Title: When Adam Kissed Me
Author: Chris Scully
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance
Length: 120 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Guest review by Orion
Review summary: A wonderful, sexy tale of friends becoming lovers.
Nine and a half weeks ago, Joe Massone got the surprise of his life when his straight best friend and secret crush, Adam, kissed him. At the time, Adam was recovering from an accident that left him with temporary amnesia and broken ribs, so Joe isn’t sure if he should take it seriously. Is Adam really gay? Or was the blow to his head to blame? Having secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers, Joe doesn’t want to get his hopes up and have his heart broken.
Despite that first kiss, Joe and Adam are still in limbo—now more than friends, but not quite lovers. Adam’s injuries have meant they can’t take their relationship to the next level, and for Joe, not much has changed from when they were just best friends and roommates. He starts to think neither of them is ready to take that final step.
Patience stretched to the limit, Adam makes plans to break the stalemate. But when Joe sabotages things by inviting their friends along, Adam is left to wonder if their new relationship is over before it’s even started. Before he gives up, though, he’s determined to prove to Joe he wants more than just a kiss.
Lately I seem to have some odd knack for taking on novels/novellas that are the second or third in a series without having read the earlier stories. Here is another instance. Chris Scully’s When Adam Kissed Me is a sequel to a shorter work, Inseparable. Ms. Scully provides a neat recap of Inseparable in the opening pages of this novella, so readers who haven’t perused the first story are at no disadvantage.
Both stories revolve around some tried and true themes of m/m romance: the gay guy who crushes on a straight best friend, the friends who become lovers, and the love that rises from the depths of a convenient amnesia. The characters here are so engaging and likeable, however, that the story in When Adam Kissed Me never feels like a boring retread.
Adam and Joe are depicted as average guys facing an unusual situation. Joe spends a lot of time playing nursemaid. Adam, just as he seems to be firmly on the mend from the injuries he suffered in the accident, comes down with a very nasty case of pneumonia, scaring poor Joe out of his wits all over again. Through all of the medical treatments and the recovery from both Adam’s injuries and sickness, there are sweet, geeky moments between these two guys. Adam is ready to plunge headfirst into a relationship with Joe. Joe’s feelings for Adam are evidently growing stronger, but he is hesitant, unsure of whether he should act on them. In his mind, Adam is not only physically fragile, but mentally as well. Making love would require waiting until Adam’s body has fully healed. But what if time, in healing Adam’s body, also heals his mind? With the amnesia gone, will Adam still want Joe?
Without giving away too much, this is finely told romance with plenty of emotional moments. There are quite a few flashbacks in this novella. Generally, I am adverse to flashbacks as a story-telling technique, so that was something of a drawback for me. There is also some angst but not such an overabundance as to seem gratuitously tacked on and distracting.
The writing is very good. The story is told from Joe’s point of view but I had no trouble connecting with both of the main characters. I sympathized with Joe and his reluctance to further risk his heart by becoming more deeply involved with Adam under circumstances that Joe believes are far from certain. I also sympathized with Adam and his impatience and frustration over Joe’s reluctance. It all comes to a satisfying conclusion.
A few words about the cover: a good cover is a vital selling point for any book. It is, after all, the first thing a reader usually sees. It should be intriguing enough to stir up interest and get the reader to at least read the blurb. I think Paul Richmond did an excellent job with this cover. It is sexy without being overtly so. It caught my attention and reeled me in, so mission accomplished.
Several scenes from this novella lingered with me after I finished it. I was left wanting to read more about Joe and Adam. I enjoyed When Adam Kissed Me very much, and I am happy to recommend it.