Paul Summerfield is stunned by the gentle reminder it has been over a year since he and his partner, Evan, have made love.
He vows to take Evan out for Valentine’s Day. Dinner and sex. Lots of sex. There’s only one catch—he’s supposed to be in San Francisco that week cataloging the art collection of an important new client. No problem, he’ll just change his schedule and cut his trip short by a day.
In San Francisco, Paul struggles with regrets and the fear his love is slipping away from him. Every call to Evan seems only to prove the distance between them is increasing. All this, and a key piece of his client’s catalog is caught up in customs. To keep their Valentine’s date, Paul will have to choose between the career he’s built over fifteen years and the man he’s loved for just as long.
Happily Ever After
Paul likes sex. He really enjoys it with Evan. So why has it been a year since they’ve made love? Well, life happens. He’s been building his career and Evan has been providing support. The fact is, Evan does such a good job of keeping Paul on track—through his own business as a travel agent and as a loving partner—that it took a while for either of them to notice they’d stopped using the bed for anything other than sleeping.
When Was the Last Time isn’t just a story about a couple who aren’t having sex, though. A marriage is built on intimacy and sex is only one of the ways a couple can be together. There are so many other ways to connect—communication, touching; simply spending time together can be intimate. The lack of sex can be a very obvious symptom of a deeper problem—one anyone who has been in a long term relationship can identify with. It’s called complacency. Paul and Evan are obviously in love, but maybe they’ve forgotten why. Or they simply haven’t thought about it for a while. They’ve gotten comfortable together. They’ve fallen into a routine that gets the job done.
Really, despite the fact Evan is the one who points out the deficiency in their relationship, he’s probably as much to blame. But he’s the easy going type, so it took him a while to decide there was a problem. Paul is a little more—let’s say uptight. When Evan points out it’s been a while, he descends into a maelstrom of panic. Their separate reactions to this are what make the story. While Paul begins to examine his relationship with Evan, dramatically assuming the END is nigh, Evan questions why it took him so long to say something. In the end, they meet in the middle, which is what all strong couples should do.
I really enjoyed writing about an older couple who had been together a while. I think anyone in a marriage or enduring partnership will identify with Paul and Evan, and I hope their story carries a message of love…and of figuring out what’s important—for them, for us and the one we want to be with in our Happy Ever After.
Review by Elaine White
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 42
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Would I read it again – Definitely
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE PUBLISHER, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
This is my first story by this author and it wasn’t a disappointment.
From the minute I read the blurb, I’ll admit that I had an expectation in mind, of how the story might progress or what emotions I might feel. I was right, but there was also so much more to it than that.
For a short story, it packed a punch. It had everything I wanted, after reading the blurb: angst, confusion, doubt, jealousy, uncertainty and more. From the first page, when Evan brought up the subject of their ‘last time’, I could feel the tension between them and the comfortable expectation that everything was pretty much normal and as it had been for a while.
As the story progressed and Paul went on this journey of self-discovery, realizing things about their relationship that had passed him by, I developed an intense connection to both characters. I felt sad when Paul felt sad, nervous and scared about what he’d discover when he felt the same. I was completely in tune with Paul’s emotions the entire way through the story; I felt his confusion and his need to understand, the worry that things might never be the same again. I could also see the distance between him and Evan, growing before his eyes, the way Paul saw it.
This story was a real gem. I’ll admit – I was hesitant about agreeing to review this because I had no prior experience of the author. While I love finding new authors, my reviewing list was already long. But, I can’t resist myself. The cover kept drawing my attention and I couldn’t ignore that. It’s a beautiful piece of art and craftsmanship, just like the story.
I love the style, the characters, the story and how it was executed. It’s such a sweet, cute story about how it’s never too late to change, to adapt, to open your eyes and see the truth. That love can grow stale and comfortable, without meaning the end of a relationship or that there was no love anymore.
I’m not going to go into detail about the plot or the characters or the author’s writing. I don’t have to. Pick this up, spare an hour of your day to sit down and read it uninterrupted and you’ll see why. The story speaks for itself.
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. At lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.