by Jasmine Nightshade
Artist Micah Taylor has returned home to tiny Fiesta, Florida, to pick up the pieces after the death of the father who disowned him. Mourning and still hurting that his dad never accepted that his son was gay, Micah stands at an emotional crossroads, unsure of his next move. -
Cash Callahan was a born entrepreneur, spending all his lunch money in grade school on sweets at the dollar store - then selling it to his classmates for jacked-up prices. Now he's bought a town icon and turned it into The Sweet Tooth, Fiesta's only candy store.
When Micah decides to buy his father’s favorite candy to lay on his grave, the visit brings a flood of memories to both young men, who had admired each other from afar all through high school—though neither knew it at the time. Then Cash hires Micah to paint a mural on the side of his building, and they embark on a scorching-hot relationship on the down low.
Micah wants to publicly celebrate their rekindled feelings, but Cash fears the backlash from small-town minds intolerant of both gay and interracial romance. Can Micah convince him that life is sweeter when you’re true to yourself?
Origanally posted at The Romance Reviews:
Like the title, a sweet and sexy story about lost loves and second chances.
Micah has been estranged from his father for years, ever since his father threw him out the night he discovered his son was gay. He always thought they'd have time to reconcile, for his father to come to terms with the fact his son was gay. But his father's sudden death by a stroke soon puts paid to that idea. Micah misses the funeral by a couple of weeks. Guilt-ridden and aimless (for he has just been thrown out of art school) he heads back to his small home town of Fiesta, Florida.
His father never liked flowers, so instead Micah goes to buy his father's favourite sweets from the new candy store, Sweet Tooth. And comes face to face with his high-school crush, Cash. Cash has lived in Fiesta his whole life, has hidden who he is for that time too. Only too aware of the small town mentality, he is so far in the closet that he has almost come back out the other side. He dated women for a while, trying to keep up appearances, but his heart and other parts of his anatomy weren't in it. In the end he just gave up and settled on self-imposed abstinence rather than risk dating a man. And now the one man who could make his whole life unravel is standing in his shop and looking even better than Cash remembered.
But Micah is only passing through town and Cash is torn in two. He wants Micah, very badly, but he also doesn't want to be the subject of gossip from his neighbours and friends. He has a good life, if not emotionally satisfying. Can he risk it all on something that might only be a one-night stand anyway? Is Micah worth the risk? Can he have the reality rather than the fantasies he's harboured for so long?
Delicious, that's the one word that springs to mind when reading this book. Or that might be all the reference to candy and sweets. Micah and Cash both have different sets of baggage, both unsure if the other is even gay, if they like them like that and misunderstandings sometimes get in the way of their romance.
The characterization is excellent and the setting itself seems at times to be a character of its own too. You can feel the Florida heat, smell the vegetation, see the surf pounding against the sand as the author has described things so well. The words are sparing, with just enough description to let the reader set the scene themselves.
We got the story from both Micah's and Cash's point of view, which I approve of heartily. It's good to get inside the head of each character. They both engender empathy and sympathy and I was rooting for them both to get their HEA. The love scenes are both tender and sexy, these are men who have waited years to finally be together, so you know it shouldn't be rushed. And it isn't, the pacing seem just about right for these two.
If you're looking for a sweet, sexy read, give SWEET TOOTH a go.