* * * * *
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.
He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient. Now she’s restless.
Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him.
Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.
And one more trait he hides from everyone but her: Sweet.
If you’ve read Breakable, Landon/Lucas’ story, then you’ll be familiar with Boyce, his best friend from high school. Boyce is now 22 and not quite the knucklehead he was back then. He’s straightened up and successfully running his father’s garage. It’s the one thing that he’s been good at – cars. And now that his abusive father is bygones, the garage is his to do with as he pleases. Pearl, has graduated from college and is supposed to be going off to med school except that’s no longer what she wants. Med school has always been her mother’s dream and by extension, it became hers. But now that she’s faced with that next step, she realizes that the medical profession is not where she’ll find her happiness. When she told her ex-college boyfriend what she planned to do, he reacted badly and she kicked him to the curb. Good riddance. Now she just has to break the news to her parents that she'd rather pursue a degree in marine biology instead. This should make for a fabulous homecoming!
Boyce and Pearl have known each other for many years – since they were five and seven years old. Their individual memories of how they met and the many milestones in their lives are precious. I became more enamored with them with each recounting of a particular event. Despite Boyce’s exterior appearance of being a moron at that time, he was extremely fond of and protective of Pearl, even if they weren’t dating. Below the surface they had a connection, an understanding of each other that no one else got, not even their best friends Landon/Lucas and Melody. Their connection was something that they kept private, as if revealing it would ruin its mystique.
Now in the present, their hold on each other hasn’t waned. Trying to figure out how they fit together while also dealing with some drastic personal changes is the challenge in front of them. For Boyce, he’s suddenly reunited with his mom who desserted him and his older brother years ago. Her return doesn’t signal good things for him or his future at the garage. Pearl is hurt when her mother refuses to accept her decision to switch her career path and has no choice but to move out when she reneges all financial support. She moves in with Boyce as a temporary solution. Perhaps they needed to be thrown together like this in order to finally confront whatever they are. All that tension boiling over ... oh dear readers, there’s plenty of good stuff here!
I didn't want to put the book down. I'm always in awe when an author is able to develop a series further with characters who have such distinct personalities. I also admire when events are connected so seemlessy from one book to another even if they appear to be insignificant moments. In reading Sweet, I felt I was in familiar territory again. And I won't deny loving every time Landon/Lucas was mentioned or was part of the scene. (I may have a bit of a crush on a fictional character.)
My crush aside, I was so impressed with Boyce and Pearl because they have such good hearts. Boyce has been through hell growing up the way he did and enduring the losses that he has. He has kept his hot-headedness in check to become the type of man his father never was. When faced with the loss of her parents’ support, Pearl isn’t deterred nor does she put up with negative people in her life. The way these two pine for each other is almost too much. There's no doubting the adoration Boyce has for Pearl and that he'll do anything for her. And she feels the same for him. The fact that they've been friends forever and know each other so intimately makes their connection that much more passionate.
Sweet is a wonderful continuation in this series. As with Easy and Breakable, it has some serious and unsavory elements but it's inspiring to read how Boyce and Pearl overcome those. And if you're a fan of friends-to-lovers stories, you most definitely should add this to your reading list as this will certainly melt your heart and make you swoon. I spent two happy days with my nose in this book and I'm looking forward to rereading it again soon!