enjoyed all of Finn Marlowe’s books, including this one. My favorite, however, is A Thread of Deepest Black–an entirely new spin on shapeshifters and werewolves.

  8. Wow! Great review, Jay. Not His Kiss to Take has been in my TBR for a while as well, and after reading your review it’s climbed a lot in priority. I love Finn’s strong and twisted characters, my favourite is Killian in A Thread of Deepest Black, and I like my sex scenes a bit kinky so… Yep, this is exactly what I feel like reading now. Thank you for your review! 😉

  9. mary gresham says:

    I think I’ve read it as well, because it sounds very familiar to me. Finn Marlowe is an excellent author

  10. Liz (Bugetta) says:

    Great review, Jay! I’ve had this on my tbr forever too and your review has inspired me to read it when I finish my current book. 🙂

    • Oh good! Let me know what you think!

      • Liz (Bugetta) says:

        I have mixed feeling about it.  It was one of those books I devoured (I didn’t get much done yesterday :)) and while I was reading it I enjoyed it a lot but then I started thinking about some stuff once I was done and the magic wore off a bit.  I really like Finn Marlowe’s writing though and would try something else by her.  

  11. Yeah, this was a Goodreads M/M DRitC pick. I really liked it. The slight kink was just taboo enough and I think there’s some mystery in it, too. Thanks for flagging it for us TBR or re-read!

    • Yes, exactly. Just enough to give it kind of delicious feel without being too far over the line. And yes, it was part of one of the m/m goodreads writing prompt events.

  12. It does sound tantalizing, and I’m intrigued by the dynamic between the leads! [heads off to Smashwords]

  13. This does sound intriguing. I sympathize with the hero’s debilitating migraines — those sound like no fun at all. I’d need to read the book to get answers to my questions such as how do both heroes pay their bills and how long does the story last. Thanks for the review.

  14. Kink, age difference & GFY? Sounds like my kind of story! I haven’t read any Finn Marlowe yet but this one sounds great!

  15. I loved the kink & Jamie’s snark in this. Thanks for your review!

  16. This sounds so familiar, but I can’t find that I’ve read it. Well, it’s free, so I’m going to go with it and put it on the pile. I like when an author does a good exploration of age/experience difference. I will keep this in mind when I’m in the mood. Thanks, Jay!

  17. I read this one back in 2012 and loved it.  I seem to recall this was one of the first M/M books I read with BDSM overtones.  And I couldn’t believe it was free!  Appreciate the review; it’s reminder to put it back on my ‘TBR again’ shelf.  Thanks for that!

  18. I’ve had this one downloaded for a long time, but never read it. I’m not really into kink that much, but as long as it’s not hardcore BDSM I’ll probably give it a try because I really do like the age difference and the inexperienced “bratty bottom”.
    It’s waaay back in my Kindle so I’ll move it to the top to remind me to read it.

    • Yes, I don’t think it is super hard core. Definitely no pain play or anything like that. More dominance and submission. And yes, the age difference and bratty bottom are part of the reason I really loved it.

  19. Jillian Too says:

    I love books that push boundaries.  It sounds like a great read!

  20. I think I read this one a while ago. I may need to reread it. Thanks for the review!

  21. I haven’t read this yet. Thank you for the link to smashword! A bottom who gives as good as he gets sounds like a character I’ll really like. Thank you for the review =)

  22. I actually read this one twice! When it was on the MM Romance group DRitC and again later when it was available for download. This one pushed the envelope, at least for what I was reading back then!

  23. Ardent Ereader says:

    I have read several of Finn’s books and so far Not His Kiss to Take is my favorite of his books.  It’s been awhile since I read it and after your review I think it is time to re-read it.   I recall there is a great scene where Evan has Jamie take off his clothes and wait for him on a chair in front of a window…very hot scene!

  24. Melissa S. says:

    I’ve never read this author, but I love these type of stories. Going to get it right now. Thanks for the review. 

  25. This one has been on my list for a while as well. It sounds like it’s well worth the read!

  26. waxapplelover says:

    I love age gaps in romance, and I happened to just download this recently after seeing it as a recommendation. After your review, I think I might move it up the TBR list. Thanks!

  27. This is one of my FAVES! So glad you liked it too! Great review, Jay!

  28. Great review! I remember reading this book and enjoying it. I do like books with an age difference between the main characters, especially when the younger character is full of a personality that doesn’t just get overshadowed by the older.

  29. I love bratty bottoms. 😀 I’ll have to check this out soonish.

  30. Denise Dechene says:

    Thanks for the review. I went and downloaded it. Sounds like a good read

  31. Elizabeth Gray says:

    I actually have this one on my tbr pile as well. I have been looking to read it, but just haven’t gotten to it yet.

Leave a Comment


%d bloggers like this: