Tastes Like Candy by Lauren Gilley
Series: Lean Dogs Legacy #2
Also in this series: Snow In Texas, Prodigal Son
Published by HP Press on May 26, 2016
Genres: Biker / MC
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Club prince meets MC princess in book II of the Lean Dogs Legacy Series.
Raised by a widower and a pack of uncles, Michelle Calloway has known only one way of life, that of the Lean Dogs MC, London chapter. When circumstances force her to flee to America, she fears her days of working alongside the club are over. But Derek Snow isn't the sort of man to let talent go to waste.
In Amarillo, Texas, Vice President Candyman faces the challenge of preserving his club and protecting his growing family. If Charlie Fox's niece has a head for numbers, he's going to put her to use. But he never would have guessed little Michelle would be so grown up already...
I started out a big fan of Lauren Gilley’s Lean Dogs books but after reading Taste Like Candy I think I’ve become a Lean Dog addict and I can’t wait for my next fix. I adored almost everything about this book and the teeny tiny little things that I found wrong didn’t get on my nerves at all, I even giggled at one or two. I’m not sure it’s completely necessary to read the Dartmoor Series and the first Lean Dogs Legacy book before reading this one, but I think if you dive into this one first you’ll be missing out on some back story and nuances that made this story even better.
One of the reasons I love Lauren Gilley books is her mastery at making you feel as if you are right in the midst of the story. I could almost taste the dust in the air or feel the rain pelting down from a Texas storm. Part of the story involves a bar being refurbished like the old Pasadena Gilley’s (featured in the old Travolta movie Urban Cowboy), a bar my cousin and I would sneak into when we were teenagers so we could two-step our hearts out with hot cowboys. I was in my nostalgic Texas happy place.
Although I’ve really liked most of LG’s heroines, Michelle is now the favorite. Abruptly taken from everything she loves and holds dear, her pragmatic attitude won me over. Being raised amidst the Lean Dogs, she was determined to be a help to the club in whatever capacity she could. It’s good that she seemed to inherit the best bits from her very talented family, including her Uncle Walsh’s intelligence and keen insight and her Uncle Fox’s attention to detail. She also had an extremely dry wit that had me smiling.
I liked Candy from previous books, but he had a lot on his shoulders and it showed. In the midst of rebuilding after the Amarillo Chapter was practically gutted from betrayal, the last thing he needed was Walsh and Fox’s niece to land on his doorstep. Candy won me over by always putting the club and his sister’s needs first. He’s definitely an alpha but my favorite kind. Once he was all in with Michelle, he gave her what she needed by allowing her to use her many talents to help his club instead of holding her back because of her gender.
When I finished I had the biggest smile on my face. Yes, there were a couple of issues but I just didn’t care. With a wonderful love story, great characters, hilarious family banter, lots of action, suspense, mystery, and even some nasty terrorists, not only was I in my nostalgic happy place, I was in my biker book happy place.
What I Struggled With:
- Phillip’s decision to send Michelle away, and what his end game was
- The Colin/Penny side story. It was a distraction and felt unnecessary.
- Agent Riley being allowed to work a case against the Lean Dogs despite the personal history. This would never happen in real life.
What I Loved:
- Michelle’s need to keep busy and contribute despite her whole world imploding.
- Candy’s willingness to be upfront with Michelle’s very scary father about their relationship.
- The love, care, and loyalty of Michelle’s family, despite their beginnings and their sometimes huge differences.
- Each Aunt and Uncle taking the time to let Michelle know they loved her and were there for her.
- The fact that LG can craft a character that you fall in love with despite their faults.
5 I Loved It But Now I Have a Book Hangover Stars
Another great book from Lauren Gilley! The writing was paced surprisingly smooth , especially considering the drama filled plot. Tastes Like Candy or TLC (Was this deliberate? because it works either way) brings together the London and Texas chapters of The Lean Dogs. Time is spent in both countries, providing two parallel settings while still having their common ground as MCs. A perfect blend of club life and romance engaged me from beginning to the end.
Michelle has the combined dilemma (in her father’s eyes) of being female and smart and some members of her family believe she’d be better off away from them. She loves her family as much as they love her. Their solution is to send her over to Texas to keep her safe and to get a fresh start in life.
Candy is a strong, solid character who was always presented as a mature man, yet he came across as youthful without looking foolish. There is an age gap between Michelle and Candy but he had an ageless air and never appeared out of Michelle’s reach. Then again Michelle had seen and done a lot from an early age and it gave her a level of credibility, appearing older than she actually was.
This was far from being an insta-love story. The angst leading up to whether or not it was right for them to be together was justified and it gave both characters time to evolve as individuals. There was an undeniable attraction between them but it took a while for them to consider going beyond a physical arrangement.
Being the ‘boss’s daughter’ meant being treated equally was not a given. Michelle didn’t expect nor did she want to be given any passes because of who her father was. She was prepared to show them what she was capable of and hung in there for the chance to arrive. Belonging was a strong theme with a good number of people always willing to step up to make a difference. It took a while to realise that home is where the heart is…the trouble was her heart was more than often drawn between the two continents.
This story was a value plus read, with plenty of pages that connected with past books adding a layer of familiarity and strength to the book. Special mention goes to Mercy, his and Ava’s story set the bar for me in the Lean Dog’s Legacy series, and it was so good to ‘hear’ from him in this story, even if it was only a short moment. Can’t wait to see what Ms. Gilley has in store for her readers next!
What I struggled with:
- Michelle’s loneliness and feelings of abandonment
- Paul’s indifference and naivety as to what the cost would be
What I loved:
- Candy’s reputation, he came with considerable TLC
- Michelle’s ability to see opportunities and seize them
- The sisterhood
- The title was clever and Tastes like Candy / TLC that made me smirk
Lily’s Rating: 4.5 Stars
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