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Starting Over

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Official Description: Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he's lost everything that mattered. Then he connects with James Theard and his perspective on life and the truth found in love chang Official Description: Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he's lost everything that mattered. Then he connects with James Theard and his perspective on life and the truth found in love changes forever. Original Prompt: Dear Author, Where is this guy? What’s he looking at, I wonder? And is that guy down the hall watching him with longing? Maybe he’s been too shy to make his move before now. Maybe he’s trying to build up his courage. So, what do you think? Can you help the shy little guy get his happy ending? Photo Description: A slim, classic-featured boy in low-riding briefs leans against a wall, washed in dim blue and gold light. One graceful hand brushes his own bare chest, as he gazes forward. Behind him, down the hall, a shadowed dark-haired boy in shorts leans out of doorway watching in rapt attention. This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Hot Summer Days" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story. Download the story, read it here or find it in Don't Read in the Closet, Volume 3. __________ Genre: contemporary Tags: gay m/m, italics, dash and ellipsis point abuse, sappy romance, prose with a mild purple hue, non-explicit, college, athletes, oh, teh angst!, excessive blushing, locker room groping, public displays of adorable, sports, nosey strangers & swimming allusion porn Word Count: 12,663


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Official Description: Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he's lost everything that mattered. Then he connects with James Theard and his perspective on life and the truth found in love chang Official Description: Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he's lost everything that mattered. Then he connects with James Theard and his perspective on life and the truth found in love changes forever. Original Prompt: Dear Author, Where is this guy? What’s he looking at, I wonder? And is that guy down the hall watching him with longing? Maybe he’s been too shy to make his move before now. Maybe he’s trying to build up his courage. So, what do you think? Can you help the shy little guy get his happy ending? Photo Description: A slim, classic-featured boy in low-riding briefs leans against a wall, washed in dim blue and gold light. One graceful hand brushes his own bare chest, as he gazes forward. Behind him, down the hall, a shadowed dark-haired boy in shorts leans out of doorway watching in rapt attention. This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Hot Summer Days" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story. Download the story, read it here or find it in Don't Read in the Closet, Volume 3. __________ Genre: contemporary Tags: gay m/m, italics, dash and ellipsis point abuse, sappy romance, prose with a mild purple hue, non-explicit, college, athletes, oh, teh angst!, excessive blushing, locker room groping, public displays of adorable, sports, nosey strangers & swimming allusion porn Word Count: 12,663

30 review for Starting Over

  1. 4 out of 5

    LutaWolf

    This story is special. Besides being well written and having rounded characters, it was beautiful. I wouldn't have thought that one of these stories would be thought provoking and I would have been wrong. Emotions were pulled to the forfront and when that happens, you have to look inside of yourself. What I really liked was that all this was achieved through simplicity. This wasn't a hard read so for it to have been able to go there made it all the more special. A realy enjoyable read, thank you This story is special. Besides being well written and having rounded characters, it was beautiful. I wouldn't have thought that one of these stories would be thought provoking and I would have been wrong. Emotions were pulled to the forfront and when that happens, you have to look inside of yourself. What I really liked was that all this was achieved through simplicity. This wasn't a hard read so for it to have been able to go there made it all the more special. A realy enjoyable read, thank you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ⚣Michaelle⚣

    2.8 Stars So, despite the last message in the book being one about patience, I felt like that was precisely the thing missing. Well, not the waiting per se...just. Argh! I hate wording sometimes... Ok, so there's this guy (Kurt) and he says that he's not a virgin but then explains how it wasn't the most enjoyable experience. How it physically hurt and then he felt used when he was dumped almost immediately afterwards. So, yeah, you immediately say something to the effect of it not having been done 2.8 Stars So, despite the last message in the book being one about patience, I felt like that was precisely the thing missing. Well, not the waiting per se...just. Argh! I hate wording sometimes... Ok, so there's this guy (Kurt) and he says that he's not a virgin but then explains how it wasn't the most enjoyable experience. How it physically hurt and then he felt used when he was dumped almost immediately afterwards. So, yeah, you immediately say something to the effect of it not having been done right (you'll show him) and tell him that if it's not something he feels he can do then let you know now so that you can dial back your attraction and put him in the friend zone. I mean, what? How about anal sex not being the be-all, end-all when it comes to sex? How about switching it up and offering to let him top? How about just dating and letting the romance grow since this guy has obviously opened up and said how he wants to wait? I just...that whole exchange rubbed me the wrong way. So, yes, afterwards there is a lot of making out, but still that pressure...like blowjobs, frotting and handjobs just weren't enough (and there was little detail about those interactions, either). During that time it seems James did begin to feel more of an emotional connection to Kurt, but still...Kurt might as well have been a girl (if it weren't for being disowned by everyone for being gay) with how it was just...expected that he'd bottom. I just...IDK. Why is this the expectation? Also, it's a swim MEET, not match. (I lost track of how many times that was used but it annoyed me so it must have been often enough.) Oh, and no decent coach would ever put the weakest link (no matter how well he's improved over his try-out performance) as the final leg of a relay. Not if they expect to win, or have any chance at a medal (unless all the rest of the MEET competitors weren't very good then, okay, but that's not how it was written). The last link in a team relay is where the absolute strongest, best swimmer races. #DetailsMatter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wendy❤Ann

    I love how much James was willing to go slow and helped Kurt get more comfortable with himself. It seemed like he was a lifesaver when Kurt needed it most (*grumbles at unsupportive parents and friends*). My favorite passage: “Look at me.” He waited until Kurt looked down into his eyes, his own shiny with emotion. “That word doesn't describe what I want to do with you. I want to touch you in a way that will make you sigh instead of laugh.” His hands slipped to either side of Kurt's waist. “I wan I love how much James was willing to go slow and helped Kurt get more comfortable with himself. It seemed like he was a lifesaver when Kurt needed it most (*grumbles at unsupportive parents and friends*). My favorite passage: “Look at me.” He waited until Kurt looked down into his eyes, his own shiny with emotion. “That word doesn't describe what I want to do with you. I want to touch you in a way that will make you sigh instead of laugh.” His hands slipped to either side of Kurt's waist. “I want you to trust me. I want to be inside you every way I can, until you never want me to leave. And I don't want you to have any regrets,” he whispered, just before brushing their lips together. Whoa, got the shivers reading that! Such a fabulous character and relationship focused story - thank you Sara!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    SueM

    Loved this story Sara! Kurt's struggle to accept himself when others had rejected him felt real, and I loved James' struggle to give Kurt the time he needed. He learned there were many ways to tell someone you love them. His favorite, so far, was patience. A perfect ending... Thank you. Loved this story Sara! Kurt's struggle to accept himself when others had rejected him felt real, and I loved James' struggle to give Kurt the time he needed. He learned there were many ways to tell someone you love them. His favorite, so far, was patience. A perfect ending... Thank you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    E

    What a sweet and romantic story. Kurt is incredibly insecure about every aspect of his life and James is exactly who Kurt needs to learn to love himself. I loved this story and was so happy to see the hopeful ending....or would that be beginning of the next stage of their relationship.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Beautiful story about a shy, fragile swimmer who has felt the rejection of his family and friends after he came out, and a swim team member who gave him hope and showed him that you can survive by making your own support team and that there is something special between them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trix

    That was such a romantic story. I was expecting something rather different, based on the original image used as foundation. But this turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Both Kurt and James were sweet characters, each with their own insecurities. And the way they clicked together, Kurt slowly learning to trust and allow himself the freedom of feeling. And James patient and supportive while teasing and teaching Kurt more than swimming techniques. It was a pleasure reading this!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bubbles Hunty Honest & Direct Opinions

    This was ok but it would end a scene and skip unknown weeks, days, or month’s maybe? And pick up like the reader should just know what has happened during that time. I kept feeling lost and like I was only getting glimpses of a story This was ok but it would end a scene and skip unknown weeks, days, or month’s maybe? And pick up like the reader should just know what has happened during that time. I kept feeling lost and like I was only getting glimpses of a story

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bernice

    REALLY enjoyed this story. The sweet romance without all the hurry & pressure really resonated with me. The humor added to the lightheartedness of the characters as well. Will read Sara's other works for sure. :D REALLY enjoyed this story. The sweet romance without all the hurry & pressure really resonated with me. The humor added to the lightheartedness of the characters as well. Will read Sara's other works for sure. :D

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Emily

    This was so sweet! I loved the characters and the building of their relationship. It felt very real and very just so sweet.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen K

    I enjoyed this story very much, the characters were real and interesting and the ending was really great. Will check out this author's other work now. I enjoyed this story very much, the characters were real and interesting and the ending was really great. Will check out this author's other work now.

  12. 4 out of 5

    DC

    Very sweet but way too short. Kurt and James were both very likeable and relatable. I really appreciated that they were portrayed realistically with James being a patient and supportive partner for the inexperienced and skittish Kurt instead of the wham bam stereotype most people expect in young gay men. The writing was very well done and I could easily see this as 4-5 stars if it were full length. I kept it at 3 because it ended too abruptly and wanting much more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tam

    This review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews This was one of the stories that was done for the m/m group at Goodreads last summer, that is based on a picture. You can see the inspiration in the link. Kurt is feeling a bit down. Yes, he made the swim team but he feels he’s screwing up and just waiting for the coach to bench him. To his surprise, the coach sends the team star to coach him individually. James is everything Kurt admires, strong, confident, sexy, talented. At first it’s awkward This review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews This was one of the stories that was done for the m/m group at Goodreads last summer, that is based on a picture. You can see the inspiration in the link. Kurt is feeling a bit down. Yes, he made the swim team but he feels he’s screwing up and just waiting for the coach to bench him. To his surprise, the coach sends the team star to coach him individually. James is everything Kurt admires, strong, confident, sexy, talented. At first it’s awkward but eventually once they work past it and James makes it’s very clear he’s interested, they fall into a friendship with a few benefits as Kurt works past his issues with his parents rejecting him when he confessed he’s gay and his confidence in his swimming abilities. James promises not to pressure Kurt to do anything he doesn’t want to do, but is finding it harder and harder to hold back. It’s a cute story but I had a few issues with Kurt’s characterization. He seems much older than I thought he would be. I assumed he was 21 or 22, maybe a senior and Kurt 18, but James comes across as much older and more experienced than you would expect a university student to be. If someone asked how old he was based on his thoughts and behaviour I would likely have said late 20′s. It also tends to hop ahead at times, and you don’t really get to know how they moved from kisses to blow jobs and I got the impression the sexual activity was one way, but maybe it just wasn’t shown. So while not without a few weak points, it’s still a cute little free story and I think the picture sets the scene very well for shy Kurt who’s lacking in confidence in so many areas in his life lusting after and admiring the older more popular boy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marte - Thunderella

    ---------------------------------------------------- A short story in the collection "Don't Read in the Closet, Volume Three" from the MM Romance Group Hot Summer Event 2011.  Click HERE for the story online or  HERE to download the whole collection for your reading device. Prompt: (view spoiler)[ Dear Author, Where is this guy? What’s he looking at, I wonder? And is that guy down the hall watching him with longing? Maybe he’s been too shy to make his move before now. Maybe he’s trying to build up his ---------------------------------------------------- A short story in the collection "Don't Read in the Closet, Volume Three" from the MM Romance Group Hot Summer Event 2011.  Click HERE for the story online or  HERE to download the whole collection for your reading device. Prompt: (view spoiler)[ Dear Author, Where is this guy? What’s he looking at, I wonder? And is that guy down the hall watching him with longing? Maybe he’s been too shy to make his move before now. Maybe he’s trying to build up his courage. So, what do you think? Can you help the shy little guy get his happy ending? Genre: contemporary Word count: 12,600 Tags: italics, dash and ellipsis point abuse, sappy romance, prose with a mild purple hue, non-explicit, college, athletes, oh, teh angst!, excessive blushing, locker room groping, public displays of adorable, sports, nosey strangers & swimming allusion porn (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Wood

    This is a short little read about Kurt and James; both on the swim team and have similar stories on how coming out made things terrible. Unsupportive parents, intolerant friends who wrote them off, and it left Kurt feeling alone and not cared about, as it would... James has had a thing for him since he first saw him, but waiting for him to be ready to trust him and ready to take things to the next level was a bit frustrating. While he was patient with Kurt, his internal struggle was a little less This is a short little read about Kurt and James; both on the swim team and have similar stories on how coming out made things terrible. Unsupportive parents, intolerant friends who wrote them off, and it left Kurt feeling alone and not cared about, as it would... James has had a thing for him since he first saw him, but waiting for him to be ready to trust him and ready to take things to the next level was a bit frustrating. While he was patient with Kurt, his internal struggle was a little less than patient; he waited though, waited until Kurt trusted him and waited until he was sure he was ready; which I'm not convinced he was but whatever, it was the end of the story anyway lol I liked how James cared for Kurt; I liked how he was there for him and listened and could relate; and even though his internal struggle was real I also loved how patient he was with him. I'm kinda bummed there isn't a follow up to this story; I'd love to see what happened to Kurt's mom after she showed up at his swim meet. Overall, a cute little read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    L-D

    Kurt and James are on the swim team together and James is helping Kurt with his technique to boost his times. They develop a relationship that is sweet and loving, with James demonstrating tremendous patience for his inexperienced boyfriend. The story was quick and sweet. I'm not sure if I fully understand the title of "Starting Over" because it was more of a new relationship between the men. Maybe it refers to Kurt having to start over after coming out to his parents? I'm not sure. Don't Read in Kurt and James are on the swim team together and James is helping Kurt with his technique to boost his times. They develop a relationship that is sweet and loving, with James demonstrating tremendous patience for his inexperienced boyfriend. The story was quick and sweet. I'm not sure if I fully understand the title of "Starting Over" because it was more of a new relationship between the men. Maybe it refers to Kurt having to start over after coming out to his parents? I'm not sure. Don't Read in the Closet is a collection of short stories published for free for members of the M/M Romance Group. The best part of this series of shorts is that they were based on a photo and a reader request for a story. Here is the photo and reader request that inspired this story: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charming

    I really enjoyed this one. The characters felt their age and acted realistically given their backgrounds. James (at first) acting like Kurt should just get over his parents' rejection made sense given how his own family behaved. And it was so sweet when he was trying not to push for sex, but he really, really wanted to. Kurt also acted fairly realistically given his very recent experiences, but I didn't enjoy him quite as much. I have a low angst tolerance, and he was awfully pathetic. I would ha I really enjoyed this one. The characters felt their age and acted realistically given their backgrounds. James (at first) acting like Kurt should just get over his parents' rejection made sense given how his own family behaved. And it was so sweet when he was trying not to push for sex, but he really, really wanted to. Kurt also acted fairly realistically given his very recent experiences, but I didn't enjoy him quite as much. I have a low angst tolerance, and he was awfully pathetic. I would have liked to see him again later when he had more self-confidence back (we do get a bit of that).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bettye Kanady

    Starting Over is a sad story of a young man named Kurt who came out to his parents and lost all self-worth; he was the only freshman on the college swim team, and he just "knew" that he was going to get cut from the team. His coach sees the problems with Kurt and asks his "top" swimmer reach out and help him. James has more in common with Kurt than Kurt even knows. The story progresses along nicely with more than a little hope and ends on a high note. It's a short one, but definitely worth the r Starting Over is a sad story of a young man named Kurt who came out to his parents and lost all self-worth; he was the only freshman on the college swim team, and he just "knew" that he was going to get cut from the team. His coach sees the problems with Kurt and asks his "top" swimmer reach out and help him. James has more in common with Kurt than Kurt even knows. The story progresses along nicely with more than a little hope and ends on a high note. It's a short one, but definitely worth the read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fairy / Anna

    Cute story about two college boys, who belong to swimming team. Kurt is younger and just came out to his parents and some friends. They didn't react very good to this news (meaning, rather bad). In addition, he has some trusting issues. James is older and he's supposed to help Kurt improve with his swimming technique. But maybe he can help also with private life? Enjoyable short read. And if the main characters didn't act like people in RL, who cares? ;) It's a fantasy, the sweetest type. Nothing m Cute story about two college boys, who belong to swimming team. Kurt is younger and just came out to his parents and some friends. They didn't react very good to this news (meaning, rather bad). In addition, he has some trusting issues. James is older and he's supposed to help Kurt improve with his swimming technique. But maybe he can help also with private life? Enjoyable short read. And if the main characters didn't act like people in RL, who cares? ;) It's a fantasy, the sweetest type. Nothing more. Btw. I love the photo to this story!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Funzee Shu

    Now you know why Men swimming competition always be my fave sport eva !!! *grins* What a short-sweet-story.... ;) Now you know why Men swimming competition always be my fave sport eva !!! *grins* What a short-sweet-story.... ;)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    This was a well-developed story with well-written characters. The story begins when Kurt comes out with friends and family only to be rejected. This affects how he does on his swimming team which makes the captain of the team, James, give him private training. This is when he finds out that James is interested in him and they slowly start a relationship. James falls for Kurt, but must be patient with all Kurt's baggage. Lovely short story! This was a well-developed story with well-written characters. The story begins when Kurt comes out with friends and family only to be rejected. This affects how he does on his swimming team which makes the captain of the team, James, give him private training. This is when he finds out that James is interested in him and they slowly start a relationship. James falls for Kurt, but must be patient with all Kurt's baggage. Lovely short story!

  22. 5 out of 5

    jules0623

    It was so much fun imagining these hot swimmers in their tiny, tight swimming togs. :) This was a great story - I loved the relationship the MCs forged - although it ended a little abruptly (which is the only reason it's four stars instead of five). It was so much fun imagining these hot swimmers in their tiny, tight swimming togs. :) This was a great story - I loved the relationship the MCs forged - although it ended a little abruptly (which is the only reason it's four stars instead of five).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group, Hot Summer Days event. Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group, Hot Summer Days event.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Britta ★ Nachteule ★

    ***Read as part of the free Don't Read in the Closet: Volume Three anthology. Story #26*** ***Read as part of the free Don't Read in the Closet: Volume Three anthology. Story #26***

  25. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    Don't Read in the Closet: Volume Three My Rating System: * couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again Don't Read in the Closet: Volume Three My Rating System: * couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sadonna

    Very romantic and hopeful coming out/coming of age story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    3.5 stars Sweet "first-love" story. 3.5 stars Sweet "first-love" story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nightcolors

    Read for m/m team bingo challenge.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    The story was cute and the development between the 2 characters superb.Although just recalled why I'm not a fan of novella's, they always leave me wanting more..... The story was cute and the development between the 2 characters superb.Although just recalled why I'm not a fan of novella's, they always leave me wanting more.....

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elspeth

    ok.

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