Title: Hard Candy
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
My Rating: A-
Genre: New Adult Romance (m/m)
Series: Bend or Break #7
Main Characters: Vinnie and Bryan
Release Date: March 2016
Links to Purchase:: spicy
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.
Vinnie is the most uptight and straight-laced of the rowers so I love that Amy Jo Cousins paired him with a proudly flamboyant black man who refuses to be held to anyone else's standard besides his own. I really did truly love Bryan. He is exactly what Vinnie needs and I never would have guessed that before reading this book.
Bryan is a femme dancer who uses lipgloss and sparkles with abandon. He believes in yoga and taking care of his body. He's all about staying centered and staying whole...true to himself. The fact that he gets involved with Vinnie is the biggest twist ever because Vinnie is as far away from this as possible.
Vinnie is driven and obsessive. Yes, he's gay, but he tends to ignore that side of him. Sex isn't going to get him anywhere so it's not worth his time. But Bryan is all about touch and the sensuality of that...which is exactly what Vinnie needs to show him just how much he's been missing. Bryan makes Vinnie slow down and take in the tiny happy things in the world around him...something that Vinnie's obsessive soul has never been able to do. With Bryan, Vinnie is suddenly able to breathe and not panic about what he's not getting done by taking a few minutes to do so. In fact, through Bryan, Vinnie discovers he's actually better off taking a few minutes here and there to breathe, focus, center.
I loved that aspect of this book. Honestly it's a good reminder to all of us as we get caught up in the day to day manic list of activities and things to get done. If you don't relax for a minute, that list gets more and more insurmountable until your efficiency is completely shot.
If there was anything that this book was lacking it would just be a little glimpse into Bryan and Vinnie's future. The pressure that Vinnie's family are putting on him is huge...even to go work for the family business during the summer. I would have liked to have seen that Vinnie handled that along with his father's disapproval of Bryan. But otherwise, this book was virtually perfect. I've never been a fan of Vinnie, but Amy Jo Cousins made him into a wonderful hero worthy of Bryan in the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.