Kieran and Theo have been dating about a year and living together around six months. Things have been going great. Theo is a successful Broadway producer with a busy schedule and Kieran is totally content letting Theo have his own space. The guys are just a great fit and Kieran thinks things are fine just as they are. Until the day Theo decides to propose in a huge spectacle in the middle of Times Square.
Not only had the guys never talked about marriage, but Kieran is a private guy and the proposal goes viral in about two seconds. Kieran wasn’t even sure he wanted to get married, but the public nature of things meant he felt he had little choice but to accept. And now everyone is talking about the upcoming wedding except for the two men who should be discussing it. Theo is thrilled, but scared he is going to lose Kieran. And Kieran is alternately angry and terrified that this is all snowballing so quickly out of control. He worries that Theo’s need to “produce” and orchestrate everything means that he is more focused on appearances than their relationship and wonders if Theo will tire of him when he moves on to a new “project.” And Theo’s friends aren’t helping, clearly expressing their disapproval. Not to mention that Theo’s agent is ready to make things an even bigger spectacle in hopes of the publicity bringing in some funding for Theo’s new show.
The guys love one another and want to be together. But the wedding has gotten out of control and things seem to be falling apart. Now Theo and Kieran have to figure out how to get things back on track so they can have the wedding they want and the life together they have dreamed about.
I’ve made no secret that I am a huge K.A. Mitchell fan girl, so I was super excited to see she had a new book out in a new series. I really liked the set up and the structure of this one. We start with an established couple who are happily living together. Kieran is totally content and not even thinking marriage, when suddenly Theo proposes. What these guys really need to do is talk and figure out how to get on the same page, but the combination of Theo’s fame and the public nature of the proposal means that everything pretty much gets away from them right from the start. Kieran is basically shell shocked by the whole thing and you can really fear his terror as he watches his life speeding ahead and he can barely catch up. And Theo’s love for Kieran and his fear that Kieran is going to walk away are so palpable. I appreciated that we see these guys have their struggles, and at times both of them are frustratingly bad at communicating. But once they work through things, they become a team and start to figure out how to resolve everything together, which is quite satisfying.
The basic conflict here is the way that what starts as something personal between the two men gets taken over by everyone else, leaving them struggling to catch up and both frustrated. But under that are other issues, such as the fear each man has and the lack of communication between them. Theo seems to need some sort of symbol to solidify his connection with Kieran and his proposal is a sign of that. Yet he never discusses it with Kieran first, and we see him just scrambling to hold on to things as it all falls apart. The bigger issue is Kieran’s doubts and fears about Theo. Theo is a famous producer and we are told he is constantly managing and orchestrating things in his life. On one hand, Kieran does believe Theo loves him and wants him. But at the same time, Kieran also thinks that much of this is about Theo orchestrating the perfect proposal and marriage and husband and that one day he will tire of Kieran and move on. Theo’s friends believe the same, to the point that they actively discourage Theo from getting married and even plot against him behind his back. I just found this kind of confusing. If this is a huge character issue for Theo, I wanted to see it, not just be told about it. We get some small examples, but nothing that struck me as that out of the ordinary. Given that this doubt about Theo’s sincerity is a major conflict throughout the story and is accepted as truth by a variety of characters, I felt like we were being told too much rather than seeing it for ourselves. As it was, it came across to me like a baseless worry or a way for Kieran to blame Theo and shift attention from his own doubts. Similarly, we are told that Kieran had pushy parents who wanted to control his life, leading him to drop out of college. But we don’t ever learn much about any of this in enough detail to understand how it is affecting him today.
I also would have loved to see more time with these guys together prior to the proposal, which takes place almost at the very start of the book. They go right into conflict mode, which made it harder to see the connection between them and the love that they shared before things get bad. I sometimes wondered how they ever worked as a couple, given their lack of communication and vastly different personalities. I think a few scenes that show them prior to the proposal would have gone a long way to solidifying that for me.
This story is the first of a series that seems to focus on Theo and his three best friends from college. The book starts with them just out of school meeting at Coney Island, and their vow to continue that every year. Then the other three guys make some appearances in this story; we even get a POV from one of them in a scene not at all related to Kieran or Theo. I did like they way that we see Theo interacting with his friends and I found them interesting characters (albeit ones that were way butting in to Theo’s life). I am interested in to read their stories and see how they develop as characters. I think they could have been integrated a little more smoothly into Theo and Kieran’s story, but I am looking forward to getting to know them in future books.
Overall, I enjoyed this one and like the set up of the story. I think Mitchell did a nice job of setting up the conflict early and bringing things together at the end, while still letting us see the guys work together to solve their issues. I think I needed more of a sense of these guys, both as a couple and individually, to relate a bit better and understand their fears a little more. But I did enjoy it and Mitchell continues to be one of my favorite authors.
Cover Review: Ok, I hate to get negative about covers and this doesn’t impact my view of the story at all, but wow, I think this one misses the mark. I find it very frustrating when seemingly no effort is made to make the cover guys look anything like they are described in the book. I get that there is a lack of good stock images, but I know there is more than could have been done here. Specifically, Kieran is described as having prematurely white hair. How is it that this incredibly distinctive physical trait could not be reflected in the cover model? Not to mention he is Korean. I don’t know, maybe if you squint hard the guy in front could pass, but I’m being generous here. Plus, there is a significant age gap and these guys look the same age. Again, I just feel like more effort could have been made here to make the cover fit the story, especially when Kieran at least is distinctive enough that it would have been easy to match some of his features.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.