Title: Bittersweet Candy Kisses (All Petit Morts Stories)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novelette (14,100 words)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Rust. Cabbage. A vague sour odor of spoiled milk. No, that’s not the smell of the dumpster behind Sweets to the Sweet—it’s Emmett Russo’s horrible house. Everyone told him a home was a great investment, but the market went bad, he discovered a bunch of hidden problems, and now he owes more on his mortgage than the old Kansas farmhouse is worth.
If that’s not bad enough, his best friend Rosemary just landed a fabulous new job…in Paris. The Paris. And Emmett doesn’t know if he can face his horrible house without her. Emmett longs to jaunt away with Rosemary, but how can he fly with his albatross of a house dragging him down?
Enter tall, strapping Sam Kowalski, who’s rumored to be “good with his hands.” Emmett’s not accustomed to airing his stinky secrets to just anybody, but Sam seems determined to help him out…and together they discover there’s far more hidden in Emmett’s horrible house than a bunch of weird smells.
This book proved to be the most surprising and I really, really liked it because it was quite different from what I was expecting.
Emmett has a huge problem – his house is falling down around his ears. The house was supposed to be an investment but instead it’s a money pit and there’s no end in sight. He can’t afford to fix it and he’s unable to move because no one in their right mind will buy his horrible nightmare of a house. He’s stuck. Enter Chance and Sam.
Emmett went into Sweets for the Sweet to buy something as a bon voyage present for his friend Rosemary who was leaving soon for a new job in Gay Paree. He was so jealous even though he was happy for her, because he knew that Paris was not in his future for a long time. While waiting for his espresso and Rosemary’s present which turned out to be a box of chocolates, he started chatting with Chance, the owner of the store, and told him his troubles. Chance of course had a wonderful suggestion – his friend Sam was quite handy and might be able to help Emmett. Right about then Sam walked into the candystore and what a wonderful sight he was to Emmett. Chance introduced the guys and they decided that Sam should see the house so that he could give his opinion about whether anything could be done to fix it.
When they arrived at the house they got to know each other a little better and for Emmett things began to look up when he found out that Sam was, in fact, gay and the best part was he seemed to be attracted to him. The inspection was what Emmett expected until they went down into the basement which yielded a startling find that led to something Emmett did not anticipate. Were they hallucinating? Was there something in the water?
While reading this book I couldn’t decide which protagonist was worse off – Emmett who had an albatross of a house around his neck or Sam who had so many debts that bill collectors were hounding him, forcing him to live with his mother who was not happy to have him back home. However, despite his run of bad luck Sam was quite upbeat and I liked the way he seemed to think that things would turn around eventually. Emmett on the other hand was definitely in the dumps and it was beginning to affect his earning potential.
Moolah and Moonshine had many unexpected twists and turns and I loved the reactions of Sam and Emmett as they fed on each other in deciding what to do with their new circumstance. This story is the one with the most opportunity for spoilers so I can’t say too much more except that these guys had a lot of balls and I loved the ending.
This is my last review of books in the Petit Morts series and I think it is one of the best short series I have come across in a long time. Having two authors whose writing styles are so different gives readers a range of plots and characters. Although each story was dissimilar, one character, Chance, was the glue who held the plots together and helped the protagonists see a path they might not have chosen otherwise. I hope we will see Chance again when this series resumes and even though I wish he could have his own story, perhaps it’s better that his character remain enigmatic and mysterious.
If you haven’t read the Petit Morts series what are you waiting for? You are in for an unexpected treat because the stories are unusual and there’s something for everyone. I think that Jordan Castillo Price and Josh Lanyon did a fantastic job!