Title: Put a Ring on It
Author: KA MItchell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Page Count: 204
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via a NYC Times Square Flash mob.
Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms…
I am a big KA Mitchell fan and this novel did not disappoint. I love it when we meet established couples and get to experience their actual relationship and its problems. In this one, Keiran is an almost anti-social, withdrawn, younger guy, and Theo is the somewhat older, accomplished Broadway producer. It starts with a very public marriage proposal that soon goes viral and threatens the stability of their relationship significantly.
What struck me the most is that Keiran isn’t commitment-phobic. He’s not reluctant to be with Theo permanently. There is no talk of not being sure that he’ll want to be with Theo forever or anything like that. It’s the publicity of it all and the formality of going through an actual ceremony that frightens him. He’s also deeply insecure and doesn’t quite believe that Theo would want him as a life partner. Theo is also insecure and anxious. He’s afraid that if he doesn’t tie Keiran down with marriage, he’ll end up losing him. The premise makes for an interesting read but I found myself questioning throughout the book why there was so much mistrust and lack of communication between them. Surely that doesn’t make the future look promising, does it? Theo was desperate, almost trying too hard, to do or say whatever he thought Keiran would want to hear so everything is good. Keiran gave me whiplash with how he said one thing and meant another. He didn’t want to get married but accepted the proposal. He didn’t want to be public about it but ended up being paraded around in social media giving interviews about the proposal and their relationship. At some point, I wanted to yell at him to grow some balls and stand by what he actually wants.
Theo won me over because of how laser-focused he was on Keiran. He observed every little nuance of his body language, his behaviour, and the things Keiran said. I was utterly convinced that there is a tremendous amount of love between these two, just a messed-up way of voicing their fears and insecurities. There is a little angst, which was welcome, but my masochistic side would enjoy a bit more tears and heart-break.
There’s some decent character development, with sufficient family backstory and a social circle that makes for two well-created MCs. Theo’s friends from college play a bigger role than Keiran’s former roommates, and they made me crave the sequels. It’s tricky when so many side characters are introduced. Often times they take over the story and interfere a little too much. Not here. Theo’s friends take just the perfect amount of page time to make for distinct personalities that contribute in different ways in Theo’s life.
Let’s not forget: There is some seriously hot smexin going on as per usual Mitchell fashion! Hot hot hot! The guys get a sweet HEA but it did bother me a bit that after reading so many pages of will-they? won’t-they?, it ended like THAT! I hope there’s a short story coming or something as a follow-up.
If you like this author’s style and enjoy established couples’ stories, this will probably be a win. There is humour, plenty of steam, and feelings galore. There were some problems, a bit in the plot, a bit in the editing (a few typos, fragmented sentences throughout) but it was an enjoyable read.