Candy Man by Amy Lane
Length: 136 pages
Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he's taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that's to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.
Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he's applying to Candy Heaven and decides he's much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.
But Finn is tenacious, and Adam's new boss, Darrin, doesn't take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.
Short, with just enough tart to truly make you appreciate the sweet.
This feels like classic Amy Lane, with a sugary-sweet story covering a tart little treat. While this tale is more sweet than sour, it has moments where it digs deep into the sour spots of the soul.
Some parts of the story felt a tad unrealistic and magical (mostly Finn’s unerring devotion), but I can chalk that up to an Amy Lane Christmas story--but other readers may take issue with that.
Speaking of magic...I love Darrin. It could be argued that he’s completely unrealistic, completely improbable, but that’s what makes the story work. His is a magical candy shop, like Willy Wonka’s. I loved his Pixy Stix foretelling and I loved how sweet he was. I don’t know if I want his story or if I want him to remain a mystery.
Overall I found this completely satisfying for the holiday season fix that some of us readers get, and I can see myself returning to it in future years.