Title: Heated Beat Bundle (Heated Beat #1-2)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 5th Dec, 2016
Page Count 240
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Best friends to Lovers, GFY, Mental Illness
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Heated Beat Collection
My Mate Jack
Will Barter’s been in love with his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.
Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.
In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?
As a diehard music fan, a dirty, smoky gig is Vice Squad Detective Danny Jones’s idea of heaven. While watching one of the most popular bands in Northern England, the sight of gorgeous rock star Finn McGovern changes his life forever.
Beneath the tattoos and leather jacket, Finn is kind and sweet, but when he confesses a dark secret to Danny, it tests their fledgling bond. Danny digs deep to accept Finn, but before long, a terrifying trail of death threatens to tear them apart before they’ve even got started.
A monster is killing prostitutes on Danny’s patch, and when a dead girl turns up too close to home, Danny discovers a heartbreaking link between the girl and his bright new life with Finn, a life he’ll do anything to protect.
I am one of those rare people in the world of M/M fiction fans who has not read Garrett Leigh yet. Yeah, yeah I know, I am a freak!!! I have always wanted to but for some reasons never got around to it. So this book bundle was my Garrett Leigh cherry popper!!! YAY!!!
“My mate Jack”
This story is a combination of the “best friends to lovers” and “GFY” trope. Both are my favorites and so I had a blast reading it. Jack and Will’s journey to each other was bittersweet with the perfect amount of angst before the HEA. The anticipation for the best friends to finally get on the same page kept on building and that ending was the perfect conclusion.
Jack and Will have been best friends since they were six. Will has been in love with Jack forever but he has always hidden his feelings. Jack is straight and Will does not want to rock their friendship boat in anyway. But the night before Will is due to leave for college, Jack asks him for a favor which both excites and scares him equally. See, Jack is straight and a virgin, and before he leaves to pursue his dreams to become a DJ in Ibiza, he wants to lose his virginity. And who else can he trust other than his best friend.
Will and Jack’s one night together changes their friendship to something way more complicated. But the next day due to a miscommunication, the friends/lovers separate with heavy hearts. They stay away from each other living their respective dreams but none has gotten over that spark they had ignited that fateful night. Will and Jack both have to open up their hearts completely and take a chance in each other if they want the HEA they so badly want.
I had fun reading this story. The friendship between the guys before everything goes awry was absolutely great and solid. The dynamic between them was so comfortable and effortless that Jack could ask his gay best friend to help him lose his virginity. I had to give Jack credit for not making a huge deal out of his feelings. The miscommunication kept them apart and not Jack’s confusion if he was gay. I loved his confessions through his emails and then when they do come face to face.
Another thing which I loved was how beautifully Will’s “sometimes hopeful, sometime helpless” state has been described. He hopes that maybe Jack feels something for him but again something happens which make him go back to the fact that Jack is straight. Their push and pull was angsty and emotional and overall just perfect. Finally Jack’s sexuality is not given any label and I absolutely dug that. Jack was in love with Will and that was that.
“Gay, straight, whatever, if I kissed you right now, how would you feel?”
Jack licked his lips. “Like I’d won the bloody lottery. It’s been too long, Will. I don’t know if I’m gay, and I don’t give a fuck either way. I just know that doing this….” Jack gestured between them. “…only feels right with you. No one else makes me feel like this.”
I particularly loved these lines:
“Jack’s sexuality was an ongoing fascination for both of them. Jack was crazy about Will, but he still had little idea if Will’s anatomy had anything to do with it. He’d never truly wanted another bloke. Did that make him bisexual? Jack had no idea, and he wasn’t sure he cared. He loved Will. Nothing else mattered.”
Their chemistry was super hot. Jack and Will’s one night together was blazing hot while also having a very sweet/innocent vibe to it. What they shared was pure love which took them two years to realize. But when they do get back together at the end the spark ignited hotter than ever.
The only thing that I found missing was Jack’s POV. It was obvious that he too had feelings for Will so I really wanted to know what was going on in his head at all the crucial times in their relationship.
All in all, if you are looking for a great best friends to lovers story then look no further!!!
This book is a little darker than the first one. Here we have two men who are both struggling with their respective demons while trying to fall in love.
Danny is a closeted police officer who is currently engaged in a series of murders of prostitutes. He has a lot on his plate to deal with. He is estranged from his family and his choice of being in the closet for the sake of his job makes him all the more lonely. He is closed off and does not exhibit a lot of emotions.
Finn is a rock star who lives for his music. He is not into fame or big money. Finn is content to stay small time and enjoy the freedom that comes with it regarding his music making. Finn also has a serious mental ailment which he battles every single day of his life. Past lovers had bolted after he came clean about his condition and now he does not trust anyone enough to surrender his heart.
Danny and Finn had to work through a lot to get their HEA. Danny handles Finn’s problems very sensitively and realistically. He is a busy cop with a serial killer on the loose and combining that with understanding and loving Finn puts him through the wringer but he does an excellent job of it. He was there for Finn when it really mattered.
Finn on the other hand was plagued by a disease which he had no control of. He has insecurities due to it and sometimes worries himself sick because of it. He feels very strongly about things and thus he needed someone like Danny to ground him and love him and make him feel safe and wanted.
Apart from the romance there is a murder investigation which is given a lot of page space in this book. It helps in showing the kind of man Danny is. He took his work very seriously and his sense of duty was praiseworthy. The case in itself was not related to the couple but it gave a serious vibe to the overall romance.
The one thing that I made me remove 1.5 stars from this story was the inconclusive way in which Danny’s “coming out of the closet” has been handled. Danny throughout the story is seen reluctant to be seen out with Finn. With time he becomes more comfortable but he doesn’t outright “come out” to his colleagues even after he starts a committed relationship with Finn. I found that odd.
Apart from that one thing, I really enjoyed this story. There were lots of heavy stuff in this romance and each of them is handled very beautifully.
My Mate, Jack: 4.5 stars
Lucky Man: 3.5 stars