Hitting the Mark (ParisDude’s Review)

Title: Hitting the Mark
Author: Aidan Wayne
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 173
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5


Marcus Economidis is a famous action-movie star renowned for doing his own stunts. But put him back in his Michigan hometown for his latest project and he’s a nervous wreck. Why? Taemin Choi—the taekwondo master who trained Marcus and helped him move beyond debilitating shyness to become the man he is today. Taemin was Marcus’s first crush, and now that he’s grown, their reunion might lead to more than a mentorship.

Marcus’s kindness and confidence impresses Taemin, and the attraction is instant—for both of them. Making time for each other won’t be easy, what with Taemin training to qualify for the Olympics and Marcus working on his latest film. But it all seems worthwhile when they’re together, reacquainting themselves with each other—in the dojang and beyond—and nurturing a romance more satisfying than anything either ever thought possible.

But can their romance withstand the pressures of Marcus’s fame and Taemin’s grueling schedule?

Does this book fit into the friends-to-lovers trope? I guess you could say it does. Two guys who haven’t seen each other for a decade meet again. In fact, it all started when Marcus Economidis was a kid too introverted for his own good. He took taekwondo lessons with Taemin Choi, ten years his senior, who not only taught him the discipline necessary to do any sport, but also to gain self-confidence. Unsurprisingly, Marcus had a major crush on him back then. At fifteen, he and his family moved to California, though, so the two lost touch. But now, Marcus is back on his home turf in Michigan. He has become a famous actor (mostly action films with an M/F and sometimes an M/M romance sideline), and he’s here to shoot a new dystopian sci-fi blockbuster. Driven by an urge to see his former mentor again, the first thing he does is stop by Choi’s taekwondo school. And Choi welcomes him with open arms and an easy smile.

The filming starting only some days later, Marcus has time to get re-acquainted with Taemin; to each other’s delight they spend almost every free minute together for a week. That is, they squeeze in several meetings, as Taemin is trying to qualify for the upcoming Olympics. They soon realize that their former mentor/mentee-relationship has changed and become an intense romantic and sensual interest on both sides. But then, they also realize their busy schedules threaten to interfere and almost put a stop to their blooming romance.

An endearing read with really cute main characters, both very careful not to go too fast, not to interfere with each other’s privacy and life, yet pushed into each other’s arms by their growing feelings. That’s something I really liked: in this book, their mutual attraction is not a question of chemistry (although there is chemistry between them), but of feelings. When they first meet again, you can sense how comfortable they are in each other’s presence. It’s as if both had “come home” to each other. Now, who hasn’t had a (seemingly impossible) crush in his youth? Imagine you see your crush again after several years, and things turn out almost they way you were dreaming of back then?

Both guys are sweetly polite with each other, sweetly caring and tender. Sometimes Marcus sounds a bit too mature for his age (he’s supposed to be only 25), but he knows what he wants and is ready to do anything to get it. None of them wants a quick hook-up, but something that lasts. If you’re looking for hot scenes, you won’t find them in this book. It’s a slow-burner with loads of kissing and hugging and cuddling instead. Friends-to-lovers does describe the plot to some extent, but I think “feel-good-read” would be more accurate. A delicate and charming book. I for one had sweet butterflies fluttering around in my chest.

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Dieter, born and raised in Austria, studied Political Sciences in Vienna in the early 90s. He's living in Paris, France, with his boyfriend and working as a graphic designer. In his spare time, he loves to write, read, cook, take photos, and travel as often as possible. He’s already published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. His first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on Jan. 6, 2019, and is available in English, French, and German. By the way, the French version "Le cercueil farci" has won the prestigious Prix du roman gay 2019 in the category murder mystery. Dieter runs a gay book reviews site in French and is also writing reviews for Gay Book Reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude.
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