Review: Garrett Leigh – House of Cards (Porthkennack #4)

51t7eVllj4L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Garrett Leigh
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★½ 


Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.


Garrett Leigh knows how to get to the heart of a character and sketch it quickly so that readers are engaged early in the story and so wrapped up in their lives by the midpoint that it’s hard to put the book down. At least, that’s been my experience, and this book is no different.

One of my favorites of the Porthkennack stories so far, this tells the tale of Porthkennack native Benjamin “Brix” Lusmoore, a talented tattoo artist, son of a long line of smugglers on the Cornish Coast and chicken rescuer. Yes, he’s constantly rescuing laying hens that are past their prime and headed to the slaughterhouse. All his friends and family members have chickens and still he can’t resist each time he hears of a farmer getting ready to sell to a slaughterhouse. He’s just completing a run one day when he sees a lone man slumped on a bench near the bus station—a very familiar man.

Calum has run as fast and as far away as he can from his abusive ex, the man who took his business, his home, his bank account, and his dignity and left him in tatters when Calum discovered him in bed with another man. Of course, it was Calum’s fault for not being a good enough lover. At the breaking point, he purchases a bus ticket and stays on board to the end of the line. At that point, he discovered that his bank accounts were emptied, the phone he tossed away had the only numbers he had for his parents at their vacation property, and he didn’t even have enough change in his pockets to buy more rum after draining the bottle he managed to grab in his quest for obliterating his memories.

All this, and it was just the beginning of this highly engaging story. Calum and Brix worked together in London years ago as tattoo artists. Calum always crushed on Brix, but when Brix suddenly disappeared, he let him go and didn’t pursue why. Instead, he got involved with a lover who spent the last four years heaping mental and emotional abuse on him. Thankfully, Brix sweeps him up, sets him in his van, and whisks him away to his home. And that begins the journey back to emotional health for Calum and back to a relationship based on love and trust for the two men.

This is a wonderful story of hope and redemption. Each man has secrets—Brix’s more deadly than Calum’s—but love can conquer even the most hopeless of outlooks and the two carefully build a new life together with a nice satisfying HEA for readers’ enjoyment.

I highly recommend this story to lovers of MM romance, hurt-comfort, Cornish Coast adventures, and of course, to those who are following this series. Each book is by a different author and is a standalone so you can jump in any time. I highly recommend you start here.


Riptide Publishing 

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