Review: Last First Kiss (Southern Comfort #1) by Diane Adams

Eighteen-year-old Gage Harris is not a part of twenty-five year old Trent Foster’s plans. He likes Gage but the intense attraction between them makes remaining just friends unlikely, and the young farmer with two small children is a complication Trent doesn’t need.

Despite all the reasons to stay away, Trent is pulled into the small family. Gage’s boys are delightful and the young man’s honesty and genuine affection impossible to resist. Trent is intrigued by a life so different from everything he’s known. As he struggles to reconcile his plans with his feelings Trent begins to suspect that his random offer of a ride in the rain might lead straight to his last first kiss.

Is there anyone reading this who had children when they were young?  I mean really young, like while you were still in high school.  I myself had my first child when I was eighteen.  If you said yes then you will understand this book and most likely recognize a lot of what goes on between this little family as having happened to you at some point in time or another.  The disappointment from family members you see when they think you are throwing your life away.  The jealousy you feel when you see others your age with nothing holding them back from following their dreams.  The sheer frustration of dealing with an ornery two year old.  And the abject fear that you are just not doing it right and you are doing more harm to your kids than good.

Gage is 18 years old and a father of two.  His first child was born when he was only fourteen.  Yes, you heard me right.  Fourteen.  He dropped out of school when his second child was born so he could go work on his uncle’s farm and provide for his family.  He was only sixteen at the time.  He has taken on the role of fatherhood with a quiet grace and simple acceptance while he is little more than a child himself.

Trent’s plans for his life did not include an 18 year old and his two little boys.  He wanted more than the simple life.  He was on the fast track to success.  But this little trio had wormed themselves into his life and into his heart so deeply that he was irrevocably hooked.  For life.

This isn’t an over-the-top, epic romance.  No, this is just a simple story about two very young men finding each other and their lives together as they try to overcome obstacles derived from circumstance rather than angst.  This is a slow burn that moves at a nice, easy pace.  There is no “insta-love” here.  It was really quite refreshing.  The story is different than anything I have read before and so damned relatable that I suffered from my own version of “insta-love”.

The book isn’t perfect.  The story is told mainly from Trent’s point of view and I never really connected to him completely.  And the resolution to their problem was predictable. It worked out exactly how I thought it would.  Some things seemed to be swept under the rug or handled a little too neatly.  There were also just a few editing issues and proofreading errors but they didn’t really detract from the story.

But none of this mattered to me when I got to see through Gage’s eyes and hear his thoughts.  Every fear, every doubt he had was like looking at myself in the mirror.  Gage is essentially me as I was when I was that age.  The parallels between his life, his thoughts, his feelings and mine when I was eighteen were startling to the point of being a bit eerie.  It was like the author reached into my memories and pulled out everything that I felt when I was a new mother.  Gage was what made this story for me.  He and a precious little boy named Nash were vital to my enjoyment of this tale.  No one was perfect in this story.  They had issues, made bad choices, made mistakes, became real.  It was beautiful.

This is the first book in the Southern Comfort series and I for one cannot wait for the next story.

Highly recommended.

P.S.  Talk about cover love!  So nice to see two boys with all their clothes on.  Well done!

Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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