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    Candy Man: Bitter Taffy – Amy Lane

    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.

    It was a scene worthy of a Mexican telenovela. Up and coming young man caught sleeping with his boss’s in-the-closet son. Father confronts young man in front of co-workers and throws him out of the office. Young man begs the rich man’s son “come with me”. Rich man’s son is dragged away by bodyguard.

    Such was the end of Rico Gonzalves-Macias’ promising internship in Manhattan. Out of job and nursing a broken heart, he returns to Sacramento and found that Adam and Finn made his minimalist apartment cozier. Of course fab matchmaking candy fairy Darrin has foreseen his return and promptly sics Derek Huston on him because Darrin knows Derek is good for Rico

    I like Rico. He looks like Adam but more metro. He is as nice as Adam but more social. He has experienced homophobia from his family but was able to find the courage to come out

    “Mami, this is Derek. He’s my boyfriend. We were on our way out—and so were Finn and Adam. We’ll be out in five minutes, and if you don’t want to see any gay people holding hands or kissing, you three had better be the holy fuck away from my place.”

    Sufjan Stevens in a suit as Rico Gonzalves-Macias


    I like Derek. He is a blond, blue-eyed golden prince with a golden heart who lives in a cozy picture book cottage. He has great parents and a happy childhood and he want to share that happiness with Rico.

    “No, c’mon.” Rico studied him, unsure of what was wrong. “It’s been a great day.”
    Derek nodded and kissed him on the forehead. “Yeah. It has. I want a lot more like it. I want them with you.”
    Rico’s smile made a quick return and then retreated again. “Then what —”
    Derek bit his lip. “I just… I get the feeling you and Adam—you didn’t have much of that when you were kids. I just… I wanted to give it to you, that was all.”

    Alexander Skarsgard in a tux as Derek Huston


    I like Rico and Derek. Their banter was enjoyable and the chemistry was fantastic although there were bits of dialogue that were too flowery and melodramatic. However, for the the most part, they were fun together. And in the sweltering heat, in the sea of cazh, they stick to their designer suits. I approve.

    Metrosexual yuppies doin’ their thang:

    Derek shook his head and turned, taking in Rico’s best spring suit and his dazzling emerald green tie.
    “Nice,” he purred, and then he made the once-around gesture with his finger. Rico rolled his eyes, but the suit had been one of his last purchases before he’d left New York, and he was sort of proud of it. He held his briefcase out at his side and did a smart little pivot, his dress shoes sliding easily on the short pile of the carpeting.
    Derek laughed and clapped his hands. “Very nice,” he said, and then, to Rico’s amusement, he did the same.
    His trim form was very nicely accentuated in something Hugo Boss, gray linen, with a melon-colored tie.Rico obliged him by clapping.

    Adam and Rico’s relationship is one of the best parts of the story.

    Adam has always hero worshiped his cousin and because of that Rico was able to achieve a lot of things. Rico, on the other hand, has always treated Adam like a brother.

    A telenovela is only as good as its villano. These come in the form of the harpy mami, Adam’s and Rico’s moms and their abuela, bitter homophobic women who showed up one day at their apartment (because Rico was avoiding his mami’s calls after getting shitty reception for coming out) and started the haranguing and the name calling and oh no! You did not just spit on Adam! At which point Finn went berserk and Adam had to bodily haul him away. Thankfully, the wonderful Stewart women were there to save the day. They shed light on the way of the gay and thus Rico’s mom was enlightened. “Magic fuckin’ happy people” make miracles happened. Do not get in their way.

    Bitter Taffy is a story about moving on and fresh starts. The characters draw you in and you end up emotionally attached.

    I really love the Candy Man world and its people.  I’m glad that almost everybody from the first book made appearances (more Adam and Finn is always a big plus). It makes everything more real and I want to be friends with these people. This series also makes me want to live in Sacramento. The neighborhood is so nice!

    This installment ends with big drama. Luckily, Rico knows whats good for him and held on to it. Darrin, on the other hand, ends up with another project. I can’t wait to start on that!

    So, on to Ezra and Miguel’s story…

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Me & You
    Artist: Parekh & Singh
    Album: Ocean

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25821026-bitter-taffy)