Title: Bittersweet Candy Kisses (All Petit Morts Stories)
Author: Clare London
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: 16,150 words, 50 PDF pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Review Summary: Would the passion of the dance be enough for our lovers, Trevor and Alejo? Emotions run high but the threads between Hunter and Chance could either unravel or bind them together.
Love is not for the faint of heart. Mild-mannered Trevor accompanies his Gran Elsie on holiday at a luxury resort in Majorca, hoping for some rest and relaxation under the dazzling Spanish sun. But they didn’t count on arriving in the middle of Flamenco Week. Instead of massages and siestas, they find noisy builders and tacky theme parties.
Trevor has a choice to make: put up, or shut up—and finding the nerve to complain to the staff, the mysterious Chance and imperturbable Hunter, is far from easy. But the impromptu assertiveness training comes in handy when he catches the eye of the manager’s son, Alejo.
There’s someone for everyone—even Trevor—providing he finds the courage to stand up for what he wants.
Media Naranja (Other Half) is a story within a story and a play on the emotions of the characters as they await their fate without realizing that their lives are about to change. The stories are intertwined but move on parallel paths, sometimes intersecting – Hunter’s and Chance’s and Trevor’s and Alejo’s, and to a lesser degree Elsie’s, Trevor’s Gran. Along for the ride was Vera, Elsie’s long time friend and probably the oldest cougar in history. 🙂
Chance’s and Hunter’s roles have always been clearly defined in the series but this time I wasn’t sure who was doing what as they both identify their “Ones”. I knew that Chance’s One was Trevor, but who was Hunter’s?
When Trevor, his Gran Elsie and her friend Vera arrived at the resort in Majorca, Spain, they were told it was Flamenco Week. Not only was this not advertised in the travel brochures before they left home, but the noise and dust of the preparations for the event would spoil the relaxing holiday everyone expected. Trevor mentioned to Hunter in his role of the part-time Wellness Coordinator at the resort that the noise of the prep work for Flamenco week would disturb his Gran’s rest, but he was not at all helpful even when Trevor indicated that Elsie was recovering from chemo and that she had been looking forward to being pampered.
Trevor longed to be a dancer but he knew that his family would never approve of his career choice so he kept his wish a closely guarded secret, only sharing it with his Gran who urged him to go for his dream. Elsie had had a full and happy life with her husband Bill and she had only one remaining wish before she died, for Trevor to achieve his ambition. She urged him to grab his chance at living rather than being swayed by the disapproval of his parents. When Trevor met Alejo and they danced, that dream seemed not too far from becoming a reality, if only he had the strength and willpower to grab it by the horns before it faded away.
The characters in Media Naranja were at different stages of their lives and this was obvious in the ebb and flow of their emotions. There was Vera who was trying to recapture something that had long passed her by but that didn’t stop her from flaunting her overripe figure that no one wanted. Trevor was on the brink of choosing Alejo and dancing which were linked, rather than what his parents wanted. Would he go for door number 1 or door number 2? What about Gran – would she be Hunter’s next victim or would she live to see another day, and what was in the “Naranja Con” chocolates that Chance sent her? Would Vera ever give up her fruitless search for romance? So many mysteries to solve in such a short book.
Finally, Chance had to figure out his relationship with Hunter who seemed to be elusive as usual and he wondered who Hunter was targeting as his next victim in his role of Death, but when Hunter eventually showed up Chance had more important things to think about such as Hunter’s kisses.
What I loved about this book was the relationship between Hunter and Chance which had almost reached it’s zenith, but Hunter was holding his cards close to his vest although he was much more open than before. I almost felt sorry for Chance even though he was immortal and at times uncaring and sarcastic to humans, because he was going through the same emotions as everyone else and was suffering from unrequited love for Hunter. The relationship threads between them seemed to be untangling at last as Hunter appeared to be rethinking what he wanted. Maybe this time Chance would make a move rather than play his usual waiting game.
As always I was fascinated by the plots in this series and in Media Naranja I didn’t know how it was going to end, which is part of its charm. Trevor changed in the space of a week from someone who was afraid of his own shadow to a more assertive man who knew exactly what he wanted, grew a pair and went after life with zest. Although I didn’t get to know Alejo as well as Trevor I didn’t feel that impacted my enjoyment, the point of the story was about choices and the part that the rhythm of the dance played in Trevor’s decision — the passion of the flamenco dancers setting his body on fire made him realize what he would be giving up if he didn’t seize his opportunity.
The great writing of Jordan Price and Clare London gave readers ordinary characters that I came to care about because of their human qualities and frailties, their disappointments and failures, but above all, the triumph of the spirit whether the character was young Trevor or his Gran.
The complex threads that bound Chance and Hunter, Chance’s hurt and bruised feelings and the glimpse of his emotions and uncertainty about the future seemed to drive his jaded approach to life. Maybe Hunter still had an ace in the hole:
When Chance asked Hunter
“Since when does it make any difference what I want”
Hunter’s response was:
“Giving you what you want is the only thing I care about”
At last I began to understand how Hunter felt about Chance and I can’t wait for Immortal Coil, the final book in the series to see how this romance ends.