Ezra Kellerman has flown across the country and shown up at Rico’s door to find out if Rico will take him back. Rico has moved on and found new love, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to give the care of his ex over to his family and friends. Ezra is a bit dazed and overwhelmed as Miguel Rodriguez takes him upstairs, and Finn and Adam immediately give him space on their couch and start talking about hooking him up with a job at Candy Heaven. Ezra goes along with it because for the first time in his life someone, besides Rico, actually seems to care about him. He just needs to find his feet and start a new life, far away from New York City and his father.
Miguel Rodriguez is kind of put out that he’s tasked with helping out the bright eyed, lost Ezra. But what starts as a chore quickly morphs into friendship. Ezra is sweet and gentle, desperate to please, and happy to do what needs doing. Miguel can see he’s broken, but he’s also starting to heal. And his guileless nature isn’t some front. The more time they spend together, the more Miguel realizes that Ezra is who he wants. But he know Ezra is still healing and he doesn’t want to pressure him.
But Ezra is healing, and he’s becoming stronger every day. He begins to realize that while he loved Rico, he wasn’t in love with him, and while he regrets sending Rico away, he now knows it wasn’t meant to be. Ezra wants angel-faced Miguel, and it feels different what he’s felt before. When the guys finally act on their attraction, it’s hot and full of love. They go from zero to sixty with no stops in between. They know they are supposed to be together. But when Ezra’s past shows up, things are put to the test. And it’s time to see what Ezra is made of.
Guys, I thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment of Lane’s Candy Man series. Technically, I think this works as a standalone. But this book picks up pretty much where the last one ended. And really, these books are fairly interconnected, so it’s my personal opinion that the series is best read in order. That way you get the whole experience.
When Ezra showed up at the end of Bitter Taffy, my heart immediately went out to him. He shows up, broken and hoping, to find that not only is Rico over him, but he’s moved on. He’d done this brave thing, especially after the way he rejected Rico in New York, and now he’s seeing the same rejection. What I really liked was that Ezra was an immediately likable character. He’s sweet and tender, and yes broken, and he just wants to be okay and standing on his own two feet. But he doesn’t know how to do that, and he’s happy to take help and direction. And as he learned, he grew and changed and became this confident man. It’s wasn’t this big transformation, though. It was just him finding himself, becoming who he was supposed to be all along. It wasn’t a magical fix, but with the love and support of his new friends, especially Miguel, Ezra was able to own himself and become who he’d wanted to be.
Miguel, for his part, was nursing a crush on Adam, and after a failed business venture, was feeling pretty surly toward the world at large. Okay, he had his asshole moments. And he suffered from being invisible for a long time. But he has a huge heart and he knew when he was a jerk, and he knew when he was important. I liked this guy from the start, and it was clear that not only was he a good guy deep down, but he was also the right guy for Ezra. They clicked, first as friends, and then as more. I liked the way Miguel handled Ezra, with honesty and sensitivity. And I really thought they made a perfect match. Their chemistry was sizzling, and they made sense. I very much liked watching them fall in love.
This book is classified as Amy Lane Lite, and it’s true that it was pretty low on the angst meter. Overall, it’s basically a story about two guys healing and finding love, without any heart shredding moments. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I like to read, and this really fit the bill. I will make mention that toward the end, there’s a bit of drama with Ezra’s father. This maybe didn’t work quite as well for me as it was supposed to, as I couldn’t quite understand why his father would show up with the older brother in tow, and the whole exchange left me feeling a little bit confused. I would have liked more from the father, though he was prone to using hate speech, about just why he cared if his son came home again. I’m fairly certain it was just about his need for control, but I would have liked that part fleshed out a little more.
But if you’ve been following along and loving the series, you’re going to want to pick this one up. And if you’re looking for a sweet, low angst read, then you should definitely consider this one and the whole series. I have to say, I loved the ending, and I’m looking forward to where the series goes next.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.