Hard Candy by Amy Jo Cousins ~ Book Review by Caroline

28437199Title: Hard Candy

Author: Amy Jo Cousins

Publisher: Samhain

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 03/22/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: M/M Romance

Blurb:

How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

My View:

Hard Candy continues right where Love Me Like a Rock finishes as we watch Vinnie struggle with the realisation that Austin may still be his best friend but he has fallen in love with someone else – not at all what Vinnie expected or planned.

Vinnie is all about the planning! He plans his outfits to stand out and make an impression. He plans his study, oh boy does he plan his study, to the last second and it’s a punishing regime he has set up. With Austin he even planned his sex life – always when he finished a paper and always when he had enough alcohol in his system. His planning makes him rigid, makes his whole life rigid as he strives to be the best but comes off aloof and uncaring and totally unaware.

When he wakes up with a hangover and in bed with another man he panics. The panic turns to mortification when he doesn’t even have the strength to get to the bathroom and barfs into a bin held by the beautiful man that is Bryan.

Let’s talk about Bryan! He may just be a new favourite character of mine. I really like a person, man or woman, who refuses to tone it down just because society thinks that’s what they should do. Bryan is out there with his dancing, his pink booty shorts, his string vests, his skirts, his make-up and his absolute resolution not to give a fuck. He needs to be cared for, loved and accepted for who he is and is just desperate for someone to accept all his different facets. The fact that he is a beautiful person who sees through Vinnie and his rigidness is the icing on the cake. Underneath all that though there is pain and who would have thought that Vinnie of all people would even notice that let alone want to protect the man and take that pain away.

This pair are poles apart yet they click almost immediately and give each other something that they desperately need. Bryan gets Vinnie to cut himself some slack whether through yoga or a simple walk around the library every hour to relax his brain. Vinnie gives Bryan validation – he really sees him, although this takes a bit of work, and loves him for who he is.

It takes Vinnie a while to get comfortable with everything Bryan but baby steps and all that. No one has affected Vinnie like this man who is slowly undoing all plans. They have to deal with bullies, with Vinnie’s parents and Bryan’s fragile heart but deal with it they do as Vinnie slowly starts to relax. The steam level in this book although lower than in the previous books is different in a way that suits both men and is perfect for them both. I really enjoyed seeing Vinnie let down his walls and loved seeing Bryan find the person that he needed.

Links

Hard Candy on Goodreads
Samhain
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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