Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hard Candy 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.

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Book 7
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Acknowledging that I haven’t read the first three books in the Bend or Break series, I really thought my favorite book in the series was Love Me Like a Rock. That was, until I read Hard Candy. There was just something about the aloof and socially inept Vinnie, falling in love with the out, loud, and proud dancer, Bryan, that had me smiling almost the entire time. And when I wasn’t smiling, it was because I was either clenching my jaw in anger over the bigotry Vinnie and Bryan faced because of their homosexuality or shaking my head in sadness when Vinnie got in his own way.

Apparently still reeling from Austin finding love with Sean, Vinnie ties one on and tries to hook-up with a stranger for some much needed stress relief. The book begins the morning after, when Vinnie wakes up in a stranger’s bed with the hangover to end all hangovers (at least his hangovers). Mortified because he spent the night and has no memory of what they did, Vinnie can’t get out of the room fast enough. Thankfully, well-bred manners meant he asked Bryan’s name before he fled and ends up tracking him down a few days later, using the excuse of returning Bryan’s shirt. Bryan fascinates Vinnie. He’s not used to being around someone whose flame burns so brightly. While his reserved nature tends to steer him away from people like Bryan, Vinnie finds himself drawn to Bryan in a way that he’s never been drawn to anyone before, not even Austin. It turns out, Bryan is just what Vinnie needs because Bryan is blunt and has no problem telling Vinnie what he wants, which is something our socially inept Vinnie desperately needs in a partner. But it’s more than that because Bryan is also very affectionate, using endearments when talking to Vinnie and touching Vinnie in non-sexual ways whenever they’re together. I don’t think Vinnie realized what he was missing out on before Bryan gave him no choice but to accept it.

I loved how Bryan taught Vinnie that sex didn’t look the same for everyone. We learn that Vinnie’s hang-ups – poop paranoia and performance anxiety – where likely why he felt the need to get drunk before he and Austin hooked up. Although we do get a full-on sex scene toward the end of the book, most of the sex scenes involve oral and hand jobs because Bryan, much to Vinnie’s relief, prefers sexual intimacy through touch (ugh, I don’t think I’m explaining it right). I loved the dinner with Vinnie’s parents because Vinnie got it right when he saw Bryan’s outfit. I would have loved to see them walk into that restaurant because I know my imagination does not do them justice. While I wasn’t overly surprised by Vinnie’s father’s reaction, I was pleasantly surprised that his mother warmed up to Bryan so much. Of course, following the high of that evening with the confrontation by the homophobes broke my heart for so many reasons. And the showdown at the party was perfect! I really, really enjoyed Hard Candy and I hope that Cousins has more books planned for this series, but until then, I still have the first three to read.

Also Available in the Bend or Break Series

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out the Level Hands post.

Book 5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out the Real World post.

Book 6
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out the Love Me Like a Rock post.

Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Connect with Amy

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Hard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins to read and review.

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