Kiss My Ash
Release date: August 8th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Social Butterfly PR
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US
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Ash Jenkins was the typical boy next door. Wait, who am I kidding? There was nothing typical about that boy.
He was tall, ripped, and had the voice of a man twice his age. Intelligent, sexy as sin, and barely legal.
Sent to live with his dad after getting in some trouble with the law, he was definitely someone I needed to stay away from.
But he had his sights set on me, and he didn’t try to hide it.
Did it still make me a cougar if I was the prey?
The Faerie Queen’s review
Here were my reasons for taking an interest in a book about an adult woman falling for the boy next door…who is in high school:
- It’s so wrong, but that only made me more curious, and books are a safe place to explore ideas like this. I’ve already done the older man thing with Wanting Mr. Cane by Shanora Williams, but the older woman thing seemed even more out there. (Thanks, patriarchy, for making the weird factor uneven on this…)
- If it did all work without being completely skeevy…how did Leddy manage to pull it off? I needed to know!
- I’m a sucker for a good boy-next-door trope.
I think we should start off with one very important point: when they meet, Kristy is 32, and Ash is 17. BUT!!!!! Nothing happens between them until Ash is 18. And when Kristy guesses Ash’s age as 22ish, he doesn’t correct her. So 1) everything is legal when Things Happen, and 2) the older party did make an effort to check the legality of it all.
The dynamic between Kristy and Ash is really interesting. It never feels like Ash is 17/18, as he’s had to fend for himself quite a bit over the past few years, what with his dad being very absent. Through his carpentry side hustle and taking care of himself, he’s developed a lot of maturity and self-confidence. It’s Ash who really drives the relationship, wanting to keep Kristy interested enough that she’ll (unknowingly) wait until his 18th birthday. He appreciates that she’ll eventually figure things out and be mad, but there’s a chemistry between them, and he wants to build on that. So yeah, we all know he should have told her his age when she tried to guess, but at least he was decent enough to protect her from getting in trouble with the law??? And whatever drama happens between them, he pursues her without forcing himself on her. In fact, if we ignore his age and the situation, Ash is kinda…perfect. He’s confident, attentive, caring, responsible… I’d love to have him for myself, just 10 years older.
As for Kristy, she’s a single mother of a 16-year-old girl that she had when she was 16, which makes her 32/33. So not as old as I was expecting. She’s worked hard to support herself and her child over the years, and she’s clearly very capable. She knows she shouldn’t pursue a relationship with Ash, but she is interested in a little bit of a summer fling while her daughter is away. What’s the harm in having a little fun with a 20-something guy, she thinks. And yeah, why not? You go, Kristy! Get your fling on! (Except…he’s not in his 20s…) But anyway, she clearly has enough self-confidence to go for it, and while Ash very much pushes forward the relationship, she has enough strength to guide it along and set her own rules and boundaries.
Now I know I said Ash is the driving force, but there is a lot of push and pull. Kristy isn’t a passive participant, and she does get her shots in. The sexual tension is so thick, it’s almost difficult to read. I couldn’t help but wish that Ash would just hurry up and turn 18 ASAP so that something could break said tension. Through just words and glances and physical proximity, the heat emanated from my Kindle. Each person made it even more difficult for the other to stay in control, all the while I was mentally screaming for Ash to magically age 5+ years.
I read this amazed at how caught up I got in the story and the chemistry while also feeling uncomfortable the whole time. It was a weird experience. Also, as someone who did go on a date with a guy 5 years younger (26/21), I can tell you that younger guys are not my thing. That guy was a bit too eager and intense, a bit like Ash in fact, but not in a sexy way. (Oh god, it’s so wrong referring to a 17-year-old as sexy in this context, even though he acts so much older…)
As well as it was written, I couldn’t separate my anxiety from it all. When Emma, Kristy’s daughter, finds out (and Emma was going to find out at some point, so don’t through “spoiler” at me), I was completely on her side. I could easily imagine being just as freaked out. Plus, I’ve experienced having a parent put their own happiness in front of mine, and from a distance, I can understand that everyone deserves to be happy, it’s still really fucking hard.
I don’t know guys. I am holding my hands up in defeat. I can’t figure out what to think about this book. It was engrossing and uncomfortable at the same time. The hero and heroine were great together, but I couldn’t get out of my head enough. Ugh, I feel like I’ve failed this story…
“Why am I the only one getting naked?” Kristy huffed. “If you’re so confident that we won’t get caught, why is your suit still on?”
“Because I’m not the one who said I’ve always wanted to go skinny dipping.”
“Well, being the only one doing it isn’t much fun.”
“Wow, babe…what happened to you?”
After a moment, she asked, “What do you mean?”
“You got old.”
“I did what?”
“You heard me—got old.”
“Don’t be an Ash-hole. In case you don’t remember…I am old.”
Shaking my head, I bit back a grin she couldn’t see, though I felt confident she could hear the hilarity drifting past my lips. “Did you just call me an Ash-hole? On purpose? Or are your dentures falling out, giving you a minor slur.”
“Keep it up, and you’ll leave me no choice but to open a can of whoop-Ash on you.”
It took everything in me to hold back the humor that filled my entire body before it bellowed out into the night—which would most certainly wake a few people. “You’re on a roll. What else you got?”
“The list is rather extensive; it could take all night. Maybe if you weren’t such a jack-Ash, I’d tell you. But alas, you are, so it looks like you can kiss my Ash.”
“See?” I lowered my head and allowed my hushed laughter to swarm us, creating a cocoon meant for two. “You’re not old. You might think you are, but if that were the case, you wouldn’t have been able to come up with creative ways to spin my name into a curse word.”
“Well, they say you are the company you keep.”
“So it’s my fault you’ve been sneaking around, making out with your neighbor behind bushes at night like a teenager without a care in the world?”
“Something like that…” She couldn’t even say that with a straight face, which was evident by the amusement in her tone. “Regardless, you’re not allowed to say I’m old. I don’t give a rat’s Ash how good you are in bed, do it again and we’re finished. You hear me?”
“Yeah, Kris…” Eliminating the humor between us, I lowered my lips to her ear. “Loud and clear. And if you don’t take this bathing suit off now, I’ll make you scream so loud the entire neighborhood will hear you as well.”