My love is poison. His kiss is mine.
“The first time he saw me I was shattered glass, and he was a shadow. If I had stayed, he would have just faded away.”
It’s strange how easy it is to tell our stories to a stranger’s eyes. The truth about Connor Stratford and I had always been a sad tale. Over ten years of chasing, tears, lies, vows, and leaving. Two people who never loved each other at the same time, but couldn’t let each other go.
Now here I was telling our story over drinks midday in an airport bar with my old diary clutched in my hand. Telling some version of our story, anyway.
I left him once with no goodbye. Now I was returning home to give him what he needed to move on.
“It’s important. It’s what you’re thinking.”
I knew what his message meant, sent in the middle of the night after I woke from a fever dream.
He was finally ready, and so was I. I just needed to finally give him the kiss he begged for.
The one that meant goodbye.
I loved this book. I hated to love this book. I hated Gwen, I loved her, I was her. Kiss Me Like You Mean It was hard to read, gut-wrenching even. But so worth it, beyond worth it. It was validating and normalizing and made me realize all those things I feel about my husband, the love of my life, my very best friend – all those less than loving things I sometimes think and feel and know – it made me know I’m not alone in those, and god, isn’t that life-altering?
Kiss Me Like You Mean It is a standalone novel. It is based on the author’s true story. The novel is written in first-person perspective, primarily narrated by Gwen with a few chapters from Connor.
It’s the books that resonate with us, that call to a part of our psyche we don’t want to acknowledge that are the hardest to read, to share, to talk to others about. And this book was a mirror for me, a mirror I spend a lot of time refusing to look in. I saw myself in stark relief in Gwen, her pain may have been rooted in a slightly different trauma, but the fallout, the walls, the weapons were much the same. Too close for comfort. Reading this book was like chewing on glass; it was sharp pain and oozing wounds, and ultimately those cuts released the toxins hiding from the world.
The writing in this book, folks, it was so good. I could feel the emotions, the acute pain of heartbreak, the broken love. Ms. Rogue’s roots in poetry were evident in the rhythmic, lyrical cadence of Gwen’s chapters. The imagery and vivid descriptions were deeply satisfying and added a richness to the book not often present in the world of romance. The words wrapped around me and drew me in, holding me captive in a story that shredded me: mind, heart, and soul.
Gwen’s narration of this story was fascinating. The way she was speaking to a peer, telling her story to a person, reading her journal, then falling so far into her story she was no longer responding to someone else or reading her own words, but living through the moment. The style was so sublime and lent even further to the feeling of being a part of the story, rather than just a spectator watching from the stands.
I’m ashamed to admit this is the first book I’ve read by JR Rogue. I’ve followed her Instagram and read her deeply moving and personal poetry there but hadn’t taken the leap. I’ve had her other novels and a couple of her books of poetry sitting on my kindle for ages, and know I’ve been missing out, leaving them there to fall into the abyss. Her writing was so impressive, so moving, so consuming I know I’ve done my self a disservice by not reading those other books as soon as I had the opportunity.
J.R. Rogue first put pen to paper at the age of fifteen after developing an unrequited High School crush & has never stopped writing about heartache.
She has published multiple volumes of poetry such as Tell Me Where It Hurts, All Of My Bullshit Truths & Exits, Desires, & Slow Fires, & two novels, Burning Muses & Background Music. Her third novel, Kiss Me Like You Mean It, will release 3/22/18.