Saturday, September 10, 2016

ARC Review: Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

Jewel's rating:

Well, that was - without a doubt - the least angsty Garrett Leigh book I have ever read. I didn't think it was possible. Even after my friend Todd said that the angst level was low, when he read it, I still didn't quite believe it. Color. Me. Shocked.

Rented Heart is about getting a second chance at life and at love. Zac Payne is a 24 year old ex-junkie who only knows one way to make a living. He's been on his own since he was 15 and he and his friend Jamie have stuck together through everything and have always looked out for one another. Zac has never felt attraction to one of his john's before, so he certainly didn't expect this time to be any different.

Liam Mallaney is 35 and still mourning the loss of his husband, Cory, the year before. He's taken over Cory's role in the business they started, but the passion for it - and for just about everything else - has gone. Liam may still be alive, but he isn't exactly living. So when the loneliness got to be too much, and his family and friends talked him into going out, he decided he could do worse than going home with this really gorgeous younger guy.

Zac filled Liam in on what the transaction was about, pretty much right away. And there are rules. One of them was "no kissing" -- this isn't Pretty Woman, you know. Liam agreed to the terms and paid up. And then discovered that sex with Zac was a helluva lot better and more intense than he ever imagined it would be.

What I loved about Rented Heart was that Liam was such a normal and nice guy. He treated people with respect and wouldn't let Zac put himself down. Liam just didn't roll that way. He didn't know what Zac needed the money for, but he gave it willingly and generously because he hoped that Zac might be able to take a day or two for himself. And their relationship, while it was still a business transaction, evolved into a bit of a friendship.

Zac felt comfortable with Liam. He relaxed and let his guard down a bit. He didn't share much about his situation, but he never lied, or stole, or scamed when it came to Liam. He'd never had anyone really treat him like a real person before.

I saw the thing that tore them apart coming from a mile away, but the thing that brought them back together blindsided me. And I was happy when some good came from it all.

So, yeah. Surprisingly enough, Rented Heart really is low angst. It isn't exactly fluffy, though, so don't think it will be. But it won't rip your heart out and eat it in front of you, either. And I completely enjoyed Rented Heart.

ARC of Rented Heart was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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