Title: Strays (Urban Soul: Book Two)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 266 Pages
At a Glance: Strays was a great follow-up to Misfits; I think it’s obvious that I loved it. I was enthralled cover-to-cover (speaking of the cover…guhhhhhh…so gorgeous), and adored Lenny and Nero together.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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.
Review: Whenever I review one of Garrett Leigh’s books I feel like I’m just, “She’s so amazing…she’s totally my favorite…I love her books…Like, ALL her books….gush, gush, gush…” HA! I truly do hope, though, that my fangirling doesn’t take anything away from the sincerity of my opinion. I’ve always called it like I see it. It just so happens that ninety-percent of the time I love the hell out of this author’s stories. And, Strays definitely falls into the loved-the-hell-out-of-it category.
When I heard Leigh was writing a follow up to Misfits, I was beyond excited. Aside from loving the characters, I completely loved everything about the whole Urban Soul universe; so, I was looking forward to reading about the latest ventures the guys were going to be undertaking. My interest was piqued even further when I realized who one of the main characters would be. Nero was certainly intriguing as a secondary character, but I have to be honest—I had nooo idea how in love with him I was going to fall.
Strays opens with our other MC, Lenny, at the police station, trying to get some help because he’s being stalked. Clearly this has been going on for quite some time, but the police don’t feel he has much of a case, and basically just send him on his way. The next scene is Lenny at work at Misfits, where he encounters his stalker again, and has a breakdown. Thankfully, someone comes to his rescue and gets him out of there. Oh, and that someone turns out to be Cass. Squeee! We get to see a fair amount—more than just the tiny cameos I was expecting—of Cass, Jake, and Tom in this book, which was fantastic.
Cass’s solution is to take Lenny to work with Nero at Pippa’s. And asks Nero to let Lenny stay at the apartment above the restaurant with him as well. Nero doesn’t know what’s going on, but it’s obvious that Lenny needs a place to lay low and, since he’s not going to turn Cass down when asked for a favor, he and Lenny are pretty much thrown together twenty-four-seven.
The character development and flow of the story are both fabulous. We are immediately immersed in both the restaurant world and the hell that Lenny has been living, as well as getting to know the stoic enigma that is Nero. After a bit, though, he’s a little too enigmatic for Lenny, who gets extremely frustrated at continually being shut out. Nero’s refusal to talk about his past is the main obstacle getting in the way of what they both know they have a chance of building together.
“…You think you can have everything I am while I only get a fraction of you?”
There was a moment, however, when Lenny realized he’d been pushing too hard…that maybe Nero had his reasons for not wanting to talk about what had happened to him. This line was too good:
“Nero was his rock, his port in the storm. How had he not seen that Nero needed sanctuary, too?”
I loved how much Lenny grew over the course of the book, and how much strength and confidence he gained from working with Nero. I also loved where he ended up, work-wise. So many cool opportunities under the Urban Soul umbrella! 😀
Strays was a great follow-up to Misfits; I think it’s obvious that I loved it. I was enthralled cover-to-cover (speaking of the cover…guhhhhhh…so gorgeous), and adored Lenny and Nero together. And, the ending was fantastic!! It wrapped the story up beautifully, but also left me wanting more. I want so badly for there to be another book in this series. I hope Garrett Leigh has something up her sleeve!
You can buy Strays here: