Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: Tart and Sweet
SERIES: Candy Man #4
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 5th, 2016
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.
Well that was just perfect! I love this series, and this book fit so well….
Robbie has been the bad guy hiding in the past for Adam, who we met in the first book a couple of years ago. Adam and Robbie were in the military, and were secret lovers. In a bad moment, Adam came out in front of their unit, and looked to Robbie for collaboration. Robbie did the unthinkable and called Adam the F word, and threw him to the wolves. This further damaged Adam, who had some serious family issues, and took quite some time, and the love of Finn, to get past. He’s never forgiven Robbie, and neither has Finn. Imagine their surprise when Robbie comes back in to Adam’s life.
Robbie has gotten out of the military and returned to the Sacramento area, settling in near his parents and trying to live a normal life. He has a girlfriend, a job, and his parents, that’s all he needs, right? Except his girlfriend is a bitch, his parents are bigots, and he’s lonely and lost. While taking his girlfriend to dinner to meet his parents in Old Sacramento, the two come across a man dancing on the sidewalk in front of a musician… they join the dancer, and Robbie is enchanted. The beautiful dancer, a man, slips his business card in Robbie’s pocket… Then the real drama starts. Robbie rescues Finn, and ends up at Candy Heaven where he sees a ghost from his past.
Robbie makes it out of Candy Heaven in one piece, has a crappy dinner with his parents, and a dramatic break up with the bitchy girlfriend. Then promptly calls Cy!
Cy is a beautiful man, a dancer, a teacher, a free spirit. He is intrigued by the man who dances on the boardwalk with him, even more so when the two hook up for a passionate night. But Cy doesn’t see this going anywhere, just a bit of fun on a night with a pretty man. Then they make plans for a second date…. which totally goes to shit! Then suddenly they are dating? But there is drama between Robbie and Cy’s friends? I’m stopping at that!
This story was all about relationships. Robbie’s relationship with Cy certainly, there is a nice steady romance there, with some lovely sex, some good times, some bad times, and some family drama. But there is also the deteriorating relationship between Robbie and his parents. I’ll not say how that goes in the end, but it all plays a big part in Robbie’s issues. He’s been afraid to come out to his parents and lose their love, which led to the mess with Adam, which leads us to where he is now. Then there is the relationship between Robbie and Adam. There is a lot there. Pain and anger, then maybe something more. Again, I’m not going to say! Robbie also builds a relationship with his coworkers. The company is family owned, Robbie is pulled in, kicking and screaming, and has more friends and support than he realized. Same with the hodge-podge of friends that make up the Candy Heaven crew, Robbie is also pulled in to that gang. Much to the shock of Robbie, Adam, Cy and Finn!
We see lots of old friends here, some very surprising ones from another series by Amy Lane, I’ll protect the mystery on who it is! But I’ll say it was AWESOME!!! The ongoing story of Candy Heaven was there, Darrin the owner of the store has some super secret abilities that are being passed on to Ezra, which we just started to see in Ezra’s book. That is more fully realized in this story, Ezra playing a big part in Robbie’s rescue. There was a very cute moment between Ezra and Darrin at the end, Darrin sort of passing the torch and realizing he has some freedom…
Now I liked Cy quite a bit, don’t get me wrong, but Robbie is clearly the star of this story. I love a good redemption story, and that’s what this is. Robbie needs redemption from the wrong he did Adam, which has been haunting him. He has to work for it, as he should, but with a LOT of help he gets there. Cy is just such a happy man, that he doesn’t really change much through out the story. He’s happy and accepted at the beginning, he teaches, he dances, he has sex with boys and girls, he wears makeup when he wants to, sure, he isn’t out to all of his family, but that seems like a minor thing. At the end of the story, he’s happy, he teaches, he dances…. and now he’s in love! But Robbie, damn. That man has to work. And he does. This is all about Robbie. Robbie and Adam, Robbie and Cy, Robbie and his parents, and Robbie just Robbie. He learns, he opens up to love, he comes out, and he lives.
I loved it! I would say right here that obviously I’d love it, it’s an Amy Lane book and I’ve loved everything she has written, but I have to admit I finally found one of her books that wasn’t my cup of tea! I know, it’s a shock. It wasn’t that it was a bad book at all, but it had a storyline that bothered me on a personal level. Not her fault, not her issue, but I was surprised that I had a problem with it. Anyway, I was very happy to read this and get back in to my Amy is my Rock Star mode.
This whole series is fantastic, I have loved every book, I read them as they came out, then recently went through the books in audio format. I think I loved them even more that way. The characters, the stories, the relationships, the intertwining of lives, just perfect. Amy Lane at her finest. Tart and Sweet just followed that same path of awesomeness. Robbie was always the bad guy, and deserved his chance at a story and life. I am so glad Amy gave him what he needed, forgiveness and love!
If you have read the others in this series, you’ll love this one. If you haven’t, you need to immediately! This is not a standalone story, you need to know the background and characters. Go get Candy Man and fall in love…