Monday, March 21, 2016

ARC Review: Hard Candy (Bend or Break 7) by Amy Jo Cousins

How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

Dani's rating:

The beginning of this book overlaps with the end of Love Me Like a Rock. Vinnie has just realized that his best friend Austin has fallen head over heels for his new boyfriend Sean, and that the "benefits" part of their friendship is well and truly over.

Austin was half in love with Vinnie, but for Vinnie, it was more about the routine. He loves Austin as a friend, but Austin never really rang his bell.

Vinnie is all pressed shirts and khakis and rigorous study sessions. He's competitive, serious, and generally not aware of other people's feelings. Even having sex with Austin was about getting drunk and letting off steam. Vinnie doesn't do fun.

Bryan, a beautiful, effeminate dancer, wears pink booty shorts, mesh shirts, and high-heeled white boots. He stands out like a peacock in a dessert. But Bryan doesn't let people get close. He's been hurt and abandoned. Men treat him like an exotic animal, exciting for a while, but more trouble than he's worth.

What worked for me about Vinnie and Bryan's relationship was the genuine pleasure they found in each other's company. Austin and Sean love to go at it hard and fast, but that doesn't work for Vinnie and Bryan. For them it's less raw sex and more sensual passion. They both love to touch and kiss and explore.

Doing yoga with Bryan, taking breaks from studying, wanting to caress and make out ... that's the new and improved Vinnie. Like Austin with Sean, Vinnie is different with Bryan, BETTER with Bryan.

Obstacles crop up. There are bullies on campus, and Vinnie's conservative Korean parents, particularly his business tycoon father, do not approve of Bryan, with his glossed lips and tailored black skirt.

Vinnie doesn't want to be ashamed of Bryan, yet deep down inside, he is. But Bryan refuses to "tone it down." He's been stifled enough and refuses to be anyone's discarded party favor.

"What's the point of fighting a battle at all if you're going to let them win every day."

Despite the lower steam level, I really liked this story. It's sweet and quietly sexy with a hopeful, tentative HEA.

Vinnie has plans, and no one does plans like Vinnie.

Get the book:


Are we not like two volumes of one book?
~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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