He smoothed his finger up the midline of my chest, then over my collarbone, tracing the hollow, then trailing higher and cupping my face. "That was the best day of my life."
"Why?" I needed to know why he thought it was so important.
He pushed my hair back, away from my face, and held it there with both hands. "Because that's the day that you and I became us."
Moments in Time is an anthology comprising of the first three novellas in the series by the same name from author Karen Stivali. These books have been on my reading radar for a good while now, and when the opportunity to read and review the latest addition to the series came about, I decided this was the perfect time to get the books, especially since the original trilogy was on sale on the publisher's website. And while I may have been late to the Moments in Time party, I'm glad I finally made the time to read this series because I have officially become a Collin + Tanner fangirl and adore the three Fitzpatrick brothers.
Because I read the three-book anthology, Collin Fitzpatrick and Tanner D'Amico's love story had a continuous flow to it. I didn't have to wait for the next installment--which I know can be somewhat frustrating. Instead of getting a happy-for-now ending for the first two books had I read the three novellas separately, I felt that I got the complete reading experience and the happily-ever-after ending I was looking for. But this wasn't "merely" a story about two guys falling in love with each other; this was about one young man's journey of self-acceptance and living the life he wants in spite of the prejudices of others.
I'm giving the Moments in Time: Books 1-3 anthology a five-plus-star rating, which is the average rating for all three of the novellas based on the ratings I gave each one. I'm going to go ahead and review the books individually below, though my suggestion would be to buy the anthology and read it is if it were one complete novel. You can choose to buy the novellas piece by piece and not even all at the same time, but because these first three in the overall series are about just one couple, I feel it'll be better on the reader's end to go for the anthology, which, by the way, is still very much on sale for a mere 99 cents, so hop to it! ♥
Moment of Impact (book one)
I knew he was right--right to be angry, right to be hurt, right to say all the shit he did. I did need to get more comfortable, with everything, including myself. How crazy was that? I'd been me for twenty years, but the only time I was comfortable about it was when I was alone with him. All shades of wrong. Not because I felt good about myself with him, but because I needed to feel good about myself, period.
This first novella introduces readers to roommates Collin Fitzpatrick and Tanner D'Amico, both aged twenty, and studying in the same university. Both Collin and Tanner assume the other is straight, but Collin, coming from a strict Catholic background, is a closeted gay guy and Tanner is bisexual. That moment where they cross the line from roommates to bed partners was quietly intense, and I liked how we watch their relationship quickly evolves but almost as if it was a long time coming. The two boys are a study in contrasts, especially when it comes to the ease in slipping from being mere roomies to lovers. Tanner knows who he and what he wants, and while the same goes for Collin, he's been brought up to always remember that being gay is unacceptable in his conservative family and the faith he was reared in. Seeing how Collin struggles with his sexuality brought a tear to my eye and reading about how supportive and understanding Tanner was had me smiling. Moment of Impact was a great five-plus-starred NA read. ♥
Moment of Truth (book two)
"What do you want, Collin? Seriously, do you even know?"
That took no thought whatsoever. I opened my eyes. "You."
Tanner shook his head, eyebrows knitted together again.
"I'm serious," I said. "You. You're all that matters to me. You're all I think about. I'm so fucking worried about losing you, I do stupid shit like get jealous of all the other people who want you, and I'm so damned stupid I don't even see it when someone's interested in me. But you. You're the one thing in my life I never question. I never doubt how I feel about you."
Novella number two has Collin and Tanner off to Fire Island for the summer to earn some extra cash for the following school year. Their relationship is still fairly new, but being in a place like Fire Island has them far more relaxed than they were back in school. New supporting characters were introduced, most notably Jason Stern, who worked with Collin at a restaurant, and Bryan Dane, a friend of Tanner's. Wendy, Tanner's best friend and former regular hook-up, is still as present as ever, and she's got her own fair share of relationship woes. Collin and Tanner appear to be solid, but they're faced with challenges, especially since Collin feels that Tanner's bisexuality, because while Collin appears to be able to deal with other guys flirting with Tanner and Collin not feeling threatened by them, it's the attention coming from girls that has him wary. If book one was about the two of them beginning a relationship, book two has them realizing that it takes more than love for it to work and last. Five-plus stars goes to Moment of Truth. ♥
Moment of Clarity (book three)
"Do you?" His voice was so soft I almost didn't hear him over the sound of my heartbeat.
"Do I what?" Can he tell that I'm shaking, or is it just inside my body that everything about to vibrate apart?
"Do you know what it feels like to be in love?"
"Yes." God, do I.
I nodded and forced myself to squeak out, "Very much."
"Then what the fuck are we doing?"
Collin and Tanner's relationship is confronted with hurdles coming from homophobic people in their conservative university as well as as Collin's own family. Then there's the whole issue regarding Wendy and her decision to finally end things with her cheating ex. There was a point in the second book that I had to shake my head at Collin allowing himself to be in a situation that caused Tanner pain, and here in the third book, I wanted to smack Tanner upside the head for a split second. What he did may have seemed similar to what happened with Collin back in Fire Island, but this felt different and even more hurtful to a degree. While everything on Fire Island was idyllic, especially because they were surrounded by those who were welcoming of their relationship, life back in the real world made it clear that not everyone is as open-minded and accepting. Book three showed that Tanner is as fallible as Collin and honest and open communication is key if they hope to be together for a lifetime. I gave Moment of Clarity five-plus stars. ♥
Date Read: 23 December 2015
Learn more about Karen Stivali.