Review: Amy Lane – Lollipop

28322700Author: Amy Lane
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre:m/m contemporary
ISBN: 9781634769051

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary:
Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn’t. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn’t just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.

Review:
As the previous story in the series, Bitter Taffy, ended, Ezra Kellerman had arrived in Sacramento from New York City to reclaim his former boyfriend, Rico, only to find that he was too late because Rico had moved on to the love of his life, Derek Huston.

Ezra is no longer the suave, sophisticated New Yorker we might imagine him to be. Instead, he’s a broken man, one who is recovering from a nervous breakdown in which he destroyed his cubicle at his father’s company in a fit of rage over the hopelessness of his life situation. After spending some time in a facility for recovery from his mental collapse, he’s made the biggest decision of his life and has escaped the clutches of the very dominant and domineering Martin Kellerman and landed on the doorstep of one of the sweetest couples in Sacramento—Adam and Finn (Candy Man).

Rico asks his cousin Adam and his boyfriend Finn to take Ezra in and let him live on the couch in their living room as Rico had done when he showed up from New York months before. Ezra immediately pitches in to help cat and dog sit and is even offered a job by Darrin, the owner of Candy Heaven, the shop where Adam and his friends work. Darrin places him under the wing of Miguel Rodriguez, and before too long, Miguel realizes that instead of getting a burden, he was given a gift.

Watching Ezra take joy in the simplest things life has to offer makes Miguel realize that maybe his career plans to open his own business failed because he was meant to be here for this man to help him discover himself and finally learn to be okay with who he is. Falling head over heels in love was not on Miguel’s life plan agenda, but once it happens, he’s like a ferocious guard dog watching over his charge as men flirt with the clueless Ezra, and Ezra just seeks to be accepted.

In typical Amy Lane fashion, we’re treated to not only a surface story, but the one below the surface as well, where we can watch emotional healing take place and experience the joy of self-discovery right along with the characters. And there’s more than just Ezra’s personal journey taking place here. There’s also Miguel’s, Adam’s, and Rico’s, and then there’s Darrin’s own life changes and self-discoveries.

But the spotlight is on Ezra and one of my favorite scenes occurs when he’s ready for the big confrontation with his father and he finds himself surrounded and supported by family (his new one, not his family of origin) and friends. It’s a proud moment and worthy of praise and joy in his discovery that with faith and a plan, and with Miguel in his corner, he can be the man he’s always dreamed he could be.

I love the ending of this story. There’s nothing sweeter than a hint of another story in this series, and this one sounds like the soon-to-be-introduced character may be the toughest one yet.

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