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Blind Kiss

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


From the national bestselling author of Before We Were Strangers, Swear on this Life, and Wish You Were Here comes a powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio—and she was a dancer on the rise. Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering. And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 18, 2018 – Carlino (Wish You Were Here) impresses and astonishes with this complicated, beautiful contemporary that shifts between past and present with devastating effect. Penny Piper and Gavin Berninger meet at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in a most unusual way: participating in a psych class experiment that has them kissing blindfolded. Little does either realize that kiss will be life-changing. Dance is Penny's deepest passion, and she refuses to allow herself to fall in love with Gavin, even though she thinks the engineering student is drop-dead sexy. An accident ends Penny's dancing dreams and leads to both Penny and Gavin making a series of terrible life decisions, and it seems that the two of them will never find their way back to each other, but after almost two decades, they get a second chance. Carlino's sharp, incisive prose calls the traditional romance novel ending into question throughout. The expert characterizations and a constantly surprising plot are enthralling. Deep and complex, this heartbreaking and heartwarming tale will live in readers' memories long after the final page is turned.

Customer Reviews

Emotional & Enduring Love Story

So much of life comes down to timing. Being in the right place at the right time. How one moment, one decision, can change the entire trajectory of your life. In Blind Kiss, Renee Carlino gives readers an enduring and emotional love story that spans decades.

I'm not going to lie. The angst in this book is off the charts. It will not be everyone's cup of tea and there will be times when your heart cries out and you may want to throw your kindle/book across the room. Penny and Gavin don't share an easy love story and it's not a light and fluffy tale. There is loss, pain, heartache, and grief, but there's also joy, healing, forgiveness, and love. These two characters are both flawed and broken in their own ways. Meeting by chance in a psychology experiment their senior year in college and forging a friendship that blurs the lines over and over again through the years. The story is told in dual POV and switches back and forth between the past and present.

I really can't say that I truly loved either Gavin or Penny. Both had so much baggage to work through and mistakes were made on both sides. They hurt and they loved each other repeatedly, but through it all, their chemistry and connection never waned. I honestly don't know who I hurt for more - Gavin, Penny, or Lance. All were selfish and selfless at different times, but I did appreciate that everyone matured throughout the book. I wasn't totally comfortable with Penny's relationship with Gavin over the years. Though my patience was eventually rewarded in the end, I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed and abrupt. I would have loved a little more after enduring such a heart-stomping journey. This isn't my favorite Renee Carlino book, but readers looking for an angsty and emotional love story will devour Blind Kiss.

*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*

5 Slow burning angsty stars!

Blind Kiss..... an epic life-long romance that begins with two college students, Penny and Gavin, participating in a study of kissing a stranger while blindfolded to see if there can be chemistry without seeing or really knowing someone beforehand <---- how can you not want to read how that plays out? I've read and LOVED every book by Renee Carlino and just knew from the title and blurb that this was going to be an amazing book and I was not disappointed.

When I started reading this story I was overcome with giddy butterflies for the anticipation of Penny and Gavin's blind kiss and those butterflies immediately took flight with their combustible chemistry, it was perfect romantic bliss YES!!! I could feel the pull between these two, it just sizzled instantly, soul mates brought together in the most unique way!!!
But you know it's not going to be that easy with butterflies, hearts, and flowers..... Oh no, no, no, Ms. Carlino pulled my heart strings so tight that I was in fear they were going to snap!!
No matter how much chemistry, how strong the attraction, or how connected they were, Penny was determined to keep Gavin in the friend-zone because with college finals and a promising dance career on the line she had no time for falling in love.
Gavin is that gorgeous charming guy that will make you melt into a puddle of swooning mush *sigh*, he seems to fall hard and fast quite often but falling for Penny proves to be very different than anything he's experienced before and although he wants to be so much more than friends he quickly realizes that a friend is what Penny needs most *sigh again*.
Penny and Gavin have a love that burns bright and strong although for so many years they never really acknowledge it as more than an extraordinary friendship, that soul mate type of love is forced to smolder under the surface until life finally makes it impossible to ignore any longer!!
Blind Kiss is an incredible story of love and friendship lasting a lifetime, sometimes that soul soaring love may find you at the wrong time, but if it's truly real and meant to be, it will remain as strong as ever throughout life until the time is perfect!!!!!

What a story! The angst, My heart!!

Oh My heart! I don't know how I survived that story.
I am an angst lover and that book fulfilled that for me.
I felt like this book was kind of different from the average story but I can't quite explain why or how it stands out.
Penny & Gavin have never met before the time they are blindfolded and asked to kiss for a study.
You could feel the passion and chemistry between these characters.
The story bounces back and forth between the present and various times during the past in order to paint the complete picture of this relationship.... which is complicated to say the least.
I was riveted though. This story kept me glued to it's pages for the whole thing. I felt such a wide variety of feelings about these two. Actually needed a day to process the story before I could move on.

Blind Kiss
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Aug 14, 2018
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings