Title: Starting Over
Author: Sara Winters
Length: 12,839 words (20 pdf pages)
Publisher: Self-published (free)
Genre: m/m contemporary
Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he’s lost everything that mattered. Then he connects with James Theard and his perspective on life and the truth found in love changes forever.
This was one of the stories that was done for the m/m group at Goodreads last summer, that is based on a picture. You can see the inspiration in the link.
Kurt is feeling a bit down. Yes, he made the swim team but he feels he’s screwing up and just waiting for the coach to bench him. To his surprise, the coach sends the team star to coach him individually. James is everything Kurt admires, strong, confident, sexy, talented. At first it’s awkward but eventually once they work past it and James makes it’s very clear he’s interested, they fall into a friendship with a few benefits as Kurt works past his issues with his parents rejecting him when he confessed he’s gay and his confidence in his swimming abilities.
James promises not to pressure Kurt to do anything he doesn’t want to do, but is finding it harder and harder to hold back. It’s a cute story but I had a few issues with Kurt’s characterization. He seems much older than I thought he would be. I assumed he was 21 or 22, maybe a senior and Kurt 18, but James comes across as much older and more experienced than you would expect a university student to be. If someone asked how old he was based on his thoughts and behaviour I would likely have said late 20′s.
It also tends to hop ahead at times, and you don’t really get to know how they moved from kisses to blow jobs and I got the impression the sexual activity was one way, but maybe it just wasn’t shown. So while not without a few weak points, it’s still a cute little free story and I think the picture sets the scene very well for shy Kurt who’s lacking in confidence in so many areas in his life lusting after and admiring the older more popular boy.