Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Sweet Topping
SERIES: Cattle Valley #3
AUTHOR: Carol Lynne
PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing
LENGTH: 106 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 18, 2008
Wheelchair-bound, Kyle Brynn loves his home above the bakery he owns and runs. He’s proud of everything he’s managed to accomplish since the accident six years ago that took the use of his legs. At the age of twenty-six he’s an independent man living on his own, despite the protests from his family. However, with his independence comes loneliness. It’s not the townspeople’s fault that they see him as less of a man, it’s his.
Darshawn ‘Gill’ Gilling quit professional football at the height of his career without a word to the press as to why. Now settled in Cattle Valley, Gill’s happy running his garage and gas station. His life is much easier since coming out of the closet to his friends and family. He just wishes he’d had someone to come out for. Most folks in town tend to be a little awestruck when Gill comes around, but if he wanted fans he’d have stayed in football. What he really wants is that cute little baker down the street.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series
Starting off near the end of the previous book, Sweet Topping is the story of Kyle and Gil, an unlikely pair by anyone’s definition but one that fit together nonetheless. I liked both of these characters pretty much immediately when I’d come across them in the previous installments so I was really looking forward to reading their story. Kyle was in car accident several years ago that left him in a wheel chair; he manages just fine but has pretty much written off the chance for any kind of romantic relationship. Sure, he and Gil have this kind of flirty thing going on between them but that’s obviously all it will ever be. Gil gave up the life of a professional athlete because he was tired of being in the closet and he wanted more than just hurried one off’s with other men. When he looks at Kyle, he doesn’t see his disability; he sees a sweet man with a killer smile that he’d like very much to get to know outside of the times he comes to the bakery for pastries and a bit of flirting.
There were things I liked about the story and things that didn’t work as well for me but were easy to overlook. Let me start off by saying that I really appreciated the fact that the author didn’t skim over certain aspects of Kyle’s daily life; he suffered a traumatic injury and the level of realism in what he deals with was nice to see. I also enjoyed seeing Gil put forth the effort to educate himself on what Kyle would need so that he could help the other man whenever necessary. The story itself was fairly laid back with both a ‘mystery’ tie in from the previous book and a misunderstanding that lent a tiny bit of drama to an otherwise fairly placid book. What I didn’t really care for was how quickly things went; there were quite a few little time skips that made me feel as though I was reading the story on fast forward when I really wanted to slow down and savor it.
I liked the book and was glad to see Kyle get the relationship he deserved but didn’t think he could ever have; with as quickly as things moved, however, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous two stories which was a shame. If you’ve enjoyed the other Cattle Valley books, you’ll enjoy this one but you won’t get as much enjoyment out of it if you aren’t familiar with the first two novels as they all tie in together. If you’re looking for a sweet, low angst read I’d recommend checking this one out.