Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara

Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

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.

Sometimes a man just wants a sour pickle. Miles knows all about pickles since he was a kid. His parents homemade pickle shop is a staple in their small town and Miles is happy to take over the family business. He has big plans and has already expanded the business once to include a café and catering. His only downfall is that his would be helper/boyfriend Itai isn’t exactly helping. Instead Itai is dealing with the sale of his tech company and spending lots of time with his ex-boyfriend. Miles is struggling not to be jealous given Itai’s cheating past and soon an undercover cop, restaurant reviewer, and busy holidays take all of Miles’ time and energy.

Sweet and Sour is a very, well, sweet and sour story! On the one hand it’s cute and fun with Miles running a busy pickle deli while trying to prepare for a Hanukkah dinner and break up with his boyfriend all at the same time. Not to mention get busy with the sexy undercover cop/part time helper Nic. There are a number of mildly funny incidents that happen on any given day and it’s enough to keep the story moving forward. The every day running of the deli is hectic enough to keep my attention and I flew through the pages quicker than I anticipated.

I liked most of the characters presented, even Itai though he’s meant to be a cad. They aren’t fully fleshed out but they have enough dimension to keep them interesting. I didn’t think the crumbling relationship between Miles and Itai was needed since Miles and Nic hit it off so quickly. Since it takes Miles the entire book to finally breakup with Itai, the relationship between Miles and Nic happens quickly. The author does a good job of building it for most of the story but still, the two fall in bed almost immediately when they can. They didn’t feel like a happy ever after couple but more so one that is just dating and hoping things work out.

Despite the rocky and slightly sour romance aspects, I thought the story was well written and a lot of fun. There’s humor and wry wit mixed with everyday holiday activities. The story really transported me to the busy shopping of the season and frantic sense of time passing too quickly while wanting to slow down and celebrate with someone special. While it may not be a story I’d read again I loved that it was the first holiday story I’ve read this year and it really hit the spot. This author is an easy win for Hanukkah stories and I’d easily recommend this.

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