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.
Author: Garrett Leigh
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Misfits, What Remains, Slide, Marked
Series: Urban Soul #2
Published by Riptide Publishing Source: Publisher
Published: March 27, 2017
Genres: Male Male Romance
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
Visit the Goodreads Series Page
I’m jumping into Strays not knowing anything about series other than a need to want to read the first book, and it worked out fine. Lenny has a stalker. The police really are not offering him much in the way of assistance but one day, his stalker goes too far and Lenny loses it at his place of work. Running a kitchen in hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush, Nero leads a life of work, sleep, repeat. It’s lonely but it suits him fine. That is until his friend, Cass, asks him for a favor. Take in Lenny, train him in the kitchen, keep him close, don’t let him be scared. Not knowing why but unable to say no to Cass, Nero agrees. As they work together they start to get to know each other and after a month they can’t imagine life without each other. But there are things in their lives, Neo’s horrible past and Lenny’s stalker, may keep them apart.
Nero is a big grouchy bear. I loved him from the get-go, warts and all. Lenny, how can you hate the guy! He’s in a scary place and Nero, without knowing why, is a balm to his wounded soul as well as a bodyguard. Equally, Lenny gives Nero someone to care for, to nurture, the ability to love and heal him from his brutal past. Both offer each other friendship and more. For me, it was insta-love for these characters. There’s a nice flow between them as they worked, one that had me at times giggling. This is a full-on Brit story with all the lingo to go with it so sometimes I had to think about what they were saying. Actually, it didn’t matter because there is something magical between them and once I started their story, I couldn’t put the book down.
I’ve obviously missed out on something when it comes to the secondary characters. Cass, Tom and Jake have multiple appearances in Strays and by peeking at Misfits, I see they have their own book. I need to read it ASAP!! As for Lenny and Nero, yes, of course, they do get their HEA. Their story from start to finish is the type of love story I crave to read and one that leaves me with one heck of a book hanger. You know, one of those that have you crying because the book ended. Yup, that was me at 3am, loving the ending and hating that it had to end. Now the wait is on to see if there’s another book to the series and the guessing game on who it will be about.
I’ve only recently discovered author Garrett Leigh and what I have read left me wanting more. So even though I haven’t read the first book in the Urban Soul series, I went ahead and read the second, Strays. Totally. Worth. It. Real characters with real pain, finding the way to heal and find love. Ms. Leigh has now become a must-read author for me and one I will be recommending.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/strays
About Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.