Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Lonely and grief-stricken, Liam Mallaney finally agrees to go out with his friends to make an attempt to get back into being social and sociable a year after he lost the man he considered his husband. As he seeks respite outside the bar and tries to decide whether or not to go home, he’s approached by a young man who propositions him. It isn’t until he decides to go with the guy that he finds out it’s going to cost him a wad of money.
Zac Payne has been surviving on the slim pickings in this small town ever since he moved from London to Holkham to start anew after he recovered from a drug addiction that nearly killed him six months before. Because his services aren’t as often in demand here, he has to work long days and nights to earn enough to support himself and his still drug addicted best friend, Jamie. He feels that he owes Jamie since he’s the one who got Zac to the help he needed on time.
When he takes Liam home he gets more than he bargained for however. Liam is a hot, sexy Alpha male who treats Zac differently from any of his other Johns. In fact, it’s the most memorable night Zac has ever spent with a man, and the first time he ever brought one to his own bed. Unable to forget Liam, Zac daydreams of what might be if he wasn’t a hooker, so when Liam contacts him after a few weeks, he gladly accepts his offer of spending the day with him.
In the meantime, Jamie is falling further into his addiction and though Zac knows he’s powerless to help him, when Jamie shows up at the apartment with a cache of drugs, Zac flips out and kicks him out. Distressed, he does something he’ll later regret while spending the balance of the day with Liam, who is rapidly becoming so much more than just a John.
The author takes us through Liam’s healing from the grief and despair that has plagued him for so long, introduces us to the life he shared with his lover, and gives us a glimpse into the real Liam behind the corporate façade he wears to keep the company they founded together running. Concurrently, we explore Zac’s personality, his hopes and dreams, and his deep desire to do whatever it takes to stay sober. We also get to know Jamie and while watching him rapidly deteriorate, not only in body but also in spirit, we learn the depth of Zac’s devotion to him.
There were many layers to this emotional drama, and with each page turn the author kept my interest at a peak with yet another new development or another perspective. Alternating scenes between Liam and Zac, because so much of the story took place when they weren’t together, added depth to the drama. I appreciated the strength of their inner resolve and the commitment each exhibited as they fought through the difficult circumstances that plagued them.
My respect for Garrett Leigh grows exponentially with each book I read from this author. I honestly wish I could give this story more than 5 stars, and I very highly recommend it to those who are looking for a story of redemption and the engaging characters who fight their way through their very divergent circumstances to finally be together.
Cover art by G.D. Leigh. I love that the author does their own covers so that what they imagines their characters to be ends up being expressed here.
ebook, 228 pages
Published September 10th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleRented Heart
ISBN 162649391X (ISBN13: 9781626493919)