Title: Soul to Keep (Rented Heart #2)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 2nd 2018
Page Count: 239
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.30 stars out of 5
Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place—he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.
Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie—so wild and beautiful—bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.
Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.
Rented Heart is one of my favorite books by Garrett Leigh but I went into Soul to Keep with low expectations because addiction stories are not among my favorites. Well, I actually ended up loving Jaimie’s story!
We met Jaimie in Rented Heart as Zack’s drug addicted friend who screwed up everything for him. In the end of that book, Jaimie was recovering in California a year after the big fallout, trying to start fresh. This is where Soul to Keep picks up from.
Oh his flight back to UK (to a random town where nobody knows him) Jaimie meets Marc, a trauma doctor and ex-Army medic who has his own struggles, mental and physical, to deal with.
From that point forward Marc offers Jaimie the thing he needs the most at the time: a safe place. Something to keep him grounded, occupied so that he can fight the demons he kept at bay.
I loved every single interaction between Jaimie and Marc. I loved how Jaimie always wanted to be close to Marc, to touch him or just feel him. And I loved how Marc was always in tune with Jamie, eager to take care of him.
The addiction theme was very prevalent but I didn’t find it overwhelming at all. Maybe because there were equal parts of UST and intimate moments along with some nice steamy ones in the second half.
I believe this can be read as a standalone but I suggest that you read Rented Heart first because A) you ‘ll be missing an amazing story and B) you won’t be able to understand Jaimie’s relationship with Zack, his best friend, who played a major role in Jaimie’s recovery.
I liked the secondary characters, they all play a significant role in the story. I especially loved Nat and Connor. Are we ever getting their story? Have we already gotten it and I don’t remember?
What I felt was missing was more Zack. Yes, he made an appearance in the end but I can’t shake the feeling that, given their shared past, Jaimie needed more interaction with him.
This is one minor niggle though. Overall, I might not have loved this as much as Rented Heart, but I very much enjoyed this addition to the series.