Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.
Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd's Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.
Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.
No one does tortured, flawed MC's as well as Garrett Leigh.She takes heroes, damaged by life, and gives them well fought and much deserved happy endings and I've never picked up one of her stories that I did not enjoy. In fact, the first book in this series, Misfits, is -- hands down -- my favorite book of hers. And though Strays contains the MC's from Misfits as secondary characters, you can read this one as a stand alone, if you wish.
Lenny Mitchell works for Misfits, one of the many Urban Soul restaurants. He's young and grew up in an affluent family where he was expected to follow a particular path in life. He started out doing just that and then decided that living someone else's existence wasn't making him happy. So he dropped out of Uni, died his hair pink and decided to live a little. He wanted to devote time to his art, too, because that is something he truly felt passionate about.
But then, Lenny got noticed by the wrong someone. He would claim to be Lenny's boyfriend and he would send creepy letters. He also broke into Lenny's apartment just so that Lenny knew that he couldn't escape. But the police weren't much help, so Lenny moved around, changed jobs, going from dancing at a gay club to waiting tables at Misfits. However, when his stalker managed to find him there, too, Lenny had a bit of a melt down.
Cass then offers him another opportunity to work at Pippa's, another Urban Soul restaurant, and stay in the apartment upstairs, with one of their chef's, Nero. That arrangement would mean that Lenny could live and work in the same building and maybe take a much needed break from having to watch his back.