THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING Emily March
An Eternity Springs Novel
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-13170-6
March 2018
Contemporary Romance

Colorado Present Day

Caitlin Timberlake is visiting Telluride for a wedding, and while playing tourist, she meets Josh Tarkington and the two hit it off. She soon learns he lives in Eternity Springs, where her parents currently live. Nothing happened between Caitlin and Josh beyond a few kisses but meeting him spurs her to change her career path. She quits her job in New York City and decides to move to Eternity Springs, where she'll open a daycare. Oh, and pursue a romance with Josh. There's just one problem: Josh isn't interested in a committed relationship.

Josh settled down in Eternity Springs after an unsettled childhood and living through a tragedy in Oklahoma. While his auto repair business is doing well and he's made friends with people in town, he's managed to avoid romantic relationships. After Josh met Caitlin in Telluride, he never expects to see her again, and he's surprised when she moves to town. She makes it clear that she wants him, and he can't deny her, despite his reservations about relationships. Caitlin doesn't ask for anything more from Josh beyond sex, but how will this play out if she's hoping to have a future with him?

Caitlin Timberlake's family is respected and well known in Eternity Springs, but she was raised in Denver. Caitlin had left Denver behind years ago to pursue her dreams in New York City. While she and Josh are getting to know one another in Telluride during their visit, they run into her parents, who are surprised to see her (she hadn't told them she was there since it was a quick trip) and that she's with Josh, who is fairly new to town. After Caitlin announces she's moving to Eternity, her parents express concern over her plans, unaware that she is pursuing Josh. She might be nearly thirty, but they still think of her as their little girl. Can she make them understand that she's a grown woman?

Josh rarely talks about his past. In THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING, each chapter begins with a journal entry that we soon learn is Josh's from when he was younger. His words show the horror and heartbreak he witnessed, and readers will grow to care for him as the story unfolds. To those who know Josh now, he is honorable and hardworking, but inside he still suffers the emotional scars that were inflicted upon him. While Josh and Caitlin do end up in an affair, he never tells her that he loves her. How long will she endure a relationship where love is seemingly one-sided?

THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING is the latest tale in the long-running  Eternity Springs  series by Emily March, but like most of them, it can easily be read as a standalone. Readers who are familiar with the series will catch glimpses of characters from previous books and get caught up in who has children, etc. Above and beyond everything is the one central theme of each tale: Celeste Blessing is an angel in disguise. The wisdom she provides helps couples find their way to a happily-ever-after.

Josh's past is grim, and he's managed to make a life for himself, but the entrance of Caitlin into his life is a game changer for both. In THE FIRST KISS OF SPRING, the emotional journey of Josh and Caitlin will prove endearing to readers and makes for an enjoyable story.

Patti Fischer