Last First Kiss, E.M. Denning
Rating: 4.5 ‘Ezra’ Stars
Publisher: Paper Gold Publishing
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (25/26 years), Romance, Small Town Romance
Length: 204 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon
The only thing worse than having your heart broken is going home and having nothing to show for it.
Which is exactly the situation Logan Hanson finds himself in. Worse than that, his hometown isn’t exactly glad to have him back. He’s jobless, friendless and things are looking pretty bleak… until his dad’s best friend, Ezra, throws him a lifeline.
Small town life has always suited Ezra Black just fine, but it hurts him to see Logan struggle to re-adjust. Ezra has always been an out and proud bisexual, but small town gossip about his best friend’s son has him wondering if he’s as accepted as he thought.
Ezra offers Logan a job, hoping that the people of the town will get over themselves and see Logan for what he is, a young man who wants a chance to start over and fit in. The more time they spend together, the closer they grow, and all it takes is one kiss for everything between them to change.
Their relationship is new, but is it strong enough to overcome small town gossip, an angry friend, and father who doesn’t understand their love? All Ezra wants is for Logan to be his last first kiss, but can that be enough?
Logan, 24, has just had his life turned upside down. The secret boyfriend of a famous actor (Clark), he was riding high. He had a great job working for Clark, a nice place, and a hot and sexy boyfriend. Clark wasn’t out because he said it would hurt his career, but that was okay. Logan was convinced he was the one.
Clark’s in the first chapter so the reader gets to meet him and see what led up to Logan going back to his hometown. Put simply, Clark’s a bastard.
His heart shattered, Logan packs what he can fit into a suitcase and catches the first flight back to the home he shared with his father for a few years.
Jon, Logan’s dad, didn’t even know Logan existed until he was thirteen and his mother (who was dying) showed up at his door one day, Logan in tow.
Their relationship strained, Logan knows coming back home with his tail between his legs won’t be winning any points with his dad. Unfortunately, he has no way of warning his dad he’s coming because he’d left his phone back in L.A. He did that so the prick ex couldn’t get in touch with him. It was in Clark’s name anyway.
I hated Jon with a passion. He treated Logan horribly, not even caring enough to ask his son why he was home. Why do the right thing? Let’s just yell at the poor guy and call him flighty and flaky when you know nothing about his life or his reasons for being forced to come back to a home where he knows he’s not welcome. Instead of listening to the horrible words coming from his father, Logan rightfully takes off, ending up at the local bar where he commences to get really, really drunk.
This is where Ezra finds him.
It was important to Logan that he impress his dad. It was probably stupid, but he ached for Jon’s approval for everything he did.
Ezra, 50 (I think?), has been Jon’s best friend for years, and he knows all too well how hot headed the man can be, especially when it comes to his son. After Jon tells him about Logan being home, and the choice words he used when he found out about it, Ezra feels bad for the guy and goes off to find him. After making sure he’s eaten, they end up back at Ezra’s place where Logan spends the night on the couch.
Logan doesn’t want to be back home. His dad damn sure doesn’t want him there. Even the town makes it clear they have no use for him either. He’s applied for a lot of jobs, but most people just toss his resume in the trash in front of him, not even attempting to pretend to be friendly. Then when he leaves, they gossip about Jon’s ‘queer kid’ and laugh about not hiring him. Ezra’s forced to hear some of the same gossip from the town’s residents, including the owner of the hardware store. Thankfully, the guy gets his later, though he deserved much worse than what he got.
Some people can’t be redeemed. He was only one of them.
“The kid’s a flake. He breezes in and out of this town like he owns it. Shows up after being in California wanting work like he doesn’t think he’s too good for all us small-town folk.”
Something that really gets to Ezra is all the homophobia he’s seeing from these people he’s known for years when they talk about Logan. Ezra is bisexual and has never felt like an outcast or like he didn’t belong. He’d always been made to feel welcome in the shops and homes of these same people, even if he was with a man he was dating. But to hear them say such horrible things about Logan (not even caring who hears it) says a lot about the type of people they really are. It was a pretty eye-opening experience for Ezra.
“I was talking to a few of the guys at the diner this morning. He’s been everywhere the past couple of days. It won’t be long before he goes back to LA where he belongs. He always thought he was too good for this place, like that other queer boy that left. That Sampson kid.”
When they made snide remarks about him chasing boys in front of Ezra, who had boyfriends in the past. Boyfriends they’d known, whom they’d invited to barbeques. It made him wonder what they really thought of him.
Feeling bad for Logan because nobody will hire him, Ezra offers him a job. A handyman, he’s usually kept pretty busy, but he doesn’t really need the help. He just feels bad for his best friend’s son and wants to help him in any way he can. What he doesn’t expect is for Logan to be such a hard worker. To hear Jon talk, Logan wouldn’t know hard work if it bit him in the butt. But what Ezra sees is something altogether different.
Another thing Ezra doesn’t expect is how bad he’s suddenly wanting his best friend’s son. That lust is quite mutual. Even so, they don’t act on it for a while.
Ezra wiped a hand down his face and ignored the way his cock twitched in his pants. His dick was a moron and didn’t get to decide who Ezra felt attracted to.
He wanted to help him because Logan was a good guy. Then his midlife crisis dick kicked in and practically wagged every time Logan was near.
It takes a 2-week job just outside of town – where they’ll be staying together in a cabin together alone – for them to finally stop fighting what they’re feeling. They both know they’ll catch hell if and when Jon finds out about them, but they’re both willing to risk it. And it’s not just lust. Real feelings are creeping in for both men. No, not creeping in. They’ve both gone and fallen in love with each other.
I loved Ezra. What I really loved about him was how he made it clear (once he and Logan were calling what they had a relationship) that he wouldn’t be hiding Logan away. They’ll be out as a couple, and Ezra dares anybody to say anything about it. And they damn sure won’t be hiding it from Jon. They’re both worried about what his reaction will be, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop seeing each other.
Of course, Jon finds out before they have a chance to tell him themselves. I was proud of how Logan handled it. I felt so sad for him, and I seriously wanted to hug him, but he didn’t back down when Jon started up again with his ‘flaky and flighty’ b.s. And Ezra didn’t listen to it either. Best friend or no – Logan’s dad or no – the man wouldn’t be treating Logan that way.
That’s one of the main things I loved about Ezra. He was very protective of Logan and wouldn’t allow anybody to say anything bad about him. I liked Logan too, though I think I felt more sorry for him than anything else. He’d lost his mother when he was young, been forced to live with a dad who made it clear he didn’t even want kids, and then got treated poorly by every man he dated and the town he was forced to call home. He was also independent, something I respected. Clark had taken care of him in a lot of ways (his job, his apartment, his phone, etc.) and Logan made it clear he was not going to be ‘kept’ by another man, though at the time (with Clark) he’d not seen their relationship that way. It was only later when he saw it for what it was.
Of course, Clark’s not done with his former plaything so he makes an appearance and tries to sway Logan to come back to California with him. Logan is handling it fine, but he has no problem taking a step back and letting Ezra handle it even more.
I was happy with the way the book ended, though it really needed an epilogue. Logan and Ezra were together, had professed their love for each other, but certain things were happening there at the end that made the book look more like a HFN, though I know they get a HEA.
While I’ll never say I liked Jon even a little bit, he did somewhat make good in the grand scheme of things. He knows Ezra better than anybody else in the world, so he knows he’ll protect Logan with everything he is. He also knows that no matter what he says, or how he feels, Ezra and Logan are together – they love each other – and he can’t do a damn thing about it.
Overall, I loved this. I loved every single thing about Ezra. The age gap between him and Logan is pretty substantial at around 25 or 26 years (his actual age wasn’t given other than something quick about just being on the other side of 50). Even so, they worked beautifully as a couple. Ezra wanted to jump in and fix everything for Logan, but he didn’t. He took a step back (not from their relationship) and allowed Logan to do things his way, knowing he’d be there to catch him if he fell.
A very enjoyable read and a very sweet love story. The only reason I’m giving it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because it, as I said, needed an epilogue. I wanted, needed, to see them a year or so ahead. Also, the Clark thing (when he came back into Logan’s world) wasn’t all that realistic considering he was this big, famous actor.
Cindi November 22, 2021 at 7:42 am
It’s a good book with a nice romance. It just REALLY needed an epilogue. The reader knows they’ll have a HEA, but too much is left a little unfinished at the end. Even so, I enjoyed it.
Cindi’s Books of the Year: 2021 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews December 13, 2021 at 9:09 am
[…] there’s The Last First Kiss by E.M. Denning. The entire book was perfect until the very end. If there was ever a book that needed an epilogue, […]
This sounds like such a good book. I was about to go and check it out because H L Day had it as a rec and I noticed you had read and reviewed it. LOVE the pic/quotes you have as well. Yeah, it sounds like a book that needs an epilogue, so I can see why you would deduct for that.
Great review, Cindi. It makes you want to go out and buy it