Dark Chocolate and Raspberries
Author: Sui Lynn
Publisher: Silver Publishing
American release date: April 22, 2011
Format/Genre/Length: Ebook/M/M Romance/293 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Mature/18+
Overall Personal Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Dylan Michaels has the face of an angel and a voice to match, but Taj Davis discovers that he also has the temperament of a diva when the lovely young man enrolls at his college with the idea that he’s going to be the star of the choir. But Taj glimpses something else that lies deep below the surface—something fragile and breathtakingly lovely—beneath the hard shell of the diva which Dylan wears like a protective armor. Can Taj get through to the inner Dylan, and will he ever figure out why Dylan claims they’ve met before? Surely Taj would remember something like that?
Taj and Dylan both arrive at the campus early, before the start of semester. Taj tries to help him acclimate to college life slowly, and he finds himself getting through to him until Dylan unexpectedly witnesses Taj and his friends engaged in a silly drinking game of their own devising, one which involves either kissing or chocolate or blowing raspberries. When Taj explains the origin and purpose of the game, Dylan is quick to inform him that he won’t be playing. Taj’s roommate, the flamboyant and extroverted Paul, takes an instant liking to the pretty Dylan, calling him his Honey Bear, and outrageously flirting with him. But Dylan clings to Taj, and only finds Paul annoying.
Taj finds himself drawn more and more to Dylan, but he’s afraid to let him see that, afraid he’ll be scared away if he does. For his part, Dylan begins to have erotic dreams which center about Taj, and he doesn’t understand why that should be, with the sort of messy results that he hasn’t had to deal with since he was a lot younger. When opportunity occurs, Taj finds he cannot hold himself back, and he prays that his kiss won’t frighten Dylan away—far from it, they become closer than ever, although Dylan still hasn’t confessed to where they met before.
Campus crises are mingled with secrets that are best kept hidden, secrets that Dylan is sure will lose him Taj if Taj should ever discover them. Dylan has always wanted to be close to Taj, and he’s afraid, deathly afraid, of the truth coming out, ‘cause it sure won’t set him free. In fact, he feels that without Taj in his life, his life isn’t worth living.
When the truth is finally revealed, will it drive a wedge between them that nothing can fix, or will it reinforce the love they feel for one another? Can one ever truly escape one’s past?
Dark Chocolate and Raspberries is about overcoming a painful past and finding the strength to do that which your heart dictates. Sometimes you think that a truth is too awful to see the light of day, and that is Dylan’s dilemma—paralyzed by fear that Taj will discover his secrets and hate him for them, he is ready to give up his happiness and his life to keep that from happening. This is a story about the power of love, and what it truly means to love someone, and that if something is meant to be, it will be. I loved these boys and felt for them. Sui Lynn brought them to life for me. So much so that even on a second reading, I cried at parts of it. She makes you care, and she makes you feel, and you ache for them, hoping they can keep it together and overcome things that they had no control over.
This is the second novel I’ve read by this writer, the first being Blue Rose, which I also reviewed. If this is any indication, I think Ms. Lynn will be a force to be reckoned with, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I’ve seen enough to know that her imagination is fertile, and her characters strong and well-drawn. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys romance, and challenges, and laughter and love. And yes, it is also explicit, so I don’t recommend it for anyone below the age of 18. The cover is beautiful, created by the lovely and talented cover artist Reese Dante. Put this book on your wish list now!