Rating: 4 stars
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What should have been a simple high school reunion turns into much more when Kyle receives the RSVP from his secret high school crush, Erik Stevens. Kyle knows Erik has changed from the talented, yet nerdy, guy who always seemed to shine in school productions, but nothing prepared him for how confident and gorgeous the man has become. Kyle, on the other hand, is still reeling from his breakup last year that not only left him alone, but with his self-esteem shattered as well. So when Erik suggests the two of them hook up, Kyle can barely believe his ears and doesn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to be with Erik. One night turns into three and before Erik leaves for LA, the two men work out a way to see each other again.
Erik had promised himself he was done with one-night stands and empty hookups, but seeing the object of his high school crush in all his mountain man splendor had him forgetting all his promises and tearing off to the school bathroom with Erik in tow. But theirs cannot be anything lasting unless Erik can trust Kyle with his secret—he is a Dom and wants to be in a relationship with his own submissive. While Kyle has no BDSM experience, he is more than willing to learn under Erik’s firm but gentle tutelage.
The two men make a decision to embark on a tentative D/s relationship that is built on trust and communication, but the distance and travel begin to take its toll on both of them. When something happens to Kyle to jolt his entire world and send his introverted heart into a tailspin, it makes him realize he might never fit into the glamorous world Erik commands so easily.
Unlikely Reunion is a swiftly moving story that is built on mutual crushes from a bygone era. Both Kyle and Erik secretly liked one another in high school, but unlike Erik, Kyle hid his sexuality. In school, Kyle was the popular one, class president, football player, and all around nice guy, but ten years later, life has not been kind to Kyle. His ex dumped him after making sure Kyle knew just how little he respected him or ever loved him. Even though poor Kyle is a very successful builder/owner of his own construction and design company, his self-esteem is a shambles and his ability to handle life is greatly hindered by his extreme bouts of anxiety. All these things add up to make Kyle a perfect submissive if handled with care and patience by a Dom who loves him. Enter Erik Stevens.
Erik has grown really tired of empty hook-ups and wants someone who will build a forever type relationship with him. That someone must also be a submissive, for Erik longs to be the dom to a man who is willing to enter into such a dynamic with him. When he sees Kyle again and broaches the subject, Erik is thrilled that Kyle is willing to give it a chance. The two men are nearly perfect for each other and they try their best to make it all work, but Kyle still has a lot of insecurities that will eventually break him down and threaten what he and Erik have built.
Author Lily Michaels does a nice job of creating an instant attraction between Kyle and Erik. The idea that they still secretly hold a flame for each other after ten years may be a bit of a stretch, but it does work on a basic level. The slow building BDSM relationship between the two men also is done quite well, with Erik being incredibly patient and never pushing Kyle past his comfort zone. I really liked how the author took the time to remind the reader that consent is key and the submissive is actually the one that holds the power in a well-established and trusting D/s partnership.
I think what hampered me from giving this one all the stars and accolades was the swift declarations of love that happened after just a few short weeks. While I could understand that their feelings were based on years’ old crushes, both men had changed and I felt it took too little time (considering they were apart most of those six weeks) to establish such deep feelings. The other thing that gave me pause in this story was the sudden event and Kyle’s reaction to it that prompted some serious problems for Kyle and Erik. I can’t go into much detail, but suffice it to say that I felt it was a bit contrived and felt like it was added in to the story just so there was a bump in their growing relationship. It seemed so sudden and out of the blue and the guys barely even spoke about it before or after the event, which made it seem a bit bizarre and out of left field.
Despite these drawbacks, Unlikely Reunion still had many good moments and handled the idea of two men discovering their sexual dynamic together quite well. It is a nice romance that would have benefited from more page length and time to really explore who Kyle and Erik were.
I love high school reunion stories. Thanks for the heads up.