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I Want Candy
by Susan Donovan
(St. Martin’s, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0312536220
Candy Carmichael had it all: a thriving real estate business, a killer car, a mansion, expensive shoes and the finest mascara on the market. Then the market crashed and Candy lost everything.

Forced to move back to her hometown (Bigler, NC), Candy ends up having to mooch off of acquaintances and eventually her mother for a place to stay. Essentially Candy has hit rock bottom.

Turner is a hot widower who happens to be the sheriff in Bigler. He’s always had the hots for Candy, but thought she wasn’t interested. Candy’s been gone for a while but now she’s back in town. Turner discovers that Candy has come home when he pulls her over on the highway. One thing leads to another and Candy ends up kissing him. Now Turner is intrigued and confused and Candy has just added an extra complication to her messed up life. Granted, he is a smokin’ hot, mocha latte, Sheriff type of complication, but life is crazy enough at the moment to add matters of the heart into the equation. So naturally, the heart adds itself into the mix and now Candy and Turner are both trying to keep their bubbling passion at bay, and are failing miserably.

On the whole, I really liked I Want Candy. Besides the romantic main plot, there is also a subplot about a creepy boy who falls for Candy and a subplot about a drug operation. These subplots work as a counter-weight to the lighter, sexier romantic parts of the book.

Candy is an engaging character who is down on her luck but is willing to do whatever it takes in order to get her life back. She is driven, determined and, while she can have some serious tunnel vision in regards to her own life, she isn’t so blind as to not see the feelings developing between her and Turner.

Turner is a recent widower who is still working on getting over his late wife. She was killed in a car accident that Turner is convinced was a murder. He has dedicated his life to finding his wife’s killer. He is afraid to move on, but once he meets up with Candy again, he slowly comes around to the idea.

Turner is an African American man in a deep-south town where racism is still rampant. So when he and Candy start to date, the town’s good ol’ boys get their noses out of joint. Thankfully the rest of the town is more tolerant and the racism in the town doesn’t come into play all too much.

The supporting characters range from eccentric and nosy, to downright crazy, to sweet and charming. Candy’s best friend Cheri is fun and very much in love with her fiance J.J. which adds a charming element to the storyline. Also, there is a character named Tater Wayne that makes me smile. Hopefully, Tater will get his own story someday.

As for the sex between Candy and Turner, it is spicy and electric! Definitely not for the super vanilla crowd. Furniture gets broken. I’ll just leave it at that.

I Want Candy is an entertaining read that is both hot and contemporary. When it comes to romance novels, if you have a sweet tooth, but also like things a little bit on the spicy side, then I Want Candy should definitely be on your ‘To Read’ list.

--Lindsey Seddon

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