WHY I READ IT
Holy cliffhanger, Batman! I had to find out what happened!
WHAT I RATED IT
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Emily Wayborn has made a decision.
She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.
Time is running out and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart…or her life.
It’s no shocker, I still don’t like Emily. I have my reasons though, so hear me out. But first, I was happy to receive an early advanced reader’s copy of Last Kiss by Laurelin Paige. After that ending – damn, Laurelin Paige! Cliffhanger much? – I needed to know what’s going to happen between Emily and Reeve now that Amber is alive and back. I hope that wasn’t a spoiler. It shouldn’t be. You read First Touch right?
Last Kiss is very different from First Touch in that it’s more of an emotionally suspenseful book. Laurelin kept me on the edge, swiping page after page because this weirdly twisted love-triangle is spell-binding. First Touch focuses on that essential question – where’s Amber? The story and its suspense is built around that. Last Kiss focuses on a more emotional question – what about me? This question can be applied to both Amber and Emily. Now that Amber is alive, what is going to happen to her? Reeve has already admitted to loving her and to wanting to marry her. Will those emotions reignite now that Amber has returned? What is her place in Reeve’s life? As for Emily, Amber’s shocking reappearance throws her relationship with Reeve into turmoil. She now has to figure out her place in his life, after she’s just figured out she loves him and wants to be loved! But…Emily reveals that she’s also kind of in love with Amber, creating a weird love triangle, which adds another layer of emotional suspense. What is Emily’s place in Amber’s life? What about their relationship? Laurelin Paige does a marvelous job of creating such a complex story that really focuses on answering that essential question – what about me? – and she forces her characters into a sort of seclusion in order for them to figure it all out.
Now that Amber has reappeared, the reader gets full picture of who she is and I hate her. Amber is easy enough to hate because it didn’t take me long to figure her out. I think Laurelin Paige wants her reader to hate Amber. I have no use for women like Amber and it’s hard for me to find compassion as well. Harsh? Yes. True? Undoubtedly.
I feel like I learned a lot about Emily in this book. There are two different Emily’s – the Emily with Amber and the Emily with Reeve. With Amber, Emily is easily manipulated. She reveals that Amber brought her submissive side but Amber and Emily’s relationship is not dominant/submissive. Amber is a master manipulator and knows exactly how to push Emily’s buttons and Emily lets her. Emily confuses this for being submissive. It frustrated me beyond belief to see her give in over and over. GIRL! FIGHT FOR YOUR MAN!! FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU WANT! Amber is also such a dominant force, that often, Emily feels forgotten, like an afterthought. These moments really made my heart clutch with emotion because I didn’t want Amber to win! I still hate Emily, still feel no real connection to her but I’m not heartless.
Emily does have that traditional dominant/submissive with Reeve relationship and she seems to be closer to her true self with him. She finds pleasure and freedom in submitting to Reeve. But, I think her past relationships have confused her on what it means to be submissive. Laurelin Paige tells us a lot about Emily’s past in First Touch, and those relationships were straight-up abusive. It’s sad that Emily never recognized this, that she believed she was being submissive and it really affected her relationship with Reeve, until she realizes that she’s worthy of love. Now that she wants love, it seems like she’s almost afraid to go after it, like she doesn’t feel worthy.
Here is where I need you to be open-minded and where Laurelin Paige loses half a star. The most frustrating thing about Emily is that I felt like she doesn’t know who she truly is, and this is why I give the book four stars. Who is Emily, Laurelin Paige?? Is she a submissive? Yes. Why? I don’t want to psychoanalyze her or anything but why does she act this way? Being submissive seems to be the only well-defined part of her character. She doesn’t even seem have any motivation until forced to make a decision, which I hate. Have some conviction woman! Stand up for yourself! Fight! I hate that she’s a doormat most of the time. I just wanted her to be a fully fleshed out character and I felt like Laurelin Paige really missed an opportunity to create a complex and dynamic character.
Ultimately, Last Kiss is an amazing conclusion to First Touch. The title really says it all. Will this be Emily’s last kiss with Reeve? With Amber? That last kiss symbolizes the end of a relationship but which one will it be? I won’t tell you – you’re going to have to read it and find out.