In Champagne, Jelly Beans and Chocolate, Author R.L. Taylor tells the engrossing story of Royce Tyler, a talented man broken by soul wrenching circumstances that left him deeply depressed and ultimately homeless. Royce is left to pick up the pieces after his parents are murdered in their liquor store by a perpetrator who evades justice, only to emerge as a basketball star headed to the NBA. Thanks to the high-priced lawyers funded by his uncle, a medical doctor and the murderer’s business manager, James Michael’s criminal actions are a distant memory as everyone feeds his ego in the hopes of scooping up money and fame from their association.
Meanwhile, Royce is homeless after losing his parents, their liquor store and home in an attempt to keep things afloat. Sleeping in his car at night and washing up in cheap motel bathrooms by day in preparation for the next round of job interviews, Royce runs into his high school love, Paula Daniels. Successful all by herself and hardened by rich men’s desire to possess her, Paula shields her heart while collecting the entrapments these men have to offer. The deception begins as Royce, despite his circumstances, attempts to woo her based on their shared history.
Ultimately, Royce pulls his life together and seeks redemption not only for himself but for all people who, fallen on hard times, find themselves abused and mistreated due to their homeless status. Taylor is a great story teller. Your allegiance will sway to Royce as he attempts to resurrect his life while Paula’s materialistic and opportunistic ways make her less than appealing. But then Taylor tips the scales as Paula becomes a stronger woman of substance no longer allowing others and their offerings to influence her desires.
In the end, Michael and his uncle’s selfishness and greed seal their fates, while Royce rises to the cause and claims success both personally and professionally with Paula by his side. Paula gains all the wealth she could ever dream of because coupled with financial security, Royce offers her unflinching love.
Taylor touches on many topics, including greed, homelessness, loyalty and depression. While there were altercations, dialogue and deceptions that tried my patience as a reader, I quickly realized how the main characters improved for the better and that in this story just as in life, we don’t always do or say the right thing.
Taylor proves that a great love story can be enjoyed without all the overdone sexual content often found in today’s love stories. For an engaging story that delivered sweet love and devotion, Champagne, Jelly Beans and Chocolate earns 4 out of 5 Sable Seals.
Publisher: Another Clue Publishing