Bad Beginnings, by Nicole Field
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017
After the recent ending of a relationship, Kit feels lost and uncertain about where he stands without being in a relationship. Dante, on the other hand, has been waiting for this moment for years, and now that Kit is finally single he has no intention of wasting this chance.
But even the most sincere feelings and best intentions aren’t enough to guarantee happiness, and it’s a long road from a bad start to a happy end.
Friends to Lovers
(Full Disclosure: Nicole Field is a contributing reviewer for JL Reviews)
I certainly do enjoy a friends-to-lovers story, and Kit and Dante were quite adorable as they stumbled their way into a relationship with each other. Aside from some very minor issues, I quite enjoyed this book from new to me author, Nicole Field.
Dante has had a crush on his older brother’s friend for as long as he can remember. But the age difference between the two of them has meant that Kit hasn’t ever really looked at Dante as a potential lover. At least not until a fateful meeting at a gay bar that leaves Dante hopeful, and a newly single Kit looking at Dante with fresh eyes when Dante makes a surprising confession.
“You…had a crush…on me?” Kit asked, barely above a whisper. It was as though all the upset behind his words evaporated behind the fact that he couldn’t quite believe this.
Dante stared right back at him. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know. It sure as hell felt obvious to me at the time.”
Kit shook his head slowly. “I didn’t know,” he said.
“Well,” Dante said, nodding his head once, sharply. “Now you know.”
“Okay.” Kit looked kind of lost, as if he didn’t know where in his apartment to look if he wasn’t looking at Dante.
It wasn’t the most effusive response that Dante could have hoped for.
There is some back and forth on Kit’s part while he tries to sort out his feelings for his best friend’s brother, and while I normally find that kind of waffling incredibly annoying, I appreciated Kit’s hesitancy to start something with Dante. The false starts felt more honest than irritating, as Kit has to weigh up the possibility of losing a friendship (if the relationship fails) against the romantic feelings he’s developing for Dante. When Kit does make up his mind, though, he has no qualms in letting Dante know how he feels.
After a long moment, Kit lowered his gaze and walked to the bed. He raised his eyes again as Dante’s palm cupped his jaw. “Are you okay?”
A hesitation, then a smile. “I’ve never seen this side of you before,” he murmured.
“Dominant?” asked Dante
Dante watched Kit’s chest rise with his breath. “Hellishly sexy,” Kit replied.
While Kit and Dante dance around each other, there are some very nice scenes with them that involve a weekly dinner with Con (Dante’s brother & Kit’s bestie) and Maggie (Con’s wife). Ever since the relationship between Con and his parents broken down, due entirely to Con’s transness, the brothers make an effort to meet up for dinner to replace the dinner with parents that Con is no longer allowed to attend. I liked how Dante and Con carried on this family tradition, with zero fucks given on Con’s part that his parents are no longer a part of his life.
Where this story kind of felt false or slightly off for me, was the storyline regarding the unfair dismissal case that Kit and his lawyer partner, Con, agree to take on. I just didn’t feel that this part of the story flowed with the rest of the book and using the case as a device for Kit and Dante to face their Big Misunderstanding didn’t really feel important enough for it to crush Kit as much as it did.
My other minor quibble is that the parents in this book come off as rather cookie cutter “bad” and “good.” Con and Dante’s parents are your typical rich pricks, more concerned with keeping up appearances rather than their children’s happiness, whereas Kit’s mum comes off as this slightly incompetent (except in the kitchen, of course) earth mother who hugs everyone. I think most people fall in between those good and bad categories – although there are always exceptions – and it would be nice if fictional parents were able to be as complicated and nuanced as their kids, instead of being painted with broad strokes.
Having said that, there is still a lot to enjoy in this book and if you are looking for a sweet little friends to lovers story, you aren’t likely to be disappointed in this one.
Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with her fiancee, two cats, and a bottomless cup of tea. She likes candles, incense and Gilmore Girls.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.