First Time, Forever by KC Burn
Length: 24,000 words
Derrick and Trevor used to have an incredibly passionate relationship, full of spontaneity and sizzle. Now that their son is off to college, they want to put their days of routine, vanilla sex behind them and bring back some of that spark.
Realizing that they’re empty-nesters, Trevor begins to notice their age difference. He suddenly feels old and unsure of himself, and isn’t confident Derrick still desires him. When Trevor decides to keep his health issues and gray hairs down there to himself, Derrick is hurt by his partner’s secretive behavior and thinks Trevor must be having an affair.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but Trevor doesn’t know how to communicate his fears to his partner. He desperately wants to reconnect with Derrick and rev up their sex life, but will it be enough to reclaim their marital bliss?
This tale of two empty-nesters trying to reclaim the passion they once had in the bedroom while each thinks the other is no longer interested relies solely on the characters to carry the story. Although there is little plot and all of it is relatively predictable due to the nature of the story, this is a nice exploration of two men who love one another but let life and fear get in the way. This is neither a bad story, nor a great one. It's enjoyable, but mellow.
The driving strength in this story is the depth of emotion these struggling men evoke. Initially I didn't really feel their pain, but as the story continued and they attempted again and again to fix the relationship, I was sucked into their quandary and ached each time they thought the other wasn't interested. What is especially nice about this story is that it is written from both character's perspectives, so while we suffer while each suffers, we also get to see the opposite perspective and understand why what happened happened and how the other is feeling. The majority of the novella is bitterly sweet, but thankfully ends on a happier note.
This is definitely a character-centric story, and the two men are strong enough for this length of work. While they are both independent businessmen, they are also basic men with urges, insecurities, and assumptions. Although the situations are emotionally dramatic, for the reader there is also a tinge of humor as they keep screwing things up for one another. They are just people behaving like people, in a sweet, sometimes frustrating, way.
Although there is nothing I would pin strongly against this novella, there were a few points that kept it from scoring higher.
The writing wasn't bad, but because the story is so dependent on voice, there were moments where the writing was a weakness, although overall I wouldn't say that's true.
By the nature of the style of story being told here, and the dual perspective, there are very little surprises plot-wise, although some of the events are surprising. Some people may find this boring and unimaginative, but I found it a nice "slice of life" type story. A romantic comedy of sorts.
Trevor's feeling old seemed a little forced, since he's not that much older and he's in great shape, but maybe being an empty-nester makes you do crazy things.
Requested this book for review.