the third kiss, takes two best friends and two inexplicable kisses and makes them the biggest deal. before cora left sydney for manhattan for a year she kissed her best friend jonas. then she was gone and they never talked about it. and things were weird, but then got better and now that she's back in sydney she hopes they don't ever have to talk about it.
she still doesn't know why she kissed him. she was sad and scared and he was there for her. he's always been there for her. and she loves him, of course. but not romantically, because she knows that jonas is a bad bet romantically. but their friendship means everything. and she can't believe she risked it for a kiss.
when cora surprises jonas and his twin sister with her arrival at their eighteenth birthday party, his whole life goes into a tailspin. he's got girls throwing themselves at him, weird prank love curse letters, his aunt helena making grand speeches and then cora is home. she's finally home after a year of being gone and he doesn't know what he's going to say to her. they have to talk about that kiss.
and when they do and she calls it a deviant impulse, he's not relieved. he's hurt. and when she goes on a date with some other guy he's also angry and hurt. and when they start arguing he kisses her.
it's an impulse. but it's also the third kiss he's able to give before losing the chance to find his true love. and the love curse means that cora's apparent rejection of the kiss and what it could mean for them puts her in danger. and even though jonas isn't ready to admit it, cora means the world to him. it's not just that he doesn't want his best friend to be safe. it's that she is someone who is important to him, who is vital to his happiness, and if she were hurt, life wouldn't be the same.
so cora and jonas spend a lot of time grappling with their feelings and not giving them name. both of them have some real fears about calling what lies between them love. giving it a name gives it power. and jonas has always feared the power love can have over you, mainly because of the way his parents' lives ended. while for cora, loving someone opens her up to the possibility of betrayal. and she isn't sure she has it in her to trust jonas given his terrible track record. except none of those girls were cora. and she means more to him than any casual hook up ever could.
conquering the demons after them almost comes into second place to conquering their fears and issues with love and commitment. and as impossible as all these feats seem, they get there. only to realize that a new set of problems waiting for them at the other end. here's hoping that the sequel to this story doesn't take too long to publish.
**the third kiss will publish on august 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled teen) in exchange for my honest review.