Spiced Kisses is the third book in Charlie Novak’s Kiss Me series. It is a lovely ending to this series. Ben is one of those characters that I was so happy to get his HEA. The entire series has been an enjoyable journey.
Ben is the co-owner of The Pear Tree and manages the business side of things. Even though he doesn't see himself that way, he is a pretty selfless character, putting everyone's needs before his own. Ben is adored by his 'work family', which is more of a found family. In several hilarious group chats, the team sets out to #GetBenLaidAndLoved. What was lovely, though, is that once Ianto entered the picture, the nature of these chats soon changed to simply #GetBenLoved. Ianto recognised pretty much straight away that Ben prioritises everyone but himself. Ben is there for everyone, but who is there for Ben?
"Ianto had crashed through my walls and seen me for who I was - a tired, lonely, grumpy man who just needed someone to give me a hand. I hadn't needed a boyfriend who I had to take care of. I needed a boyfriend who'd walk beside me and share the load"
Ben and Ianto just worked. Both are truly soft men who will defend mightily those they love. I absolutely adored Ben's almost instant acceptance of what was termed Ianto and Rhys’ 'unhealthily co-dependent relationship', even if his first real experience with it was *ahem* up close and personal! Ianto, too understood Ben's commitment to The Pear Tree. When a miscommunication/thoughtless action cropped up, it was handled through communication, you know, like the mature adults they are!
All the characters we’ve come to know and love were well and truly present in Spiced Kisses; even Connor made a re-appearance. There was plenty of snark from Aaron, with his and Josh's relationship always in the background and the source of much humour. Patrick, too made his presence felt. The rest of the quirky cast often popped in and out, giving a feeling of familiarity to the story. Charlie Novak has created a beautiful cast of interesting characters, and it was lovely to touch base again with them all.
Spiced Kisses was a low angst, delightful story. The romance between Ianto and Ben was beautiful to watch unfold. These are two mature men who easily communicate between each other. Yes, there was quite a bit of emotional/personal growth, especially for Ben, but it was the kind of realising that you could love and be loved, rather than immaturity. It was very refreshing.
I absolutely adored Spiced Kisses. It could technically be read as a standalone, but I’d recommend at least reading Summer Kisses to understand Aaron and Josh’s backstory to fully appreciate Spiced Kisses.
If you are looking for a Christmas story that is overflowing with romance, a good dose of steam, and heapings of humour, you can’t go wrong with Spiced Kisses.