Title: House of Cards (Porthkennack #4)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 17th 2017
Page Count: 249
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.30 stars out of 5
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.
The thing with Garrett Leigh’s stories is that despite the melancholic tone or the heavy topics, they always feel like home. I might have had a shitty day, but reading a Garret Leigh book is warmth and comfort for me.
?n true Garrett Leigh fashion, House of Cards is angsty but melodrama-free. ?t addresses hard but everyday issues, such as abuse, with the respect they deserve. It’s steady paced, but doesn’t lack tension. And Porthkennack provides an excellent background.
Brix collects strays. Stray chicken that are destined for slaughter, stray people who lost their way. I got the feeling, though, that Brix kept saving others because that’s the only thing that was standing between him and the edge. Until Calum.
Calum comes with buggage. After losing everything overnight, he’ll end up jobless and homeless. But in Porthkennack, he’ll find Brix and a new home. From the start it was obvious that Callum is not just another stray. Actually, out of the two of them, Brix is the one who needs saving the most.
I loved that there was history between the MCs and that they have been in each other’s past as friends. But Brix and Callum were always meant to be a couple, despite bad timing and life’s shitty plans for them. The steam is pretty low, but given the circumstances and Brix’s hung ups, it’s understandable. There is a lot of UST and tons of feels, though!
There is always some level of diversity in Leigh’s’s books. In House of Cards, you get great representation of bi and trans folks, and a very positive portrayal of open relationships. I honestly loved all secondary characters in this book: the gang of misfits in the tattoo shop (especially Lee), even Brix’s quirky family. Except Rob and Jackson. They can both go straight to hell and burn for all I care.
I was hesitant before I picked this book up. I shouldn’t have. There hasn’t been a book by this author, I haven’t loved. Also, there’s a stray, bald chicken named Bongo. Nuff said.