Soul to Keep (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: Soul to Keep (Rented Heart #2)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 239
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 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.

Jaime flits around the edges of “Rented Heart” as Zac’s best friend and roommate, whose actions dramatically impact Zac’s life. At the end of that book, Jaime is on his way to rehab in California. I don’t think you’ll necessarily need to read “Rented Heart” prior to “Soul to Keep” but the background may give you some awareness of just how far Jaime has come from the depths of his addiction.

Jaime and Marc meet on the flight back to the UK, and amazingly end up in the same small town where Jaime goes to reboot his life, and where Marc works as a trauma doctor. I want to say that their relationship immediately captured my interest, and that I could feel they belonged together, and they connected in a strong amazing way …. but, nope. Sorry, so sorry. It just didn’t work that way for me.

I struggled to connect with Marc and Jaime and the relationship they forged together. Because we know so little about Jaime (other than recovering addict and former hooker) and because he was earlier defined solely by his relationship with Zac, as Jaime deals with his addiction, with his feelings for Marc, with his OCD, it’s hard to really sense what this all means to him. Also Jaime has gone through rehab, but this occurs before the start of the book, and I feel we lose something but not seeing anything of the process.

Similarly, Marc remained relatively unknown as well. He’s a former solider, a doctor. He has a prosthesis. We learn a bit more about Marc in his interaction with his friends Nat and Conner, but I personally needed more in-depth character development similar to what “Rented Heart” gave us with Liam and Zac’s backgrounds. The pace also felt slow to me, as little happens externally (other than Jaime cleaning out Marc’s house, and Marc working) until almost the very end of the book.

I have been absolutely gobsmacked by more than a few Garrett Leigh books, but “Soul to Keep” just didn’t work for me personally. 3 stars.

Rented Heart Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Soul to Keep (Rented Heart #2) provided by the author via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader
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