Audio Review: Garrett Leigh – Strays (Urban Soul #2)

517D7MicAPL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Garrett Leigh
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:

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.

Review:

A beautiful story full of angst, heartache, troubled pasts, dangerous presents, and a love that sneaks up and envelops two exceptional characters.

I loved Garrett Leigh’s deep, rich characterization of these men, both hurt, one hiding from his past, and one from his present. When Lenny first meets Nero, readers may believe that it’s Nero who is going to help Lenny, and that’s true to an extent, but only on the surface. It’s Lenny, and his engaging personality who emerges from his fear once his stalker is behind bars and captures Nero’s heart after guiding him back from the despair he’s lived with his whole life.

The power of love, when applied carefully, can gently heal the deepest of scars.

As a bonus, in addition to introducing us to these two memorable characters, the author gives readers an opportunity to revisit with previous characters—those from Misfits—whose lives are beautifully interwoven with these MCs throughout the story.

I also greatly appreciated the fantastic use of art—from the cover to the tattoos covering Nero’s chest to the artwork and murals created by Lenny to the artisan-crafted jewelry Lenny finds once he has the freedom to wander the markets without fear.

I very highly recommend this story.

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