Opening line:"Helllo?" Simon? Please tell me that Leila's there!"
The Kissing Game is a quick, easy and amusing friends to lovers romance that I enjoyed way more then I expected to. Written in 96, its one of Brockmann’s earlier category romances and the 2nd from her Sunset Key Trilogy. Although it could easily be read as a stand alone too.
For the most part this is your straight up contemporary romance, there isn’t any suspense and it’s not a totally original story either. However Brockmann gives us relatable and amusing characters along with a tropical setting and enough of her own unique ideas and quirks that you can’t help but enjoy the ride. She also doesn’t fall too far into the usual clichés required from a serial romance which gives this a somewhat original feeling. With a couple of steamy love scenes (I don’t think they ever actually made it into a bed) and an unforgettable, sigh worthy ending this gave me everything I could possibly want in a romance.
We first met Simon and Frankie in Kiss and Tell as the womanizing brother and private investigator best friend of Leila Hunt. Despite Simon’s introduction as a complete man-whore I liked his character and could tell that as soon as he stopped playing games there would be more to him then initially believed. Frankie also piqued my interest as the bumbling wannabe P.I, speaking her mind, having adventures and refusing to take crap from anyone. These two have been friends since childhood, essentially growing up together and although in recent years they’d started to “notice” each other it hadn’t ever crossed their minds to act on this growing attraction.
When Frankie gets hired for her first real case -looking for the missing heir to a Sunset Key estate, she quickly gets in over her head and through some hilarious circumstances asks Simon to act as her assistant. Initially Simon, an antiques dealer is only after his own interests wanting to sell the furniture from the property. However when the missing heir turns out to be Frankie’s long lost first love a new emotion reveals itself to Simon, that of jealousy. Suddenly he’s seeing Frankie in a whole new light. When she unexpectedly returns what was up until then an innocent game of flirting, everything changes, leaving Simon feeling another emotion for the first time, love. Frankie is of course aware of Simon’s reputation so she tries to keep her heart out of the deal while he tries to prove that he’s changed.
The case leads the couple to Boston with some movie worthy scenes involving the hotel concierge and Simon finding and telling Frankie how he feels before she falls for the missing heir. The ending here was fantastic, just when you think its all neatly wrapped up theres a couple of great twists. I especially liked the moving diary entries.