Title: The First Morning After
Author: Marie Lark
Publisher: Loose ID
Release Date: June 6th, 2016
Genre(s): One night stand, High school crush, Coming out
Page Count: 129
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
For as long as he can remember, Danny Rojas has wanted all-star first baseman Mitchel Finch. And he could swear that in high school, Mitchel was maybe interested, too. But the baseball team made Danny’s life a living hell back then, and the moment he was able, he got out. Five years later at a friend’s wedding, Danny finally has the chance, and more importantly, the courage, to act on his years-long crush.
Mitchel Finch used to have it so good–a brilliant athlete with lots of friends, a gorgeous girlfriend, and a place of importance in his home town. All he had to do was play it straight. But when an injury ends his baseball career, and his best friend’s wedding reminds him of everything he lost, Mitchel jumps at the opportunity Danny gives him–a night to be honest with himself. A night to finally feel wanted for exactly who he is.
The trouble is, neither of their circumstances has changed by morning. Mitchel is still closeted, and Danny is still the town pariah. Can a connection, building for years and forged in one night, survive the first morning after?
I had a hard time rating this book. I hate indecisive heroes who are so vested in their own image that they don’t know how to stop something seriously wrong going on right in front of their eyes. In that case, i did not like Mitchell at all to begin with. Danny and Mitchell’s encounter for the total of two days cannot be considered as a romance but a stepping stone to a lot of change in both their lives and in their small homophobic town. The way it ended was very inconclusive and abrupt. There has to be more about Danny and Mitchell, so hopefully the author will continue their story.
Danny Rojas has been the school pariah as the openly gay kid in the small town of Peach Blossom, where majority of the people are homophobes of the highest order. He has always had a crush on Mitchell Finch, the star player of the baseball team. Mitchell is as straight as they come with a steady and beautiful girlfriend, so Danny has never dreamed of anything with Mitchell. Danny has been away for 5 years, living in the big city and embracing who he is. He is now a confident guy who is not ashamed of his sexuality. Danny comes back to his hometown for the wedding of his best friend. After seeing Mitchell, Danny’s crush for the guy comes back with a vengeance. Danny is in for the surprise of a life time when he finds out that Mitchell is gay. They engage in one night of sex, but in the morning after, this one time hook up changes Mitchell and Danny’s relationship completely.
Mitchell and Danny both were very complicated characters. Mitchell on one hand is the town’s golden boy who is determined to keep up his “straight” facade even if that keeps him from accepting his sexuality and being happy. Danny on the other hand has been fielding hate filled comments and violence his entire life. No one has ever stood up for him, not even his own mother.
Mitchell was a very tough character to love. He had a very bright future, a loving girlfriend and the love and support of all his friends who hero worshiped him. But one injury takes it all away from him. Now he is stuck doing a job he hates, his girlfriend has left him and the one guy he has been secretly pining for his entire life is getting married. So, hooking up with Danny was a desperate attempt to be true to himself for one night. He has lost almost everything and now he counts on the respect and love of his peers and reliving his glory days to carry on, which unfortunately also requires him to pretend being straight. Mitchell is not happy at all in this pretend life and his fear of everyone’s response to his sexuality keeps him in a self imposed prison. He had never attempted to do the right thing when it came to his friends beating on Danny but his one night with him, changes that.
Everyone who reads this book will hate Mitchell to some degree as they will love Danny. Mitchell is in the same place he has been in his school days, hiding and being miserable but Danny has grown into a strong, confident individual who knows what he wants. Their first sexual encounter was downright brutal but Danny is a really great guy for forgiving Mitchell and then showing him how good true intimacy really feels.
The entire story was more like the initial stage of Danny and Mitchell getting together rather than a full blown romance. Mitchell had a thing for his best friend, Drew just like Danny had for Mitchell so their hook up was more out of desperation in Mitchell’s case and a dream come true for Danny, but i kept thinking that Danny deserved better. Their relationship was just for a day if you exclude their hook-up night so understandably it would take more than a day for Mitchell to come out to his entire town and carry on a meaningful relationship with Danny. Their story is far from over. The story ends in a positive note with better things to come for Danny and Mitchell. What mattered in the end was Mitchell’s willingness to stop lying to everybody and to himself and finally standing up for Danny.