Series: Darkest Skies #1
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publication Date: June 25, 2020
Length: 248 Pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Reformed gangster Luis falls hard for his boss. When friendship turns to love, it’s up to Paolo to convince him second chances are worth the pain.
Luis Pope is back on the street after a six year stretch in prison, but life on the outside seems just out of reach, especially when the whole neighbourhood knows his face for all the wrong reasons.
Paolo’s temper makes it hard to keep staff, and he knows Luis’s rep all too well. But his nonno believes in redemption, and Luis isn’t the tough guy Paolo remembers. Prison has left its mark, inside and out, and all the kindness in the world can’t fix the three inch scar on Luis’s skull.
And it can’t keep ghosts locked up. Luis’s the best worker Paolo’s ever had, and Luis’s happier than he’s ever been. But his old life doesn’t want to stay in the past. Trouble comes to call, and when it makes him an offer he can’t refuse, keeping Paolo safe hurts the most.
Redemption is an angsty, standalone MM romance novel, with second chances, found family, friends-to-lovers, and buckets of hurt/comfort themed loveliness.
Luis Pope is not sure what frightens him more—the idea that he must find a job or his brother finding him. Being an ex-con and a “road man” who once was the second in command of a lucrative gun and drug business means that if his face is not recognized his name will be particularly since his brother, Dante, still runs the neighborhood with an iron fist. But he is a changed man—one that just wants to get along and find peace. But convincing anyone else of that is not going to be easy.
Paolo runs himself ragged working the family business—a small café that is always busy but barely breaking even. With the bills for both his nonna and nonno’s home care mounting, Paolo is barely keeping afloat and the fact that he can’t seem to keep on any other staff due to his temper does not help. When the guy comes in for a cup of tea and asks about the job he has posted in the window Paolo recognizes him at once. There is no way he’s going to get involved with a Pope—ex-con or not the guy has a reputation and it isn’t a good one. He makes the mistake of discussing it with his nonno who reminds him that everyone deserves a chance at redemption so Paolo decides to take a chance on Luis. Not only does he turn out to be an incredible worker but the attraction between them simmers instantly. Now if only Paolo can trust that Luis is really ready to be a new man and not return to the life he once led.
Garrett Leigh is ready to rip your heart out with their latest release, Redemption, and did so quite successfully to me. If there is another character more deserving of a second chance than Luis Pope than I defy you to name them. By the second page of this novel I was ready to gather this man up and keep him from all harm just like Paolo tries to do eventually. But oh my the claws of his brother run deep and sure and poor Luis is trapped in an endless nightmare of having to either ignore the threat his brother Dante presents to those he cares about or risk going back to prison by becoming a road man once again.
I can’t exactly express to you how emotionally captivating this story is—how deeply it affected me and angered me on Luis’ behalf. It was so patently unfair that this man who simply wanted to make a fresh start just wasn’t allowed to do so. Even though he had someone who wanted to protect him and love him, Luis not only couldn’t see his own worth but couldn’t escape his past either. He is a flawed man who never stands a chance at finding peace—not because of anything he chooses but because of a life forced upon him.
I could go on and on but suffice it to say that this love story broke my heart and then put it back together again and I loved every minute of it. With gorgeous writing, beautiful characters and resilient love Garrett Leigh creates a gorgeous story called Redemption and I highly recommend it to you.
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