Book: Rented Heart
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: September 12, 2016
Length: 222 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
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.
A story about a guy with money and a rent boy down on his luck? Yes please! Have it written by Garrett Leigh to boot? How could I resist? And man am I so glad I didn’t!
I liked the age difference between the main characters because it was one of the things that showed a glaring difference between their lives. Liam has a great job and makes great money. Yes he has a past with pain so he is not without his own damage but Zac seems to be carrying more. He is a rent boy with drug addiction in his past and a best friend, sometimes with benefits, who can’t seem to knock the habit that is now pulling them both down since Zac won’t let him drown alone.
I loved the slow development of the story and the characters; the uncertainty that shined through from both of them for different reasons. This is definitely one of those angsty stories that you read all in one fell swoop because putting it down just isn’t an option. I can’t say I connected with either Zac or Liam more because both held a special place for me. Zac is this young guy who is struggling to run from his past but still stick around to help out his best friend Jaime. His life's never been one full of happiness and life but although his “relationship” with Liam is a business transaction he can’t help but feel...relieved when he is there because Liam is like no other “john” he has ever had. Liam and this tie between them starts to change Zac.
He pressed his lips to the corner of Liam’s mouth with the barest brush of a forbidden kiss. “Thank you for treating me like I matter. I won’t forget it.”
Liam lost his husband two years before the start of the story and when he stumbles upon Zac one night at a bar. This is perfect for him for the first time in a long while he feels sexual attraction and it's with someone that he can have the no strings or emotions attached sex life with. He doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to a rent boy but he knows he refuses to treat Zac as though he is less than human. And much like Zac starts to feel more around Liam, Liam starts to feel it as well. This starts a mutual magnetic draw to each other that they don’t know how to cut...or maybe they don’t want too?
I really hope we can get a story for Jamie to see what happened with him. I loved the smaller but heartbreaking story of Liam’s Dad, it wasn’t much but it was very touching. I love, love Liam’s sisters personality! I loved this story and it came at a perfect time when my need for the angst that only damaged men can give. And Garrett Leigh does it more than justice for these two men with beautiful heart filled writing and physical chemistry that is off the charts.
About Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
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. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.
Cover art enquiries: email@example.com
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To celebrate the release of Rented Heart, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 17, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!