Review: Amy Lane – Tart and Sweet (Candy Man #5)

tart and sweetAuthor: Amy Lane
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Summary: In the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free.

Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning.

However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.
Review: Robbie. Just the name made me want to throw something. The military man who destroyed what was left of Adam’s self-esteem and made him think he wasn’t worth keeping. Robbie.
Now Robbie is out of the military as well and in a weird coincidence ends up in the same town as the lovely Adam, who is happily, totally and completely in love with Finn. Adam and Finn are my very favorite Candy Heaven couple and I’ve hated Robbie since day one. How dare he! Just the absolute worst human being.
Except…well, he really isn’t. Yes, he did a terrible thing and for two years he has paid for that moment of fear and weakness in self-loathing. Unwittingly, Robbie saves the man Adam loves, although he is beyond shocked to realize who that man, Finn, really is. It is also in Old Sac that Robbie sees and is immediately smitten with the beautiful Cy. He wants and wants badly.
Let’s mention that when Finn realizes who Robbie is, just wow. Finn is a happy, happy man but get him angry or hurt the one he loves and it was something to behold. I felt so for Adam when Finn inadvertently shows something very personal to people in his rage, “I love you, baby, but I would have paid a lot of money not to have anyone but you see that.”
But as far as Robbie goes, it was pretty simple once he is true to himself. It takes a little bit to get back in with the group, since Cy is friends with the Candy Heaven people and they all know Adam was hurt. I did think Adam forgave quickly but I suppose having Finn had a lot to do with that. Adam isn’t that wounded, sad man anymore. It’s hard to read about Adam’s past because he’s so strong and good and you hate to see how he was hurt.
Something I’m not loving as much as the series progresses is the increasing “psychic” aspect. Darrin and his Pixie Sticks were a nice paranormal touch but here both Ezra and Darrin are often precognitive. That didn’t fit as well for me.
While the book is technically Robbie and Cy, I sort of felt it was less the romance of those two as it was the rebirth of Robbie. His parents are passive bigots and homophobes and daddy has a history of hurting people with his views (Aunt Pam). Mom is more just a doormat. So it was because of this that Robbie was afraid and did what he did to Adam. Now he has the chance to be brave, even as his parents make it difficult. “My mom told me that if I took it all back, I could go home this morning.”
Robbie is at a place where maybe he is ready for Cy.  Cy is “…happy and free.”

“But what if I had grown up different, if I was afraid all the time?” Cy asked, saving him a little.

Robbie shrugged. “You might have grown up to be me,” he said simply.”
It makes all the difference. And that, for me, was the best of this book. Getting to see Robbie’s insight into himself, making friends, making amends and making a new life for himself. It was a pleasure.
So I really liked this one, even if I liked it in a different way than the others in the series. And this is a series that really, you have to read in order. Too much is missed otherwise, particularly with this book. I’m wondering if the series is finished, as everyone is partnered and Darrin is going on a cruise with his love. We’ll have to wait for the Pixie Stix to tell us, I suppose.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the review! I have enjoyed this series so far and have this one ready to read.

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