Title: Bittersweet Candy Kisses (All Petit Morts Stories)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novelette 14,300 words, 48 PDF pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK,
Summary review: Eddie had the best send off of anyone in recent memory, and maybe the smile on his face was real.
Dying with dignity. Passing on one’s own terms. Approaching the end in a caring, nurturing atmosphere. There are plenty of reasons people check in to Hospice House…but Eddie Flynn’s just there for the morphine.
Eddie’s lung capacity is down to 15%, he’s in continual pain, and he’s constantly burning up with fever from the infection he just can’t shake. Given his physical condition, he’s baffled to find himself fawning over the hot guy stocking the vending machines.
Eddie figures it’s futile to even flirt with someone, considering how little time he’s got left. But there’s something about the guy with the name “Chance” embroidered on his coveralls that he just can’t stop thinking about—not only for Chance’s naughty smile and bedroom eyes.
It seems Eddie’s somehow ended up with Chance’s pen.
This is, without a doubt, one of Jordan Castillo Price’s most innovative and imaginative stories, maybe the most imaginative, as well as the most moving, poignant and sympathetic. In fact I think the plot and execution are brilliant. As I was reading Wishink Well I was reminded of the title of a book by Dame Agatha Christie which has always resonated with me, and in this case it seemed quite appropriate – Death Comes as the End. I knew how this current book would end, I just didn’t know the circumstances. And what an incredible way to go – up in flames, a frozen daiquiri or brain freeze.
Chance the master manipulator plays a different and much more hands-on and important role in Wishink Well than he has in the other stories. Initially he seemed a bit unsure of his assignment, his chocolate shop had disappeared and in its place was Sweets to the Sweet Vending Company. His job was to stock the vending machines in the hospice, Eddie Flynn’s current and probably last address. Eddie was too young at 30 to be dying from lung disease but Death is no respecter of age and that’s his fate. He was aware that his chances of leaving the hospice on his own two legs were slim and none, and he was resigned to having only a matter of days left to live. He was in the hospice because he was dependent on the morphine to ease his excruciating pain.
This particular day Eddie, who was constantly burning up with a high temperature because the morphine could only do so much, noticed the very attractive vending machine guy as he was trying to get a Pepsi from the machine. Of course it swallowed up his money, and when he asked Chance (he knew his name because it was embroidered on his overalls) to get him another can, Chance gave him his pen and told him to fill in the form and he would get his money back in 4 – 6 weeks. For someone who had only days left this was really funny, so Eddie told Chance that under his current circumstances it would be a better idea to get him a Pepsi from the machine rather than wait for a response in a month to 6 weeks. I suppose Chance could see his point so he gave Eddie his Pepsi but when he left he forgot his pen, and this opened a whole can of worms because Eddie felt he was either losing his mind, the pen had magical powers, or there were a lot of coincidences going around.
Wishink Well reveals to readers of the Petit Morts series something that we have probably always suspected, that Chance is more than just someone who could help out in a pinch in situations where he was able to get potential lovers together, or ensure that a crook got his comeuppance. Eddie was in the last stages of lung disease through no fault of his own and the morphine was barely helping, but he wasn’t despondent – he was attracted to Chance who reminded him of the days when he could probably get any man he wanted. Unfortunately, in his present condition he could only imagine the pleasures that he was no longer able to give or receive, but a guy can dream can’t he?
I think that Jordan’s brain went into overdrive in the characterizations and plotting of this story and I was sucked into Eddie’s imaginary world, or maybe it was his reality that I was living. I don’t know, but it sure seemed real to me. Some readers may not get Wishink Well which would be a pity because it’s so different and incredibly creative, and while it does require the suspension of disbelief, what a wonderful story this is from that fertile brain of Ms Price. You may think due to the subject matter that this story would be depressing, but on the contrary it’s incredibly uplifting and entertaining and Eddie was very funny. His mind was not always full of death and dying, sometimes it was quite the playground.
I re-read this book today and updated the rating to 5+ stars DIK because I do think the story is a ‘keeper’. This series is getting better and better. All of the stories have been great so far and I don’t know if the authors can equal or top them when the last 5 books are released. Whether or not they do, I think the enjoyment that I received from the last 10 books is more than worth the investment. Chance’s character growth is, I think, the key to this series and Jordan’s growth as a writer is also evident in her approach to the story, which could have had a different and more traditional ending. I’m so glad that she had the courage to write a story she believed in rather than what was expected. Great job on Wishink Well Jordan.