Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Strays by Garrett Leigh

(Urban Soul #2)
by Garrett Leigh
Release Date: March 25, 2017
Genre: M/M Romance

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.

This is my first Garrett Leigh's book and definitely wouldn't be my last. I admit that I purposely avoid Book 1 Misfit because I'm still very much a prude who can't read a story that involved three-way relationship. Luckily, Strays works well as a standalone and I have no problem getting to know the previous characters too. 

Lenny is supposed to be a flamboyant guy with pink hair and loves dancing. But having a stalker for almost a year really put a dent to his emotional well being. Thanks to his Samaritan boss, Lenny got a new job in a kitchen and a place to hide himself from the outside world even though his new mentor/roommate is a grumpy ass and uncommunicative jerk. 

Nero is quite a hot chef that I envisioned terrorizing the kitchen ala Gordan Ramsey style. I had a thing for grumpy ass, thus Nero is definitely hitting all the right buttons for me. I supposed his stellar personality trigger all the angst in this story. I'm dying to know all his secret and dark past that he hide from everyone else. No one seems to know the real Nero. But there is one person who is persistent enough to break through his barrier and uncover the man who puts everyone at arms length.

The story was told in a melancholy way with a hint of gloom and sadness. Lenny and Nero are two lost soul in a city going through life without much motivation nor happiness. The pacing for the first half was rather slow, but I do appreciate the slow burn romance between these two men. The second half did pick up the pace though and when we finally break through Nero's emotional barrier, everything just seems to click into place.

Lenny and Nero are definitely the underdogs that deserve all the great things in life although they might think otherwise, especially Nero. I'm happy to see them embracing their friends and a positive future together. I wish I could see them operating their food truck. Next book, maybe?