Review: A Slice of Love (Taste of Love #4) by Andrew Grey

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars

Coming from a military family with a General for a father, Marcus Wilson was the only child who marched to a different drummer.  Not only is Marcus gay but instead of following his siblings into service, Marcus opened his own bakery, A Slice of Heaven.  Owning his own bakery is his dream but going it alone without support is getting harder to hold onto it all.  Marcus has two wonderful helpers but in order to survive, he needs to expand his business.  And he’s so exhausted from working 24/7 that he doesn’t know how to make that happen.  All he knows is that he needs help and soon to save everything he has worked for.

Gregory Southland is finally back on his  feet and working again.  After being  diagnosed with HIV, he become too ill to work and support himself.  After his parents rejected him for being gay and his HIV status, he was saved by his ex-boyfriend and his partner who nursed him back to health. But Gregory’s current paycheck is not enough and he needs a second part-time job to help him pay his bills and starting building up his savings again. Then his ex-boyfriend Sebastian has a suggestion.  The baker across the street from Sebastian and Robert’s restaurant needs help with his bookkeeping and it just might be the perfect solution for them both.

When Gregory starts to work for Marcus, something wonderful starts to happen.  The instant attraction each felt for the other starts to deepen into something stronger, something that starts to feel a lot like love. And the bakery blossoms along with their relationship. When they help out a engaged couple in distress, their wedding cake business booms.  Even the distance between Marcus and his family starts to dwindle when Marcus’ stepmother needs a cake (and their involvement) to help out a young boy being discriminated against.  But for every two steps forward, something or someone appears to impede their progress.  Gregory’s past returns to threaten his new happiness and Marcus’ support for his stepmother’s cause imperiles his bakery’s newfound success.  Marcus and Gregory must believe in each other to help Marcus’ dream and their future come true.

What a wonderful, heartwarming story, perfect reading when you want that book that will fill you with happiness and hope.  In A Slice of Love, Andrew Grey gives us that and more.  The author gives us families built around the people closest to us, people not necessarily related by blood.  Grey then manages to bring together into the mixture families long estranged from each other and reunites them with their loved ones.  And what we end up with is a community of people connected by family, respect and love.

This is the fourth book in the Taste of Love series and the focus this time is on Marcus Wilson and Gregory Southland.  The lives of both men have been changed by contact with  HIV/AIDS.  For Marcus, he lost his best friend and business partner to the disease and now carries their dream forward by himself.  For Gregory, the impact is greater still as he is HIV positive now, a result of a bad decision.  But instead of highlighting the negative aspects of life lived with AIDS, Andrew Grey shows us that life does not stop with a diagnoses.  Gregory, once he is healthy again, has a romantic life and good career.  And just as realistically, the author includes Gregory’s drug regimen, as well as the care he takes to protect himself and others from casual transmission by body fluids.  Putting a face to HIV status is a wonderful way to help inform as well as promote the idea that an HIV positive person is not someone to treat as an outcast but rather someone who should be embraced for who they are and not the illness they carry.  And he did that here not just through the character of Gregory but through that of a little boy as well.

There are multiple relationships to be resolved here  and Andrew Grey manages it with a gentle hand and considerable skill.  It doesn’t matter whether it is the father/son bond that needs to be reestablished, or a shallow connection between stepmother and stepson that becomes strong through communication and generous gestures.  All manner of family ties and friendship are explored here along with that of  romantic love.  It also doesn’t hurt that it all revolves around a bakery and some sinfully delectable pastries and cakes.  I wanted to reach out and grab a piece of that carrot cake or snag a cinnamon rolls as it came out of the oven, the descriptions were so mouth watering good.

A Slide of Love is a wonderfully endearing addition to a heartwarming series you will return to time and again.  Tis the season for family, joy and love.  Pick this up and lose yourself in all three.

A Taste of Love series in the order they were written and the characters introduced:

A Taste of Love (Darryl Hansen and Billy Weaver)

A Serving of Love (Sebastian Franklin and Robert Fortier)

A  Helping of Love (Peter Christopoulos and Russ Baker)

A Slide of Love (Marcus Wilson and Gregory Southland)