The Kissing Contest by Francis Gideon

The Kissing Contest by Francis Gideon
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (38 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Homer Ruiz is a well-known actor who is constantly cast as bad guys, gigolos, or men of ill-repute. As a publicity stunt, his friend Jack Douglas has arranged a kissing contest to be held inside a Paris Hotel and Casino, where some of the most famous and attractive men from around the world will compete for the bragging rights of best kisser in the world.

It’s a contest that everyone enjoys—except Homer, who is left reminded all over again that people love the images and illusions he portrays far more than they will ever love the reality.

Homer is a very well known actor and has been talked into an unusual contest. The World Famous Kissing Contest was a publicity stunt. Men of different nationalities were pitted against each other with a bevy of willing women volunteers, and the best kisser would win the title of the Kissing King. The contest was held in Paris, and Homer can’t forget this is the bright city where he first fallen in love.

This is a very short story, but I found it filled with wonderful detail and kept me reading it all the way through in one shot. Homer – although not your typical hero – is an honest and refreshing character. Happily married to his second wife, he nevertheless doesn’t pretend to be some wide-eyed ingénue, or a slavishly devoted man while secretly harboring resentment at the repression of his life. I was startled at his private honesty – that his marriage to Clara was not the perfect picture they both painted. While Homer genuinely loves her, their relationship isn’t the normal, fairy tale, endless style of love. I found this honesty refreshing and indeed interesting, but more traditional readers mightn’t feel the same.

The twist at the end – the final kiss – was something I found satisfying and in its own way extremely romantic. There is a tone of M/M some traditional romance readers mightn’t like, but this is a sweet story – light kissing only – and I personally really enjoyed it. This is fresh, different and while not surprising, certainly not your average tale about a kissing contest. Different and fresh, I’d urge readers to give it a try and see if some of that Paris magic mightn’t leave you with a smile too.

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