Monday, March 27, 2017

Strays by Garrett Leigh

Title: Strays
Author: Garrett Leigh
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Urban Souls 2
Main Characters: Nero and Lenny
Release Date: March 2017
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

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.

Story Overview:
I love Garrett's stories. Her heroes are so deliciously wounded. It makes for some great angst filled reading and I do love that.

In this book we get to know Nero better. He was in the first book and has had a crush on Cass for a long time. The two guys are very much alike, but he's also a brilliant chef who travels around all the Urban Decay restaurants as he's needed. So when Cass needs a favor, he goes to Nero.

Lenny was a waiter in one of the Urban Decay restaurants when his life imploded because of a stalker. The three guys who own Urban Decay couldn't stand by and not help. They put him with Nero, knowing that Nero would take care of him. What they didn't expect was for Nero and Lenny to become more than friends. 

Nero has a lot of ghosts in his background. He's not the easiest guy to get to know and that is frustrating for Lenny. But Lenny has a pretty decent amount of baggage that Nero isn't digging into either. When they're first together, they are really good about maintaining their boundaries, but as their emotions develop, so do their expectations...especially on Lenny's side of it. Angst...I did mention this book has it, right?

In the midst of all that angst though is the wonderful setting of the restaurants. I especially loved the idea and visualizations of the new restaurant that Nero is working on...and the murals/graphics. So much awesome in my head centered around all that. I also really loved the scenes though where Lenny was just learning the restaurant business and how things work in the kitchen. I liked that he seems to have a natural talent at it. 

The book was just flat-out good. I thoroughly enjoyed both characters and the way that their stories unfolded. It was a great romance and I definitely recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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