11 September 2016

Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

Hey everyone,

Garret Leigh is an author who has always been on the periphery of my reading. I’ve been aware of their work for a while but have never taken the dip and read one for myself. Yet after reading the blurb for Rented Heart on Netgalley I knew I had to read this book! Luckily for me, Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, were kind enough to send me a copy in return an honest review.

The book:

 Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for. 

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

My thoughts:

Liam is a serious cutie-pie who needs to be protected at all costs. He is kind, respectful, generous and unpretentious despite being seriously rich. He never treats Zac with anything less than respect, and at times even stops Zac from disrespecting himself. As the relationship between Zac and Liam evolves, the issue of payment crops up, because Liam is happy to keep paying it because he knows Zac needs it more. Of course, Zac would prefer not to take the money as he doesn’t want to feel like a ‘hooker’. I loved that Liam didn’t hold the money over Zac, and never made Zac feel less for his job.

Because I don’t want to feel like a john any more than you want to feel like a hooker.

Despite what the blurb would suggest Rented Heart has a fairly low angst level. Liam and Zac do face obstacles, but generally, they talked them through before they became a problem. Rather than using Zac's profession as a cause of angst, Garrett Leigh focuses on the emotions of the characters. Zac's feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-worth. Liam's feelings of loneliness and grief. Neither of them are perfect but together they work. Zac provides Liam with a reason to smile, and Liam gives Zac the security and support he's never had. 

He pressed his hand over his chest and his heart quickened as he recalled Liam's late-night phone call and how his soft, slightly slurred voice had warmed Zac from the inside out.

The one character who does bring angst to Rented Heart is Jamie. I imagine that Jamie will be a conflicting character for many reasons. Some readers will hate the problems he causes for Zac and Liam, yet others will feel sorry for Zac's best friend. I personally liked Jamie, he provided a contrast to Zac and showed how far he had come. Also, Jamie for me was ultimately a figure to be pitied. Someone who had bigger demons than Zac, and therefore needs more help than most people. Luckily the end of the book does provide a glimmer of hope for Jamie and perhaps even his own book?

I have a friend who lives a different life to me these days. I don't like seeing him weak when he used to be so much stronger than me. Makes me feel like there's no hope for anyone.

After some consideration, I've decided to give Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh four stars. It was very nearly a five-star book for me. I devoured it in one evening and would definitely recommend it to lovers of contemporary romance books. What stops it being a five-star read for me it the lack of staying power. Once I finished reading it I didn't want to return to the world. I loved how it ended and the closure the epilogue gave to Liam and Zac's relationship, but I felt no need to stay in their world. But I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Jamie's book! 

My rating:

Happy reading and see you next time!