Please say hello to Garrett Leigh and
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.
Take one cash-strapped ex-junkie hooker, trying to make some money to pay the rent on his rundown flat, and one "what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-here" widower still mourning the loss of his late husband, add the "john falls for hooker and vice versa" trope, and you have yourself a nice, engaging Garrett Leigh romance.
Liam, the widower, is a graphic designer by trade and the reluctant CEO of the surf company he built with his late husband.
Zac, the rentboy, is trying to stay clean, but shares his flat with a roommate (Jamie), who's also a hooker but not quite as clean.
From the start, as Zac picks up Liam for a quick fuck-for-cash romp, sparks fly between the two men. The heat these two produce between the sheets is off the charts, and boy, can this author write the dirty deeds.
But Zac is a bit surprised when Liam isn't all "wham, bam, thank you, man" and actually asks about what Zac likes, and takes care of Zac's satisfaction too.
A few more hook-ups later, Zac slowly starts to fall for Liam, which is surely a bad idea, and Liam still is too far in his head to see it.
I really liked this book. Both men get a second chance to live their lives, to find love, to make a connection with someone who cares about them.
Liam was a really nice person, respectful and kind to people, not just the folks that work for him, but Zac too. He saw him as a person, not a rentboy, and never treated him any differently than he would someone he wasn't paying for sex. As they spend time together outside of the bedroom, their sex-for-cash turns into a friendship of sorts, a friends with benefits, almost, with Liam paying Zac more for his time than sex itself.
This helps Zac to let down his guard more and more as the story progresses. Liam is generous not only with his money but also his time, and Zac starts to feel safe around Liam. He doesn't get away with calling himself a whore, because Liam won't have it, and that seemed to make Zac trust Liam not to hurt him. Zac doesn't lie to Liam, and while he didn't share much about himself, I appreciated that he was as honest as he could be given the circumstances. He also had a somewhat youthful enthusiasm still, that didn't seem to have been lost despite his years on the streets.
Of course, this isn't drama-free. Bad stuff happens, and Liam and Zac are apart for a while because Liam assumes something, and Zac is blindsided by that assumption, especially since he's never given Liam any indication that he lied about that thing that tears them apart.
Then Jamie fucks up big time, and Zac almost pays for it. But this is the catalyst that Liam needed, to hear the truth, to see that he was wrong, and to spring into action to - well, you read this yourself.
This may be the least angsty Garrett Leigh book I've read to date. I'm not kidding, and if my review gives you the impression that this is as angsty as Garrett's prior books, fear not.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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About the author:
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.
To celebrate the release of Rented Heart, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 17, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Promotional materials provided by the publisher.