Title: Rented Heart
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 228
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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.
As Shakespeare wrote, the course of true love never did run smooth … nor cheap, as Liam Mallaney finds out when Zac Payne invites Liam back to his flat for a shag – “Oh, and by the way, it’s a hundred for the fuck … three if you want to stay all night.”
Zac is all kinds of hot – “Zac moved with a sensuous grace and the barest hint of a swagger, all signs of a man who knew he was dynamite in bed…” and Liam “with his high cheekbones, shaggy hair and broad shoulders, all wrapped up in ripped jeans and a designer T-shirt, he was the kind of dude Zac dreamed of when he went to bed alone.”
But beyond these gorgeous facades are two broken lonely men. Liam mourns the loss of his husband Cory killed in an accident a year ago. And Zac? He’s never had an easy life and although he conquered heroin addiction six months ago, he worries about his flatmate and best friend Jamie. “I have a friend who lives a different life to me these days. I don’t like seeing him weak when he used to be so much stronger than me. Makes me feel like there’s no hope for anyone.”
In any other writer’s hands, a background like this would be fodder for an angst-filled tale. But Garrett Leigh has created a nuanced love story between two men that is emotionally honest and free of cheap sentiment. Liam never treats Zac like a prostitute — “Thanks for treating me like I matter, I won’t forget it.” — and their relationship is at heart kind and caring (plus the sex is absolutely smokin’ hot!)
The flow of this book just feels right although I disliked the Big Miscommunication near the end. Hopefully Garrett Leigh will write a story about Jamie – the poetic soul who brought such pain into Zac (and his own life) with drugs, who is now poised at the edge of a new fresh start in his life. I highly recommend “Rented Heart”!