Rating: 4 stars
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Two years ago there was a kiss—a kiss that exploded apart the hidden desires and feelings that two teenage boys, Tommy and Kim, had for each other. Until then, they had been friends—close friends—but neither had divulged they wanted more. For Tommy, the kiss was the first time he admitted he was bisexual; for Kim the kiss was…heaven. But like much of Kim’s life, the kiss was doomed from the start for when Kim arrived home after that night at the prom and that glorious kiss with Tommy, he faced the people who had ruined his mother’s life and now wanted to own his.
Tommy can’t believe that his last night on the job before he leaves the country for the next year to travel is about to end with he and his friend, Kerry, chasing down some joyriders who crashed the gates at their workplace. Nor does he ever in a million years think the guy he tackles will be the boy who had been his first love and his first kiss…Kim. But when Kim gives a false name to the police, Tommy suspects something is seriously wrong. Trying to put it and Kim out of his mind, Tommy decides he will go ride at the old skatepark one last time after work. While biking there, Tommy finds himself passing the police station, only to see Kim standing outside.
Before he can think twice, Tommy offers Kim a ride and then Kim is riding tandem on his bike with him. It’s just like old times, but this Kim is different from the one Tommy knew before and yet, so much the same. Tommy finds himself aching to ask Kim why he left so suddenly after prom night. He realizes that something is not quite right—Kim is scared and hiding something. Tommy too is scared when he realizes that all wants to do is protect Kim, but with his flight leaving in just two days, Tommy isn’t sure just how wise it is to get involved with Kim once again.
Author Suki Fleet delivers a beautiful happy ever after in her latest story, The First Boy I Ever Kissed. Told with alternating points of view, Tommy and Kim fill us in on the background of their first kiss and what has happened in the years since. While details tend to be a bit sketchy since this is a novella, we still get enough story here to understand both the danger Kim is in and the reasons he left Tommy behind. We get a less clear picture of what has been happening for Tommy in those intervening years, but we do know that he has not had a relationship since that kiss—nor has he wanted one, as he has in many ways been pining for Kim ever since.
There is just enough of a story here to make me want a longer novel about these two and how their time together began. If ever there was a good reason for evolving a shorter book into one that spanned more of the past, then this one would be a contender. I find myself desperate to see how they grew up—Tommy being in foster care most of his life and Kim with a bipolar alcoholic mum. With the little bits of relationship clues the author does give us, I find it only whet my appetite for more. One can argue that as novellas go, this story is fairly complete and certainly very entertaining. There are some real nail biting moments for Kim in this story and that sparked a real desire to see these two young men get their happy ever after. I just greedily want more of their journey.
If you are looking for a hard earned second chance at love with a virgin hero who loves a wounded and nearly broken boy, then The First Boy I Ever Kissed is the story for you. Suki Fleet always gives a reader lots to chew on in her books and they are most definitely beautifully romantic, no matter how gritty they can be; this novella falls in line with those truths completely.