Title: Bitter Taffy (Candy Man #2)
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 29, 2015
Page Count: 192
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Rico Gonzalves-Macias didn’t expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam’s boyfriend, Finn, haven’t just been house-sitting—they’ve made his once sterile apartment into a home.
When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet.
Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.
Rico Gonzalves-Macias was so excited about his 6 month internship at a firm in New York. He never expected to fall for the boss’s son, but life kind of happens and Rico and Ezra were in love. But, it wasn’t a strong love. It wasn’t the love. Even still, when the boss found out and very publicly fired Rico, he came back to California with a broken heart. Seeing his cousin Adam so happy with Finn was a bit bittersweet for Rico. He loved that Adam finally had some happiness, but Rico longed for some happiness of his own.
Adam sent Derek Huston Rico’s way to talk about a job. Derek runs a consulting firm, with a human touch. He’s not cut-throat, or ruthless at all. He simply wants to make the needs of small businesses easier to meet and so he networks with people that have needed skill sets and sends them work and takes a fee. It’s really a very cool concept for a business. I love how friendly it is and I would love to see a real life example of it in action. Anyway, Derek is immediately taken with Rico and makes no secret of it. But Derek is also a good guy and he really doesn’t want to be the guy that sexually harasses his employees, so he makes it clear that the ball is in Rico’s court. He prods, but not intrusively so.
Rico is rather taken with Derek, as well, but he’s a bit gun-shy. He’s figured out that this being a grown-up thing is rather new and he doesn’t want to be the one that hurts Derek. So they take things pretty slow. But let me tell ya, when they finally decide to have sex? Oh, man, I thought my Kindle was going to melt under the heat of it. And still, they took things slow – much to the ever-mystical Darrin’s chagrin, let me tell you. Because, you see, he’s already seeing someone new in his dreams that needs help and Darrin can only really focus on one “project” at a time.
I loved the pacing of this story. I loved that Rico was cautious, but not so much so that he drove Derek away. And I loved that when we hit the point where things could have fallen apart that Rico was the strong one. That he was able to keep everything together. I think Rico needed that control and the confidence it brought.
Bitter Taffy is a light, low-angst story that I think could melt even the iciest of hearts. But don’t make the mistake in thinking there is not depth here. The story is light, but the characters are fully three-dimensional. They’ve been hurt before and like all of us in real life, they just want someone to love them for who they are. It’s beautiful.