Candy Courage (A Hidden Magic Story)

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Title and Link: Candy Courage (A Hidden Magic Story)
Author: Angela Benedetti
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: M/M Paranormal, Magic
Length: Short Story (14 pages / 5200 words)
Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Cole

Review Summary: A good story with an interesting premise, though I wanted more about the two main characters.

BLURB

Glenn Bellamy, a divorced dad, is taking his son around trick-or-treating. He confiscates some homemade peanut brittle — and eats it himself of course — not knowing that the old man who made it is an alchemist who adds something special to his candy each year. This year it was Courage, so when Glenn and his son hit Neal Sampson’s house, Glenn finds himself flirting and making a date for the next day. Will the candy courage wear off, or will Glenn find the guts to go after what he wants?

REVIEW

Old Mr. Fiorentelli emigrated to the United States before parents started being concerned about homemade candy being given away at Halloween. Yet, no one in the neighborhood worries about his candy anymore since he’s been giving it out for so long without any problems. However, Glenn has just moved to the area, and had to remind his son of the rules (only store bought candy) when his son returns from the old man’s door with a wrapped piece of peanut brittle. What no one knows, however, is that every year the old man, an alchemist, puts something special into his candy, and this year it is Courage. So when Glenn confiscates the candy from his son and eats it himself, he finds himself coming onto Neal Sampson, an extremely hot co-worker who lives a few blocks from the old man. Glenn has no idea why he’s being so brave, he never would have been this forward normally. Yet, Neal is receptive to his advances and makes a date with him the next day. But when Glenn wakes up the next morning, the courage has worn off, and if he really wants to pursue something with Neal, he’s going to have to find the courage within himself.

There were a lot of things I loved about this story — namely the idea the story is based on. I thought it was a pretty great idea and it was showcased rather well, not only in how Glenn changes after he eats the candy and goes after what he really wants, but in the couple of little vingettes at the start of the story, which show random children and how the candy affects them. I thought the story of little Graciella, who was afraid of her big, scary dog, really cute.

The problem that I had with the story was that the two main characters, Glenn and Neal, didn’t really fit together. I have no doubt that they could if we were given more than a five or six pages of them together. The story is really about Glenn going for what he wants and ending up with a hookup, which is about all that can be told in 14 pages. If the story had been longer, I can see them forming a bond and growing to love each other, because at the end they started to seem like they were on the same page. I think that even if the story had an extra 10 pages we would have been able to get a better feel of Glenn and Neal’s budding relationship. Had Ms. Benedetti written in a scene of Glenn and Neal that wasn’t sexual but more how they are around each other not in the bedroom, I might have gotten to know the characters a little better. Though, with such a short story and a short period of time with these two guys, I’m glad that she did not make them instantly fall in love with each other. That would have been easy to do, but instead she told the story for what it was. Maybe it really was just a hookup and there is to be no lasting relationship. Maybe, because I read so much M/M Romance, I assume all authors want to send their characters down this path. We don’t know, and that is the best and worst thing about the story. I wanted more, but it worked for what it was.

This is a good story, short and sweet (the kids are sweet, but the men are definitely spicy!). I enjoyed it very much and would love to see both of these characters back again with more time to devote to their characters. Recommended for fans of the series.

Next Wednesday, February 2, I will be reviewing the last of the stories from this series, “Chasing Fear” (which you can get here). After that, I’m going to have to wait for the next novel in the series, Sentinels #2, which hopefully, will be out as soon as possible!

7 thoughts on “Candy Courage (A Hidden Magic Story)

  1. TCBlue

    Nicely reviewed, Cole. :D

    I read this one when it first came out and I liked it a lot (I’d forgotten about the little girl and the dog, though, so I may need to read it again!).

    This is one of those stories that I wish had been a bit longer, but as you said, there’s only so much that can be fit into a sip. Maybe Angie will write a sequel at some point so we can see what happens when the boys do get to know each other better. *waggles brows* (Keep in mind, I always think things need sequels, so that may well be just me. :P)

    ~Tis

    1. Cole

      I loved the two little vignettes at the beginning, they were so cute. I would have loved reading a story just of those vignettes, even though there would be no sex!

      I’d love to read more about them, because they were definitely still in the early part of the relationship where they still had on masks. I’d love to see what they’re really like together will all walls down :)

  2. Helena

    That´s the thing about shorts: it´s difficult to be able to fit everything. More often that not some things are only mentioned, others are left to our imagination… And that is also good since somehow we end “writing” the story for ourselves while we wait for a sequel.
    This has been the short of this series that have caught more my eye. Thank you for your review :)

    1. Cole

      Thanks Helena! I enjoy reading short stories as well, but thats why I always say that they’re incredibly difficult to write well. I do think that less is more sometimes, if the author is skilled enough to lead our imaginations in the right direction without giving us all the answers. That is the best :)

  3. Tj

    Good job on the review Cole. I think, as you said, that reading so much M/M I have certain expectations that are perhaps unfair to short stories. When I manage to approach a short with this in mind, and keep my expectations in check, I usually can enjoy that they are more like a snapshot of a particular aspect of a relationship, such as a first meeting. And that can be a lot of fun to read about. Thanks for the review!

    1. Cole

      Thanks Tj! I agree about the expectations you mentioned. Sometimes, I think it is almost refreshing to read hookup scenes like this, where we don’t know in the end if it leads to more or not, or just reading erotica. There’s been such a heavy push towards m/m romance that my expectations have become skewed.

      Thanks Tj!

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