Sweet and Sour
Title : Sweet and Sour
Author : Astrid Amara
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 152 pages (e-book)
Published : November 26, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
Miles Piekus thought he and Itai would make a great team, despite the infidelities haunting their past. After all, Itai is smoking hot, they’re both driven entrepreneurs, and they love each other. What else did a person need?
Well, a lot more, apparently, because not only are they no longer passionate, they don’t even share the same passions. Like people, affections change, and Miles wonders if a relationship this broken is truly worth repairing.
Itai’s business launch with his ex-boyfriend isn’t helping. And Miles himself has a new business to grow over a busy few weeks where Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collide to form either the best holiday season ever, or a kosher caterer’s worst nightmare.
But help comes in the unexpected, ruggedly handsome form of Detective Dominic Delbene, a pickle aficionado with his own ghosts, who stakes out the deli to capture a dangerous drug dealer. As Hanukkah’s eight days come to an end, Miles discovers that Nic is not only good with pickling; he’s good at everything.
Miles Piekus is managing to do everything by himself. He’s running his deli himself while his staffer, Chloe, is out on maternity leave. He’s doing his best to not lose his parents’ old customers while expanding his customer base with new lines of kosher vegetarian offerings for the businessmen in his busy neighborhood. Miles was supposed to have help from his boyfriend, Itai, but he is in the middle of a busy product launch in the business he runs with his ex-boyfriend, Travis. Miles works hard at not being jealous of all the time Itai spends with Travis, but resentments are brewing and fermenting amidst the cappuccino machine and the pickle barrels. Miles needs someone to notice his exhaustion and loneliness. Itai is too busy with his own life. That’s when Detective Dominic Delbene walks into Miles’ store for the second time. Miles noticed him the first time. He especially noticed how much pickle the man could fit into his mouth. Now, Detective Delbene would like to pose as an employee in his store as he has word a drug deal will be going down there. Detective Delbene, who asks to be called Nic, could not have shown up at a more convenient time.
Nic shows up to work and is competent and interested in what’s happening. He also cares about the things Miles cares about. Itai does not. It’s becoming increasingly obvious to Miles that Itai doesn’t pay attention to what Miles needs or wants in any aspect of their relationship. He isn’t even around to celebrate Hanukkah with. Miles lites the candles alone or simply goes to bed exhausted. When Miles sees Itai and Travis together at the big product launch party he can see they look great together. Miles knows it’s over and he has to be the one with the strength to end it, for both of them. Amidst the collapse of his relationship with Itai, Nic asks Miles to go to dinner with him at a little place up the road. He wants to show Miles the kimchi, of course. They both get completely drunk and Miles admits his relationship is over and he needs to say the words to formally end it. The next night they end up having dinner again and things move quickly into a sexual area. Miles refuses to cheat on Itai. The next morning he tells Itai it’s over. Unfortunately, the day also brings the drug deal that brought Miles and Nic together in the first place. Miles’ store is shot up, Itai locks himself upstairs terrified, and Miles finds blood on the floor.
It was sad to witness the dissolution of Miles and Itai’s relationship. In many ways they did still love each other. Despite being very selfish, Itai seemed happy to come home to Miles at night, even if he had been with other men. But they needed to end before they hurt each other more than they already had. That Miles found someone new because of a shared love of the deli trade was charming, to say the least. I loved that Miles didn’t realize what he had been needing until he found it. He had made so many excuses to keep himself in a failing relationship when real attention was paid to him it swept him off his feet, just as it should.
It is through the food Nic and Miles fall in love. Miles has someone for whom he can create a wonderful meal and that someone will in turn appreciate it. I also happen to love food and cooking. It’s been a hobby of mine that I’ve researched in depth for years. It can make reading books about food and cooking difficult. I feel this book was done well. Was it perfect? No, nothing ever is. Did imperfections in the foodie research at all impact the storyline? Not at all. This romance was beautiful both in the bittersweet ending of one relationship and the birth of a new one.
Rated 5 stars by Faye