Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.
Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.
With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.
I admit I missed the first story in this series and came at this without the backstory and couples in Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) and now I think that was a mistake I have to rectify. Why? Because reading this story without all that back history definitely takes away from the depth of the characters here and for me, a lessening of the connection between us.
Kee Smith used to be a twink but after escaping from an abusive relationship, he’s changed. He works out, cut his hair and become, in the terminology of his gay friend…a twunk. Kaye delivers the new Kee immediately to the reader in a full fledged portrait. I loved Kee, complete with reservations about this transition and how he will be received at the local bar his friends hang out at. The only thing missing here? The Kee from Loving Jay, that abused twink that makes this one have more layers, more depth. The events that occur later in the story make reading the Loving Jay even more important as a backdrop to this one. Without knowing how bad his relationship was or who Kee was as a twink, part of this story is lost.
Tate Stevens, another character from the original story, is a buoyant, joyous, wonder of a character. A chatterbox with impeccable taste Tate is such a delight for those readers who love characters who can’t seem to stop talking. I’m one of those. I love the constant stream of words flowing out of Tate’s mouth…a river of thoughts in search of a canal gate they will never find. You either have a wide tolerance for these people in stories and real life or you don’t. The fact that Renae Kaye writes Tate in such as way as his fountain of words can be irritating to some I find believable if not downright funny. Who hasn’t met these people?
Kaye works to get Kee and Tate together by having Kee think through some of his issues with Tate with their friends from Loving Jay and other secondary characters. It works but again, not having read that first story made reading this book that much harder. I really need to go pick up that book. I was left feeling that there were just not again world building to fill in all the assumed storylines.
Did I enjoy this story? Yes, I love characters that don’t easily slide into relationships but have to work out their issues before they can find out if they have have a future with someone else. This happens here not once but twice. Plus its Renae Kaye, another must read author for me.
But I do absolutely recommend you pick up and read Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) first before going on to read Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2). It will save you from having to do what I’m going to do next. Go backwards. But this romance is adorable, so are the men. And I loved their friends that served as their family and support system. Kaye made it a believable community, one you rooted for and wanted to revisit. Which I’m about to do now. Why don’t you do the same?
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning. I love this cover, its perfect and adorable.
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477583X (ISBN13: 9781634775830)
SeriesLoving You #2