The Comeback Kiss by Lani Diane Rich
Publisher: StoryWonk Publishing
Number of pages: 336
My copy: ebook
Sometimes love just won’t go away. — ALL IT TAKES IS ONE LITTLE KISS… — In order to keep custody of her teenage sister, Tessa Scuderi told a small (okay, big) lie to the people of Lucy’s Lake, Vermont, about what really happened ten years ago when Dermot Finnegan took off with her virginity, her car, and the town bell. It had been working, too, until she found her old car parked in front of her house, keys in the ignition, and a telltale red hair stuck to the headrest.
TO TOTALLY SCREW EVERYTHING UP.
All Finn wanted to do was return the stupid car and get going. But he stopped to save a burning pet shop (big mistake), ended up kissing Tessa behind the drugstore (big mistake, but worth it), and discovered that Tessa’s been building him up as some kind of town hero all these years (gonna have to puzzle that out). Now Finn has to find out who’s behind a string of mysterious fires and deal with the heat between him and Tessa. Hey, one more kiss can’t hurt — or can it?
* * *
I discovered Lani Diane Rich back around 2008, when I was searching for writers who published their NaNoWriMo novels. I managed to get copies of her books and loved it, but they were always so hard to find that I sort of gave up on completing her entire backlist. I have very fond memories of reading The Fortune Quilt, and wishing that I could write something so funny and still so real like that. So now that I am actually in a romance writing class (long story, will talk about it next time), I decided to stock up on books in the genre. I stumbled into Lani Diane Rich again, and was very happy to finally get another one of her books.
Tessa Scuderi knew it’s wrong to lie, but if it’s a lie that would make her keep custody of her younger sister, then she would stick by it. Especially when it also means that she would forget about her best friend and first love, Dermot Finnegan, who had left with her car, her virginity and the town bell after their last escapade. But when she finds her old car parked in front of her house, Tessa realizes that Finn is back, and her life is turned upside down again.
Reading The Comeback Kiss reminds me of my reading experiences with Sarah Addison Allen and Kristan Higgins. There’s the small town charm with lots of really fun secondary characters, just like Sarah Addison Allen’s novels, and then there’s the laugh-out-loud scenes and swoony romance of a Kristan Higgins novel. The Comeback Kiss is a fun read, and it’s comforting because it’s fluffy, but not too fluffy that it’s almost just brain candy. This isn’t just another romance novel, but it had real emotions, and real complications of past choices and repercussions of the characters’ actions.
I think the best part of this book is how Finn and Tessa were portrayed, especially with their friendship. Their love story is one that is borne out of years of friendship, and it made sense how they both knew each other so well that they were not just lovers (complicated lovers, but still) but also best friends. One of my favorite passages in the book describes just that:
…Finn yelled, “I gots Tootsie Rolls!” from the sidewalk where he stood watching. Tessa froze in her spot, staring at him, transfixed…The next day, Finn stole a bag of Tootsie Rolls from the corner market and went to Tessa’s house, where he found out that she was four years old and that her favorite color was yellow. They’d been friends ever since.
The friendship angle gives their relationship more credibility, and it was fun reading their interactions and how Finn saw himself and how Tessa saw Finn and how he saw her. Ah, it had just the right amount of mush, and it was realistic enough to know that love isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, even if you know each other very well.
While there’s nothing really completely new with the story as far as the romance goes, I think The Comeback Kiss is still a completely enjoyable book. It put me in the proper writing/outlining state of mind when I finished reading it, enough to submit one assignment for my romance writing class. :)