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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.
You see…it’s kind of impossible not to love the small pocket of the world Amy Lane invites us to in this Candy Man series. I mean…it’s centered around a candy shop, for goodness sakes! And it’s all about the happy! And book 1, Candy Man, managed to take a sad, down-on-his-luck, hard-edged character and turn him into a almost-sap!
Sadly, I feel like book 2, Bitter Taffy, lost some of the charm.
It started off strong…Rico, Adam’s cousin who we hear about in book 1, comes back to town after having his heart broken in New York. He also decides to come out of the closet. We have an adorable meet-cute with his future employer, Derek (who I loved from the start!), and away we go!
Rico is understandably gun shy to rebound with Derek. He was still heartbroken and lost. And though Derek made it known early on that he was interested in Rico, they begin a friendship & working relationship only. There’s flirtation, but it’s careful. I thought the two of them were sweet.
Somewhere along the line, however, I felt the book kinda lost it’s way. There was a lot of Adam and Finn in this book. And though I love them, and normally don’t mind revisiting other characters in series, the book at times felt like it was more Adam/Finn’s than Rico/Derek’s. And the more I read, the more I realized I didn’t really get a good sense of who Rico was and who Derek was. I did on the surface, but it didn’t deepen as I continued on.
Really, towards the end, I almost lost interest altogether!
There’s a bit-rushed plot twist at the very end that sets up the story for the next book in the series. I’m intrigued by this future coupling, but the way it went down in this book didn’t entirely work for me.
All in all…it was…okay. I didn’t love it. I didn’t like as much as I did book 1. And I’m more interested in what will happen in book 3. Middle-child syndrome…