Release Day Review: Tartan Candy by KC Burn

Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with zero sexual desire, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven agrees to attend a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.

Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.

Come for the kilts, stay for the MC’s!

I’ve always been a KC Burn fan. I’ve read most of the books by this author and listened to many on audio. When this one was offered up at the clubhouse, this Peach pounced and reading Tartan Candy reminded me how much I enjoy this author’s words. The two MC’s have the opposites attract thing going on pretty hard and their meet cute is movie worthy. This is a slow burn story, but that fit considering where the two guys were in their lives.

Caleb comes from a large family and almost lost his mother when he was in high school. His family is close and their opinion means the world to him. He admitted to himself in high school that he was gay, but with his mother’s health at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the thought of causing her more stress firmly put him in the closet. As he’s gotten older it’s been easier to stay in then come out and since he didn’t have anyone to come out for, he’s just it alone and deflected his families well-meaning attempts to fix him up with all the single ladies.

Then there’s Raven. He’s a former porn star, who was in an accident that cut his career short. He’s floundering a bit now as he finishes his business degree and tries to figure out what to do with the rest of his life, much sooner than he had planned. He’s been on his own for years and the porn studio he was a model for, Idyll Fling, basically saved him from a life on the streets. One of the things I really liked about Raven was his unapologetic reaction to his previous line of work. He’s not ashamed and good for him. He made no excuses, enjoyed his life and appreciated the opportunity for a better life he wouldn’t have had otherwise with his sorry excuse for a mother. It may be a pretty Pollyanna kind of view, but it was refreshing to read something other than pain and regret from a former porn star. 

The one thing these guys have in common is loneliness. Caleb can only be himself with his best friend, his out and proud cousin, Jaime. So, big family that loves him, but only one person knows him. Raven has acquaintances but has always kept a certain distance between himself and others. It’s pretty much all he knows. He really thinks all he has going for him is his looks, which, by the description, is fiiiiine. Add the red streaked black hair and his trademark kilt and it’s no wonder Caleb was a smitten kitten when he first laid his eyes on Raven.

As I mentioned, this is a slow burn of a story. Both dudes have issues that they are finally willing to deal with to be able to offer up their best selves to one another. How much does that sound like couple’s therapy? Sorry. Not sorry. It was actually very sweet because they weren’t just trying to be better so they won’t be lonely anymore, they truly see the value in what they need to do to be together.

I would be completely remiss in my reviewing ‘duties’ if I didn’t mention the secondary characters. There were some really great ones that I would most definitely like to read about if the author turns this into a series. Caleb’s cousin Jaime, is awesome. He’s unapologetically gay around his family and while he camps it up a bit around them, he’s also fiercely protective as well. He’s the guy you want to have your back. Raven’s friend Will from the studio is an absolute sweetheart and I can tell he’s lonely too. I need to see him happy. Raven didn’t realize that Will was truly a friend until he left the studio, but Will is right there for Raven as they embark on their business venture, Tartan Candy. And finally, Francesca, that girl rocks. She gets setup on a date with Caleb and she’s got his number pretty quick. She turns into a good friend to Caleb at a time when he really needed one. It’s always great to read a female in an MM book that you want to have drinks with.

The ending felt a little rushed. There was still the big reveal of the big secret, the necessary angst and recovery to be wrapped up in a pretty short period of time. It was done well, I would have just liked a smidge more to make sure in my heart of hearts that these boys were A-OK. Overall though, it was a comfortably sweet and easy read. It made my heart schmoopy-happy and made me love the characters both separately and together.

For more information on Tartan Candy by KC Burn, head over to Dreamspinner Press.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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