Title: Strays (Urban Soul #2)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 27th 2017
Page Count: 249
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
Amazing Garrett Leigh! Strays is the worthy successor of Misfits (the best polyamorous romance there is), and it embodies everything I adore about Garrett Leigh.
Complex, flawed, and multi-dimentional heroes. Situations that don’t happen everyday, but feel real and genuine. Angst without melodrama.
Like all Leigh’s characters, Nero and Lenny let their actions speak for themselves. They love, they fight, they hate, they own their mistakes.
I adored Nero. I loved his grumpy, surly exterior, almost as much as I loved the gentle, soft heart he hid underneath. I loved how protective he was toward Lenny, how hard he worked without taking anything for granted, and how open he was in the bedroom department. Great bisexual representation too.
Lenny was just as good. I loved how fierce and sassy he was, and how he transformed his view of others into art. I think he was the perfect partner to Nero. These two really brought out the best in each other.
Nero and Lenny’s relationship was strong and real and utterly sweet, starting from friendship and lust, and growing into something so much deeper. That’s true love in my book, and I consider the ending a strong HEA.
Other things I loved:
-Like all Garrett Leigh’s stories, Strays was really British, meaning that it is written in British English (slang and all!) instead of Americanised.
-Cass, Tom and Jake have a strong presence here, and they are integral to the plot. I had missed them so much!
-I loved the kitchen environment and I want to eat all the food!
Needless to say, I LOVED this. Highly recommended for all MM readers.