Strays by Garrett Leigh ~ Book Review by Caroline

Title: Strays
Series: Urban Soul

Author: Garrett Leigh

Publisher: Riptide

Cover Artist: GD Leigh

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 03/27/2017

Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)

Genre: Gay Romance

Blurb:

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.

My View:

Strays was like walking a tightrope from start to finish. There was always a ‘feeling’ of danger even when you weren’t sure yourself what that danger was. Garrett Leigh can write a story that is deliciously dark yet still have a soft and subtle side to it. Strays which is book 2 in the Urban Soul series has all of that in bucket loads.

Nero more than works for Urban Soul – without realising it he has become as integral to the company as the three owners even if he doesn’t see it for himself. Nero has a dark past that for a lot of the story is just hinted at making him mysterious with a little edge of danger. Nero has a past with Cass that is touched upon, spending time in prison is mentioned but only when he trusts Lenny enough does he finally feel able to share his story.

Lenny is another young man who works for Urban Soul and is rescued by the owners in a moment of need. Emotionally he is at the end of his tether living in constant fear from a stalker that appears to know his every move. The solution is simple – Lenny will move in with Nero, as a favour to Cass, and literally hide out in his flat and the restaurant until the stalker is caught. Little did Nero know when he agreed to it that he would find himself doing everything in his power to keep Lenny in his life.

Although their story seems to happen quickly, they are trapped together 24 hours a day for the most part, it felt right. Neither man was interested in a quick hook up – it was always more than that. Both characters grow – Nero unburdens himself by sharing his past and Lenny comes out of his shell and really shines. The constant element of danger gave an edge to the story and left the reader unsure as to what was going to happen until it actually did. It was also great to spend a bit of time with Cass, Jake and Tom.

Links

Strays on Goodreads
Riptide
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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