Reviewed by Ami & Nikyta
Title: Hex and Candy
Author: Ashlyn Kane
Series: Strange Bedfellows #1; Dreamspun Beyond #26
Heroes: Cole & Leo
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 214 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: True love’s kiss can break the curse. But then what?
Cole Alpin runs a small-town candy store. He visits his grandmother twice a week. And sometimes he breaks curses.
Leo Ericson’s curse is obvious right away, spiderwebbing across his very nice body. Though something about it worries Cole, he agrees to help—with little idea of what he’s getting into.
Leo is a serial monogamist, but his vampire ex has taken dating off the table with his nasty spell, and Leo needs Cole’s companionship as much as his help. When the hex proves to be only the beginning of his problems, Leo seeks refuge at Cole’s place. Too bad magic prevents him from finding refuge in Cole’s arms.
Cole’s never had a boyfriend, so how can he recognize true love? And there’s still the matter of the one responsible for their troubles in the first place….
Cole Alpin is the best curse-breaker in Southwestern Ontario, though he also owns a candy store. Then Leo walks into the store, asking for Cole’s help because apparently, he has been curse by an ex – who happens to be a vampire. Cole realizes that the curse can be broken by the ol’ true love’s kiss and he can give it to Leo. But of course, Cole doesn’t want to burden Leo like that, so he needs to figure out another way….
I know I can only describe this book as cute or sweet – and I’m sorry that I don’t have another term to use. But that’s how Hex and Candy feels for me. Both Cole and Leo are likable characters – even if Leo is described at first as a bit of player, which lands him the curse in the first place. However, after he is cursed, Leo sort of leaving the life behind. I enjoyed the progress of the relationship between Cole and Leo.
I admit, I am a bit annoyed when I found out what Cole’s grandmother did near the end of the book. However, it all works out, so I guess I can let that go.
Based on the title, I assume this will be a series? I think Hex and Candy is a good start then. I look forward to reading other characters.
Overall Impression: I liked it
I absolutely loved this book! When I read the blurb, I was so excited to read it and I was not disappointed. This one has a little bit of a fairy tale feel to it (think Sleeping Beauty meets a Chastity Belt lol) and I loved that because I’m a sucker for fairy tales. In this one, Leo is cursed by a jealous ex and goes to Cole to have the curse broken. Unfortunately, the curse isn’t an easy one to break and really can only be broken by true love’s kiss… but that’s not exactly an easy thing for a player like Leo to get and Cole’s not sure if he even wants to tell Leo how the curse can be broken.
What I loved about this book was that Leo, while a player, was still such a sweetie. I liked that he wasn’t an arrogantly rude guy because he knew he was beauty. In fact, he was just trying to find love but that usually meant sex first and then try at a relationship. With Cole, I loved that he was a bit of a hermit. He spun his feelings, literally, into candy and because of his abilities, he was able to add a special touch to everything he made.
What I loved about this book was that it was a true slow burn book. While we know upfront that Cole finds Leo attractive, they literally cannot act on that attraction because of the curse, which forces Cole and Leo to remain friends. I adored that about the story and I loved that they went on ‘dates’ but as friends. They had to manipulate themselves into thinking as friends while a lot of what they did and how they acted was more like a couple. It was super sweet and I couldn’t get enough of it especially once they were able to actually do something about the chemistry between them.
My only issue with this one was the grandmother. I kind of understood where she was coming from but I really didn’t. Her reason for doing certain things didn’t make much sense when you really stopped to think about it and considering she’s had decades to think about it, I couldn’t follow her logic entirely in why she did what she did. I also wish Cole would have made her grovel for forgiveness. I get that she’s family and she’s his grandmother but the lady threatened his life… that’s not something I could just get over with a hug.
All in all, this is one of my new favorite books. I loved Cole and Leo as characters and I loved seeing them go from friends to lovers over the course of the book. It was intriguing to see how much they had in common but also what they didn’t and I really enjoyed seeing them build a relationship off something real and not just jumping into sex. Definitely give this one a go if you’re looking for a sweet slightly funny story about a guy cursed into abstinence and the man who helps him.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*